16 September 1940: Malta Facing Fuel Shortages

16 Sep

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Fuel to be rationed (1)

Fuel to be rationed (1)

The Governor and Commander in Chief today warned that Malta could run out of fuel in five weeks if current storage facilities are hit by enemy bombing raids. Present fuel stocks would be enough for 22 weeks, but only if use is strictly rationed. However, most of the existing fuel stocks are held in Shell above-ground tanks which are vulnerable to destruction at any time.  

Lt Gen Dobbie is introducing measures to reduce fuel consumption on the Island to 30000 gallons of motor transport petrol a week. Until underground storage is available, he has arranged to import petrol in either 44 gallon drums or 4 gallon tins, until a reserve is amassed equal to eight months’ usage. The new drums and tins will be dispersed as far as possible, to avoid significant loss of supply during air raids.

Operations are also underway to create underground fuel tanks for the Royal Navy and RAF. Scheduled for completion early next year, these will provide immediate secure storage facilities for fuel reserves.


Weather  Fine and warm.

0732-0816 hrs Air raid alert for six enemy aircraft which approach the Island at 19000 feet over Salina and turn north over Ta Saliba and Mellieha. They later return over St Paul’s Bay and fly onto Grand Harbour before turning away north and east. No bombs are dropped.

Military casualties  Gunner John Manara, Royal Malta Artillery.


AIR HQ Departures 1 Sunderland

KALAFRANA Two Sunderlands on patrol; one left for Alexandria.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  A regulation Air Mail today.

(1) History of Shell Oil on Malta

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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in 1940, September 1940


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2 responses to “16 September 1940: Malta Facing Fuel Shortages

  1. Tim Twineham

    September 16, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Re the entry for 8th batallion Manchester regt: what is meant by “regulation Air Mail today”

  2. a gray

    September 16, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    According to The History of Shell Oil on Malta by 1942: . . . it was virtually impossible for tankers to reach Malta safely. To this end, specially equipped submarines were fitted to carry 230 tons of fuel across a regular 1000 mile journey to Malta. For security purposes, all submarines remained submerged during daytime and discharging was carried out by night via the jetty into the Shell tanks in Birzebuggia./em>


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