70 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012
Helmetplates,badgesandbuttonsatthe
ArmedForcesofMaltaOfficers’Mess
DenisA.Darmanin
...
71 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012
ProbablythenextMalteseregimenttoberaisedto
functionentirelyasa‘RegimentoftheLine’af...
72 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012
TheRMFRworethecrimsonuniform,or‘redcoat’,ofthe
Britishinfantryandwashonouredwithblu...
73 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012
FENCIBLES’andavoidedMaltesecross,allsetinthickhalf
laurelandhalfpalmwreath.
Thenext...
74 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012
cork’helmetwasintroducedforhotclimatestations,for
whichtheRMFAworeaRegimentalpatter...
75 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012
buttonswereofbrass,whileOfficers’buttonsweregilded(No.
28)andmountedforMessDress(No...
76 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012
SinceMaltesemilitariahasastrongfollowingby
researchersandcollectorsbothlocallyandov...
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Malta military badges

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Malta military badges, treasures of Malta

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Malta military badges

  1. 1. 70 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012 Helmetplates,badgesandbuttonsatthe ArmedForcesofMaltaOfficers’Mess DenisA.Darmanin AframeinthecollectionattheOfficers’MessoftheArmed ForcesofMaltacontainsafineselectionofshakoandhelmet plates,badgesandotheruniformdistinctionswornbytheRoyal MaltaFencibleRegiment,theRoyalMaltaFencibleArtilleryand theRoyalMaltaArtillery.Theseinsignia,allbeautifulexamples ofmilitarycraftsmanshipwhichhavelongsincedisappeared, eithertotimeorintocollections,portraytheheraldiclineageof thesefamousregimentsandatributetothemenwhoworethem. SincethearrivalofBritishtroopsinMaltain1798,Maltese menwereenlistedinwhatweretermedastheMalteseCorpsof theBritishArmy.1 Theforerunnersofallregimentsandcorps weretheMalteseLightInfantryortheCacciatoriMaltesi(1800- 02),followedbytheMalteseProvincialBattalions,theMaltese CoastArtilleryandtheMalteseVeterans(1802-15),theRoyal RegimentofMalta(1805-11),andtheMaltesePioneers-Maltese MilitaryArtificers,SappersandMiners(1806-17). Fig.1 The framed collection, Armed Forces of Malta Officers’ Mess Holdings (Photo: Justin Gatt, AFM Press Office)
  2. 2. 71 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012 ProbablythenextMalteseregimenttoberaisedto functionentirelyasa‘RegimentoftheLine’aftertheRoyal RegimentofMaltawastheRoyalMaltaFencibleRegiment (RMFR).ThisRegimentwasraisedin1815underthe commandofLtColCountFrancisRivarola.Duringits reasonablylonglife,theRegimentwasmainlyemployedinthe defenceofthehomeland,hencetheword‘Fencible’.During theabsenceofcertainBritishunitsfromtheisland,especially duringtheCrimeanWar,theRMFRperformedgarrisonduties andmannedthegunsonMalta’sfortificationsandcoastal defences,inwhichitexcelled. Fig. 2 Albert Shako, Grenadier Company (Photo: The Military Gentleman) Fig.3 Legend to the framed collection
  3. 3. 72 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012 TheRMFRworethecrimsonuniform,or‘redcoat’,ofthe BritishinfantryandwashonouredwithbluefacingsasaRoyal Regiment.Throughoutitslife,theRMFRworetheprogressive uniformstylesandcutsaswornbymostotherBritishand Colonialinfantryregiments,untiltheintroductionofthetunic in1855,whenalluniformsbecamestandardized.Manyofthese uniformswereillustratedbyEdwardCaruanaDingli2 from originalmaterialinthepersonalcollectionofColonelFrederick GattCMG.Theuniformsoftheearlierunitswerebasedonthe drawingsexecutedbyMajorJamesWier,RoyalMarines,whoasa CaptaincommandedtheMalteseLightInfantry. Headdressalsovariedaccordingtothetimeframeofthe uniform.3 FirstwornbytheRMFRwasprobablytheRegency Shako(1816-1829),followedbytheBell-toppedShako(1829- 1844),thenbywhatwasnotsoaffectionatelyknownasthe AlbertShako(1844-1855),saidtohavebeendesignedinpartby thePrinceConsort,andendingtheirservicewearingthe1855 Patternor‘FrenchPattern’Shako(1855-1861).4 Theframedcollection Anengravedsilverplateatthetopoftheframe(No.1)records thatthecollectionwaspresentedtotheMessbyColonelGeorge VictorMicallefOBE,5 laterBrigadier,whocommandedthe RoyalMaltaArtilleryfrom1966to1969.No.2isaveryrare exampleofashakoplateaswornbyOfficersontheirbell-topped shakofrom1829to1844.Itconsistsofagildedeight-pointed starwithitstoppointbeingreplacedbyacrown.Atcentrearea mountedovalstraporbeltwithfiligreetype,voidedRegimental title‘ROYALMALTAFENCIBLEREGT. ’andanenamel shieldwiththereversedcoloursoftheMalteseflag.Adrawing inthePatternBookof1820-1840ofthefamousbadgeand accoutrementmanufacturersJennens&Co.ofOxfordStreet, London,sinceinaprivatecollection,showsasimilarshakoplate forOtherRanksstruckentirelyinbrass.Ofaslightlylaterperiod andofanidenticalpattern,No.3isthe‘UniversalPattern’shako plateaswornontheAlbertShakobymostBritishregiments.6 Itisthesamepatterngildedstarandcrownwithamounted designatcentreconsistingofanovalbeltwith‘ROYALMALTA Fig.4 Foreign Service helmet (Author’s collection) Fig.5 1855 Pattern Shako, Line Company (Photo: Michael Murrie-Jones) Fig.6 Royal Malta Fencible Regiment, Officer Light Infantry Company c. 1830, by R.J. Marrion (Author’s collection)
  4. 4. 73 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012 FENCIBLES’andavoidedMaltesecross,allsetinthickhalf laurelandhalfpalmwreath. Thenextshakoplate,No.4,consistsofaboundcircular wreathofhalfoakandhalflaureltoppedbyacrown.7 Within thewreathisabeltwiththeRegiment’sname,‘ROYAL MALTAFENCIBLES’,andastringedbugleorhuntinghorn atcentre.ThisplateissynonymouswiththeLight(Infantry) Company.Itisinterestingtonotethatinasetofpencil rubbingsofdiesheldinthearchivesoftheNationalArmy MuseuminLondon,oneshowstheOfficer’sshakoplateofa similarpatternasNo.3,butwitha‘bugle’or‘huntinghorn’. Althoughnotknowingoftheexistenceofsuchaplateinany collection,andsinceNo.4istheplateaswornbyasoldierof theLightInfantryCompanyoftheRMFR,itistherefore likelythattheCompany’sOfficersworeashakoplatewith LightInfantrydistinctions.Anotheroftheserubbingsisof anOfficer’sshakoplateoftheGrenadierCompany,againof whichnoactualplatehasbeenencounteredbytheauthor. Anothershakoplate,No.5,wasdepictedbyEdward CaruanaDingliinhisillustrationofPrivate(LightCompany) RoyalMaltaFencibleRegiment1844-55,8 whoiswearing theAlbertshako.However,thispatternplatehadbeen Fig.7 Author’simpressionsoftwoofthedierubbingsoftheRMFRshakoplates;left–OfficerGrenadierCompany,andright– OfficerLightInfantryCompany Fig.8 Artillery Officers’ shoulder belt and fittings introducedmuchearlierandwaswornbyBritishinfantry regimentsontheirBell-toppedshako. Asecondplate(No.5)isidenticalexceptthatatcentreis theshieldwiththeMaltesecolours;itislikelythatthiswasworn bymostsoldiersoftheLineCompanies. InterestingtonoteisthatthetitleoftheRegimentappears oncertainappointmentsas‘ROYALMALTAFENCIBLES’ whileonothersas‘ROYALMALTAFENCIBLE REGIMENT’.Althoughtodatenoofficialrecordsgivinga validreasonhavebeenidentified,itcouldbethat‘Regiment’ wasdroppedfromthetitleduringthetransitionperiodofwhen itwasconvertedintoanartillerycorps. Asitwasveryactiveingarrisonandcoastalgunnery duties,theRoyalMaltaFencibleRegimentwasconvertedinto theRoyalMaltaFencibleArtilleryonthe25th January1851; itcomprised of headquarters and six batteries. On the 28th July of that year, a blue artillery uniform with scarlet facings similar to that worn by the Royal Regiment of Artillery was worn by all ranks for the first time.9 The busby was worn with the full dress, with Officers having a gilt grenade plume-holder with a gilt belt inscribed ‘ROYAL MALTA FENCIBLE ARTILLERY’ and a Maltese Cross in silver at centre (No. 6). It is believed that for the first six years the RMFA had retained most of the uniform as worn by the Royal Artillery, possibly including insignia, but thus far no official confirmation of this fact has been established. AnotheritempertainingtotheRMFRisawaistbeltclasp, No.8,whichbearstheRegiment’stitleonthefemalepart,and adevicewiththeMalteseCrosssetwithinalaurelwreathand toppedbyaQueenVictoriaCrown(QVC)onthemale.This patternclaspwasforthewhitebuffbeltwornonthetunic introducedin1855. InMay1878,theregulationHomePatternHelmetor HomeServiceHelmet,madeofcorkcoveredinblueclothwas introducedfortheBritishArmy.AForeignServiceor‘white
  5. 5. 74 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012 cork’helmetwasintroducedforhotclimatestations,for whichtheRMFAworeaRegimentalpatternhelmetplatefor thefirsttime.Thenewhelmetplateconsistedofabeltwith ‘ROYALMALTAFENCIBLEARTILLERY’andaMaltese Crossinwhitemetalsetwithinawreathoflaurelandpalmat centre,withafieldgunattheirbase,andthewholetoppedby aQVC(No.7).Officersworetheirsingiltandsilver,while thoseoftheOtherRankswereofbrassandwhitemetal. TheballfinialandfittingswereintroducedforArtillery RegimentsandselectiveCorpsbyGeneralOrder90of1881. Nos.9and10aretwopatternsofwaistbeltplateswornby theRMFR.Thefirst,No.9,isasmoothrectangularburnished brassplatehavingamountedbeltandsilvercrossdeviceason thebadges,andwaspossiblyanearlypatternwornbyOfficers orSeniorNon-CommissionedOfficers.Thesecondpatternfor Officers,No.10,isgilded,rimmedandhasafinelybeadedfield, whilethebeltisgildedandtheCrossismadeofsilver. Alternatively,wheninfulldress,Officersworeasword beltof‘firegilt’artillerylaceofRegimentalpatternknown as‘wavesandscallopedged’onredMoroccoleatheraround thewaistwitha‘snakeclasp’fastener(No.34).Sincethe Regimentwasgranteditsownappointments,theclaspworn bytheRMFAandsuccessivelybytheRoyalMaltaArtillery (renamedonthe23rd March1889),hadtheMalteseCrosson theoval‘buckles’and‘MALTA’onthesnake.Whenattending statefunctions,StaffOfficersswitchedtotheOfficers’general patterngildedwaistbeltclaspwiththe‘lionandcrown’ mountedinsilver(No.30).Onmostuniforms,OtherRanks woreaplain‘snake’claspwhichwasfastenedtoametalloopat eachendofthebelt(notshown). WeatherOfficersworethe‘fulldress’goldlaceorthe whitebuffpouchbelt,theendfastenersconsistingofagilt, floriatedbucklewithamatchingsliderandaflaminggrenade endornament(Nos.31,32and33).WhenOfficersworelesser formsofdress,thepouchontheirbackswasdecoratedwitha large,gildedfield-gundeviceontheflap(No.19).Asimilargun, die-struckinbrasswaswornbyOtherRanks. Brass‘seven-flamed’grenadesNos.22and27wereworn byOtherRanksonthecollarsofbothfrockandtunic,andbrass MalteseCrossesontheirshoulderstraps(No.20),alsowornby Sergeantsontheirshoulderstraps,bywheninundress.From 1874,Officersdisplayedtheirrankdistinctionsbythedifferent patternsofgoldbullion‘knots’ontheircuffs.Theuseofthe MalteseCross,No.21,isuncertain,butcouldhavebeenan unofficialornamentwornontheOfficers’MessDresslapels. ThebuttonwornbytheRMFAwasthestandardRoyal ArtillerybuttondepictingthreefieldgunstoppedbyaQVC introducedin1855(No.23),whichin1873wasreplacedbya buttonbearingthesingleguntoppedbyaQVC.10 OtherRanks’ Fig.9 RoyalMaltaFencibleArtillery,OfficerGroup,c.1880s (PhotocourtesyofthelateBrigadierA.Samut-Tagliaferro) Fig.10 ArtilleryOfficers’leatherpouch
  6. 6. 75 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012 buttonswereofbrass,whileOfficers’buttonsweregilded(No. 28)andmountedforMessDress(No.23).11 WhentheRoyalMaltaFencibleArtillerybecame theRoyalMaltaArtillery,anewbrassandwhitemetal helmetplateforwearingontheForeignServiceHelmetwas introduced(No.11).ItwasidenticaltothatwornbytheRoyal MaltaFencibleArtillery,butwithouttheword‘Fencible’in thetitle.TheOfficers’platewasgilded,andthatoftheOther Rankswasinbrass. Asecondhelmet-platefortheRoyalMaltaArtillery(No. 12)wasissuedtotheRegimentandapprovedbytheHorse Guardsonthe17th June,1891,tobewornbyallranksandby mountedOfficersontheirhelmetsandontheblackleather sabretache.Thisplatewasverysimilartothepreviousonebut elongated,havingthegunfurtheratbottom. MostoftheuniformdistinctionsoftheRMFA continuedtobewornbytheRMA,exceptforwherethe Regiment’snamewasdisplayed.TheOfficers’Regimental patternwaistbeltplatechangedslightly,asthemounted devicebecameacircularbeltwith‘ROYALMALTA ARTILLERY’andasilverMalteseCrossatcentre,allwithina wreathoflaurelandpalm,toppedbyaQVC(No.13). AparticulargiltbuttontoppedbyanImperialCrown (No.25),ispossiblytheonlyknownpatternbuttonbearing theRegiment’sname.Itisacommonbeliefthatitwas privatelypurchasedfromtheOfficers’MessFundstobeworn byMessWaiterssometimebetween1890and1905. In1899,anewbadge(No.14)wasissuedforfieldcap andpuggri(orpuggaree),aclothwrappedaroundtheouter headbandofthehelmet.Itcan bedescribedas:‘Withinagilt circleinscribedROYALMALTAARTILLERY,aMaltese Crossinsilveruponwhichisthefieldguningilt,aboveallisthe VictorianImperialCrown’.12 Asalways,theOfficers’version wasgiltandsilverandtheOtherRanks’inbrasswithawhite metalcross.FollowingthedeathofQueenVictoriain1901, thecrownonallbadges,devicesandbuttonswaschangedtoa TudororKing’sCrown,exceptonthisbadge,whichcamelater onthe20th April1904.Apartfromthecrown,nootherchanges weremadetothisbadge(Nos.15and18). Between1910and1912,anewbadgewasintroduced totheRMAforOfficers’ServiceDress(OSD);somewere entirelyinbronze(No.17),whileothershadawhitemetal cross(No.16),dependingonthemaker.Anotherversion Fig.11 Royal Malta Fencible Artillery, 1876, by R. Simkin cameslightlylaterfortheOfficers’FullDressforagecap, whichhadthecirclewiththetitleinblueenamelandthe Maltesecolours(notshown).Itisbelieved,butunconfirmed, thatthisbadgewasmadesoastocorrecttheerroronall previousidenticalbadgeswhichhadthered(verticalstripes) oftheMalteseflaglocatedontheleftsideratherthanonthe right.Thisbadgewaswornuntil1937. AlongwiththebronzeOSDbadge,Officerswereissued withbronzegrenadestobewornonthelapelsofthenewkhaki ‘opencollar’ServiceDress(No.24).Aroundthesametime, brassgrenadeslikethosepreviouslywornbygunnersontheir collarsbegantobewornbySergeantsandStaffSergeantsabove theirchevronsonbothsleeves(No.22).In1907,acurvedbrass shouldertitlewith‘R.M.A.’wasintroducedfortheServiceDress wornbyOtherRanks(No.26). Thesesamegrenadesandtitles werealsowornontheBattleDressfrom1937,untiltheywere discardedin1961.
  7. 7. 76 · TreasuresofMalta 55,Christmas2012 SinceMaltesemilitariahasastrongfollowingby researchersandcollectorsbothlocallyandoverseas,thisstudy willcontinueinsomefutureissue,whereby alltheotherknown badgesandinsigniaoftheformerMalteseCorpsoftheBritish Armywillbefeatured. DenisDarmaninservedintheArmedForcesofMaltaasanarmydiver, andispartoftheHeritagePlanningUnitoftheMaltaEnvironmentand PlanningAuthority.Hisresearchinterestsincludeuniformbuttonsand late18th -and19th -centuryuniformsaswornbythearmedforcesofthe OrderofStJohnandtheearlyMaltesecorpsoftheBritishArmy.Denis hascontributednumerousarticlestomilitaryjournalsandistheauthorof Pembroke,FromaBritishGarrisontoaModernCivilianTown. Fig.12 ‘Tailor’s Pattern’ of the 1891 plate (Author’s collection) Acknowledgements BrigadierMartinG.Xuereb,Commander,ArmedForcesofMalta; MajorIvanConsiglio,ArmedForcesofMalta(Retd);CaptainJohnStroud,House MemberOfficers’MessCommittee,ArmedForcesofMalta;LBdrJustinGatt, OfficialPhotographer,ArmedForcesofMalta;ThelateBrigadierAnthonySamut- TagliaferroMBE,RoyalMaltaArtillery/ArmedForcesofMalta;ThelateMajor AlanGHarfieldMBE,RoyalSignals;ThelateW.Y.Carman,RenéChartrand, formerChiefArchivistParksCanada;SamGiordmainaandAnthonyJ.Bugeja. Notes 1 Denis A. Darmanin, ‘Anglo-Maltese Uniform Buttons’, Treasures of Malta, Vol. IX, No. 3 (Summer, 2003). 2 A.G. Chesney, Historical Records of the Maltese Corps of the British Army (London, 1897). 3 ArthurL.KiplingandHughL.King,HeaddressBadgesoftheBritishArmy,1800- 1918,Vo.l.1(UK,1974). 4 BryanFostenandGaryGibs,‘TheBritishInfantryShako,1800-1897’,The MilitaryHistoricalSociety,SpecialNumber(UK,2008). 5 BrigadierGeorgeV.MicallefMOMCBE:CommissionedintotheRoyal MaltaArtilleryalmostdirectfromUniversityin1939.GeorgeMicallef (98282)tookpartinthefirstphaseofthedefenceofMalta.Heserved withfiveAnti-AircraftBatteryof2AARegimentRMAatAAPosition DelimaraatacriticaltimebeforebeingpostedtoEgyptinMay1940.He returnedinMay1942toserveasbatterycommanderwiththe2AARegi- mentuntil1945.Hehadadistinguishedpost-warmilitarycareerinclud- ingcommandoftheRoyalMaltaArtillery.http://www.military-art.com/ mall/profiles.php?SigID=755. 6 Denis A. Darmanin, ‘Shako Plates of the Royal Malta Fencible Regi- ment’, The Bulletin, The Military Historical Society, Vol. 46, No. 183 (UK, February 1996). 7 Ibid. 8 Chesney,op.cit(1897). 9 AnthonySamut-Tagliaferro,HistoryoftheRoyalMaltaArtillery1800- 1939,Vol.1(Malta,1976). 10 HowardRipley,ButtonsoftheRegularArmy1855-2000(UK,2002); illustrationsbyDenisA.Darmanin. 11 Darmanin, op. cit (2003). 12 Denis A. Darmanin, ‘The Badge of the Armed Forces of Malta and its Lineage’, On Parade (Armed Forces of Malta), Issue No. 5 (Progress Press 2010).

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