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Has anyone had any success finding records in The National Archives Malta? I don't thnk anyting has been digitised.


I would be interested in the Customs Department, Code CUS. 1724-1956.

The Customs Department registered all arriving and departing ships in the Maltese Ports. The registration included name of the vessels, names of captains, nationality, cargo tonnage, number of crew, and number of passengers etc. It also kept separate indexes of passengers.The Customs Department registered food (oil, wine, spirits, wheat etc.) that was bonded in Pinto and other Bonded Stores.There are also letters from the Chief Secretary to Government to the Collector of Customs, letters of the superintendent of ports, and letters issued from the Collector of Customs’ Office.In 1946, the Customs Department started to register arrivals and departures by aircraft as well. – Head Office, Rabat.


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  • 5 months later...

Hi Kath,

Yes, I've found some useful information, but only by visiting in person whilst on vacation. As you have found, none of the Customs records are digitised. The National Archives website is not as helpful as it might be and when visiting in person, there is more detail to be found in the respective indexes.

I have copied my notes on the Customs Records CUS series that cover WW1:

CUS 9     1905-1966    Index of Arrivals of passengers – surnames in alphabetical order

CUS 10   1905-1966    Index of Departures of passengers – surnames in alphabetical order

CUS 11   1859-1972    Arrival & departure of ships – no passenger names

CUS 16   1824-1964    General index of ship arrivals

CUS 18   1815-1958    Ship arrivals + (some) departures

CUS 20                      Ship departures, including passenger lists

Each of these series has its own sequence of records/reference numbers and covers the years quoted above, although, beware, not all the records have survived.

For the WW1 period, I have found the CUS 18 series quite useful, as all arrivals for Pratique are included, whether commercial or military. This series mainly consists of original Pratique forms. In contrast, the CUS 20 series only appears to record departures of commercial shipping, although as crew and passenger manifests are contained in the records, these can be useful if one is searching for individuals.

I hope this is of use and it would be nice to find someone domiciled in Malta who could access this massive source of WW1 information more readily than those overseas.

Kind Regards, Alan




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Thank you, Alan, for the details of what may be found.




PS. Is the graph of any significance?

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Hi Kath,

The 'graph' was my error, please ignore.

I have checked my notes for Royal George and the following entries are in Malta Arrivals (CUS 18):


Pratique No.

Ship’s Name

Captain + Comment



HT Royal George

Lt. Fred J. Thompson

37 Officers and 998 OR’s



HMT Royal George

Avonmouth 14.6. 1361 troops


There may be more for Royal George, as there are plenty of volumes that I haven't seen on my various visits to Malta.

Very few records quote the regiments involved in troop movements.

Hope it's of interest.



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Thank you very much, Alan.

Interesting to see the number of troops.


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Hello Alan,


I don't know if I ever will be able to made a visit to Malta, but just in case:

Did these files also give the hour of departure/arrival?


Reason for asking:

I have several notes from German submarines on sightings of steamers and small local convoys entering and leaving Malta, but to far off to attack, or attack failed or else. It's not easy to track down such a ship in case the attack was not observed by the ship's crew, but you can plot it if you know the time of arrival.


Also, for warship entries:

There were several allied submarines (french in 1914/15, british in 1917, some italian in 1918) using Malta as a temporary base, and also, of course, doing the transit from Gibraltar to Mudros or Bizerte to Taranto etc. via Malta.


It's hard to find much information on that part, but these records at Malta could help to have the dates for Malta at least.


From description, CUS 11, CUS 16, CUS 18 and CUS 20 papers seems to be the most helpful in that regard, right?


Thanks for your help




PS: or, just in case, do you have some notes on allied submarines arriving/departing Malta in 1914 - 18 ???


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Hello Oliver,


Good news - the Malta Pratique forms that can be found in the CUS 18 file series have the date and time of arrival.

Not so good - the Malta National Archives do not allow photography and will only photocopy/scan small quantities, as they have limited staff resources. As a result, it can be very laborious working through the files and is probably beyond a vacation visit to do any comprehensive research.


However, there is another source of Malta WW1 ship arrivals and departures and this one is digitised, online and free access!

It is the French SGA Memoires des Hommes website and in particular, the logbook of Tourville. The Tourville was a submarine depot ship and whilst at Malta, operated as base ship for the French fleet. Tourville monitored ship movements (including submarines!) at Malta from late-December 1914 until January 1917. The logbooks for the complete period have been digitised and these show many ship arrivals and departures, with the actual times. They are handwritten, in French, but are a very useful source of research information. The file references are SS Y 592 and SS Y 593, Link to SS Y 592 (hope it works!) is http://www.memoiredeshommes.sga.defense.gouv.fr/fr/arkotheque/inventaires/ead_ir_consult.php?fam=3&id_ark_ead_les_irs=8


If the link doesn't work, try http://www.memoiredeshommes.sga.defense.gouv.fr/fr/article.php?larub=2&titre=journaux-des-unites-engagees-dans-la-premiere-guerre-mondiale

and work from there.


In January 1917, Tourville was replaced as Malta's base ship by Kanaris, but I haven't been able to trace any similar records from the commandeered ex-Greek Navy ship for 1917/18. Any help on this would be appreciated, if anyone knows?


There is some further information in the logbooks for the old battleship Marceau (file SS Y 340), which temporarily operated as the Malta base ship during Oct/Nov. 1914.


I hope this helps!



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Thanks again, Alan.

Good practice for my French!




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Ah, I know this french site and had used it in the past frequently, but I haven't seen TOURVILLE as based at Malta. Thanks for pointing me to that direction!


But, unfortunately, that ended in January 1917, well when it became more interesting with regard to British submarines based at Malta ...


Well, if at anytime in the future I will be able to visit Malta I will be prepared with an chronological list of events which might enable me to do an QUICK look through the files :-)



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