Christina Ratcliffe

Part of the story of Wing Commander Adrian Warburton, aka Mad Warby of Malta, was his relationship with Christina Ratcliffe during his time in Malta. Christina remained in Malta after Adrian left, and was subsequently killed.

I have recently been in communication with Martin Ratcliffe, Christina’s nephew. The following narrative is based on his emails.

Christina came from a Mill owning dynasty, mostly cotton, but other manufacturing such as Lace, Mineral Water etc. She had a good education at Manchester High School, and spoke fluent French.

My Grandfather, Christina’s Dad, insisted that she returned to the UK in the summer of 1939 [from Spain], and paid for her passage (I have the receipt). However she got bored and accepted an assignment to go to Malta in the spring of 1940. She would have travelled by train and ferry. Of course in May 1940 the Italian’s joined the Axis, and that was the start of her escapades on Malta. Having escaped the Spanish civil war it would seem that she thrived in such environments, as did Warby! 

[It is] such a pity that Christina never knew the fate of her “Warby”, as she continued to live on Malta until her death in 1988. She certainly wasn’t impoverished as she received two pensions, one from the RAF (she continued her employment with the latter, until at least the mid 50’s) and another from Britain.

I have many negatives that I removed from Christina’s Apartment in Malta, and hope eventually to get these printed, in the hope that I can find some relating to her time with Adrian. I particularly liked the episode when “Warby” tried to shoot down a Stuka  with his Luger Pistol, and possibly he took photos at Luca with his Leica. We will see!

With the amazing help of Frederick Galea we were able to rebury my Aunt Christina in an appropriate Grave (with porcelain photo), on Malta.

I am astonished by the exploits of “Warby”,and have re read “Warburton’s War” many times. [I am] also astonished that “Warby” didn’t receive the same recognition that the likes of Guy Gibson, and Douglas Bader etc . 

I am [also] amazed by the continued interest in Warby & Christina, and by the information that continues to revealed. [I] noticed photographs for example of Christina in Morocco in the 30’s, [and it] would be interesting to establish the origin.

Every Thursday we have advanced German, and only recently I related to my colleagues the demise of “Warby” after his disappearance in 1944, and that he had been forced down probably with Ack Ack, [and] that his remains and the P38 were not discovered until 2002  in a field near Egling-an-der-Paar, south of Munich. Adrian Warburton received full Military Honours, and is buried at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery at Durnbach near Munich, Germany.

One thought

  1. I was born in Dec 1944 and my middle name is Adrian .My father had read about Adrian Warburton in the newspapers and decided to name me after him.In 1990 the Male Voice choir i am a member of visited Malta to take part in an international competition.\whilst there we visited the Malta Museum and i saw the Large photo of Adrian Warburton on display.I too have the book and have read it many times.

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