“Air raid warning, air raid warning. Shut your doors and windows.”
The Rediffusion blared out in English and then in Maltese, at 6:55am on the morning of 11 June 1940.
This was the first of many times we would hear that warning. The day our lives changed.
Margaret Staples was nine years old at the beginning of 1939 when her father was posted to the British colony of Malta with the Royal Engineers. Swimming every day, with blue skies and balmy weather; Margaret and her siblings thought they were in paradise.
Everything changed when the Second World War broke out. Hitler wanted to take control of Malta for its strategic position, right in the middle of the Mediterranean. To this end, the Axis powers dropped more bombs on this tiny island than anywhere else on the planet. When that didn’t work, they decided to sink all the supply ships going to the island and force capitulation through starvation.
This is Margaret’s story of survival, told by her daughter Linda.
Gripping, endearing, moving, enlightening, this is a story that should be read by anyone with an interest in Malta, or indeed in the pieces of the mosaic of the Second World War.
Take this lovely, haunting story of war and family as a nudge to preserve the story of your own family, before it disappears into the ether.
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Publisher: Woodlands Publishing (29 August 2023)
Paperback: 258 pages
Dimensions: 15.24 x 1.47 x 22.86cm
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Linda Peek is a writer, blogger and businesswoman. Born in the United Kingdom, she has been involved in international diplomacy through her husband's work as an Australian diplomat. Linda has lived in Switzerland, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Chile, France and Denmark, with postings in Canberra, Australia in between.
While living in Chile, she was Food Editor for an English newspaper, writing a popular weekly column called "The Good Life." She was a member of the Circle of Gastronomic Writers of Chile and a food judge. She runs her own business, which handles imports and exports of food ingredients. Since 2011 she has been writing about food in her weekly blog Café Cat.
She currently lives in Canberra, Australia.