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AIR RAID ALARM SOUNDS TWICE DURING DAYLIGHT
Four air raids alerts were sounded within 24 hours over Malta today, two of them during daylight hours. The first two raids, at just after 9.30am and shortly before 2pm, turned out to be false alarms as enemy aircraft turned back several miles short of the Island. Late this evening a single enemy bomber carried out a bombing raid over Grand Harbour before being chased away and damaged by Malta fighters.
“…one big bomb was dropped fairly near to us; it is a good many weeks since we have heard that shattering roar.” (1)
Then shortly before dawn an Italian CR42 fighter pursued a Wellington bomber as it headed for Luqa airfield before carrying out a machine-gun attack on flying boats lying off Kalafrana.
AIR SUPPORT FOR GREECE SHOULD NOT WEAKEN MIDDLE EAST FORCE
From: Governor and C-in-C, Malta To: the War Office:
The more I think of it the more troubled I am at the withdrawal of one of our three fighter squadrons from the western desert. This is a very drastic cut and unless we can improve upon present plans, cannot be replaced for some weeks.
AOC-in-C has warned me that we are too weak to give effective support to the army in battle should a major engagement develop. Nor we can we ignore the possibility that an object of Italy’s attack on Greece is to induce us to weaken ourselves in the vital theatre of Egypt. In these conditions it would help us in Egypt if some four-gun Glenn Martin long-range fighters could be flown out at once via Malta.
Further, while we are glad to have Wellingtons in Egypt, these cannot be used for day bombing and are not the equivalent of Blenheims in value for battle.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 6 NOVEMBER 1940
0933-0958 hrs Air raid alert for enemy aircraft which approach to within 15 miles of the Island before turning back for base.
1350-1415 hrs Air raid alert for two enemy formations reported 25 miles north of the Island; raid does not materialise.
2205-2234 hrs Air raid alert for a single Italian SM79 bomber which approaches the Island from the north east at 12000 feet and drops bombs on Senglea Point, where a fire is quickly doused, and in Grand Harbour. Malta fighters are scrambled and attack, scoring a direct hit on the raider’s rear gunner and damaging the aircraft.
0613-0645 hrs Without prior warning, a single Italian CR42 fighter which flies down the north coast of the Island in pursuit of a Wellington bomber which lands at Luqa on its bomb racks. The enemy raider then dives out of the clouds to 300 feet over Delimara Point and fort, machine-gunning defences, and then attacks and damages the petrol tank and structure of a Sunderland flying boat in Marsaxlokk Bay. Defence posts at Kalafrana open fire with light machine guns: no claims.
OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 5 NOVEMBER 1940
(1) Extract from diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St.Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta. Courtesy of website: Malta Family History
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