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FRENCH AIR CREW ASK TO JOIN RAF
Hal Far and Kalafrana air bases were on red alert this evening after early warning systems spotted a single aircraft heading towards Malta’s south coast. The plane approached a just before 10pm, showing full lights which suggested it was not on an enemy raider on a stealth mission. It then began to circle Marsaxlokk Bay, signalling the word ‘FRANCE’ in morse code. Five minutes later the aircraft landed at Kalafrana, where it was met by officers of the RAF.
The aircraft has been identified as a French Latecoere seaplane. It was crewed by two NCOs who have flown to Malta from Bizerta in Tunisia. The pilot has been named as Adjutant Duvauchelle and his crewman Wireless Operator Mehauas. On being apprehended, the pair stated that they wish to serve with the Royal Air Force.
In the lead-up to the French armistice with the Axis, it appears a message was issued inviting French planes to join Allied forces in the Mediterranean, including Malta. However, in view of more recent attacks on Gibraltar by French aircraft, all French planes are now automatically regarded as hostile, unless and until they prove themselves friendly.
The two officers were placed under guard and taken to Malta’s War Headquarters for interrogation. Meanwhile, the Island’s Air HQ has notified London of the events, requesting that the information be treated as top secret until further notice.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 JULY TO DAWN 6 JULY 1940
Weather Fine, warm and clear.
2150-2155 hrs Air raid alert. An unidentified aircraft is reported approaching the south coast, showing full lights. It then signals in Morse Code before coming in to land at Kalafrana.
2233 hrs 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers report a light emanating from near Tal Minsia Church which illuminated three times for eight seconds, with five second intervals. An investigation is ordered.
0010 hrs Air raid alert. Enemy aircraft are reported in the vicinity of the Island but none crosses the coast and no bombs are dropped.
OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 5 JULY 1940
AIR HQ 0445 hrs Anti-submarine patrol by Swordfish: nothing to report. 1845 hrs Nine Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm left to attack the aerodrome at Catania. Bombs dropped: 6 x 500lb, 24 x 250lb, 27 incendiary; some on the aerodrome and some on workshops. Two hangars were hit and four fires started. Several cruisers and destroyers were observed in Augusta. All aircraft returned safely.
KALAFRANA Nine recruits medically examined for the RAF.
LUQA Strength of station: officers 19; airmen 75; civilians 4.
3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT Camp visited AM by GOC Troops, Major General S J P Scobell and PM by His Excellency the Governor and Commander in Chief.
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