There were three of them, or so the legend goes, and they named them Faith, Hope and Charity. These are names of the three famous Gladiators that defended Malta during WW2. In reality there were at least 6 Gladiators together with a number of Hawker Hurricanes. The historical facts about that Malta Campaign may be found here.
That Malta was hard hit and severely bombed during the war, is a fact. That Hope and Charity were lost, is also a fact. Charity was shot down on 29 July 1940 and its pilot, F/O P.W.Hartley, was severely burned. Hope was destroyed in an air raid on 4 February 1941. Faith survived and is with us still. It was presented to the people of Malta in 1943. In 1974, Faith was restored by ENG Wing RAF Luqa. It now resides at the National War Museum.
It easy to see why a legend was born. This island was in a strategic position, almost right in the middle of the Mediterranean. It was an asset to the allies. So it was heavily bombed. These planes and their brave pilots defended Malta valiantly. Heroic feats were performed. I read that the names Faith, Hope and Charity only started to be used after the war was over. But I have always been told, by those that lived during those difficult years, that these names were given during the war, that Faith survived because it was the people’s faith which pulled them through.
‘Faith’ Gloster Gladiator N5520
Location: Malta National War Museum, Lower Fort St Elmo, Valletta
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 9.00-17.00
Last admission: 16.30
Closed: 24, 25 & 31 December, 1 January, Good Friday