Wanted: wartime memories
A London-based production company that is coming to Malta to film a BBC documentary is looking for memories of life on the islands during World War II.
A five-person crew will fly over in September to shoot a one-hour documentary about the Siege of Malta and the company is seeking the help of readers who have footage, photographs, sound recordings and diaries dating back to the period between 1940 and 1942.
“The story of the Siege of Malta is a remarkable one, and as I’m sure everyone on the islands knows, the people of Malta were incredibly strong and resilient during that time,” Freya Eden-Ellis Maya, the production manager of Vision International, told The Times.
“We want to tell the tale of how they refused to have their morale broken even during the darkest hours when they were being bombed relentlessly day and night,” she said.
The Siege of Malta also brings to mind the historic 1565 battle to save the islands from the Turks.
The second Siege of Malta, 375 years later, was one of the most important and lengthy battles of World War II.
In the documentary, presenter James Holland argues that had Malta fallen, Britain would have lost its foothold in North Africa and quite possibly lost the whole Mediterranean and Middle East theatre altogether.
A British stronghold, Malta’s strategic position made it a vital refuelling point. The documentary looks at how, from the Axis perspective, Malta had to be neutralised at all costs.
This led to one of the biggest feats of endurance in modern history and the islands spent almost two years under siege, surrounded by Axis forces in Italy and North Africa.
Many claim that until the end of 1942, Malta was the most bombed place on earth, but people still went to church and washed their clothes outside the ruins of their homes.
Although Malta is smaller than the Isle of Wight, more bombs fell on the island than on London during the entire Blitz.
“We aim to focus the documentary on the story of the island and the people living on it between 1940 and 1942.
“Their courage and strength is the emotional heart of the film and we want to illustrate that with documents, films and memories,” Ms Eden-Ellis Maya pointed out. She added that getting first-hand accounts from people who lived in Malta during the war would be a huge asset for the documentary, which will be aired next year.
Maya Vision International is a London-based independent film and television production company founded 29 years ago.
It has managed the Short Film Completion Fund on behalf of the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund since 2002.
It has produced a number of similar one-hour documentaries about the war that were broadcast on BBC Two.
These include Dam Busters: The Race to Smash the German Dams, aired last year, and Battle of Britain: The Real Story, broadcast in 2010. The crew, led by Bafta-nominated producer and director Aaron Young, will be in Malta between September 19 and 29.
If anyone would like to get in touch, they can reach Ms Eden-Ellis on email@example.com. They can also phone 004420 7796 4842.