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Lascaris War Rooms


Located 150 feet under the Upper Barracca Gardens and the Saluting Battery in Valletta, the Lascaris War Rooms represent one of Malta’s best kept secrets from World War Two.

The War Rooms consist of a network of underground tunnels and chambers that housed Britain’s War HQ in Malta from where the defence of the island against Axis aggression was waged and all offensive operations in the Mediterranean were directed.

This ultra secret complex housed an operations room for each of the fighting services which included the hugely important RAF Sector Fighter Control Room from where all air and sea operations were observed and controlled. This was supported by a Filter Room through which all radar traffic was channelled and sifted and an Anti-aircraft Gun Operations Room from where artillery fire against air attack was coordinated. A Combined Operations room served for joint operations, within a heavily guarded facility which accommodated the encryption machines used to receive and send secret communications. Being so deep underground the whole complex was mechanically ventilated – one of the original features that still works.

In July 1943, the War Rooms were used by General Eisenhower and his Supreme Commanders Admiral Cunningham, Field Marshal Montgomery and Air Marshal Tedder as their advance Allied HQ for Operation Husky – the Invasion of Sicily.

Following the end of the war, it became the Mediterranean Fleet HQ. In 1967 it was taken over by Nato to be used as a strategic Communication Centre for the interception of Soviet submarines in the Mediterranean. It remained in that role for the next ten years when it was finally closed down. The War Rooms played an active part in the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt during the Suez Crisis in 1956 and went into full alert for a number of days during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 when a Soviet missile strike against Malta was expected.

In 2009, Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna – the Malta Heritage Trust has embarked on the restoration of this historic complex. Since, then its volunteers have spent many selfless hours in painstakingly getting it back to its former glory.

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5 responses to “Lascaris War Rooms

  1. Albert Catania

    February 4, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I must have visited the War Rooms more than 10 times (as part of Educational excursions with my class)……and I always looked forward to visiting them again and again. I have fond memories of Peter – the ex-serviceman – giving us an elaborate guided tour of the place…….SUCH ENTHUSIASM…..

     
  2. Adrian Barbieri

    December 21, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Recently visited this incredible relic and was fortunate to meet Mr Tony who showed me the facility and explained The board used for operation Husky(invasion of Sicily.) I found it deeply moving and truly explains the herculean efforts of the Maltese and the Allied garrison. If ever the George cross was merited here is the proof. My thanks to all the volunteers who have made this possible.

     
  3. Victor Gherxi

    January 22, 2014 at 5:13 am

    I worked there maintaining and installation of communication mainly the telephone exchange for which
    I was in charge of the exchange name was MERCURY

     
  4. Francis-xavier

    January 5, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    I was stationed at H.Q.M.S. lascaris as a fighter plotter from 1956 till 1961.

     
  5. Joe Bajada

    October 6, 2013 at 10:05 am

    My wife and I visited this time capsule and we were absolutely thrilled to see where our future as a nation and my freedom to be able to write this was saved.
    magnificent
    Joe & Jackie Bajada

     
 
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