QuickCheck: Is a bit of 'Malaya' on display in an Italian cathedral?

AT face value, it's a crazy claim that a bit of Malaya is on display in a cathedral in Genoa, Italy as logic could dictate that there's no connection between the two.

However, such a claim has been made since the 1940s, and it has been repeated widely on websites and in publications.

Is there any truth to this?



Yes, a bit of Malaya is on display for visitors to Genoa's Cathedral of San Lorenzo to see, but it is from the British Queen Elizabeth-class battleship HMS Malaya when the vessel shelled the city in northern Italy during World War Two.

ALSO READ: QuickCheck: Did the Federated Malay States fund construction of a battleship in the 1910s?

In the Royal Navy attack dubbed “Operation Grog”, a 15-inch armour piercing shell fired from Malaya got lodged in the southeast corner of the nave of the Cathedral in the action on Feb 9, 1941 and thankfully failed to detonate.

The shell was safely disarmed and has put it on display for visitors to see, where it remains to this day.

Indeed, the inscription placed along with the display commemorates this incident and the good fortune of the cathedral as it reads that “this bomb launched by the British Navy, though breaking through the walls of this great cathedral, fell here unexploded on February 9, 1941. In perpetual gratitude, Genoa, the City of Mary, desired to engrave in stone the memory of such grace.”




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