The arrival of HMS Illustrious in Malta last Monday was extensively covered and equally followed by all. The crowds on the Valletta bastions that morning were enough to show that the Maltese still hold the Royal Navy in high esteem.
However, it hurts to note that on this occasion, nearly all the media failed to mention the role played by members of the Heritage Interpretation Group of Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, at times confusing them for the AFM. These volunteers, dressed in uniforms of the Royal Malta Artillery of 1889, fired a 21-gun salute from the Saluting Battery at the Upper Barrakka in honour of the Royal Navy.
In addition to the single smoothbore 24lb gun that has been fired at noon since last May, four more guns were added a couple of days ago. These guns were restored by the members themselves and six more are to be added in the near future to arm the battery as it originally was at the end of the 19th century.
Considering the effort, personal sacrifice and hard work put in for the display by the boys, they deserved better. Maybe the reporters will find time to give a better coverage of the next 21-gun salute to be held at noon this Sunday, to mark the conclusion of the CHOGM activities.