Winston Churchill’s many attributes include “humour, urbanity, and penetrating analysis which moved men on important occasions, and a keen sense of history”.

Lord Moran, Churchill’s personal doctor who accompanied him on all his tours outside England, including Malta, mentions in his book Churchill at War 1940-1945, published in London in 2002, a previously unknown incident in the Prime Minister’s life.

Lord Gort, one of Malta’s wartime Governors, dangerously flew to Cairo in a Wellington bomber to meet Churchill at the embassy there. Churchill, who was in Cairo at the time during the campaign against the Italians in North Africa, had expressed his desire to be informed about the situation in Malta.

“Gort is hardly recognisable, stones lighter, a man many years older, with sunken cheeks and tired eyes. The island had been in short commons, and he has been setting an example in rationing.”

During their conversation “the Prime Minister dabbed his eyes with a handkerchief as he listened to Malta’s story”.

It is known that there were at least two other occasions when Churchill is known to have wept: on the death of President Roosevelt in April 1945, and the sinking by Japanese bombers of the battleships Prince of Wales and Renown in December 1941.

I distinctly remember Lord Gort riding on his bicycle from his residence at San Anton to the Protection Office in Valley Road, Birkirkara, and to his office at the Palace in Valletta.

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