Shrewsbury School


Wednesday 21 November 2018

Old Salopians celebrate in Malta

In November 23 members of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (to give it its full title) and 17 partners paid an official visit to Malta to celebrate the foundation of the Order 200 years ago. Of that number 4 were, by chance, Old Salopians: Sir Mark Moody-Stuart (Riggs 1954-59), Sir Stephen Wright (Severn Hill 1960-64), Merrick Baker-Bates (Moser’s 1953-58) and Alun Evans (DB 1951-56).

A British Order of Chivalry’s connection with Malta clearly requires an explanation. The Order was founded at the instigation of Sir Thomas Maitland, the Governor of Malta and Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, to honour distinguished citizens of those territories which had come under British jurisdiction during and after the Napoleonic Wars. The Order later came under the control of the Colonial Office and finally under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It is used to reward men and women who have made a significant contribution in their work overseas to the interests of the UK and certain Commonwealth countries.

Maitland died and was buried in Malta and so the Grand Master of the Order, HRH the Duke of Kent, laid a wreath on his tomb in the presence of the delegation from the UK and numerous Maltese dignitaries. The Duke then opened an Exhibition on the History of the Order and particularly as it affected Malta.

It was also arranged that the Destroyer HMS Diamond should make an official visit to the island to coincide with the St Michael and St George presence and the visitors from the Order had the good fortune to be shown over the ship and were given a demonstration of its fighting capabilities. During the rest of the visit the delegation were shown the Hypogeum and the Tarxian temples that date back to pre-historic times and numerous other remarkable sites, monuments and beautiful buildings.

Altogether a visit we will remember as long as we live.

Alun Evans.

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