Hal Far Airfield 1923 - 1945
 
 The Second World War


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Leading Aircraftman Albert Matthew Osborne of the RAF Volunteer Service was awarded the George Cross who went to a certain death in attempting to put out a fire when the torpedo shop was hit. Osborne is buried at the Malta (Capuccin) Naval Cemetry.

CPO G.M. Bull of No. 828 Naval Air Squadron was awarded the George Medal for consistent bravery.

The Maltese civilian employees on the airfield showed great courage in sticking to their job in the face of enemy action. Arthur Sciberras, Clerk of Works was awarded the British Empire Medal for courage.

As enemy raids dwindled, this gave an occasion to reconstruct Hal Far airfield from a vast expense of grass with four possible flight paths with linked paved runways and taxiways and newly-built pens.

As the Malta siege was finally lifted, the Malta based units were affected with the imminent collapse of the Italians. No. 821 Naval Air Squadron moved to Tunisia, No. 185 Naval Air Squadron moved to Qrendi and No. 828 Naval Air Squadron moved to Ta Qali. They were taken over on 12th June 1943 by the 324 Squadron which had Spitfires VBs, VCs and IXs. Their mission was to carry offensive sweeps over Sicily in anticipation of Allied landings there. By mid-July 1943, 324 Squadron together with the Wings fifth Squadron No. 111 based at Safi found a new base at the newly-captured airfield of Comiso in Sicily.

The successful invasion of Sicily saw a large number of RAF and USAAF squadrons in transit on the Maltese airfields, awaiting further airfields to be secured in Sicily and southern Italy, after which they were transferred there. In July 1943, 185, 229 and 249 Squadrons moved from Qrendi to the more spacious Hal Far airfield. 249 Squadron later moved on to Grottaglie in Italy in August 1943, 229 Squadron left for Catania in January 1944 and 185 Squadron moved to Grottaglie the following month.

The island fortress of Malta proved to be an important factor of British victory in North Africa hastening defeat for the Germans and making the Mediterranean a British patrolled zone. At sunset on 14th April 1946, the RAF ensign was lowered for the last time and the next day, Hal Far was placed under Fleet Air Arm command as HMS Falcon.