The Royal Marines in Malta

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Shore establishments

The Royal Marines used a great many of Malta’s shore establishments such as the barracks at Fort Ricasoli and Camarata in Valletta. As well as the Royal Naval Air Service/Royal Air Force establishments at Hal Far and Ta Qali.

Other institutions include the Malta Command Corrective Establishment at Corradino and the Royal Naval Hospital at Bighi. A lesser used Royal Naval facility was HMS Phoenicia on Manoel Island. This was commissioned in 1943 as a Landing Craft Base and used for that purpose until 1946 when it became a base for minesweepers.

Bighi Royal Naval Hospital in Malta. The hospital overlooked Grand Harbour. (RMM)
Bighi Royal Naval Hospital in Malta. The hospital overlooked Grand Harbour. (RMM)

The Royal Marines also had associations with the shore establishment at Fort St Angelo - HMS Egmont, later re-named HMS St Angelo . During World War Two the duties of the Marines was to man the light anti-aircraft guns mounted on the top of what was not only a very important building, but what was probably the most prominent and easily identified landmark on the entire island!

On 23 May 1942 a formal ceremony took place to honour the Marines who had operated the two Bofors guns at St Angelo. The last engagement by these guns had been on 10 May and just after that the layout of the anti-aircraft defences around Grand Harbour was modified and the Marines handed over these guns to the Royal Malta Artillery.

During the period that the Royal Marines operated the guns the King recognised their service with four Distinguished Service Medals and five Mentions in Despatches.