HC Deb 09 November 1954 vol 532 cc1019-20
3. Major Wall

asked the Secretary of State for War why the name of Malta was not included with those of other countries of the Commonwealth and Empire engraved on the Royal Navy war memorial unveiled at Plymouth in May this year; and why the Commissioner General for Malta was not invited to attend this ceremony.

Mr. Head

As Malta had no separate naval forces, the names of those Maltese ranks and ratings who lost their lives serving in the Royal Navy were engraved among those of the Royal Navy. The names of the countries of the Commonwealth and Empire engraved on the memorial are those which had separate forces.

The Imperial War Graves Commission greatly regrets that by an unfortunate mistake no invitation was sent to the Commissioner General for Malta. In June it sent the Commissioner General an explanation and an apology, which he graciously accepted.

Major Wall

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his explanation, which will undoubtedly give satisfaction in Malta, may I ask whether he does not agree that certain similar instances have been revealed, and that he should do everything in his power to prevent that kind of misunderstanding from arising, which does harm to the relations between this country and Malta?

Mr. Head

I should like to take this opportunity of paying a tribute to all that Malta did in the war, as many other people have done who are far more qualified to do so than I am myself. As to the question of the name not being engraved, I think the explanation about countries that have separate forces is one that will be accepted in Malta.