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



It is officially announced from Air Headquarters, Malta, that the Air Ministry has given provisional approval for the formation of an Auxiliary Fighter Control Unit of the Royal Air Force (Malta). If finally approved, recruiting for this unit will be from selected Maltese girls possessing the necessary qualifications, and the unit will be in a section of RAF (Malta) to be known as the WRAUXAF (Malta) [Women's Royal Auxiliary Air Force – Malta].

Details of pay, conditions of service and uniform, are at present the subject of discussion between the Air Ministry and the Colonial Office, and it is expected that the rates of pay and uniform will be as attractive as possible...

Volunteers will be interviewed by a selection board comprised of service and Maltese civilian members. Mrs A. Laferla, wife of the late Director of Education, Dr A. Laferla, CBE., LL.D., has already consented to sit as a member of this selection board.


Some 27 Cranwell flight cadets arrived in Malta yesterday afternoon, working their passage on a return trip to UK, via Gibraltar and Istres, France, during a long-range navigation flight...


Admiral Sir John Hereward Edelsten, together with Lady Edelsten, was yesterday given a rousing farewell by the Mediterranean Fleet which he commanded for the past two eventful years - years in which the Fleet was called upon to play no mean part in world events, particularly during the trouble in Iran and the crisis in Egypt...

Admiral Sir John Edelsten certainly got a sailor's farewell; it was both moving and cheerful in its sincerity. At about 11.30 a.m., some minutes after a formation of Royal Navy and Royal Air Force fighters, fighter-bombers and long-range maritime reconnaissance bombers had droned past the seaborne force, the first warship of the Fleet passed the despatch vessel...


In Malta with 78 Royal Australian Air Force Fighter Wing to publicise the activities is Fleet Lieutenant Jack Cannon, a journalist formerly on the staff of the Melbourne Herald and now attached to the Australian Department of Public Relations, and Cpl. Gerry Sebastian a regular photographer in the R.A.A.F. also attached to the same department.

Jack Cannon served with 460 Australian Squadron flying Lancasters with R.A.F. Bomber Command in operations over Germany during the war. He was a frequent broadcaster on the BBC during the war and after V.J. Day he spent some time with Fleet Street. Before being put into uniform to publicise the wing and keep Australians, back home informed of the Wing’s activities in Malta, he worked on the Melbourne Herald in Australia.

Gerry Sebastian although only 24 years old, has been in the R.A.A.F. for the past seven years, some of which were spent abroad, including in New Guinea. He records in pictures the doings of 78 R.A.A.F., which is stationed at the Royal Naval Air Station, H.M.S. Falcon.

Tuesday, September 9, 1952: AIR VICE MARSHAL D'AETH LEAVES MALTA

Air Vice Marshal N.H. D'Aeth left Malta by air yesterday with Mrs D'Aeth and his three daughters bound for England where he is to take up the post of Air Officer in charge of Administration, Technical Training Command. Air Vice Marshal D'Aeth held the title of Fortress Commander during his term of office at Malta.

The Royal Air Force gave the Air Officer Commanding a splendid farewell. The route followed by the Air Marshall's car from the entrance of Luqa airport to the airfield was lined with airmen. A very smart Guard of Honour was drawn up on the airfield and was inspected by Air Vice-Marshal D'Aeth. At the end of the inspection Vampires flew overhead forming the letter "J.D." as the AOC was often referred to as "Jimmy D'Aeth". The Band of the Royal Air Force played the Royal Air Force March and "Auld Lang Syne"...

A distinguished gathering of friends was at Luqa to bid the Air Marshal and his family goodbye... Mrs D'Aeth was presented with several bouquets of flowers. Mrs D'Aeth and her daughters entered the aircraft and waved to all present. She was followed by the AOC who likewise waved farewell.

A few seconds afterwards the aircraft "La Valette" was airborne, escorted by six Lancaster long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft from 37 and 38 Squadrons and Vampire jets from 73 Squadron Royal Air Force, and 78 Fighter Wing, RAAF. This was a fitting tribute to the outgoing Fortress Commander.


The flag of the Rear Admiral J.S.C. Salter D.S.0 and Bar O.B.E., is to be hoisted in H.M.S. Tyzie today, and the flag of Vice Admiral G.A.B. Hawkins K.B.E., C.B., M.V.O., D.S.C. will be struck at H.M.S. St Angelo as evening colours. Tomorrow the flag of Rear Admiral Salter will be transferred to H.M.S. St Angelo.

Vice Admiral Hawkins, the retiring Flag Officer, Malta, and Admiral Superintendent H.M. Dockyard, and Lady Margaret Hawkins were at Luqa Airport on Sunday evening to welcome Rear Admiral Salter, the new F.O.M. and Mrs Salter when they arrived by air from the United Kingdom.

Vice Admiral and Lady Margaret Hawkins and their two daughters, the Misses Anne and Renira Hawkins, leave for the United Kingdom tomorrow in the R.F.A Fort Dunvegan. Admiral Hawkins hoisted his flag as Flag Officer, Malta, on August 3, 1950, and was soon afterwards, on August 15, promoted to his present rank of Vice Admiral. He was created Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the first Queen's Birthday Honours List in June of this year.

Admiral Hawkins joined the Royal Navy through the R.N. Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth in 1913. During the First World War he served in minesweepers and destroyers and was awarded the D.S.C. After the war he spent two and a half years in China and was then A.D.C. and Comptroller to the Governor General of South Africa, Lord Athoine.

During the landing in North Africa in 1943 Admiral Hawkins was chief of staff to Vice Admiral Edward Collins at Gibraltar.

Tuesday, December 2, 1952: RAF LUQA STATION

Royal Air Force Station, Luqa, will be closed to the public today from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. except for those who are employed on the Station.

August 30, 1953: A delightful cocktail party

A delightful cocktail party was held on Wednesday evening when Hal-Far Wardroom in conjunction with the Officers of HMS Thesecus 802, 804 and 820 Squadrons, with their wives turned out to welcome Commander J.D. Murricane, MBE, DSC, RNVR, and his Scottish Air Division to Malta for their 14 days' annual training.

A truly Scottish note was brought into the party by the piping of Lieutenant J. McLeod, TNVR, who played his bagpipes and induced the company to complete the evening in a rollicking eightsome reel.

Friday, November 6, 1953: CAR CRASHES INTO POLICE ROOM

A motor-car driven by Pilot Officer T. C. Armstrong R.A.A.F. stationed at Ta' Qali crashed into the Dockyard Police room. Flying Officer R. Oborn R.A.A.F. who was in the car was slightly injured.

Wednesday, December 12, 1953: NEW RAAF CHIEF ON MALTA VISIT

The Chief of Air Staff designate of the Royal Australian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal J.P.J. McCauley C.B., C.B.E., will arrive in Malta tomorrow to inspect, No. 78 Fighter Wing. Air Vice Marshal McCauley, who will succeed the RAF’s Air Marshal Sir Donald Hardman KB.E., O.B.E., D.F.C., as the R.A.A.F.'s Chief next month is on his way home to Australia after a two months' tour of Britain and Germany. While abroad the Air Vice Marshal had met senior officers of the three British Services both in the United Kingdom and in Germany. He will arrive at Luqa tomorrow evening and will spend most of Friday with the R.A.A.F. Wing at Ta Qali. After leaving Malta on Saturday, he will visit the RAAF.'s No. 1 Heavy Bomber Squadron in Singapore before returning to Australia.

January 10, 1954: RAF Malta vacancies

A number of vacancies will occur in the very near future in the Royal Air Forces (Malta) in the followed trades: Mechanical transport driver, motor-boat crew, aerodrome fireman, telephonist, clerk (accounting), clerk (organisation), clerk (postal), clerk (personnel), typist, storeman, clerk (equipment accountant), clerk (air movements), clerk (surface movements), messing clerk cook 11, and operations clerk.

Tuesday, February 23, 1954: MALTESE BOY FOR R.A.F. COLLEGE

Arnold Cachia, an 18-year-old Sliema youth is expected to take off this morning from Royal Air Force Luqa in a trooping aircraft for England, the first Maltese boy to pass the preliminary interviews for a Colonial Cadetship at the R.A.F. College, Cranwell, in 1954.

Arnold hoped to qualify for pilot duties in the Royal Air Force - the goal of nearly every lad from every country who has the brains and determination to make the Royal Air Force his career.

Educated at the Lyceum Arnold Cachia was until recently working in the Equipment Section at R.A.F. Station, Luqa, and can almost be said to have aircraft in his blood.

Mr Cachia has been interviewed by His Excellency the Governor [Sir Gerald Creasy] and the Air Office Commanding, Malta Formation, and is quietly confident of getting through a further barrage of examinations, physical and mental, after his aircraft lands in England.

Thursday, March 4, 1954: MALTA AIRWOMEN

Flight Officer E.M. Baker has arrived in Malta to assume the duties of W.R.A.F. administrative officer at Air Headquarters and officer in charge of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Malta). She replaces Squadron Officer S.R. Macpherson who is returning to the United Kingdom after a two-year tour of duty in Malta. Flight Officer Baker joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. Flight Officer Baker came to Malta from Royal Air Force Station Melksham, Wiltshire and prior to this was officer in charge of general service training for NCO's at the W.R.A.F. Depot Hawkinge. The R.A.F.V.R. (Malta) was formed in February 1952, with the object of training a force of Maltese women reservists who would be ready for immediate call-up to full-time service with the Royal Air Force in a national emergency. This training is carried out at Lascaris Valletta. In addition to airwomen under training, one Maltese officer, Pilot Officer Denyse Fenech has attended a course at W.R.A.F. Depot Hawkinge. She recently returned to Malta and is now taking an active part in V.R. training.


The Passing-out Parade at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, will be held on April 6. The salute will be taken by the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field Marshal Sir Jolin Harding. Among the graduates will be Pilot Officer J.F. Vella, who at the age of 20 will be one of the youngest Pilot Officers graduating at Cranwell. Joe Vella joined the College in May 1951 as a Flight Cadet. He took an active part in the College sports, and was awarded the College Colours for swimming and waterpolo. Mr Vella is the only son of Mr and Mrs C. Vella of Lower Victoria Terrace, Sliema. He was educated at the Lyceum Malta and was selected for the R.A.F. Cadetship out of several applicants.

March 28, 1954: Maltese migrant joins air police

Maurice Zammit is at present serving with the 3610th Air Police Squadron, Harligen Air Force Base, Texas. He was born in Pieta, and was formerly employed in a clerical capacity with the War Department. Mr Zammit went to the United States in November 1952 and enlisted in the Air Forces last April.

Tuesday, June 15, 1954: COMMISSION IN R.C.A.F.

Pilot Officer J. J. Saro graduated as a radio officer at R.C.A.F. Station, Clinton, Ontario, Canada recently. The radio officer wings which were presented to Saro on the Graduation Day Wings Parade mark him as a trained member of aircrew. Saro has completed many weeks of study in the technical and theoretical aspects of airborne electronic equipment. In addition he has undergone an exacting course in officer training. He received his Commission on the same day he was presented with his wings.
Pilot Officer Saro was born in Birkirkara. His education, received between bombings, was at the Birkirkara School and at the Lyceum, Valletta. After graduating in 1948 Saro worked for two years with International Aeradio at Luqa airport. In 1951 Saro migrated to Canada where he worked as a research technician for the Ontario, Hydro Electric for two years. In 1953 he enlisted as flight cadet and commenced radio officer training in September.

Tuesday, June 29, 1954: HELICOPTER PILOT

Friends of Joseph Sammut Tagliaferro will be glad to learn that he is now a Helicopter Pilot in the US Army. At present he is undergoing a conversion course in twin-engined Helicopters, at the Army Aviation School 4050th ITSA, Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Sunday February 6, 1955: Former ADC returns to Malta as RAF chaplain

The recent arrival in Malta of Dom John Rudesind Brookes, MC, OSB, to take up the appointment of Senior R.C. Chaplain to the Royal Air Force, Malta, in the rank of Squadron Leader, was quite a unique occasion. For Dom John has served before in Malta - as ADC to a former governor when he was Lieutenant in the Irish Guards.

Dom John took up the appointment of ADC to Lord Plumer in 1921 and acted in that capacity until the termination of Lord Plumer's governorship in 1924. Dom John joined the Army during World War 1, and was given a commission in the Irish Guards. His Commanding Officer was to become famous as Viscount Lord Alexander of Tunis.

Shortly after the completion of Lord Plumer's term of office as Governor of Malta and their return to the United Kingdom. Dom John resigned from the Army to study for the priesthood. He entered Downside Abbey in 1925 and was ordained priest in 1931.

On the outbreak of World War 11 in September i 939 Dom John went back to the Army. He rejoined the old Unit, the Irish Guards, and saw service in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. Back in "Civvy Street", Dom John took over the Downside Youth Settlement for Working Boys in the East End of London, an institution doing sterling work in the flight against juvenile delinquency.
Dom John moved to Beccles, where he was parish priest before being asked by the Air Ministry to take up his present appointment. On the island the new chaplain will have the help and advice of Fr. A. Attard OFM, who for a long time now has been doing invaluable work looking after the spiritual and material welfare of Catholic airmen.

May 22, 1955: Wren V. Lateu of Malta

Visiting Aberdeen recently was Wren Violet Lateu of Malta, who is attached to HMS Ceres, a training Unit. Violet Lateu, who since her secondary school days always intended to join the Wrens, left for England in November 1954 at the age of 18 after passing her Oxford Senior examinations. Following the usual interviews and medical tests, Miss Lateu joined the Women's Royal Navy Service in 1955. She underwent two weeks training at Bughfield North Reading, and was sixth in her test.

Under "Her First Visit", a recent issue of the Evening Express of Aberdeen stated: "A visitor to the Fish Market the other day was Wren Violet Lateu who is attached to HMS Ceres, a training unit. Miss Lateu, who belongs to Malta, the George Cross Island, was making her first visit to Aberdeen, and was staying with a friend who is also in the WRNS."

Wednesday, October 26, 1955: AMERICANS ENTERTAIN SCOUTS

Patrol Squadron 21 of the United States Navy stationed at Royal Naval Air Station, Hal Far, were hosts to a party of 21 scouts from the Sliema Group under the leadership of Mr John Camenzuli S.M. The boys between 11 and 15 were taken on tours of the Squadron area and were given a personally conducted tour of two Neptune patrol aircraft with which the squadron is equipped. Needless to say, in this air age, the scouts showed keen interest especially when it came to inspecting the aircraft's complex electronic system. They got a good idea of how the pilot communicates with other members of the crew, and the boys were busy talking to one another on the inter-communications system. They even tried the aircraft's high altitude oxygen gear, parachutes and other equipment besides inspecting the various types of survival gear aboard the planes. The tour ended in the Squadron's galley where ice-cream, punch and cookies were served by the ever-willing hosts.

Monday, May 8, 1956: FLY-PAST

The aircraft taking part in the fly-past yesterday in a farewell gesture to Rear Admiral AR Pedder, Flag Officer Aircraft Carriers, flew over Malta at a height of 2,000 feet instead of 1,500 feet as previously plannned. This was done at the request of the Prime Minister [Mr D. Mintoff] so that the fly-past would not inconvenience the public. The fly-past itself was delayed for about half-an-hour. The aircraft, which numbered some 80 jets, turbo- props and pis¬ton-engined aircraft from three carriers - Centaur, Albion and Eagle – now on the Station, flew in two formations round the island.


In what must surely be among the shortest ceremonies ever held in the RAF Malta Formation, Air Marshal G. E. Nicoletts, Air Officer Commanding, laid a wreath at the foot of the Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial at Floriana yesterday. The occasion was to commemorate the second anniversary of the unveiling of the Memorial by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II. The whole ceremony took but four short minutes but was none the less sincere for its brevity.

Among the wreaths and flowers laid at the Memorial after this ceremony was one composed of Poppies; its inscription was short and "In loving memory – Mrs Foden". A number of civilians on holiday walked round the Memorial, reading some of the many names inscribed on the base in bronze.
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