King George VI

Jun

20

1943

King George VI visits North Africa and Malta

HM King George VI rides with General Montgomery in a staff car between lines of cheering troops during his first visit to Tripoli, 21 June 1943.

For obvious reasons the visit had been kept a dead secret, but at 5 a.m. the Maltese were informed of His Majesty’s impending arrival. It was time enough. The Baraccas and all other vantage points were thick with cheering people as the Aurora, flying the Royal Standard, passed through the breakwater at 8 a.m. and moved to her buoys. The King stood on a special platform built in front of the bridge so that all could see him.

Mar

19

1943

George Cross for heroic rescue on burning ship

Tripoli was bombed by the British when it was in the hands of the Germans and bombed by the Germans when later occupied by the British. A large explosion and fire engulfs Spanish Quay in Tripoli harbour, Libya, during a raid by Bristol Blenheims of No. 253 (Army Cooperation) Wing, flying from Ma'aten Bagush, Egypt.

With great difficulty he climbed into the collapsed accommodation and found one of the deck officers, unconscious and badly burned. Mr. Stronach pulled him clear and dragged him along the deck to the lowered boat. Returning to the accommodation, he began to remove the debris from another officer who was trapped. By almost superhuman efforts he dragged the man through the porthole and along the deck.

Sep

24

1940

The George Cross created

It was now recognised that many walks of civilian life were at least as hazardous as those in the military.

In order that they should be worthily and promptly recognised, I have decided to create, at once, a new mark of honour for men and women in all walks of civilian life. I propose to give my name to this new distinction, which will consist of the George Cross, which will rank next to the Victoria Cross, and the George Medal for wider distribution.

Aug

9

1940

Australian troops train in Britain

An Australian soldier shows his familiarity with the Vickers machine gun by assembling it while blindfold. Only when he finishes is he told that the demonstration is for the benefit of King George VI

An Australian soldier shows his familiarity with the Vickers machine gun by assembling it while blindfold.

Dec

25

1939

King George VI broadcasts to the Empire

“A new year is at hand. We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle we shall remain undaunted.”

Dec

6

1939

The British prepare trenches on the western front

“For the British, digging was the order of the day-digging in cold, wet soil behind the Franco-Belgian frontier. Day after day and week after week the trenches slowly grew.”

Sep

3

1939

The King speaks to the Nation

By the way I have estimated this affair will last five to six years. What a hell of a time. Five times 365 days each of which might produce some sort of frightfulness in the way of an air raid or bad news.