Royal Malta Artillery Cap Badge
The badge knows its origin to the long connection with artillery regiments that manned the guns of our fortifications to defend Malta from any seaborne attacks and later those from the air, from which the present Armed Forces of Malta originates.
During the later years of the presence of the Order of St. John in Malta, the guns in coastal forts and on the fortifications were manned by a unit of their armed forces known as the ‘Battaglione di Artilleria’ (the Artillery Battalion). Therefore, the ‘eight-pointed cross’ represents Malta’s historical ties with the Order of St. John.
When the British took possession of Malta in 1800, the need to enlist Gunners for the defense of the island was evident. Although there were two artillery units raised in the early years and the later Maltese infantry regiments excelled in gunnery practice, the first regular Maltese artillery regiment within the British Army was the Royal Malta Fencible Artillery in 1861. In 1889, the Regiment was designated as the Royal Malta Artillery until being disbanded in 1972. As the first badge of the Royal Malta Fencible Artillery appropriately carried the field gun as part of its device, the same gun continued to be included in later badges.
The badge worn by the Maltese Gunners during those turbulent years knows its origin when the Royal Malta Artillery was given a new cap badge in 1937, described as “A gun superimposed upon the Maltese Cross, below a scroll inscribed TUTELA BELLICÆ VIRTUTIS, the whole ensigned by the Crown”. The crown represents royal sovereignty. After the demise of King George VI in 1952 and the succession of Queen Elizabeth II as the British monarch in the following year, the crown was changed from the Tudor (or King’s) to St. Edward’s Crown (or Queen’s). When Malta became a Republic in 1974, the crown was removed from the badge.