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A Tale of Four Gibbets.

Gibbet. Photo courtesy of Louise Dardart (Daughter of Peter Dardart)

'A scaffold has been erected on Mensija Hill not far from the pigeon loft and it will be used against those caught stealing or spying'

This gibbet was one of four erected in an effort to stop petty pilfering among those on the base. Erected by Wing Commander E.J.(Jumbo) Gracie, Station Commander at Ta'Qali.
They were erected after a spitfire pilot (Frank Jemmet) had to scramble without his parachute due to it being stolen. He was shot up, crash landed & died in hospital.
It was known that petrol or fuel oil 'went missing'. This was worth a lot of money on the black market.
It was also known that service personnel would take parachutes to a Mosta bar & trade for spirits. The owner of the bar would sell the silk parachutes on to be made into wedding dresses etc.
Nobody was ever hung from these gibbets.
These photos reached the Daily Mirror in the UK whereupon the Air Ministry intervened. About a week later Commander Gracie disappeared from TaQali & was replaced by Group Captain Satchell who brought the first spitfires to Malta.
Military police on Malta found the photographer in Sliema & made him give an undertaking on pain of the confessional, that he would neither print nor sell further photos of the gibbets.

This poster was attatched to the photo at the top of the page.
Written on the back was...'Things got as bad as this in 1942'

Photo courtesy of Louise Dardart (Daughter of Peter Dardart)

Only one hanging took place on Malta during these times. A Maltese named Borg Pisani also known as Caio Borghi was recruted by the Italians as a student studying at the Regia Academia dei Belle Arti in Rome. He landed by motor torpedo boat & dinghy on the 18th May 1942 at the base of cliffs between Dingli & Imtahleb. His mission was to spy on allied activities & presumeably report on bomb damage & convoy intelligence. He was captured, tried & sentenced to hang on the warrant of the Governor of Malta.