MALTA WAR DIARY: OPERATION PEDESTAL – SANTA MARIJA – EVENTS ON MALTAGC70 UPDATED DAILY – STARTS TODAY For daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)
Communications between Italian commanders in Rome and Cagliari suggest that a large fleet of Allied warships and merchant transports is approaching the straits of Gibraltar. According to Enigma decoders in England, Axis wires are alive with warnings to all Mediterranean headquarters that a convoy is gathering to supply Malta.
GOVERNOR & COMMANDER IN CHIEF: SITUATION REPORT MALTA TO 31ST JULY 1942
Casualties (civilians only)
- Killed 1308 (men 619, women 382, children 307)
- Seriously injured 1399 (men 688, women 449, children 262)
- These figures to not include 28 civilians, men killed in SS Moor in Grand Harbour.
Figures of casualties since 20th April clearly indicate lessening in severity of raids. This followed on the departure of considerable part of German Air Force from Sicily shortly before the end of that month. Nevertheless substantial German Air Force remains in Sicily, and casualties and damage…are considerably higher than for the corresponding period of last year. Morale remains high despite restricted food and shocks of the Libyan campaign which local opinion watches eagerly.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 9 AUGUST TO DAWN 10 AUGUST 1942
Weather Fine; visibility 10-15 miles.
1010-1102 hrs Air raid alert.
0950-1105 hrs Eight Spitfires 229 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept approaching enemy aircraft. They sight three ME 109s. Red section makes for the attack but two of the enemy aircraft swing round and make off. P/O Sherwood makes for the leading Messerschmitt, putting the Spitfire’s nose down to almost vertical and making a beam attack from 250 yards. He fires a two-second burst and sees strikes slightly forward of the cockpit: pieces fall off. The Messerschmitt is last seen streaming glycol and losing height. Several other pilots confirm. Pilots report excessive radio interference by whistling. Three Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are also scrambled to intercept but are recalled.
1210-1240 hrs Four Spitfires 229 Squadron are airborne on patrol: nothing to report.
1425-1455 hrs Three Spitfires 249 Squadron carry out a patrol to protect minesweepers off Kalafrana Bay.
1430-1455 hrs Air raid alert for approaching enemy aircraft. Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled to intercept but sight nothing. One Spitfire is knocked sideways on landing, causing one undercarriage leg to collapse: the pilot Sgt Budd is unhurt.
2300-2315 hrs Air raid alert for two enemy aircraft which drop bombs near Ghain Tuffieha and in the sea.
Military casualties Nil. Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 9 AUGUST 1942
ROYAL NAVY Hythe swept P44 and Una to end of swept harbour whence they proceeded on patrol.
AIR HQ Arrivals Six Beaufighters from EDCU; one Baltimore from Burg Arab; two Hudsons from Gibraltar. Aircraft casualties One Spitfire crashed in the sea; pilot injured.
HAL FAR 185 Squadron stood down for the day.
LUQA A concert is held at the camp cinema.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 6. Dealt with: nil.
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