For 179 years British forces were stationed on Malta. But early this year the last ship of the Royal Navy pulled out, never to return. How long will it be before another nation seeks to control this strategic island fortress? Here is an on-the-spot report from one of our correspondents. Once again Britain has lost another strategic military base. In a retrenching process dating back to 1947, British forces have progressively pulled back from India, Suez, Cyprus, Aden and Singapore. Earlier this year the time came for the final pullout from Malta, the crossroads of the Mediterranean, the heralded "unsinkable aircraft carrier" of World War II fame. On March 31, Britain's last seven year defense agreement with the government of Malta expired. After a ceremony at Malta's Grand Harbor, the last British naval vessel, a guided missile destroyer, H.M.S. London, sailed for home.
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