MALTA

ADMIRALTY HOUSE

Hello.

Malta means all things to all people, ranging from the days of sacrifice and suffering in WW2 from the bombs dropped by German and Italian aircraft through to recent prosperity brought about by virtue of full European Community Membership.  It is above all else a 'jewel' in the Mediterranean Sea, blessed with a moderate climate in the early and later parts of the year, and with long beautiful summers which stretch on for ever and ever.

Britons have much to thank dear Lord Nelson for, and we must not overlook that it was he who saw the great potential of these islands which together form Malta for all pragmatic reasons. Lord Nelson defeated the French and supplanted the tricolour with the union jack and from the very beginning of the 19th century Britons have been visiting, working, home making, protecting and holidaying in lovely Malta. 

It hasn't always been easy though, and there have been several times when we fell out with one another.

Throughout the greatest part of this period, certainly from 1803 until 1976 [173 years] the majority of Britons on the Island were,  in some way or other, directly associated with defence.  The Royal Navy once had a very high profile and used Malta as the base for their Mediterranean Fleet. Malta was also a much valued port of call for warships travelling between the United Kingdom and Near/Far East bases. 

Inevitably, after all those years, the Royal Navy had a significant presence on the Maltese coastal infrastructure and used many areas/buildings to house and support their vast and complicated hierarchical system of command and control.  When the British left their Malta bases, they left behind a massive portfolio of real estate, which was largely inherited by the Maltese Government.

All buildings/facilities no mater where sited geographically, are but mere artefacts, but the use of them and the incumbents who work or live there,  animate them and add a soul to the bricks and mortar.  Whilst the British, who, in many cases had inhabited buildings which were centuries old, passed back the rightful ownership to the Maltese people, they didn't pass back the 'soul of their tenure' and therefore, in several cases, they handed back soulless artefact.

That brings me to the reasons for this page. 

The Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet had four direct areas of influence.  These were his residence at Marsa; his office Admiralty House in Valletta's South Street <which, having passed through the arch leading into Valletta from the bus station and entering 'Kingsway' now called 'Republic Street' is the second turning left {opposite the Old Opera House}>; his yacht {permanent Flagship} HMS Surprise, and Valletta's Lascaris as his Operations Room <Ops Rm> when required.

We are going to concentrate on his office, Admiralty House, South Street, Valletta.

I have received a correspondence from Matthew ELLUL in Malta.  This is what he said:-

admiralty house south street malta‏
From:  Matthew Ellul (platinumzam@gmail.com)
Sent: 05 February 2009 15:45:28
To: godfreydykes@msn.com
Dear Mr Dykes I would like to congratulate you on such an interesting and informative website. Let me introduce myself, my name is Matthew Ellul and I live in Malta. My grandfather served in the royal navy and enlisted in 1945. In the years 1959 to 1961 he was the chief steward to Admiral Sir Alexander Bingley and his wife Lady Bingley. He was in charge of Admiralty House and also travelled with them on HMS Surprise. Unfortunately he died in 1962 due to cancer. Our family remained very close to the Bingleys till today. Nowadays Admiralty House is the National Museum of fine arts, it was transformed in a museum during the early 70s. Being that my grandfather used to work there and knowing the historical value of the house, I am doing some research regarding the time when British sailors and Admirals occupied the House. The Curator of the museum and myself are trying to get hold of photographic or video evidence of the building, so that it can be useful for the restoration of the house. It would also be great if we would have some kind of contact with any sailors who used to work there. Is there any way in which we might get hold of a list of names pls? The Bingley's have given us some photographic evidence dating to the 1959-1961 period. We need to understand more about previous years. By any chance would there be a possibility of maybe tracing any evidence in the UK. I would like to thank you in advance, our hope is that the history of the Royal Navy in Malta will not be lost for the future generations still to come. I believe that Admiralty House is one of the landmarks in Valletta that any British seaman must visit. Thanks once again in advance.
 
Best Regards
Matthew Ellul

So, I am trawling for information from some of you lucky people who were stationed ashore in Malta and had in some way, an association with Admiralty House in South Street Valetta.  Matthew is interested in all inputs but particularly so in knowledge of the building prior to 1959.  If you can assist in any way MATTHEW would be pleased to hear from you.  His email address is shown here for your convenience mailto:platinumzam@gmail.com?subject=ADMIRALTY HOUSE, VALLETTA, MALTA

My best and warmest regards to all.

Subsequent to writing this page in 2009, I decided to look for newspaper articles about Malta's Admiralty House.  These are the one's I chose to keep.

 

  
 
1. The Times  25th January 1912 King George V and Queen Mary visit Malta and dine in Admiralty House 2. The Times 3rd November 1921 Prince of Wales later King Edward VIII dines in Admiralty House
3, The Times 11th November 1947 TRH the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester dine in Admiralty House 4. The Times 13th October 1952 The King and Queen of Sweden spend a week in Admiralty House
5. The Times 30th May 1912 Lord Kitchener arrived in Malta in HMS Hampshire in which sadly he was to lose his life when Hampshire was mined when it hit a German device enroute to Russia: over 600 men died in that incidence, just days after Jutland on the 5th June 1916. HMS Enchantress carried the Prime Minister and the the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. These three historically famous men lunched together in Admiralty House. I have cropped out the next paragraph whose heading said "The reason why Churchill was in the Mediterranean" See next column for a related story. 6. The Times May 1912
7. The Times 14th October 1952.
Note the former home of the Queen. More Royals to dine in Admiralty House
8. The Times 19th October 1949. The brave little HMS Amethyst in for a busy time in Malta.
9.     Taken from The Times. Over the years particularly pre and post WW2 many Mediterranean navies have visited Malta and to good effect, much of it NATO-based. This includes the French, Greek, Italian, Turkish navies, and at one point some in the Maltese government courted the Libyan navy! 10. The Times 23rd February 1952 Things start turning nasty
11, The Times 11th October 1927 King of Spain dines in Admiralty House 12. The Times 28th August 1936 Sir Samuel Hoare became the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1936.

Aged 34 at the time, he began the First World War as a soldier, having been commissioned into the Norfolk Yeomanry but, due to illness, was unable to serve at the front. While acting as a recruiting officer, he learnt Russian and in 1916 was recruited by Mansfield Cumming to be the future MI6's liaison officer with the Russian Intelligence service in Petrograd (St Petersburg). In that post, he reported to the British Government the death of Rasputin and apologised, because of the sensational nature of the event, for having written it in the style of the Daily Mail
13. The Times 5th May 1954 HM The Queen and Prince Philip dined in Admiralty House 14. One of the few I intend to mention and also from April 1958. After all Admiralty House went through it comes down to be heavily barricaded by barbed wire. That's the pit's - surely?
   
15. The Times 18th June 1927
TRH, the Duke and Duchess of York later
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth dine in Admiralty House 
16. The Times 27th November 1952  Prince Philip stays at Admiralty House for a one week holiday. 
   
17. The Times 21st April 1926 The Italian Navy enjoy hospitality in Admiralty House  18. The Times 30th August 1943 Issued this marvelous headline and with it much text about Malta's struggle and how the people and the British forces survived to see another day. I have heavily cropped the article, but see story 20  below for a relevant part of that story. 
   
19. Well surely an article from the Times date wise 9th April 1958,  does not auger well and nor did it? I have deleted much of the article, but, commando's - that's scary!   20. See story 18 above for date and newspaper. Was Admiralty House blessed?