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27 June 1940: Suspicious Signalling During Air Raids

27 Jun

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SUSPICIOUS LIGHTS DURING AIR RAIDS

Reports have come in of mysterious lights in Sliema during tonight’s air raids.  Shortly after the alert sounded at 2130 hours a light was reported in a window in Hughes Hallett Street.  Personnel of 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers on duty nearby trained a rifle on the light which remained illuminated while enemy aircraft passed overhead. 

On investigation the window was found to belong to No 3, Arthur Flats, but there was no response from within.  The incident was followed up by local police who established that the flat belongs to a dockyard worker.  On gaining entry to the premises, they found that the electricity had been turned off at the metre.  As a precaution they removed all light bulbs.

Fort Mosta (NWMA, Malta)

Fort Mosta (NWMA, Malta)

This is the second similar incident in Sliema in four days.  On Sunday evening at 2200 hours a light was seen illuminating three times at the window of No 2, Mnajdra Flats, Hughes Hallet Street.  The flat owner, named as Mr Joseph Calascione, was not currently in residence.  The earlier incident was not reported as the investigating officer assumed the light was shown due to carelessness.  The authorities consider the similarity between the two incidents requires further monitoring.  Defence posts in the vicinity have been warned to keep a special look out for similar lights and report them at once.  

In a separate incident, investigations are also ongoing into unexplained lights in the area of Mosta Fort in the early hours of yesterday.  The lights were seen at 2245 and 2310 hours by defence posts of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers.  Described as white Verey lights, the beams were first observed following an upward course between the old mill and Mosta Fort.  The source of the lights is believed to be an area between Naxxar, Lija and Mosta.

Less than an hour later, a report was received of two periods of short flashes, each lasting about five seconds, from a point south of St Paul’s directly underneath Selmun Palace.  Within moments, a further flashing light was seen in the neighbourhood of Nadur Tower. 

HMS Orpheus

HMS Orpheus

SUBMARINES LOST

Two submarines reported as overdue yesterday are now confirmed lost.  HMS Odin disappeared in the Gulf of Taranto.  The cause is unknown.  HMS Orpheus is believed torpedoed by an Italian submarine en route between Malta and Alexandria.

GOVERNOR TURNS DOWN FOREIGN LEGION FORCE

The Governor and Commander in Chief today turned down an offer from the Foreign Legion to bring French forces to Malta to fight against the Italians.  The offer came from Captain Robert, based in Sousa, who arrived yesterday (Wednesday) by submarine from Tunis, which he had left on 24 June.  This was before the French signed an armistice with Germany, but after Tunisian troops had received instructions to obey orders from a Bordeaux government. 

According to Captain Robert, the French Army in Tunis (and across North Africa) wishes to fight on, either in Tunis or outside, in Egypt or elsewhere.  He believes they should continue to fight the Italians and maintain North African ports against the Axis fleets but, if that is not possible, he proposes they fight from another Allied base. 

It is understood that Foreign Legion officers plan to seize local boats at Sousa and transport 1800 troops with armoured cars to Malta, escorted by two French submarines. Lt General Dobbie believes that, although additional troops on Malta would be useful, a French unit here might produce more problems than it would solve.  However, he put forward the possibility that the French might replace an Allied battalion in Egypt, which could then perhaps be spared to assist Malta. 

The War Office has confirmed that the Foreign Legion personnel will be accommodated in Egypt if possible.  However, even if that happened, it was made clear that the situation in the Middle East there does not allow for a British battalion to be sent from Egypt to Malta.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 27 JUNE TO DAWN 28 JUNE 1940

Weather  Low cloud.

0905-0915 hrs; 1115-1125 hrs  Air raid alerts.  No attack. 

2130-2140 hrs  Air raid alert.  No attack.   It is reported that on the sound of the air raid alert a light went on somewhere in Tigne Mansions and stayed on until the all clear. 

0445 hrs  Swordfish aircraft carried out an anti-submarine patrol and reconnaissance for Italian shipping but found nothing to report.

Military casualties  Signalman John Ernest Saunders, Royal Corps of Signals

Civilian casualties  Hamrun  Carmelo Fiteni, age 40.  Marsa  George Gatt, age 7; Joseph Gatt, age 2. Tarxien  Angiolina Orland, age 30.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 27 JUNE 1940

KALAFRANA  Two Sunderlands of 228 and 230 Squadrons arrived from Middle East for Naval co-operative patrols using Kalafrana as a refuelling and re-arming base.  AC Sciberras admitted to Military Hospital, Imtarfa.

LUQA  Flt Lieutenant M Grennan transferred to Military Hospital, Imtarfa. 

2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  The Governor and Commander in Chief visited Battalion Headquarters and Fort Benghaisa.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  A large number of sand bags were filled throughout the day at Ghain Tuffieha Bay; 250 of these were taken up to Ta Saliba for the purpose of strengthening sangars.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Orders received for working party to stand by for unloading stores from ship at Marsaxlokk; troops moved at midnight.

 

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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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