10 July 1940: Families Evacuated From Malta

10 Jul

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SS El Nil

SS El Nil

Sources in Malta today confirmed that the convoy which sailed late yesterday has taken evacuees from the Island to safety in Alexandria.  Convoy MF1 consists of SS El Nil and RMS Knight of Malta, as well as MS Rodi, a former Italian ship seized by British Contraband Control at Malta on 10 June, the eve of Italy’s declaration of war.  She is now being used by the Ministry of War Transport.  Passengers included skilled dockyard workers from Malta who are needed to increase the labour force at the Alexandria Naval base, where they are expected to arrive tomorrow, Thursday.

The convoy is accompanied by a heavy escort consisting of battleships Malaya, Ramillies, Royal Sovereign and Warspite, the aircraft carrier Eagle, cruisers Caledon, Capetown, Gloucester, Liverpool, Neptune, Orion and Sydney, and destroyers Dainty, Decoy, Defender, Diamond, Hasty, Havock, Hereward, Hero, Hostile, Hyperion, Ilex, Imperial, Janus, Jervis, Juno, Mowhawk, Nubian, Stuart, Vampire, Voyager and Waterhen.

A second, slower convoy sailed today from Malta for Alexandria including Kirkland, Masirah, Novasli, Tweed and Zeeland.  The escort for MF1 will also cover the approach of the later convoy which is expected at Alexandria on Saturday next.


From:  Governor & C in C                                                          To: War Office

Dockyard Defence Battery in Floriana (1)

Dockyard Defence Battery in Floriana (1)

The number of air alarms by day and necessity for instant readiness make it impossible for officers to carry out dockyard duties.  It is rarely possible for officers to get from their place of work to position after the sounding of the air raid alert and, though detachments are proving very steady, it is necessary for officers to be with them.  The work of the Battery Commander is particularly onerous and he must be relieved of some of it.  The Battery currently mans eight Bofors guns, two light machine guns and three anti-aircraft guns for defence of the torpedo depot.  Troops for ground defence of vulnerable gun sites. 

Propose to move two Bofors to Hal Far and Luqa aerodromes from time to time to give some protection to these vital areas.  Request immediate authority for one additional regular officer with the rank of captain and four dockyard officers with the rank of sub-lieutenant.


Weather  Fine and clear. 

0745-0840 hrs  Air raid alert.  Twenty enemy aircraft approach the Island and cross the coast over Sliema, Grand Harbour and Verdala in four formations, each carrying out a bombing raid.  Destroyers refuelling in Grand Harbour escape damage.  Bombs are dropped on Zabbar, Tarxien, Paola, Msida, Manoel Island and near HMS Terror.  One civilian is killed and three wounded.  Three enemy aircraft are shot down, two fall into the sea: where two parachutes are seen descending.  One parachute catches fire.  The third is hit by Ack Ack and is seen falling in flames towards the Leonardo area.  It lands on a defence post manned by members of 1st Bn Dorset Regiment: three Other Ranks sustain extensive burns.    

1800-1810 hrs  Air raid alert sounds due to the arrival of a Sunderland Flying Boat.  An enemy aircraft is also reported 30 miles off the coast but does not cross over the Island.

2100 hrs  Convoy MS1 consisting of Kirkland, Tweed, Masirah, Zealand and Novasoli sailed for Alexandria escorted by Decoy, Vampire and Voyager.

2155-2310 hrs  Air raid alert for four enemy aircraft which approach the Island in two formations and carry out low-flying attacks.  Bombs are dropped on Birkirkara and Ricasoli, Verdala and Zeitun, on the Tal Qroqq gun position, and near the entrance to Grand Harbour.  One bomb explodes in the grounds of Bighi RN Hospital, damaging buildings, killing one Leading Sick Berth Attendant and destroying equipment.  A second bomb near the hospital fails to explode.  The first formation carries out low-flying machine-gun attacks on Hal Far and the Marsa area.  One low-flying aircraft heading for Marsa, firing at searchlight batteries, is engaged by light machine gun fire.  It turns towards Hal Far, where it is again attacked by light machine guns.  As the first formation departs, a second approaches and is picked up by searchlights.  Ack Ack guns engage but with no results and incendiary bombs are dropped on Hamrun.  The raiders are finally driven off and the Island’s fighters return.  The guns at first fail to identify them but none is damaged.     

Military casualties  Leading Sick Berth Attendant Gordon S Beales, St Angelo.

Civilian casualties  Qormi  Modesta Cassar, age 37.  Zabbar  Angelo Pulis, age 45.

Enemy casualties  Sottotenente Felice Filippi, pilot; Aviere Scelto Cesare Ottavini, crewman; Sergente Maggiore Enzo Muratori, crewman; all of 195a Squadriglia, 90o Gruppo, 30o Stormo, died when their S79 bomber was shot down.  Sottotenente Luigi Illica Magnani, pilot; Sergente Maggiore Pietro Gori, crewman; Sergente Dante Becherucci, crewman; Primo Aviere Silla Bussaglia, crew member; Primo Aviere Giovanni Chessa, crewman; Primo Aviere Antonio Serafini, crewman; all of 192a Squadriglia, 87o Gruppo, 30o Stormo, died when their S79 bomber was shot down and crashed in flames off shore.


ROYAL NAVY  Stuart, Dainty, Defender, Hyperion, Hostile, Hasty, Ilex, Juno, Hero, Hereward, Vampire and Decoy arrived, fuelled and sailed.    

AIR HQ  0500 hrs  Anti-submarine and reconnaissance patrol by Swordfish: nothing to report.

KALAFRANA  Ten recruits medically examined for the RAF.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 1 HE 250lb Zabbar.

(1)  Website: Royal Malta Artillery

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Posted by on July 10, 2015 in Uncategorized


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