A fascinating personal flashback, Weldon’s account of his service as an artillery officer in Malta, 1939-1943, based on notes made during 1939-1943.
“A great deal of this personal narrative was originally jotted down in Malta during intervals between the raids. The remainder has been added, and the whole of it revised, while “On Active Service”. There lie my excuses for any inconsistencies of style the reader may remark and also for the inclusion of certain episodes to the exclusion of others of at least equal importance. So much happened during the four years I lived out there and now, apart from an invaluable page of dry official statistics, I have only my memory to rely on as a guide. So I deemed it better to make the story a personal one and to tell mainly of those matters, whether military, social or dramatic, of which I had intimate knowledge and which would also serve to give a picture of the background to our lives and battles in that isolated little fortress.
“At the same time I have long felt that there should be wider knowledge of the part that was played by the Army in Malta and in particular by the Royal Regiment of Artillery and its brother in arms, the Royal Malta Artillery. It was by these men, without hope or relief or rest, that the constant strain of three years of bombing, isolation and blockade was borne. The epics of naval heroism that ensured the provisioning of Malta and the doughty deeds of the Royal Air Force in its defence are justly renowned through the press and official publications alike. This pen of mine is a very inadequate instrument with which to describe the contribution of the Army as a whole at its true worth. The back-breaking jobs, the constant vigils and spirited defence of those magnificent battalions of Infantry need a scribe of their own. Suffice it for me to say that the names of Hal Far and the Devons, Luqa and the West Kents, Ta Kali and the Manchesters, Safi and the Hampshires, the Dockyard and the Cheshires, to mention only some, will forever be indissolubly linked in glory and friendship.
“But over half of the garrison were “gunners”—English and Maltese—and it is because I am immensely proud of having had the privilege both of serving in Malta during those stirring times and of being a humble member of the Royal Regiment of Artillery that these pages are written in honour of:
“The Gunners in Malta, 1940—1943.”