Dobbie, General Sir William, 1879-1964

Dobbie was the British Governor of Malta from 1940-42 during the period when it came under the most intensive pressure from Axis forces. Dobbie was in retirement at the outbreak of World War II but in June 1940 was sent to Malta where he served as Governor and Commander in Chief of Armed Forces. He had only 5000 men and four obsolete aircraft but it was vital to hold on to Malta because it meant the Allies could weaken Axis communications between North Africa and Italy. Dobbie was a deeply religious man who regarded the struggle for Crete as a Crusade. He gave Bible readings and shared the same hardships as the civilian population, rationing food and fuel to ensure survival. After the heavy air raids of April 1942 the island of Malta was awarded the George Cross and shortly afterwards the defense Committee decided that Dobbie was worn out by the crises and on 7 May 1942 Lord GORT succeeded him. Dobbie enjoyed his retirement and in 1945 went on a lecture tour of the USA to give an account of the siege of Malta.

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