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Thread: RAF Krendi (Qrendi)

  1. #1
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    Default RAF Krendi (Qrendi)

    A ong shot, but does anyone have a copy of the ORB for this short-lived RAF station on Malta?

    David

  2. #2
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    David, Hi,
    Qrendi (or RAF Qrendi) was not so 'short-lived'. The UK Met Office maintained a Radio-sonde facility at Qrendi up until the mid-70's (memory fails!). That was, by that time, probably an 'Outstation' of RAF Luqa. Qrendi was, at one time, a Self Accounting Unit. It may have had, at one stage, RAF Siggeiwi under its control. Siggeiwi was, again, if my failing memory serves me correctly, an underground Comcen and aerial farm which existed from shortly after WW1! It was also part of the HF/DF chain that ran from UK to the Far East.
    So, if Qrendi ORB fails to surface you may have to play games with Luqa's ORB!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 26th November 2012 at 13:31. Reason: Later info
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

  3. #3
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    Hello David,

    Not precisely what you want, but; FlyPast. October, 2005 (No.291), contained an article on Qrendi Airfield, Malta, in World War 2. l can't access my copy at the moment, as most of my mags are in a remote storage facility.

    Hopefully, someone can send a scan.

    Where you looking for anything in particular?

    Col.

  4. #4
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    Col.

    I'll send you a private message. Thanks.

    David

  5. #5
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    Further to Peter Davies' message re Qrendi and its association with the UK Met Office, I was stationed at Qrendi between 1960 and 63 partly as a Radio Sonde Supervisior but mainly to set up and operate a Satellite Tracking Unit , using a captured German WWll Askania kinetheodolite originally developed to track V1 'doodlebug' and V2 rockets. Met Office use was to monitor optically the orbits of the then recently launched artificial satellites with a view to assessing atmospheric densities and drag at very high levels. Of more interest to the readers , will probablly be that I have a photo of the station crest which had been carved in the local stone and built in the wall of the (rather modest) control tower. This had been rescued by the then Meteorological Officer in Charge, one Eric Harris, who sadly died in December 2013 at age 90.
    The correct name of the station would have been RAF Qrendi (not Krendi) as this was a mis-pronunciation of the name by the Brits, who in general couldn't pronounce the Maltese letter 'Q'. Peter also mentioned RAF Siggiewi, popularly known by Brits as Siggiwiggi - This was still a WT station (RAF) in the early 60's, but definitely not under the control of anyone at Qrendi, but he is correct in surmising that at that time the Radio Sonde Unit was in effect, an outstation of Luqa.
    During my 3 years I was a resident in the Officers' Mess at uqa, one of the most enjoyable times of my life.

    I'll endeavour to put the photo of the crest on the'gallery', but will do that separately

    Bob Adams

  6. #6
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    Photos of the Badge/Crest that Bob had sent are now in the members gallery - as well as an excerpt from his email:






    I previously included some very brief information about the crest on the forum, but will here elaborate on this. Maybe someone will be interested and I'll be happy to supply more on the later history of Qrendi (my work place for over 3 years) if requested

    Firstly I apologise for the rather poor resolution of the image - it's a small part of a larger photo . I took it around 1961 when based at Qrendi, when it was operating as a Radio Sonde station, a satellite of the main Met Office at nearby RAF Luqa. as described by my ex colleague Peter Davies on this RAF Commands forum on 26 Nov 2012. The main Met Office at RAF Luqa, Malta, which as well as serving the Civilian Airport, was responsible for meteorological services for the RAF station including Nos. 38 (Shackletons) and 39 (Canberras) Squadrons, as well as the population of the island as a whole.

    The stone carved crest crest is clearly similar to that shown at www.ronaldv.nl/abandoned/airfields/MTmalta.html see below, but the stone one is sporting a motto. From memory I would guess that the stone was slightly less than 2 feet high by 18 inches wide. Presumably the coloured crest came first, and a stonemason produced the 3 dimensional one from the local soft globigerina limestone. Would it have been commonplace for stations to have stone versions of their crest I wonder ?

    There seemed to be a fair chance that the carved stone still exists, located at the Malta National War Museum at Fort St Elmo, Valletta, presumably after having been removed from Qrendi at the time of the station final closure around 1971. It had earlier been 'rescued' by Eric Harris from the re-building of the Office (which was being extended) to which it had been attached. Eric was the Head of the Radio Sonde station between ~1958-61 and died a few weeks ago at age 90 in December 2013, which may make me the last surviving UK member of staff who worked there.

    The evidence for the stone's location at the Museum is strong, as in a Souvenir Handbook, revised November 1981, on p 18 under a photo of a display headed 'Axis Raids on Malta', there can clearly be seen, but only the top third of a similar carved stone crest, so the Maltese cross and firebird, the word 'Krendi' and the motto are absent. At first glance in the museum stone the letter spacing at the top above the tip of the cross appears not to correspond with that of the stone in my photo, but closer examination shows that the letters 'Fo' of 'Force' have since gone, and after accounting for this, the two illustrations show that those parts which can be seen are identical. Hopefully if someone in Malta reads this he or she can call in at the Museum to confirm that it is still there and that it is indeed the 'Krendi' stone. However, I don't see any signs of it on the illustrations of exhibits on the present National War Museum website, so maybe its gone to the Aviation Museum situated on the site of the former RAF Ta'Qali.

    The photo in the 'abandoned airfields' collection with the Spitfires in front of the Qrendi 'Farmhouse'' looks remarkably like what was later to become the ops room and offices of the Radio Sonde station, which is slightly at odds with the caption that it was demolished to make place for new buildings for the Royal Navy. I have photos of the Radio Sonde staff and the (1960) building which in part supports my argument, although of course one Maltese square building looks much like any other. The next photo captioned 'Undated photo of the former RAF Station Krendi' is almost exactly how it would have looked as late as 1963 when I left. The most interesting feature is the two parallel lines of square dots on the western half of the east/west runway. Each is a group of individual bombs or shells, seemingly completely unguarded and presumably made safe for the high summer temperatures, but everyone seemed to give them a wide berth just in case. Particularly those who used the old runways as practice grounds for the rather unpredictable 'Hit or Miss' Maltese Driving Test.

    from www.ronaldv.nl/abandoned/airfields/MTmalta.html




    In this photo I can identify the Radio Sonde Office, I think the image of the balloon shed, and the GLlll (Gun-laying 3) radar used for tracking upper winds. One item which appears to be missing from the scene is the 'CRDF hut (Cathode Ray Direction Finding) which with other stations was used to detect lightning strikes around the globe. This hut should be at the southerly tip of the isosceles triangle just to the south of the eastern half of east /west runway. That was definitely in position when I arrived in June 1960, so this puts the date of the photo to some time before that. If someone knows when the bombs were deposited that would narrow down the date further. Rather older is the cluster of objects due south of the aforementioned triangle, being the 5000 year old temples of Hagar Qim and that of Mnajdra to the west. They are still there whereas much of the airfield is gone - although the locations of the runways can still clearly be seen using GoogleEarth.

    I leave it to you to decide to place any of the above before the forum members. It may be that its format does not correspond to the above type of narrative.

  7. #7
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    Default Qrendi

    G'day

    The following fighter squadrons were based at Qrendi during the Second World War.

    No. 185 (F) Squadron was equipped with the Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vc there from the 5th of June, 1943 until the 23rd of September, 1943.

    No. 229 (F) Squadron was also equipped with the Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vc while there from the 10th of December, 1942 until the 25th of September, 1943.

    The final unit was No. 249 (F) Squadron. It arrived at Qrendri with their Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vc's on the 23rd of November, 1942. They later converted to the Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX in June of 1943. The squadron left on the 24th of September, 1943.

    Cheers...Chris

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  9. #9
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    At the moment Qrendi station crest carved in stone is not located at the Malta National War Museum at Fort St Elmo, Valletta.Some time ago this was restored by Heritage Malta and is stored at their premises at the former Bighi Royal Naval Hospital.

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