Memories of Malta

Submitted by: Pam Skeet (nee Cossins)

The Queen's Official Birthday, 1970, was the occasion of more than usual celebration at Tal Handaq. Past and present pupils, staff and friends of the school were delighted to see that Miss Yule's long and devoted service had been officially recognized by the notification in the Birthday Honours List that she had been appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Seldom can an honour have been more well deserved.

Jacquee Yule came to Malta in 1937 when her mother, then a widow, decided to settle here. She taught for a short time at Chiswick House and then from 1938 to 1949 was employed by the Malta Government teaching English at the Lyceum. She was thus here throughout the war (a lifetime's experience in itself) and during that time guided the English studies of a very large number of Maltese. Little wonder then that she is so well known in the island today. In almost any group of Maltese people there is likely to be someone who has been taught English by Miss Yule.

In 1949 she was invited by the then Headmaster, Instructor Captain Miles, to join the staff of the Royal Naval School which was then an all-age school and had just moved to Tal Handaq from cramped quarters at Ta' Xbiex. She joined the ranks of the indispensable but under-rewarded locally entered teachers, people with full British teaching qualifications and/or degrees but who are recruited in Malta on local rates of pay. The difference in those days was that all the Tal Handaq civilian teachers were in this category and Miss Yule remembers that when the first UK based teachers were appointed, with British rates of pay and full allowances, they were regarded with some initial suspicion!

She joined the staff as Head of the English Department, a post which she held until 1967 when she relinquished it to devote more time to her other duties. She became Senior Mistress in 1956. No-one could have served the school more devotedly and selflessly and her firm but kindly handling of the Headmasters' feminine problems has earned her the respect of several generations of staff and students.