Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society. 1(1954)3(185)

COOPER, Capt. (S), N.T.P., Malta The Story of Manoel Island. 1952. pp. 37.

This interesting pamphlet is based on books and records existing in the Royal Malta Library, supplemented by the author’s own study of the Fort itself as it now is. It is mainly intended for naval officers and ratings serving in this naval establishment but its coverage and treatment should also interest local students of Maltese history.

A brief historical account of the rule of the Knights of St. John is followed by a chapter on Fort Manoel which contains, inter alia, interesting information on the fort as it was in 1733. The chapter on Fort Manoel in British Army occupation shows the fort as a place of [p.186] minor importance between 1814 and 1914, as indeed it remained until, in the 1939-45 War, it fulfilled the double role of mounting anti-aircraft batteries and accommodating naval personnel. This chapter is based on research into military archives consisting of information in official reports and General Orders. The Chapter on Manoel Island in World War II is of documentary value as it is based on first hand information supplied by commanding officers in charge of submarine operations during and immediately following the Second World War.

A supplementary leaflet, issued separately by H.M.S. Phoenicia, deals with The Base Supply Organisation in Malta — Past and Present.

This is a timely publication, not only because Manoel Island has played an important part in Maltese History through the ages, but also because we are apt to miss the actuality of current events which make history. And it is precisely as a record of contemporary military and naval events that this booklet will prove invaluable to future historians. Other aspects of the history of Manoel Island — its role as a Lazaretto and related subjects such as fumigation of correspondence reaching Malta from infected countries, no less than its associations with prominent literary personalities such as Scott and Byron, — call for deeper study and will amply repay careful research. The various “Cabrei” preserved at the Royal Malta Library, especially, are bound to yield other interesting data on Manoel Island.

J.[oseph] C.[assar] P.[ullicino]