Ben Mizzi
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Enrico Mizzi

During our honeymoon, we had the opportunity to stop over in Malta where we met up with my family, who were there because my Dad wanted to see where his dad, Pop grew up.

We were walking through the streets of Valetta, and my Pop pointed out an interesting clock that only has one hand.  Turns out that when he was training to be a mechanic, he used to be tasked with watching his boss’ Fiat and driving it into the town centre on a Sunday morning, after church so that everyone could see how fancy his boss was, having a shiny car and all.

A one handed clock, in the middle of Valetta

A one handed clock, in the middle of Valetta

As Dad and Pop were checking the clock out, I turned around and noticed the bust of Enrico Mizzi in prime position in the street.

As far as we can tell, Enrico was a champion for Maltese independence from British rule.

A quick history on Malta.  

Being situated between Africa and Sicily, Malta has always had a significant level of immigration.  The Tarxien temples are some of the oldest structures known to man and predate both Stonehenge and the Pyramids.  

The Tarxien Temples

The Tarxien Temples

After a bunch of occupying forces over the years, they ended up under British rule.

During WWII, Malta served as the base for British submarines, who sank a bunch of German supply ships throughout the Mediterranean.  In response, the Germans bombed the hell out of Malta (with more tonnage of explosives being dropped there than anywhere else in the world).

Whilst the war was going on, Enrico was imprisoned by the British, on the grounds that he was an agitator of anti-British sentiment.  

Three of the Maltese internees, Formosa, Ganado and Cossai, together with Enrico Mizzi in front of the internment camp at Uganda

Three of the Maltese internees, Formosa, Ganado and Cossai, together with Enrico Mizzi in front of the internment camp at Uganda

We think that the reason we haven’t heard about Enrico before, despite living in close proximity to Marsa, was because my Pop’s family, who emigrated to Australia as a 10 pound Pom, for obvious reasons, didn’t publicise their relations with Enrico.

However after the war, Enrico was released from internment and helped to draft the Maltese constitution, became Prime Minister in 1950, where he passed away in office.

Enrico with the Maltese internee football team

Enrico with the Maltese internee football team

The official date of Maltese independence is the 21st September 1964, and despite not living to see it, there’s no doubt Enrico definitely played a role in Malta attaining it.

The things you learn whilst travelling can be amazing.