Jonathan Muscat, a history teacher, is busy at his sewing machine fighting a war against time to get the new uniforms that are to be worn by the Historical Re-enactment Group of Malta ready in time for this weekend’s event, which will be held at the Verdala Palace Grounds in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund.
The uniforms are an exact replica of the uniforms that were worn by the Birkirkara battalion, at the time under the command of Ċensu Brared, more than 200 years ago.
The display at Verdala portrays the French Period in Malta (1798-1800) with two opposing armies, the Anglo-Maltese and the French, separately encamped. The former force will be made up of the Maltese Congress Militia and British Marines from HMS Alexander, while the enemy will be represented by the 19e demi-brigade d’infanterie de ligne.
The Historical Re-Enactment Group of Malta will be portraying this period as part of the multi-period re-enactment event that will be taking place on Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23 at the Verdala Grounds.
This is the second time that the Military Re-enactment Foundation – Malta (MRFM) is organising the fundraising activity under the patronage of President of Malta George Abela.
Four re-enactments groups will be taking part in the various displays of arms and military tactics from different periods of history. The Legio Decimae Fretensis Malta will recreate the way of life of the Roman Legionary of the early 1st century AD. The Show of Arms will display combat techniques from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods while the World War II Re-enactment Group will be representing Maltese soldiers serving in the Royal Malta Artillery and the King’s Own Malta Regiment besides representing elements of the German Army.
Jonathan Muscat told di-ve.com that all re-enactment groups do extensive research on the historical period they portray. The various weapons, clothes, uniforms, tents, utensils, foods and way of life will give the public a taste of how things were in the past.
All re-enactors will be dedicating their time on a voluntary basis to raise money for the Community Chest Fund. The Verdala Grounds will be open to the public on Saturday from19.00h to 00.00h, where the public will be able to see camp life across the different groups. The grounds will again be open to the public on Sunday, from 09.30h to 18.00h, where one can attend parades, Roman drills, Medieval combats and Napoleonic and WWII battles.
These and other historical representations will take place at different times of day in different areas of the Verdala grounds, giving the public a wonderful opportunity to relive these historical periods set in an unique scenario.
Anyone interested in joining any of the re-enactment groups can obtain information at the various stands on site.
Historical Re-enactment Group of Malta
The Historical Re-enactment Group of Malta” (HRGM) was founded in 1998 and today comprises 80 members who participate in the society’s three areas of interest: Napoleonic period military re-enactment, civilian Regency ball dances, and Aragonese late Medieval living history.
Each year, HRGM members take part in various prestigious events in Malta and across Europe. All uniforms, costumes, equipment, weapons as well as songs, music, cuisine, customs and behaviour of the people that populated Malta in those days are researched by the society’s own members to ensure accuracy. Detail and authenticity are given paramount importance and this can be noted from little things used in displays such as buttons, cutlery and crockery, coinage, tools and so on. This translates into the making of near-perfect recreations that give a first-hand, educational insight on the past to the modern viewer.
This is a cultural-historical organisation founded in October 2006 dedicated to recreating the way of life of the Roman Legionary of the early 1st Century AD.Legio Decimae Fretensis
The arms and armour used are similar to those that equipped the glorious legions that gave so many victories to the Roman Empire, enabling it to become the greatest empire the world had ever seen. This equipment is depicted on a number of famous Roman monuments, some of which commemorate outstanding victories over the enemies of Rome.
A strong connection existed between Malta and the Roman Empire. The islands became part of the Empire in 218 BC during the Second Punic War and remained so for hundreds of years until the demise of the Byzantine Empire.
The members of the group, currently 18 in number, relive the rigorous daily routine of the Roman Legionnaires, performing sessions of the military drill and battle formations so clearly described by famous authors of that era. The aim of the organisation is to present to modern society a historically accurate display of Roman Legionnaires, as well as some members of the civilian population of the time.
Show of Arms
The society was founded in 2006 by a group of re-enactors and archers who shared a common interest in Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods, and also a passion in the study of the art of the use of swords under a fully qualified maestro delle armi.
The objective of Show of Arms is to recreate well-researched displays and educate people on the way our ancestors lived and fought. To ensure a proper depiction of past facts and customs, serious studies are carried out in a quest to find the right materials used for costumes and equipment, while men-at-arms and knights endure strenuous training on period combat techniques involving weapons like sword, mace and battle-axe.
The society’s main focus is the Medieval period in Central Europe, which of course also reflects Medieval Malta, from the arrival of Count Roger to the end of the Feudal Era on the island.
Since its inception, Show of Arms has been an active group, having taken part in prestigious activities such as the Medieval Mdina Festival and other local councils’ events.
World War II Re-enactment Group
Officially founded on September 1, 2009, the group focuses on the Malta and Mediterranean theatres of conflict, spanning from North Africa to Southern Italy. The group endeavours to depict as accurately as possible the military scenarios of WWII, including the daily life of the troops in their encampment or on the battlefield. The period uniform in all its variations, the weapons, drill and military tactics are brought to life through living history.
“Malta Command WW2 Living History Group” has been in existence since 2006, depicting in detail the hardships, valour, and fighting spirit of the Maltese soldiers serving in the Royal Malta Artillery and the King’s Own Malta Regiment during the island’s darkest hour.
“Kampfgruppe Sud” represents elements of the German Army that were originally deployed in 1941 in North Africa as part of Rommel’s Deutsch Afrika Korps (DAK) and following the evacuation to Italy were reformed as the 15th Panzergrenadier Division. The unit saw active service in the defence of Sicily against the Allied invasion which took place in 1943.