07 November 2018

The Duke of Kent visits Pieta Military Cemetery in Malta

Today His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) visited Pieta Military Cemetery, as part of a two-day tour in Malta.

 Duke of Kent laying reef

His Royal Highness is in Malta to mark the 200th Anniversary of the Order of St Michael and St George. The order was founded in 1818 in Malta and Corfu, Greece, to reward distinguished Maltese and Ionians for their services.

As part of his visit to the cemetery, the Duke of Kent laid a wreath to honour the 1300 servicemen who lost their lives during the First World War and are buried in the cemetery.

Duke of Kent with CWGC member 2His Royal Highness presented eight CWGC staff members long-service awards, before embarking on a tour of the cemetery accompanied by CWGC Director of Mediterranean Area, Ian Hussein, and the Technical Supervisor for Malta, Mark Fitzgerald.

Duke of Kent with CWGC member 1The eight staff members combine a total of 149 years’ service between them.  Bernard Chetcuti (Works Craftsman) is the longest serving staff member in Malta. As a second-generation works team member, Bernard has followed in his father’s footsteps, maintaining and looking after the graves at the cemetery. 

Pieta Military Cemetery has a poignant mix of both war and civilian casualties. The Commission cares for over 2,000 graves in the cemetery, of which 1,300 were servicemen. Many of the Commonwealth burials are marked by flat headstones bearing multiple names due to the shallow earth and hard rock found in the area.

 CWGC has a strong commitment in Malta and is responsible for maintaining commemorations for 5725 Commonwealth war dead at 15 locations across the country. The Commission commemorates 769 Maltese casualties in over 24 countries worldwide, including Belgium, Canada, Egypt, France, Greece, Iraq, Japan, Macedonia, Serbia. The Commission is also responsible for commemorating 1472 Maltese civilians who died during the Second World War, the majority of whom were killed during the Siege of Malta, which lasted from June 1940 to November 1942.

Duke of Kent with Malta CWGC staff

Ian Hussein, CWGC’s Mediterranean Area Director, said: “The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is delighted to welcome His Royal Highness at Pieta Military Cemetery to honour the memory of the fallen Commonwealth servicemen during WW1. A century later, we gather to reflect on the extraordinary courage and sacrifice of all those who served.  We will ensure that their memory is never forgotten.”