“With ‘The Lancashires’ On Malta”


Spent time on Malta

with Royal Lancashire Rifles*

Nineteen Sixty-Eight!

 

  • (Actually, the Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Volunteers) as they then were called and the U. S. Marines of Battalion Landing Team 3/8 – third battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment) spent several weeks twice on the three-island commonwealth as part of a near eight-month Mediterranean Cruise at the windup phases of The Prague Spring Uprising and during the height of the ongoing 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam.  I accompanied a Marine rifle team to shoot competitively with the Lancashires, whose Sergeant Major “adopted” this then-skinny not-quite twenty-year-old writer/photographer. He insisted we swap cap adornments: his was much more ornate and colorful than my plain black Eagle-Globe-Anchor.  The red rose inset around the gold wreath eventually found its way to my parents home and I may have it still in some forgotten satchel-or-other.  The Sar’ntMajor mapped out what became for me and my two photographers a trek across all three Maltese Islands – on foot, by motor coach and by ferryboat.  We ate at his suggested stop in Medina on the Island of Malta at The Birdcage and were treated royally.  When we got to Gozo Island finally after searching out Saint Paul’s cave and shipwreck cove we came upon a fairyland of Moorish castles dotting the small island’s landscape.  That old grizzled veteran of many conflicts for his King and later Queen gave me more than a hat adornment but an education and I was too young and callow to note or thank him sufficiently for his mentoring and friendship.)

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