A stunningly beautiful country. When we chucked the Dutch out of Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it then was, we took over from them the influence they had had over The Maldives. In 1887 we signed an agreement with the Sultan by which we had control of the external relations and defence affairs of The Maldives.
During the Second World War we began to take more of an interest in the area from a military point of view. In 1941, engineers landed from HMS Guardian to build an airbase on Gan Island. There were also facilities for ships, jetties for flying boats, and coastal and air defence systems. In March 1944, there was action here when U183 torpedoed the tanker British Loyalty.
The Maldives became fully independent from us in 1965, but the last Brtitish troops didn’t leave Gan Island until 1976.