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Title: National War Museum souvenir handbook : with an account of Malta in World War Two
Authors: National War Museum Association
Keywords: World War, 1939-1945 -- Malta
Malta -- History -- Siege, 1940-1943
Malta -- History -- British occupation, 1800-1964
Malta -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Museums -- Malta
Issue Date: 1981
Publisher: National War Museum Association
Citation: National War Museum, Valletta. (1981). National War Museum souvenir handbook : with an account of Malta in World War Two. Valletta : National War Museum Association.
Abstract: A War Museum devoted exclusively to the period oftheOrderof St. John's rule in Malta (1530-1798) was established in Valetta some 120 years ago. Better known as the "Palace Armoury", this Museum is still one of the major tourist attractions of these Islands. The need for the setting up of a parallel War Museum, representative of the French (1798-1800) and British periods had long been felt, but it was not until 1974, when our Association was formed, that the project began to materialize. Since then, I am happy to say, our War Museum has earned recognition as a national institution and as and when more space becomes available the present range of exhibits will be expanded and new sections will be opened for the display of military uniforms, war photographs and other militaria. Our Association is composed of voluntary part time enthusiasts. Its charter is clear and simple: to collect, preserve and exhibit all items of military interest and war relics relating to Malta's history from 10th June 1798, the date which marks the end of the Order of St. John's rule over these islands. One must deeply regret that not a single gun or emplacement has survived from that vast armoury installed within our formidable chain of fortifications during the first half of this century. Following the decision to discontinue Coast and Heavy Anti Aircraft artillery in the British Army, our defences were dismantled in the early 1960s and their guns and associated armament were cut up and sold as scrap iron for a relative pittance! Thus was the Island's pride of 9.2", 6", 12 pdr and 6 pdr twin Coast Artillery and 5.25", 4.5", 3.7" and 3" Heavy Anti Aircraft guns unceremoniously disposed of in one fell swoop. In consequence, it is indeed ironic that whilst we have on view several relics of enemy bombers and fighters and even an Italian E-Boat, we can never hope to match these exhibits of enemy sea and air craft with any of our guns which had actually shot them down in battle! It is my pleasant task to express here my thanks and gratitude to the General Public, the Ministry of Culture, the Director of National Museums, the Commander Armed Forces of Malta and Regimental Museums in Great Britain for their help and encouragement and for their generous donations of historic and warlike material. Without their initial cooperation we could not have gone far with our venture; with their continued cooperation we shall build up a truly comprehensive War Museum worthy of the long and cherished traditions of our Country. My grateful thanks go also to our Honorary Secretary, Mr. Philip Vella, for the entire compilation and production of this most interesting and informative "Souvenir Handbook". As with everything else he undertakes, it is reliable and to the point. His account of Malta's ordeal during the Second World War is realistic and reminds us, yet again, of the high price in blood and money which war exacts from us all. Reflecting on the catastrophes and disasters of those days, one cannot help asking - What would have been Malta's fate if she had not been armed to resist invasion? To which there can be but one answer: Hitler (like Napoleon before him) would unquestionably have occupied Malta,. as indeed he occupied so many other countries in Europe which lay astride his path of conquest. And we all know what that would have meant to us. We know what horrors the Gestapo inflicted on Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, France and the other occupied territories. One is therefore led to conclude that whatever privations and calamities we sustained during those war years, yet, because we were able to keep out the Nazis and Fascists, we retained our Freedom and were thus spared the atrocities and other refinements inherent in every form of Nazi occupation of the Second World War.
Appears in Collections:Melitensia Works - ERCWHMlt

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