13 November 1940: New RE Bomb Disposal Officer Gets to Work

13 Nov

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Lt E E C Talbot, GC, RE

Lt E E C Talbot, GC, RE (1)

The RAOC officers called on Malta’s new Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officer to tackle his first bomb on the Island today. Lt E E Talbot, GC, RE, who arrived on Sunday from the UK was decorated three months ago for his bravery in dealing with an unexploded bomb (UXB) with an unknown fuze in South Wales.

His first UXB in Malta was found when water was drained from the reservoir at Luqa. Inspecting Ordnance Officer Captain R L Jephson Jones, RAOC, identified the bomb as a 250lb Italian high explosive.  

Lt Talbot was only too ready to get back to work; he would need some assistance.   Sapper Tom Meager had been manning a Lewis gun on the harbour bastions until that morning:  “Never volunteer for anything, they used to say in the army. I went on Parade one morning and they said ‘We need volunteers to deal with an unexploded bomb. Nobody has to volunteer. So if you don’t want to volunteer just fall out.’  And they all went and left me standing there.  He said, ‘Are you sure?’ and I said ‘Yes, I’ll have a go at anything.’ 

Tom Meager was sent out to Luqa:  “The first bomb we went on was an Italian 500 pounder and it landed in the surface reservoir by the airfield. There was about a foot of mud on the bottom of the reservoir and the bomb must have skidded in because it ended up in one corner and didn’t go off.

We waded through the mud to the bomb. At this stage we knew absolutely nothing about bomb fuzes, so we were completely ignorant of what could happen if we dealt with a bomb at all. Not knowing anything, we just went over, unscrewed the fuze and took it out, and that was it.  Nothing happened, because I’m still here.  It wasn’t until afterwards when we got more information about these things that we realised how close we had come to being blown up.” (1)


Troops of the Kings Own Malta Regiment have been informed today that the following bars have been placed out of bounds to all Other Ranks: the Rexford, Maricho, Captain Caruana, Crocha and the Officers’ Bar of the Monico.  These bars are now set aside for the use of officers only – and officers are not to enter any other bar. 

The following premises are placed in bounds to all troops: Harbour Bar, St Paul’s Bay, the Sportsmans Rest Bar, St Anne Street, Valletta; White Swan Restaurant, Strait Street, Valletta


Weather  Fine.

No air raids.


AIR HQ  Arrivals 8 Wellingtons.

LUQA  Eight Wellingtons arrive.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  High explosive 1 from reservoir by Bomb Disposal Officer, Royal Engineers.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  A new Company HQ is established in Lintorn Barracks. The new formation consists of No 1 Section for Coast Defence (Engine Rooms), Nos 2 and 3 Sections for defensive works. Lt E E Talbot RE now joined the BD Section of the Company which continued its dangerous and valuable work.  Major Jacob left and Captain (A/Major) De Piro-Cowley assumed command.

(1) UXB Malta, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010/2012

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Posted by on November 13, 2015 in 1940, November 1940


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