Citadel - World War II Shelters

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Citadel - World War II Shelters

The five cells dug out in the rockface along the tunnel leading to the Lower Battery at the Citadel were intended to be private shelters.

The first two cells were dug out in late 1941 and were utilized only by their owners as they sought shelter for the evening and night. They would take with them whatever was required such as mattresses, candles or lanterns, stools and the inevitable flask of coffee.

The last cell (closest to the battery) was also privately owned and was dug out by Felic and his son George Cassar between February and April 1943.

Felic's wife, Marija Concetta and the rest of the family made use of this shelter for about four months.

It is to be noted that George Cassar was a member of the RAF Observer Corps which was established in Gozo in February 1943, and their quaters were on the actual St. John Cavallier.

It is interesting to note that since there was a huge water reservoir situated right behind these shelters, they were actually far from safe. If a bomb had fallen nearby and burst the reservoir walls, the people sheltering in the cells would without doubt, have all drowned! For this reason, Architect Guzeppi Savon, the architect responsible for all shelters in Rabat, condemned these shelters. However, they still kept being used.

(Information provided by Charles Bezzina, author of several books and articles about Gozo)

Source: Wirt Ghawdex