Sneak peek tour of new Operation Husky Museum

Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna

Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna (FWA) is offering the public the first ever opportunity to go behind the scenes with their knowledgeable guides for a sneak peek at the upcoming museum ‘Operation Husky – the Invasion of Sicily 1943’ at the Lascaris War Rooms.

Apart from getting the chance to see hundreds of artefacts already on display, visitors will be shown an entertaining and informative audio-visual film on the campaign.

Since this museum is still a work in progress, visitors will need to join a guided tour. Three tours will be offered at 10.00 am (sold out), 1.00 pm (sold out) and 3.00 pm on Saturday 25th July 2020.

New large-scale and permanent museum exhibition

FWA has been working on this new large-scale and permanent museum exhibition that will focus on that campaign and Malta’s role in it. Operation Husky – the invasion of Sicily took place on the night of 9/10 July 1943 and remains up to now as one of history’s largest amphibious operations ever attempted. It is also considered as the initiation of the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation.

The new exhibition will be housed at the Lascaris War Rooms, the massive underground military complex completed for the same operation in May 1943. It will occupy some 75% of the building most of which was till now delapidated and inaccessible to the public. The exhibition will start with the strategic role of Sicily in WW2 and will go on to chart the last stages of the Desert War in late 1942 and early 1943 which made the invasion possible and the Casablanca Conference.

Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna

It will then move to the large scale deception that the Allies undertook to divert Axis attention from the operation and the covert preparations made in North Africa, Malta and Britain for it. The exhibition will describe the anti-invasion defences of Sicily along with the Order of Battle of the Axis on the island and that of the Allies at the time of the invasion.

A detailed description of the landings on D-Day at H-Hour will be presented in a special audio-visual room where the visitor will have the unique opportunity to experience the landings as they took place and evolved including the Axis counter-attacks while listening to a commentary of the battle and hearing its sounds. Extensive use of original archive film will be used throughout.

Pivotal role played by Malta

The exhibition will describe the pivotal role played by Malta in the campaign as the very spot from where the invasion was launched and directed by the US Allied Supreme Commander General Dwight Eisenhower and as a giant aircraft carrier from where adequate fighter air cover was provided to the two invasion fleets and the landings. A special place in this account will be accorded to Malta’s own 231st (Malta) Indipendent Infantry Brigade formed by some of the British Regular Infantry Battalion’s defending Malta during the Siege and who went on to take part in the landings as part of the Eighth Army.

The exhibition will also feature the great hardship that the Sicilian population went through as a result of the indiscriminate Allied bombing raids and will deal with some of the atrocities committed against it by both Allied and Axis forces. It will also document the great loss of cultural heritage that Sicily sustained as result of the raids and the fighting.

It will end with the aftermath of the campaign: the arrest of Mussolini and the end of the Fascist regime; the signing of the Short Armistice in Sicily; the successful Axis evacuation of the island; the surrender of the Italian Battel Fleet to the British in Malta and the signing of the Long Armistice on board HMS Nelson in the Grand Harbour which in effect brought the end of the war in Malta.

Hundreds of original artifacts from the campaign

The exhibition will cover a floor area of 800 square metres positioned on two levels and will form part of the Lascaris War Rooms in Valletta. It will include hundreds of original artifacts from the campaign such as uniforms, weapons, documents, instruments, equipment and artillery pieces. Extensive use of modern multi-lingual audio-visual means will be made throughout its interpretation.

All tours will follow established Covid-19 precautions. As a result the number of visitors at any given time will be limited, so prior booking is necessary by sending an email to: bookings@wirtartna.org. All visitors are requested to bring their own face mask.

To buy your tickets directly please click on this link.

This content was supplied by Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna