San Lawrenz remembers four victims of WWII bombing raid
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Seventy years ago, during the night of the 5th and 6th of August, a group of ‘Lawrenzjani,’ a mother, two of her daughters and a relative, on their way to take shelter from enemy attacks, were hit in a bombing raid by a German war plane.
This was to be their last journey; they never made it o the nearby shelter. Nazzarena Attard who was pregnant, Carmela Farrugia, Guzeppa Farrugia and Marija Farrugia, the four female members of our community who literally “lived for God and died for their land.”
To commemorate this tragic event in the history of their village, the Parish of San Lawrenz in collaboration with the San Lawrenz Local Council held a Eucharistic celebration in Corner Street, the place where this tragedy took place.next to the memorial, which includes a commemorative stone with a cross erected seventy years ago in remembrance of these victims.
Noel Formosa said that, “this is no fictitious tale or novel, but it is a real life event experienced by our families during the Second World War. Being a small community, one could easily think that the horror of war did not leave any imprint on our village. The village of San Lawrenz and it’s history of the war days, prove wrong this assumption.”
Wigi Cauchi, one of the few living survivors of the war, lived through this shocking and sad moment for his community, when still at the tender age of fifteen.. Lucidly he still recounts those terrible war days. Being a teenager, along with his contemporaries, this experience of combat, unfolded also into one of an adventure. Living through nightfall black outs, carrying gas masks wherever they went and assisting from a distance to enemy aircraft bombings became their everyday life practice.
Ta’ Dbiegi barracks hosting the Royal Air Force, a stone’s throw away from where we are gathered today, was yet another alternative for a typical gozitan ingenuous night life. In fact, for Wigi and his friends, one of the most “eventful” moments in the dull atmosphere of the village life then, was that of the crash of a British spitfire onto the Dwejra cliffs.
“For them the sight of aircraft in combat, against the background of a lacklustre sky, uncontaminated with light pollution, proposed a unique spectacle. It was certainly very similar to today’s youngsters virtually playing war games on their playstation,” he said.
Wigi explains that while the air raids were still being launched by Italian aircraft there was little need for alarm or fear amongst the villagers. The reason for this was that the Italian’s were not after civilian targets and carried out bombings from high skies. In fact, during such raids, the citizens of San Lawrenz rarely used any of the shelters scattered in various locations of the village.
“The commemoration aims to show our children that the harmony we enjoy today in our every-day life came at a cost. We pay homage today to four of our forefathers who sacrificed their life so that we can keep on living in liberty and peace,” Mr Formosa concluded.
A kite was given as a token to all participating students; conveying a message of hope and freedom.