Admiral of the British Fleet Lord Mountbatten described as a "great and sad occasion" the last ceremony held by British forces in Malta on Wednesday (16 March) before completing their withdrawal in two years time.
MV Mountbatten getting out of car and walking onto rostrum
GV ZOOM IN Gun salute
CU Mountbatten and aide saluting
GV PAN Soldiers march past
MV Mountbatten and other officials with crowd looking on
GV TOP VIEW ZOOM OUT TO Mountbatten and soldiers marching
MV Jeep with cannons
GV Helicopters flying
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The former United States Defence Secretary, Robert Ellsworth, in the Ford administration, paid a surprise visit to Malta in December last year. Maltese government sources gave no reason for the visit. The U.S. contributes three million pounds sterling (five million dollars) to the annual rent that Britain pays to maintain bases in Malta.
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Background: Admiral of the British Fleet Lord Mountbatten described as a "great and sad occasion" the last ceremony held by British forces in Malta on Wednesday (16 March) before completing their withdrawal in two years time. A large crowd watched the parade held at St. Andrew's barracks, a few miles from Valletta.
SYNOPSIS: Lord Mountbatten was taking the salute at a colour ceremony by the Malta-based 41 Commando Group of Royal Marines. It was a great occasion, he said, because such a parade was the finest example of British military ceremonial. He was sad because it was the last such spectacle by British forces in Malta. Regretting the commando's departure from the Mediterranean, he described them as the ideal guardians of NATO's southern flank.
In June 1971 a Labour Government under Dom Mintoff came to power in Malta with socialist and nationalist aims. On taking office, the Government declared invalid the previous agreement with the United Kingdom under which Britain continued to lease bases there.
Under the new agreement Malta receives until 1979 14 millions pounds sterling (24 million dollars) in annual rent for the British base. The size of the base and the freedom of movement for military shipping were reduced.
The agreement includes provisions that the base is to be used only by Britain for defending the U.K. and NATO. They must not be used against any Arab countries. The United State's warships have been banned from using Maltese ports under the island's policy of non-alignment.