Hopefully the photo's shown on this page will jog your memory if you served at Siggiewi. They are displayed by kind permission of the original owners. (see list below of contributors) Please, if you wish to download any of these images, ask before doing so. You can contact the webmaster at rafsiggiewimalta@gmail.com

We received the letter below from Mr Joe Mallia and we thought it might jog a few memories by adding it to this page. If you have any similar stories, please send them to the webmaster.

Hi,
The write up and photographs kindled some nostalgia in me. Am 77 years old now. I worked at the station as a civilian clerk between November 1953 and November 1962. My main duties were typing, SRO's (station routine orders), Registry. I also kept the books of the PSI and those of the Sergeants Mess. Also it was pleasure for me to indulge in drawing and sketching on the occasion of special instances, like a football match final held in the Station's football ground, the occasional airmen's dance (female partners came from WRENS and nurses), special visits from the UK one in particular, the visit to Malta and naturally to the Station, of The Right Hon Sir Julian Amery. Another special occasion was the drawing competition of the Station,s Crest when RAF Siggiewi ceased to be called so and changed to RAF COMMUNICATIONS CENTRE MALTA. I won the competition that was open to service and civilians, for which I got a quid as prize! Unfortunately, when my design was referred to the College of Heraldry in UK, it was judged as ' not quite heraldic ' whatever they meant by that! Certainly I had to stand in whenever my friend Edgar Mangion was on leave. Edgar was on P3 ( recording all movements and information on service personnel ).He was also in charge of amending the Air PublicationsThere was a female typist by the name of Margareth Micallef Hawkes and the in charge was Sergeant Borg Cardona. Our office was the Orderly Room, quite visible on the website photos. Adjoining the Orderly Room to the left, was the Adjutant's Office ( where is Flt Lt Cavarra, Flt Lt Morrison a real Bonny Scot, a true gentleman, Warrant Officer Bryce and some other, all successive incumbents? ) Still to the left was the Commanding Officer's ( Squadron Leader Fermore, Squadron Leader Cooban, squadron Leader Hart, oh what a wonderful gentleman, Squadron Leader Ryder and another of the same rank ; the most saintly person I've ever met. Pity he was not elevated to the rank of San.... by the Vatican, because I would have remembered his name ). The other room, still joining the CO' s office and therefore right opposite the Guardroom,was the Office of the STO Station Technical Officer ( the only one I remember is Flt Lt Ivor Hart another gentleman of gentlemen). Adjoining the Orderly Room on the right was the Warrant Officer's Office, the Officer's assistant was a Maltese engagement, Sgt Cauchi, the smartest chap in the whole RAF. Married to a Maltese, he had ten children! Yet he always wore a dazzling and impeccable uniform. The last adjoining room was the Station Armoury. It is understood that this whole complex was built by German POW's. Right across, and some thirty metres behind the Guardroom are the Nissan huts, housing the Fire Section ( Cpl Grasso, a Maltese ), Tecnical Stores, General Stores, the Sports Section (where is Cpl Vaudin, a Jersey?) and the Cinema. Well visible in the photos, were the airmen's billets, kitchen, the NAAFI Navy, Army, Air Force Institution, NCOS' quarters, Married Quarters, MT motor transport section. All HF/ DF equipment was all underground, save the well visible wooden creosote painted antennae. At one point in time around the beginning of the 60's, all the manual teleprinters and coding and decoding machines were converted to fully automatic level. Quite a few Maltese civilians were mainly employed as store keeper, gardener, cook, driver, orderly, labourers and charge hand, mainly coming from nearby villages of Mqabba and Siggiewi. I came from Casal Pawla, some eight miles away from the Station.

The Malta Communications Centre, erstwhile known as 840 Signals Unit was the parent unit to 100 Signals Unit at Tas-Silg ( that is near the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, on the South East, hence the word 'xlokk' pronounced 'shlock'. Marsa is 'harbour' ).... 203 Signals Unit Dingli, right on Dingli Cliffs on the South West, 447 Signals Unit Wardija, Madliena Radar, Benghaisa W/T Station and Il- Kortin on the sister Island of Gozo. Personnel, at one time still from the National Service; incidentally the last airman from the NS was from the Station. He was on this occasion presented with a silver trowel by the CO. These airmen paid regular visits to Habaniya and El Adem to service equipment over there. That is from where they got for me my first transistor radio NATIONAL by trade mark. Scotch whisky and Gilbert gin were regular provisions at the time, for which I used to pay seven shillings a bottle! Oh yes I had friends. Jolly good times. The worst time on the station was the time of the Suez crisis. In a matter of days, the strength of the Station, trebled; the new arrivals were accommodated in marquee tents right on the football pitch. We were at war! Aircraft from nearby RAF Luqa carried out incessant missions until the British and French landings were complete. Our Station must have provided the vital HF/ DF communication. A somber and wartime air prevailed. Personnel were confined to camp. Incoming or outgoing letters between the airmen on the Station and their families in the UK were censored on a daily basis. Lights restricted. Steel helmets issued. Visitors well scrutinized. Posters from wartime era, posted in strategic locations. Was there ever a threat from Nasser? Whatever, the Brits did not take the least chance. A slightly dark episode came on the day of a general strike on the whole Island on 28 April 1958 . Neither the locally engaged servicemen nor we civilians could strike. Therefore whereas everyday I used service transport and at times a bicycle, on that day I arranged with three locally engaged servicemen to pick them up early and drive them in my pea green Morris 1000, one of the very first imported on the Island. In the relatively remote Station we had no news of what was happening on the rest of the Island. On the Station there was no need for the CO to open the office safe and resort to the Regulations in the event of strike action! The day over, I summoned my passengers to leave for back home. Oh what a sight! With just half a mile behind us we were faced with blocked roads, huge slabs of stone was everywhere in each and every road that we tried maneuvering. We decided to go through with each of my passengers going in and out of the car to clear the way for me to drive bit by bit until we were safe back home. The rest is history with riots against the police as background!

Apart from this dark episode serenity prevailed all over the Station; the only nuisance came with regular visiting inspections by service MO's to ensure strict hygiene, pre AOC inspections and of course the one that followed annually by the Air Officer Commander himself. The best time on the Station was certainly over Christmas. Right from the beginning of the holy month, activity started throughout with the decoration of the billets and quarters by the reasonably reduced presence of those who did not opt to go on home leave. The Christmas Draw poster was for all to see. This was all chequered and every square was numbered. To participate in the Draw one had just to scribble his name in any amount of squares taken and paying a bob for every square, the revenue collected went for the PSI fund. Prizes ranged from a packet of cigarettes to a china tea set. Preparations in the kitchen were at a peak. The ever popular roast turkey, Christmas pudding were always at the top of the list. There was the airmen's dance and the SNCOs dance with female guest partners coming from women's service corps and the service hospitals, that's the Mtarfa hospital, Bighi, KGV and from local source. We, clerks were always invited for a drink at the well decorated Sergeants' Mess. Christmas Day itself started with an inspection to decide on the most decorated billet. The Commanding Officer assisted by the Adjutant and the STO gave their fair verdict. Christmas Lunch was served by the CO. The lunch over, the airmen changed in fancy dress for the traditional football match at the Station ground. Later in the afternoon personnel started visiting each other's billet for drinks. The individual's bedside commode presented a lovely array of liquors, nuts of all kind, sweets and the unfailing Christmas cards mostly received from families back home.
Day after day my nine year span as an Air Ministry employee Civ. No.12279, eventually came to an end. It was the time when the British Forces were pulling out of the Colonies. From the Far East the unfavorable fate arrived in Malta. Discharges in the three Services started. Last IN first OUT. No mercy! Cruel fate had it that the first out of the locally engaged clerks Mr Caunter, who worked at Il- Kortin, was a good friend of mine. Amalgamation of the three Services created more discharges. I was witnessing colleagues and friends of mine being discharged or leaving on their own free will. I chose the latter. Immediately after I got married on the 4th day of March 1962, I picked up my school books again to take the local Civil Service exams. It took me two years to settle well in one of the highest levels of the local Public Service.

Those were the days my friend.... Joe Mallia

TO MOVE AROUND THE SITE, PLEASE CLICK BELOW
INDEX- SIGGIEWI AS IT IS
- SIGGIEWI LOOKING FOR FRIENDS - MALTA NOW AND THEN
MEMORIES OF SIGGIEWI -
ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTS - STAFF PHOTOGRAPHS




Maingate


Workshops, with the "Astra" to the left. The dark
mass on the right is the rear end of an RAF truck.


The main BB

Someone asked about the old RAF Station sign


Centre island and flagstaff



Another view inside camp



Looking toward the gate from the 2nd floor of the BB


Looking over the tennis courts toward the Mess
and NAAFI from the roof of the BB (copyright A Hooper)

One of the rare AOC parades
 

The camp cinema (Astra)

The covered path leading
to the Mess and NAAFI

This hand pianted decal is on the back of
the doors in the "Ditch" circa early 1950's?
This page is under construction and more photo's and information is coming in daily. Please return to see our up dates and if you have anything to contribute, please contact the webmaster. Thank you.
   
 

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