- The History of the MALTESE CROSS
During the Crusades in the 1500s a group of Crusaders was attacked with a new weapon never before
used in battle. This weapon was fire. Saracens hurled glass containers of naphtha that broke upon
impacting the advancing crusaders. After having thoroughly saturated the advancing crusaders with
naphtha, a burning tree was hurled into their ranks. Hundreds of crusaders were burned alive in this
manner. Those not burned risked their lives extinguishing the fires and treating their burned comrades.
These crusaders were the Knights of Saint John. They lived on the island of Malta in the
Mediterranean Sea. A knight of Saint John wore a large cross on his tunic which was a symbol of the
Knights of Saint John. This symbol is now known as the Maltese Cross.
Knights throughout the crusades looked for the Maltese Cross whenever fire was encountered or men
were burned. The Knights of Saint John never let their comrades down and they were revered by their
fellow knights for their selfless acts of heroism with fire. @
- Narrative by Jim Blanchard -Saugus Fire - Local 1003.
Artwork by Dave Salvi - Somerville Fire - Local 1240.
Published in The Feederline -Cambridge Firefighters - Local 30.
- Honoring Our Past Makes Us Appreciate Our Future
- James L. Blanchard, Saugus Fire Local 1003