Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in Malta

Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in Malta

The aim of this website is to locate, identify and document Warplanes from the Second World War preserved in Malta.  Many contributors have assisted in the hunt for these aircraft to provide and update the data on this website.  Photos are as credited.  Any errors found here are by the author, and any additions, corrections or amendments to this list of Warplane Survivors of the Second World War in Malta would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at 

Data current to 6 Feb 2020.

Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in Malta by aircraft type, serial number, registration number and location:

 (IWM Photo, ZZZ 003915 E)

Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk. I (Serial No. N5520, on the ground at an airfield in Malta, ca Sep 1940, probably while being flown by No. 261 Squadron RAF at RAF Ta' Qali.  The aircraft has been refitted with a Bristol Mercury engine and three-bladed Hamilton propeller salvaged from a Bristol Blenheim.  N5520 is the only surviving Gladiator of the Hal Far Fighter Flight, and was presented to the people of Malta as Faith in 1943.

 (IWM Photo, GM3776)

The fuselage of Gloster Sea Gladiator Mark I, N5520 "Faith", in Palace Square, Valletta, Malta, on the occasion of its presentation to the people of Malta by Air Officer Commanding Air Headquarters Malta, Air Marshal Sir Keith Park.

 (Glen Bowman Photos)

Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk. I (Serial No. N5520), one of three Sea Gladiators which successfully defended Malta against the Italian Air Force until relieving Hurricanes and Spitfires could be shipped there.  National War Museum, Valetta, Malta.

 (IWM Photo, CM2270)

Hawker Hurricane Mark Is of No. 261 Squadron RAF at Luqa, Malta during the Second World War. ca 1942.

 (IWM Photo, A13425)

Fleet Air Arm pilot running to his Hawker Hurricane which stands ready on an airfield in Malta uring the Second World War. ca 1942.

 (Tony Hisgett Photos)

 (RuthAS Photo)

 (Oren Rozen Photos)

 (Robin Photo)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIA (Serial No. Z3055), RAF No. 46 Squadron, exhibited at the Malta Aviation Museum.  This aircraft took off from Safi strip just before daybreak on 4 July 1941.  For some unknown reason, the pilot, Sgt. Thomas Hackston, crashed into the sea (his body was never found).  The Merlin XX powered aircraft, one of forty-two Hurricanes delivered to Malta in "Operation Rocket", had flown off the carrier HMS Ark Royal, barely a month earlier.  The fighter was located by diver David Schembri, at a depth of 40 meters only a short distance from the coast off Wied Iz-Zurrieq in 1993 . It was salvaged two years later.
In August 1940 Hurricanes of No. 261 Squadron were flown off the carrier HMS Argus to relieve the hard pressed Sea Gladiators in the defence of Malta against attacks by the Italian Air Force, and later Luftwaffe.  These were among the first Hurricanes to operate in the Mediterranean theatre, and joined a handful of Hurricanes which had been flown out to Malta from Britain the previous month via France and North Africa.  During the Air Battle of Malta, between June 1940 and December 1942, the fighters of the Royal Air Force claimed it shot down some 863 aircraft of the Regia Aeronautica and the Luftwaffe.  According to the RAF, this was accomplished for the loss of 289 Spitfires and Hurricanes in action, and some 844 aircraft of all types lost to all causes in the air and on the ground.  The Luftwaffe alone claimed some 446 Allied aircraft of all types shot down.

 (War Office official photographer (Dallison G W (Lt), No. 1 AFPS, Army Film and Photographic Unit Photo)

Airmen of the Special Erection Party assemble a Hawker Hurricane and a Supermarine Spitfire Mark V unpacked from crates at North Front, Gibraltar. The Special Erection Party was established at Gibraltar in July 1942 to assemble and test fly aircraft crated from Britain by sea for the reinforcement of Malta. They are seen here working on a shipment of 70 Spitfires and 27 Hurricanes which arrived by sea on 15 September 1942 and which were built, test-flown and dispersed to vacant areas of the station in 11 days. The SEP were assisted by 15 special tractors and six Coles cranes - two of which are seen in action here - to help speed up the handling.

 (War Office official photographer (Dallison G W (Lt), No. 1 AFPS, Army Film and Photographic Unit Photo)

Supermarine Spitfire Mark Vs assembled by the Special Erection Party for Operation TORCH, undergoing initial engine tests at North Front, Gibraltar. The Special Erection Party was established at Gibraltar in July 1942 to assemble and test fly aircraft crated from Britain by sea for the reinforcement of Malta. On 28 October 1942 an unexpected shipment of 116 Spitfires and 13 Hawker Hurricanes arrived to be prepared for the Allied landings in North Africa (Operation TORCH) and a further shipment was received a few days later. Despite shortages of personnel, the SEP, assisted by soldiers of the Malta Brigade, assembled, test-flew and cannon-tested all the aircraft in time for the commencement of the Operation (8 November).

 (IWM Photo, TR1069)

 (IWM Photo, TR1066)

Royal Air Force Air Officer Commanding Malta, Air Vice Marshal Keith Park, about to taxi out in his personal Supermarine Spitfire V to mark the opening of Malta's new airstrip at Safi.

 (IWM Photo, CM4724)

Five Malta-based pilots sitting in front of two fighter aircraft at Luqa. Third and fourth from the left, respectively are, Wing Commander J K Buchanan, Commanding Officer of No. 272 Squadron RAF, and Wing Commander M M Stephens, leader of the Hal Far Fighter Wing, shortly before the end of his tour of operations. Behind them is Wing Commander P P Hanks' Supermarine Spitfire Mark VC, BR498 'PP-H', which he flew as leader of the Luqa Fighter Wing, parked in front of a Bristol Beaufighter of No. 272 Squadron RAF.

 (Oren Rozen Photo)

 (Tony Hisgett Photos)

Supermarine Spitfire F Mk. IXe (Serial No. EN199) at the Malta Aviation Museum.  First flown at Eastleigh on 28 November 1942.  The aircraft was restored by Ray Polidano, the Museum's Director, in 1992.  The aircraft is named "Mary Rose" in honour of Ray Polidano's wife and is coded R-B in memory of the highest-ranking officer who flew it, Wing Commander Ronald Berry DFC.

 (IWM Photo, A7840)

HMS Eagle and HMS Malaya in the Mediterranean during Operation 'Spotter', which delivered 16 RAF Spitfire Mk Vs to Malta on 7th March 1942. Supermarine Spitfires are ranged on the deck of HMS Eagle, in this photo taken from the aircraft carrier HMS Argus.

 (IWM Photo, CM3728)

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. VB(T), (Serial No. EP257), in service with No. 126 Squadron RAF, taxies along the dusty perimeter track at Luqa, Malta, for a sortie.  A member of the groundcrew runs alongside to warn the pilot of obstacles ahead.  There was considerable interchange of aircraft between squadrons on Malta at this time, and EP257 shows evidence of hastily painted-out identification letters.

 (IWM Photo, CM4663)

A Bren gun carrier of the Malta Garrison tows a trolley-load of 250-lb GP bombs to a Vickers Wellington in its dispersal at Luqa.

 (IWM Photo, CM5290)

Martin Baltimore Mk. IVs of No. 223 Squadron RAF Detachment at Luqa, Malta, being refuelled and loaded with bombs for a raid on enemy positions around Catania, Sicily.

 (IWM Photo, CM6292)

Avro York C Mark Is of No. 47 Group RAF lined up at Luqa, Malta, while staging through to the Far East. In the foreground, MW123 of No. 511 Squadron RAF starts to taxi out.

 (IWM Photo, CM5290)

Bristol Beaufighter Mk. VIF, 'F-Freddie' of No 272 Squadron, Royal Air Force, on the taxiway at Ta'Qali airfield, Malta, in June 1943.

 (Oren Rozen Photo)

North American Texan T6-G Texan (Serial No. MM63879), SL-36, Italian Air Force, Malta Aviation Museum.