19 April 2024 Misc. » Fifty Years Ago » Aviation, Military  

Aviation, Military


To the Editor Times of Malta

Sir, - Whilst I cannot fail to admire the daring and skill of the pilots that fly their aeroplanes low over Sliema, I beg to submit, at the request of many parents, whether it is absolutely necessary that the aeroplanes should descend on our cities in that terrific roar, as they are doing at present, particularly this morning to the annoyance of mothers and the fright of all children.

I sincerely believe that if it is known to the Commanding Officer that he is frightening to this extent the children at Sliema, he will avoid having the aeroplanes under his order descend and fly so low over our houses.

Yours truly,


Sliema, June 21, 1949.

JULY 23, 1950: Aircraft christening

"I name you La Valette. God speed and good luck to all who fly in you" - thus spoke Lady Creasy at the Royal Air Force Station, Safi, on Thursday morning when she christened the Vickers' Valletta aircraft which has been allotted for the rise of Admiral Sir John Edelsten, Commander-in-Chief, and Air Vice Marshal D'Aeth. Air Officer Commanding.

A large gathering of distinguished guests witnessed this unique ceremony ...


As part of an exercise against the island's radar defences this afternoon Royal Air Force aircraft will be releasing a quantity of the radar countermeasures known as "window". This takes the form of narrow strips of metalite paper about two inches long. Depending upon the wind some of these strips may float down onto the island but they are quite harmless and should cause no more annoyance and damage than the similar paper thrown around during Carnival festivities.

Sunday, June 29, 1952: Air-sea-land manoeuvres

A fortnight ago the five nation air-sea-land manoeuvres brought jet aircraft in nerve-shattering displays diving and zooming, hedge-hopping and hammering for three days over Malta.

Memories of the days of blitz in 1941 and 1942 returned, and thoughts veered to the future should aggression again bring bombing forces to these shores.


Operating from Marsaxlokk for a 21-day operational visit are six Sunderland flying boats, representative of two United Kingdom-based Squadrons 201 and 230.

Based normally at Pembroke Dock in Wales, the six Sunderlands have been operating from Malta since last Friday under the command of Squadron Leader R.A.N. MacCready, from 201 Squadron.

The Deputy Leader is Flight Lieutenant Cassles of 230 Squadron.

Saturday, June 27, 1953: WEEK-END AIRMEN'S MALTA STAY

The 601 City of London Squadron R. Aux A.F. who have been in Malta for their annual fortnight's training, flew back in their Meteor aircraft to their base in North Weald, Essex, yesterday morning. The ground personnel will fly in transport aircraft back to the United Kingdom tomorrow morning.

A Yorkshire Squadron No. 616 will fly to Malta for their period of training today. These Royal Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons are operating during the summer months from the airfield at Ta' Qali, recently handed over by the Royal Navy to the Royal Air Force and is now manned by 78th Fighter Wing of the Royal Australian Air Force.

601 Squadron celebrated a very successful fortnight's activities with a beach party at Ghajn Tuffieha, where the management of the Riviera Hotel set up a temporary bar with food and drinks. The uneven way down to the beach was lit with flare lights. One or two airmen went for a quick dip while others sat on the sand chatting or singing songs in groups. A small band played light music.

Wednesday, August 12, 1953: DEFENCE OF MALTA ANNUAL EXERCISE

The annual defence of Malta exercise - DXM – opened last night and formations of aircraft will be flying low over several parts of Malta during the next few days. These aircraft will carry out strikes on the Dockyard and on Military installations. For the first time since the war the island will be defended by squadrons from Commonwealth countries based at Ta'Qali. 78th Fighter Wing of the Royal Australian Air Force which is based here, has been joined by fighters of 14 Squadron of the, Royal New Zealand Air Force from their base at Cyprus.

DXM will test the sea, land and air defences of the island, and the Malta Police Force and Civil Defence are participating in the exercise.

Highlight of DXM will be the invasion by United States marines from the Sixth Fleet who are expected to carry out a landing on the northern coast towards the closing stages. Aircraft from North Africa, and the United States Navy carriers will attack the island. Meteor night fighters from Britain and Royal Navy aircraft will defend Malta together with the Commonwealth squadrons.

April 04, 1954: Anniversary of Royal Air Force

An outstanding event of the week was the cocktail party given on Thursday by the Air Officer Commanding, Commanding Officer and Officer of the Royal New Zealand Air Force to celebrate the 36th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Air Force.

The party was held at the magnificent new Mess at Luqa, the outside of which was floodlit for the occasion, and could be seen for miles around. This party was one of the largest of its kind with an attendance of about 650 people.


Led by Air Vice Marshal J.R.V; Whitley C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., A.EC., Air Officer Commanding 1 Bomber Group, Bomber Command, six silver painted Canberra jet bombers landed at R.A.E Station Luqa yesterday morning on the closing stages of a three-week visit to European and Mediterranean countries. The formation is engaged on the first European and Mediterranean training flight of its kind to be undertaken. Combined with the training value and goodwill accumulated during the trip, the Royal Air Force air crews have been able to show their jet bombers to many North Atlantic Treay Organisation countries. Waiting to welcome the flight to Malta yesterday at Luqa an-field were Group Captain N.C. Odbert O.C. Royal Air Force Station Luqa, Group Captain H.J. Maguire, Senior Air Staff Officer at A.H.Q. Malta, and Wing Commander R.H.C. Burwell, Wing Commander Flying at Luqa. The flight left Belgrade airport only one-and-three-quarter hours before raising Malta, despite the fact that the formation encountered head winds en route. During their flight which is estimated to take about 20 hours flying time when they touch down at R.A.F Scampton on June 24, the bombers will have flown about 8,500 miles, on a comprehensive training and goodwill mission. The jets leave Malta this morning for Gibraltar and Portugal. Countries visited included France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. The planes are, from 27 Squadron R.A.E which is commanded by Squadron Leader D.M. Chopping D.F.C.


A fly-past by Hawker Hunter Jet Fighters was staged yesterday shortly after midday. Flying 700 miles-an-hour the Hunters flew at roof level over Valletta-Sliema-St. Julians area. Many people rushed out into the streets or gardens startled by the noise of the jets. This Hunter Squadron of eight fighters arrived in Malta on Saturday. They are here for a short defence exercise before flying back to England shortly.

Thursday, September 1, 1955: THE HAWKER HUNTERS

The eight Hawker Hunters on a demonstration and liaison tour to the Middle East Air Force left Malta on the first leg of their return journey to the United Kingdom. These 700 m.p.h. jet fighters carried a series of exercises with other aircraft operating from Tunisia and Sicily. Their low flying at great speed caused much consternation particularly in Valletta. People rushed out into the street and a minor uproar was caused after one jet made a particularly low swoop over Valletta and Sliema.

Thursday, September 1, 1955: DANGER OFF FILFLA

During air exercises certain bombs which were dropped on Filfla Island or in the vicinity were observed not to explode. These bombs are dangerous. Members of the public are warned not to land on Filfla Island or enter the waters within 1,000 yards of its western and southern sides. (Webmaster’ note: Apart from the dangers mentioned above, Filfla Island has since been also declared a bird sanctuary, and cannot be approached.)
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