Malta marks 40 years since UK forces left the island

Special ceremonies have been held to mark 40 years since the British military left their base in Malta.

The anniversary parade in Vittoriosa was attended by President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Opposition leader Adrian Delia.

They were greeted by an Armed Forces of Malta guard of honour to celebrate the national holiday.

What’s the history behind it?

The Malta-UK Defence Treaty came to an end on 31 March 1979.

On 1 April, the last UK forces left Malta on board the Royal Navy destroyer HMS London, formally ending the island’s long and proud history as a British military base.

Rear Admiral Sir Nigel Cecil, the last Commander of the British Forces in Malta, later said: ‘We will always remember the goodwill shown to the British Forces in those days from the President, through so many of the people of Malta.

‘All these factors made the final departure so much easier and all of us involved at the time are ever grateful.’

Traditional regatta boat races were also held in the Grand Harbour on Sunday with rowing teams from Cospicua, Kalkara, Valletta, Senglea, Vittoriosa Marsa and Birżebbuġa competing for the winning shield.

 

Photos: Armed Forces of Malta (AFM)

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