The pictures on this page are of two types.  There are many instances where photographs
 have added text, and nearly all of them are worthy of close scrutiny to reveal the detail. 
  
  To assist you in reading the text  and to allow you to explore {using your scrollbars}
many photographs are published twice.  Where this occurs, the first of the two is a
small [relatively] fast downloading JPEG, and the second, a much larger fast
downloading JPEG.  All the exhibits come from the period 1893 to 1903,
ten years of change, of mourning, of war, of hardship, of austerity, of
freedom from austerity and of duty.  
 

I have chosen this period because it loosely lies half way between Lord Nelson's
day when the French were thrown-out, and today, newly into the twenty-first
century, with more-or-less one hundred years each side. For two hundred
 years now, a tiny amount of time in the totality of history, the Maltese people
have shown loyalty and friendship to the Crown and to the British people,
manifest by their attitude towards members of the Armed Forces, whose
countless numbers have visited their land and have generally benefited
from the cooperative and good-natured Maltese people. Here's
hoping that you enjoy seeing these little known photographs.

WHEN A SHIP WAS GOT READY FOR SERVICE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN, IT WAS SAID THAT

"SHE WAS COMMISSIONED FOR SERVICE UP-THE-STRAITS  The text says 'The Formidable which was commissioned for Service "up the straits".......

That dear lady Miss Agnes Weston devote her life to providing homes at the major naval ports, where sailors could have all the attractions and comfort of a club or hotel, with all the comforts of home, and a complete absence of all vicious surroundings. So wrote the author of an article about Malta which includes the pictures of two of those homes.  However, I don’t remember Aggie for her provision of a place for soldiers also, but her  ideals were clearly aimed at a tri-service market. The first and smaller thumbnail of the two is the ‘rest’ at Margherita Hill in Cospicua up near St Helen Gate and not far from the dockyard gates of my time on the Island,  and the other, with a flag flying in the wind,  a ‘home’ at Floriana.   Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge

The author continues….” Malta  is, of course, one of the greatest of our Mediterranean fortresses and has a permanent garrison of nine companies of Royal Artillery, three companies of Royal  Engineers, and eight battalions of infantry.  Moreover, it is the great Naval dockyard and arsenal for the Mediterranean Squadron and some portion, large or small, of this great fleet is always here.  Homes, therefore, like these we have pictured are an inestimable boon to a place like Malta, and, in fact, almost more required than they are at home. Both these excellent institutions, the “home” and the “rest” are under the superintendence of the Rev. J. Laverack, the Wesleyan chaplain to both Services in Malta.  To them he gives a large amount of his time and care, and by so doing confers a great boon on all our soldiers and sailors who find themselves at Malta, as very many do at some period or another of their service. Run, as we have said, on the same lines as Miss Weston’s Homes in England, they are generally to be found well patronised by the men of both Services.  And they fully appreciate the quietness and comfort they there find, and the games and supply of books and papers provided for them.  Entertainments are constantly got up.  Nor is the spiritual welfare of the men neglected.  It is hardly necessary to say that the institutions are both run on entirely teetotal principles and at both the different branches of the Order of Good Templars hold their meetings for business and pleasure.  The Homes, in fact, are a distinct boon to Malta, and both the garrison and the fleet owe much to the Rev. J Laverack.”

     

This review took place on the Marsa [my Note: Marsa is at the top of and behind Grand Harbour where the race course and polo grounds can still be found.  It was very fashionable especially in the early 1950’s when Lord Mountbatten was the C-in-C}.

The text for these pictures is incomplete and confusing.  Therefore a ‘translation.’ Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge  Take the left upper block of text which is shown incomplete and read down to the bottom left block of text, thus. "To the inhabitants of Valletta, the sight of a party of seamen being landed for field exercise, is no uncommon one: the facilities afforded by the close and quiet harbour favour the adoption of this practice, and far more efficient instruction can, of course, be imparted than on ship's deck".  Now read the right hand block in the same way.  "By way of testing the efficiency of his officers and men in this respect, Sir John Hopkins organised a review of 1,500 bluejackets from the vessels present, and the review took place on the Marsa, where are the race-course and polo ground, the three battalions under the command of Captain  Des V". {Ii will leave you to guess at what Captain Des V might stand for?}

 

This long panoramic picture that figures in this week’s “per mare, per terrarn” is the representation of a very historic occasion, for it depicts the parade of the United States troops recently landed in Malta.  The landing of troops on the soil of a foreign Power, fully armed and equipped, and under the leading of their own officers, is one of those things that are very seldom seen. Indeed, it is only allowed by special permission, and on some very special occasion.  The most notable case of the late years that the writer can at present recall was in 1893, at the great Columbian celebrations at New York, when by invitation landing parties of sailors and marines of all the various nationalities represented by war-ships in New York Harbour were landed and paraded the whole length of Broadway in full review order, a superb spectacle which those who saw it will not easily forget.

On this occasion, the tactful courtesy of General Sir Francis Grenfell, the Governor and Command-in-Chief at Malta, extended the hospitality of the Floriana parade ground to the United States Infantry on board the Government transport “Sheridan,” which had arrived at Malta en route with reinforcements, about 2000 strong, for the United States army in the Philippines.  On landing they marched to the parade ground where they were inspected by His Excellency the Governor.  After the inspection, the United States troops marched past, and the officers were then formed up, and Sir Francis expressed to them the great pleasure he had had in inspecting such a fine and well disciplined body of men, welcomed them to Malta, and wished them every success in the campaign on which they were bound.  The troops then marched out to the Marsa, an officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps being told off to accompany them, another graceful little act of courtesy, and returned through the Strada Reale, with their bands playing lustily, and amidst the hearty welcome of the spectators.  A number of the United States officers were afterwards entertained to luncheon at the Palace.  His Excellency proposed the toast of the President, and the senior American officer that of the Queen.  A pleasing and picturesque incident and one which will go far to strengthen the strong amity that exists between the two great English-speaking nations that united could rule the world. Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge

        

“Her Majesty’s birthday is always observed by the Troops of Malta garrison performing a special display.  There is a general parade and all the ramparts of the Forts surrounding Grand Harbour are manned by troops, and sailors of the fleet man their ships. Many hundreds are involved in the firing of a  Feu de Joie, which is French for ‘fire of joy.'

I have copied the procedure for a Feu de Joie from the Naval Ceremonial Handbook BR 1834 so that we all know what is going on!

Royal Standards fly at the San Antonio Place the Governor’s official residence, at Fort Ricasoli point and at St Elmo point.

The Governor and C-in-C, on this occasion, Lt Gen Sir Lyon Fremantle, takes up his saluting position at Fort Lascaris. The navy salute from the fleet commences the ceremony, followed by the artillery and infantry battalions all firing a feu de joie in turn commencing with Fort Ricasoli up one side of the harbour, crossing to the Lascaris side and finishing at Fort St Elmo.

That done, three cheers for Her Majesty is offered. Soldiers ashore, fix bayonets, shoulder and present arms, and the bands play six bars of the national anthem.

This photograph, which clearly shows the troops ashore lining the Lascaris side ramparts, was taken on HM birthday in 1896.

Notice in the big picture [GIF] the Governor's group on top of the Lascaris Fort with the band beneath on the next level. Notice also the smoke haze hanging around after the firing of many rifles.

Artillery gun limbers can been seen under the lower rampart wall by the waters edge, divorced from their associated gun which will be  involved in the firing of the salute.

 

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The army sappers boast [paraphrased by me] is that ‘you name it, we'll do it.’

Here, for instance, is a little sample of engineering work lately carried out by the 24th company of the Royal Engineers, at present at Malta. For some purpose or another it has been found necessary to connect on of the ramparts of the great fortifications with another, and from the most primitive materials, simply ropes, spars and planks, the excellent suspension bridge shown in our illustration has been constructed.

The 24th company, the builders of the bridge in question, must not be considered as belonging to the bridging battalion, which is quite a different establishment, and the two troops composing which are in peace time permanently stationed at Aldershot.  This battalion is of course specially trained in the formation and maintenance of military bridges of every description, but the company that has built this bridge is a fortress company, which, as its name implies, is one specially organised for the work connected with the construction, attack and defence of fortresses.  Of these fortress companies the Corps of Royal Engineers has seventeen, five of which are stationed at home and the remained at various stations abroad where there are important fortifications, two being the number allocated to Malta.

The bridge shown here is, then, very good proof that the sapper, no matter to what particular branch of his corps he belongs, is a good all round man and can turn his hand to anything.  The carts and donkeys in the foreground are worth noticing, for the former are the Maltese carts, which are so excellent for transport work, and have been adopted for use in various campaigns in Egypt, South Africa, and India. The little animals  that pull them may congratulate themselves on being British subjects and living where cruelty to animals is put down with a strong hand.  The diabolical cruelty to beasts of burden one can see any day in the streets of Florence or Rome or Naples, is a standing disgrace to the Italians.  Click to enlarge    Click to enlarge

 

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The top few words are missing. They should read  - Lt. Gen. Owen R.A., performed similar duties upon behalf of the Army.
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1885 Naval and Military Journal. Look at death figures!
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1885 Naval and Military Journal. Note Malta and spelling!
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  Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge  Click to enlarge All made for the visit of Royalty in 1902

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HAVE A LOOK AT MY SISTER PAGE ON MALTA.  CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE MODERN TIMES!