ST. MARY’s BATTERY or Trunciera, as it’s known in Malta, is a semi-circular gun platform at the eastern end of the island. It was built by the Order of Saint John between 1715 and 1716 as one of a series of coastal fortifications around the coasts of the Maltese Islands and to protect the channel between Malta and Comino, in conjunction with the Wied Musa Battery at Marfa on Malta.
The battery has a single blockhouse, where the ammunition was stored. This was placed diagonally along the land front so that its two outer faces functioned as a redan. The land front also contains musketry loopholes. The battery was originally armed with two 24 pounder and four 6 pounder iron cannons, but it was abandoned by 1770.
Prior to World War II a Gozitan family lived in the battery. A few of the battery’s cannons were dragged into the gorge beneath the battery, in an attempt to take them to a foundry for smelting. The two 24 pounders were left lying inside the battery since these were too heavy to cart away.
Unlike many similar coastal fortifications, the battery remained in a fair state of preservation, mainly due to its remote location. It was restored by Din l-Art Helwa between 1996 and 1997, and again between 2003 and 2004. During restoration, the roof of the blockhouse which was in danger of collapsing was repaired.
On the 21st August 1997 – the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) and the Royal Navy (RN) retrieved the cannons during a joint operation, when a Sea King HAS 6 helicopter ZA128/010 VQ of 820 NAS from HMS Illustrious R06 and Plant Troop Personnel (3rd Regiment) helped transport them back to within the battery. The site was cleaned, reproduction gun carriages have been reconstructed (sponsored by P. Cutajar and Co.), and the gun embrasures repaired and restored to their original condition.
Photos by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com