More in The Gut
Your article on Maltese Buses in the November issue bought back many happy memories, as did the mention of The Gut. I was stationed there in the 1950s with 40 Commando Royal Marines at the St Andrews barracks. Most of the time we were off the island, either at the Troodos mountains in Cyprus or the deserts of Libya. We would return to Malta for R and R, or rest and recuperation. We called it Hair Down time, and it was well earned. The best run ashore in the Middle East was Strait Street in Valetta, known as The Gut. Getting there was done by the British buses of your article, and it was an adventure in itself. The driver would only sit half in his seat. They believed that the other half was occupied by Jesus, or perhaps God. And He would drive us at breakneck speed through the narrow back streets of the island. We always arrived in one piece, so someone was certainly looking after us.
Strait Street was as you described. There were dancing girls and music bars, but the best thing were the restaurants which had steaks as big as the plates, which were always very good. I believe the Gut took its name from being the Gutter, or about as low as you could sink. The local policeman was a giant of a man called Tony, who was what used to be known as ‘a good man ashore’ and he together with the
Royal Marines managed to calm the place, and make it more civilised.
(Former Royal Marine) Hazlemere, Bucks