Malta’s Best Kept WW2 Secret
Loacted 40m under the saluting battery in Valletta, the Lascaris War Rooms represent one of Malta’s best kept secrets from World War 2. They consist of a network of underground tunnels and chambers which originally housed Britain’s War HQ in Malta. The defence of the island and all offensive operations launched by the allies in the Mediterranean were waged from here.
This ultra- secret complex housed an operations room for each of the three fighting services including the vital RAF Fighter Control Room from where the air defence of the island was conducted. Supporting it was a filter room through which all radr traffic was chanelled and an Anti-aircraft Gun Operations Room from where artillery fire was coordinated. there was also a large combined operations roomfor all three-services, additional administrative rooms and (hidden from most military staff due to its secrecy) the Cypher Rooms. Code and laterencryption machines were kept in the Cypher Rooms and send and receive all secret communications to and from Malta. being so deep underground, thw whole complex was mechanically ventilated – one of the original features that still works today.
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. this complex continued in military use throughout the Cold War until 1977 just two years before the closure of the British base in 1979.