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The Imperial’s Legacy in World War I and World War II

The Imperial played a role during both World War I and World War II

The Imperial had a remarkable and distinguished 20th century and it certainly played a role during both World War One and World War Two.

The Imperial was bought a host and a target during the Second World War. The Imperial hosted allied soldiers during the war most notably the WRENS (British Women’s Royal Naval Service) and Canadian officers.

In the official history book of the Royal Canadian Air Force, one can find an account of officers living in the Modern Imperial Hotel in Sliema. A squadron diarist posted in Malta wrote how the Canadian Airforce were scattered all over Malta. He lamented that Ground NCO’s in the Malta poorhouse, airmen in fields and quarries and officers in the Modern Imperial Hotel. and other divisions were scattered all the island.

The Canadian soldiers were stationed in Malta before the all critical Operation Husky – the allied assault on Sicily; which successfully led to the overthrow of Axis dominion over Italy.

The Imperial was one of the first buildings damaged due to Italian air raids in World War Two. On 12th June 1940, the Imperial Hotel was struck by a squadron of twenty-five Italian aircraft. In formations of five, they approached the island in several directions. Bombs dropped on several towns including Cospicua and Gzira causing several civilian casualties.

The Imperial’s wartime legacy is also continued with the esteemed guests who frequented the Imperial. In 2009, author John Bull, a World War Two survivor launched his new book, ‘The Night they Blitzed the Ritz’ written during his long winter breaks at the Imperial Hotel as recorded by the Malta Independent Newspaper.

The Imperial role was not only limited to the second world war, in the first world war the Imperial acted as an infirmary, caring for the sick and braved.

While bombs rained down on the Imperial, it’s beauty and legacy remaining intact, in fact the hotel continued to expand and thrive following the wars. We are lucky to have such an important monument still standing with us today.