RSS

Monthly Archives: July 2015

24 July 1940: Supplies Will Take Months to Reach Malta

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES FOR MALTA DELAYED

Essential stores commissioned by Malta command four weeks ago may take months to reach the Island, according to a telegram from the War Office in London today.  Although the items requisitioned are available, they will be transported via the long sea route, via the African Cape.

Macchi 200 attacked Sunderland off Malta

Macchi 200 attacked Sunderland off Malta

A second supply of the most urgently needed items will be loaded onto a fast transport ship which will attempt to pass through the short sea route via the western Mediterranean.  However, owing to a lack of available resources, most of these items cannot be duplicated in the slower convoy.

Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief now faces the difficult decision over which items to allocate to each convoy.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 JULY TO DAWN 25 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine and warm. 

0857-0920 hrs  Air raid alert for ten enemy fighters which approach the Island from the north at 17-22000 feet, passing over Imtarfa towards Hal Far, flying in pairs, a new formation.  Ack Ack guns engage the raiders.  Malta fighters are scrambled but do not engage.  No bombs are dropped.    

1541 hrs  Air raid alert for nine enemy aircraft, including three fighters and six bombers approaching from the north.  They skirt the coast and depart to the north.  No bombs are dropped.    

0230 hrs  Air raid alert for up to three enemy aircraft which approach from the north at intervals.  One flies over Grand Harbour at 500 feet.  Bombs are dropped in the sea off Fort St Elmo.    

0317 hrs  Air raid alert for one enemy aircraft which approaches from the north and is engaged by Ack Ack fire before turning away.    

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 24 JULY 1940

AIR HQ  0830-1700  Two patrols by Sunderlands between Sicily and the coast of Greece.  One destroyer only is sighted, in Augusta.  One Sunderland is attacked by a monoplane, possibly a Macchi 200, which is believed to have been shot down between Sicily and Malta.

KALAFRANA  Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 Squadrons operating 12 hour naval patrols over wide area covering Greek coast, south Italian coast and Sicily under direct instructions from Middle East and HQ Mediterranean.  Six recruits medically examined for the RAF.

  All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 24, 2015 in 1940, July 1940

 

Tags: , , ,

23 July 1940: Italians Using Outlawed Explosive Bullets

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE    

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

ITALIANS USING EXPLOSIVE BULLETS

The Air Officer Commanding has reported that explosive bullets have been found among the armoury of Italian aircraft shot down over Malta.  The bullets are described as 0.55in caliber with a striker pellet and detonator screwed in to the nosecap.  Investigators found the bullets loaded indiscriminately among ordinary lead bullets and incendiaries in approximately equal proportions. 

It is believed that such bullets are contrary to international convention.  A full report and detailed description is to be forwarded to the War Office in London without delay.

Majestic Cinema Sliema (1)

Majestic Cinema Sliema (1)

CINEMAS DEFINITELY OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Cinemas have begun advertising forthcoming attractions again in Malta’s newspapers.  Three cinemas took space in the press yesterday: the Capitol, the Majestic and Valletta’s newly-opened Plaza.  All three cinemas are anticipating good audiences from the increasing the number of troops stationed in Malta.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 JULY TO DAWN 24 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine and warm. 

1812 hrs  Air raid alert: raid does not materialise.

2000-2010 hrs  Air raid alert.  No raid materialised.

0247-0315 hrs  Air raid alert for two enemy three-engined aircraft which approach from the north east at short intervals.  One appears to circle the Island in a clockwise direction slightly out to sea, occasionally crossing the coast.  Coastal defences report a single enemy aircraft making out to sea dropped five bombs between the coast and Filfla Island.  Searchlights illuminate the raider for a while but it is out of gun range.  The second passes straight over the Island.  Neither is engaged by Ack Ack guns.  High explosive and incendiary bombs are dropped on Kalafrana, Birzebuggia and Hal Far and in the sea.

0345-0425 hrs  Air raid alert for three enemy bombers which approach the Island from the east, crossing the coast near Delimara at 14-15000 feet.  High explosive and incendiary bombs are dropped on Hal Far and the Kalafrana area, where the Officers’ Married Quarters are damaged.  Four bombs land near a defence post, and two towards Birzebuggia.  Bombs also fall close to the Benghaisa gun position and in the sea.  One Sunderland aircraft is damaged by splinters but repaired within hours.  The aircraft are illuminated when over the centre of the Island and retreat to the north.  Two more aircraft approach and are illuminated but a third following them is not, and drops bombs.  Ack Ack guns engage and causes the formation to split up.  One aircraft is emerged giving off smoke and losing height.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 23 JULY 1940

AIR HQ  Arrivals  1 Sunderland.  0340 hrs  At the request of the Commander in Chief Mediterranean Sunderland aircraft effected reconnaissance.  Three merchant vessels and three tankers in convoy sighted, with one destroyer nearby.  The Sunderland dropped three bombs on the merchant vessels; two were successful.  The convoy dispersed and subsequently four of the six vessels, including the three tankers, were seen in the harbour at Augusta.

KALAFRANA  One Sunderland 230 Squadron arrived.  Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 Squadrons operating 12 hour naval patrols over wide area covering Greek coast, south Italian coast and Sicily under direct instructions from Middle East and HQ Mediterranean.  Two recruits medically examined for the RAF.

1st Bn DORSET REGIMENT  Rear HQ (Orderly Room and Officers’ Mess) was moved from Verdala Barracks to Corradino and Motor Transport personnel and vehicles from Verdala Barracks to the Dockyard School.  Mortar and Ack Ack Platoon was moved to Hompesch Arch.

(1)  Website:  Maltese History & Heritage

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 23, 2015 in 1940, July 1940

 

Tags: , , ,

22 July 1940: Malta’s Fighters and Gunners ‘Magnificent’

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE    

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

MORALE HIGH AS ISLAND’S DEFENDERS FIGHTBACK DETERS ENEMY

Ack Ack gunners defending Grand Harbour (NWMA Malta)

Ack Ack gunners defending Grand Harbour (NWMA Malta)

In a report to the War Office today, Governor and C in C Lt Gen Dobbie praised the ‘magnificent work by RAF fighters and steady increasingly accurate fire by Ack Ack gunners’.  Malta’s defenders have destroyed at least eleven enemy aircraft and severely damaged at least eight others since the start of attacks on the Island six weeks ago.  The Governor emphasised that both groups deserved equal recognition for the toll on enemy raiders.  His report is in response to a request from the War Office on the state of morale in Malta.

In 66 bombing raids* since the declaration of war by Italy, several hundred incendiary and high explosive bombs have been dropped, including some of heavy calibre.  The raids, which have featured up to 25 bombers, have been directed at military targets but there has also been damage to civilian property and casualties.  However, these have been reduced since taking cover has become routine.  Low flying machine gun attacks have been made on a few occasions.  Most air raids have taken place by day but some at night.

Despite minimal resources, defensive tactics by RAF fighters have forced the enemy to send large numbers of fighters to escort small formations of bombers.  Italian pilots have also become wary of the Island’s British and Maltese gunners, and now seem compelled to remain at maximum height when flying over the Island.  These successes have helped sustain the morale of the population.

According to the report, all troops in the Malta Garrison, British and Maltese alike, are fit and in a high state of morale, continuing their duties with enthusiasm despite some heavy bombing.  The Royal Navy has maintained regular anti-submarine and local patrols – many of these manned by largely Maltese crews.  Dockyard workers have continued to turn up for work at what is one of the Island’s key targets – and have given excellent service manning their own defence battery.

However, the report sounds a word of caution: that the relatively low impact of the raids so far might cause the Italians to reconsider and intensify their activities against Malta.  And the small scale of the Island means that no area is spared from the danger of continued air attacks.

* Enemy planes have approached the Island on several other occasions triggering an air raid alert but no attack has been made.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 JULY TO DAWN 23 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine and warm. 

No air raids.

1301 hrs  Status ‘Europe’ notified to all batteries.

Military casualties  Leading Cook Vincenzo Conti, Leading Cook, St Angelo.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 22 JULY 1940

AIR HQ  0515 hrs  Swordfish on anti-submarine patrol: nothing to report. 

KALAFRANA  Five recruits medically examined for the RAF.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 22, 2015 in 1940, July 1940

 

Tags: , ,

21 July 1940: Maltese ‘Bravest of the Brave’ Says Report

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

MALTESE CROSS STANDS FOR VALOUR

Maltese Cross

Once again in her long history of struggle and triumph this lonely little island set in the centre of the Mediterranean sea finds herself in the very forefront of a major war.  With the entry of Italy into the war and with the new factor of air power to consider, Malta has become almost a beleaguered garrison in a state of siege. 

To this condition, Malta is no stranger, for her island story bristles with the tale of repeated sieges suffered and withstood, that Europe’s faith might endure and that Europe’s culture might remain Christian.  The Maltese are first and foremost a pious people and it is no mere chance that the emblem under which they have always fought has been a cross. 

Then they are a very independent little nation which has clung to its liberties with all the tenacity of a bulldog.   Perhaps it is this very characteristic which enables them more than any other to take their place among the free peoples of the Empire today.

Owing to her geographical position barely sixty miles due south of Sicily she is very literally in the forefront of the battle.  This is amply illustrated by the fact that in just forty days this small island – about sixteen miles long by eight wide – has been visited eighty times by Italian bombers, an average of two air raids a day.

One of the most densely populated areas in the world

One of the most densely populated areas in the world

The island is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with 2000 people to the square mile.  These islanders were unfortunate during the first few raids: the people had not yet learned to take shelter, and casualties were numerous.  Yet despite this there was a complete absence of panic and within a day or so people were going quietly to their shelter when the siren sounded.

After the first bad raids, a number of the population decided to move out to the country districts, with the full sanction of the government.  Great generosity was shown to these evacuees by all the country folk who took complete strangers into their homes and made them welcome, often at considerable hardship to themselves.

With the grown of experience the anti-aircraft personnel both English and Maltese are becoming more proficient and the RAF fighters are rendering excellent service in deterring attacks from Italy.  When the Maltese emerge from their shelters they are less concerned with the damage done than with finding out how many enemy aircraft have been defeated.

The Governor talks to the population over the radio, explaining just why he has to enforce certain regulations and the Maltese react well to his honesty.  Rome radio also daily broadcasts a talk in Maltese, addressing his audience as ‘brother Maltese’ but his honeyed phrases fall on ears deafened by Italian bombs.  Before Italy came into the war there were many who believed that a very large proportion of the Maltese were pro-Italian.  This has been proved utterly without foundation.

Thousands of men and women are busy in war service.  The men stand guard against coming attacks in the various local regiments; the women are wardens, first aiders, nurses or welfare workers.  Ordinary crime has become practically unknown.

In this constant assault from the air, Malta is sharing in England’s present trial and is very proud to do so.  Once again her people are called upon to suffer and endure, for suffering they are.  They don’t shout about it very much, but below the philosophy and cheerful resignation there must be a sadness that this has come upon them.  They have known, in the forty short days of war, death and mutilation, loss of home and property, economic and financial ruin.  Against this, they balance their resolve and treasure their hope and their faith.

The British Empire keeps one award for its bravest of the brave: the much coveted and rarely won Victoria Cross.  In England we call its shape a Maltese cross and, though we are not strictly accurate, the similarity is very close.  In Malta today, they go about the daily routine in the knowledge that if they suffer and endure they do so with the same courage as those great warriors of their island’s story.  In wearing their cross of suffering as bravely as a banner, they will truly win the right to say that today as in the past the Maltese Cross still stands for valour.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 21 JULY TO DAWN 22 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine and warm; poor visibility at times. 

1010-1033 hrs  Air raid alert for two enemy bombers and six fighters which approach from the north at 16-22000 feet and disperse on reaching the Island.  Ack Ack guns at Tigne, San Pietru, Ta Karach, Spinola and Benghaisa engage the raiders and Malta fighters are also scrambled but do not engage.        

1045-1115 hrs  Air raid alert for three bombers and sixteen fighters which approach from the north.  All gun positions except for the Dockyard and Hal Far engage the raiders with a very heavy barrage which splits the formation. One enemy bomber is hit; dense smoke issues from its tail and it dives out of control to 8000 feet when it recovers and heads away northwards with three fighters.  No bombs are dropped.  Malta fighters are not scrambled.     

1210 hrs  Air raid alert for three formations of enemy aircraft which approach the Island in a wide fan shape and circle over the sea over the area where this morning’s damaged bomber was last seen. 

1240 hrs  One Swordfish is despatched to observe and verify whether the bomber has fallen into the sea; it fails to return.  A second Swordfish is despatched and reports seeing only a patch of oil 

1510 hrs  A London flying boat is despatched and photographs the enemy bomber floating in the sea, which is identified by its markings.  The London is attacked by two enemy CR42 fighters and shoots down one of them into the sea.  The second CR42 attacks but quickly climbs to 10000 feet before departing.     

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 21 JULY 1940

AIR HQ  Aircraft casualties  One Swordfish.  0515 hrs  Swordfish on anti-submarine patrol: nothing to report. 

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Private Ricketts was discharged from hospital.  Two men were sent to Marsa awaiting trial.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  His Excellency the Governor carried out inspections of troops at Mjarr and St Paul’s Bay.

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 21, 2015 in 1940, July 1940

 

Tags:

18 July 1940: Refugees Return to Bombed Out Homes

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

REFUGEES UNABLE TO SETTLE INLAND Refugees have begun returning to the bombed communities of the Three Cities despite continued bombing of the Dockyard area.  The migrant families have described overcrowded conditions and a sometimes hostile reception in reception villages as the reason for their return.  Some have failed to find any suitable accommodation for even the medium term. 

Bastions at Vittoriosa

Bastions at Vittoriosa

A number of residents whose homes in Cospicua have destroyed in air raids are now sheltering under the bastions of Vittoriosa.  Despite these difficult living conditions, they feel a greater sense of community closer to home.  Shops and other facilities are beginning to re-open to provide essential services. Some of the returning residents have been evacuated from the Wied il-Ghain seaside resort which had been used as a substantial refugee centre.  The Government ordered the evacuation as a precautionary measure, fearing that a landing may be attempted their by the enemy.  As a result the village will remain under military control.

FINNISH WRECK SURVIVORS SEEK REFUGE IN MALTA Two rowing boats full of men were spotted approaching the shore of Malta near Marsaxlokk Bay at dusk today.  The alarm was raised at just before eight this evening and a party of MSC boats went out from Kalafrana to investigate.  Interrogation revealed that the 26 occupants were survivors of the Finnish steamer SS Wiiri which was bombed this morning by the Italian Regia Aeronautica 20 miles south west of Malta.  According to the survivors, 70 or 80 bombs were dropped all round the 3500 ton cargo ship and she went down but there were no casualties.  The rowing boat’s occupants were brought ashore and fed before being taken into custody for further interrogation.

HMS Phoenix

HMS Phoenix

SUBMARINE REPORTED OVERDUE The Royal Navy submarine Phoenix has been reported as sixteen hours overdue at Malta. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 JULY TO DAWN 19 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine and warm.  No air raids. 1430 hrs  Status ‘Asia’ notified to all batteries. 2215 hrs  A Royal Navy signal station reports green lights from the direction of Verdala. 

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 18 JULY 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Submarine Rorqual sailed for Alexandria.  AIR HQ  Hudson effected reconnaissance of Palermo Harbour; sighted five destroyers and three merchant vessels 2-4000 tons plus several small craft.  KALAFRANA  Aircraft K5261 P/O Minchinton 202 Squadron on anti-submarine patrol.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 20, 2015 in 1940, July 1940

 

Tags: , ,

20 July 1940: War Office Keen to Raise Morale in Malta

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

PUBLICITY CAMPAIGN PLANNED

The War Office is planning a publicity campaign to raise morale among the civilian and military communities in Malta.  The Island’s Governor and Commander in Chief has been approached for a report on the current morale of the population and troops.  He is also asked for information to add to the campaign, including details of air attacks, fighter successes against the enemy and life in Malta.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 JULY TO DAWN 21 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine and warm.

Kalafrana

Kalafrana (1)

0242-0320 hrs Air raid alert for three enemy aircraft which approach Malta from the east and make a series of low-flying attacks on Hal Far and Kalafrana, as well as in the sea.  Eight high explosive and incendiary bombs fall on land round Kalafrana, one penetrating a RAF speed launch causing severe damage.  High explosive bombs hit the Motor Transport section, tennis courts and a store.  Incendiary bombs land on the Power House Store and damage one Sunderland at its moorings.  Raiders also machine-gun Ghar Dalam and Hal Far searchlight stations.  Ack Ack guns at Ta Karach and Benghaisa engage the enemy.  One enemy aircraft picked up by searchlights is believed by ground light machine gun fire.    

Military casualties  Corporal William Hearl, 2nd Bn The Devonshire Regiment                   

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 20 JULY 1940

AIR HQ  0515 hrs  Swordfish on anti-submarine patrol: nothing to report. 

KALAFRANA  Aircraft K5261 P/O Minchinton 202 Squadron on search patrol for Swordfish.  Eight recruits medically examined for the RAF.

(1) Josephs Militaria and Homefront Collection

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 20, 2015 in 1940, July 1940

 

Tags: , ,

19 July 1940: Only One Aircraft Left to Defend Malta

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE 

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

MALTA FIGHTER FORCE DOWN TO A SINGLE GLADIATOR

Gladiator NN5520 'Faith'

Gladiator NN5520 ‘Faith’

Two Gladiators were damaged in air raids on Malta today, leaving only one serviceable aircraft to defend the Island.  The remaining Gladiator may have to face up enemy formations up to twenty strong.  Urgent work is in hand to repair two more Gladiators and one Hurricane from recent damage in combat.  Air HQ expects the all three will soon be airworthy.

MALTA WILL SOON HAVE MORE GUNS

Twelve heavy anti-aircraft guns with personnel to man them are being despatched immediately for Malta.  The reinforcements will travel the long sea route round the African Cape and are expected to arrive on the Island around 10 September.  At the same time, plans are under discussion to send another twelve guns through the western Mediterranean, with a smaller cohort of personnel.  If the latter ship succeeds in reaching Malta, the supplies brought by the Cape route will be retained in the Middle East.

At the same time it was announced that some of the guns currently installed for the defence of the Dockyard are to be moved to a position to defend the Island’s aerodromes.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 JULY TO DAWN 20 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine and warm. 

1235 hrs  A London flying boat and a Swordfish drop bombs on a submarine which is at a depth of eight fathoms four miles north east of Valletta.  Two 250lb bombs are dropped by the Swordfish and small patches of oil are visible. 

1255-1321 hrs  Air raid alert for six hostile fighters in two formations.  They approach over Madalena from the north and attack the London flying boat.  Malta fighters are scrambled and approach the enemy raiders while Ack Ack gunners also open fire.  The raiders turn away without dropping any bombs.  Two of Malta’s fighters are damaged on landing.  The submarine oil patch spreads quickly to 100 feet square.   

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 19 JULY 1940

ROYAL NAVY  A flying boat claims to have sunk a submarine 1.8 miles off St Elmo. 

AIR HQ  Aircraft casualties  Two Gladiators damaged. 0345 hrs  London affected anti-submarine patrol in the Pantelleria area.  0515 hrs  Swordfish affected anti-submarine patrol and reported four ships 80 miles from the Island.  0945 hrs  Nine Swordfish were then despatched with bombs and torpedoes but failed to locate ships. 

KALAFRANA  Aircraft K5261 P/O Minchinton 202 Squadron on anti-submarine patrol is attacked by CR42 aircraft, one of which he shoots down.  He also bombs a submarine off Delimara Point – result unknown.

LUQA  Malta’s fighters went up on a practice flight and on landing one of the Gladiators damaged one of its wings.  Strength of Station: officers 18; airmen 92; civilians 4.

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 19, 2015 in 1940, July 1940

 

Tags: , ,