Malta’s National War Museum In Fort St. Elmo In Valletta
- Sep 25, 2016
The history of the World Wars is understated, but worthy of your time
Like many British tourists to Malta, my family had military links with the islands, stretching back to between the wars.
Malta’s military history deserves some attention, the Knights shiny armour seems to get the majority of the attention in the tourist information but the Second World War in particular was a very important time for the island and indeed for the war itself.
I won’t labour on with the details of battles, these are much better presented in The National War Museum which is situated in Fort St Elmo, a few hundred meters walk from Casa Ellul.
Here, you will see various artifacts, lots of personal items and, thrilling for any aircraft buffs, the last of the remaining Gloucester Gladiators from the Faith, Hope and Charity trio.
You’ll see photos of streets close to the hotel’s location that were completely decimated and the opera house in the entrance of the city has been ‘preserved’ in its ruined state but now is back in use in the Summer months.
There are also walks and private tours – just ask the friendly concierge to arrange for you; I suggest a morning or early evening walk. You will be moved and not quite be able to look at the locals in the same way, especially the older generation. What they went though was pretty frightening. You only have to hear a firework going off in the harbour area or the gun salute at noon each day – magnify that by 100 and you can imagine how scary a raid was; Malta suffered more than Dresden, just to put that into perspective.
There is also a Malta at War museum in Vittoriosa. This is again easily reached from the hotel – take a water taxi across the harbour and its in Couvre Port (head for the highest point) The museum allows you to see how people lived through air raids and makes you appreciate even more, the comfort of your suite at the hotel.
There are a number of books on the subject too, I can highly recommend Spitfires over Malta and a Diary of War. Best to read when nestled in the room after a walk around the city; you’ll really be able to picture the scenes and understand more about the peoples and their nerve.
Remembrance Sunday is respected with a parade in the main square of Valletta, a 200m walk from the hotel door. Unfortunately there aren’t many poppies around, but you know each and every family remembers the war in one way or another.