Model of a Maltese Cannon

Silver model of a Maltese Cannon
Silver model of a Maltese Cannon.

From 11 January 1938, the 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers had been stationed in Malta and the nearby island of Gozo. After the start of the Second World War, here too the Royal Irish Fusiliers (Faughs) experienced a phoney war and were free to spend months building up the island’s defences.

From 11 June 1940, the island was subjected to continuous attack and bombing from the Italian and German air forces. From the end of 1940, the German Navy sank most of the ships that tried to re-supply the island people and their defenders. It was only when the Axis forces began to be defeated in North Africa from August 1942, that supplies got through and in November 1942, the siege of Malta was finally over.

Throughout the siege, the people of Malta refused to surrender to the Axis Forces and in recognition of this, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the island. The islanders knew that they could not have survived without the steadfast Royal Irish Fusiliers who suffered significant casualties, twenty-one of whom are buried in Malta’s war cemeteries. In appreciation, three of the main villages presented gifts to the Regiment, the village of Naxxar presented this silver model of an ancient Maltese cannon. Today, The Royal Irish Regiment continues to carry the distinction MALTA 1940 on the Queen's Colours.