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A YOUNG MALTESE OFFICER JOINS HIS UNIT
2nd Lieutenant Maurice Agius recalls his first day as a commissioned officer in the Royal Malta Artillery:
“I left my parents’ house in Attard just after 8am. My parents had joined the rest of the Agius clan in a large house in Attard, as it was considered to be safer than Sliema, where we all lived…
I was very self-conscious as I walked to Birkirkara, about a mile away, to get the bus – the Attard bus route had been stopped to save fuel I was wearing my brand new service dress with one pip on each shoulder. I had been granted a War Emergency King’s Commission as second lieutenant in the Royal Malta Artillery and I was to report to the Adjutant 2nd AA Regiment RMA…I felt rich overnight since my daily pay had been increased from one shilling and four pence to ten shillings and six pence. A little anxious, I looked out for anyone in military uniform as I walked to the bus terminus. Other Ranks would now be saluting me and I wanted to make sure that I returned their salute…
On my way to Paceville it struck me how little I knew of army matters… I was nineteen years of age, too young to get a licence to fire a shotgun but old enough to fire four 3.7 inch HAA guns. I was a little apprehensive but very enthusiastic.” (1)
AIR RAIDS DAWN 14 DECEMBER TO DAWN 15 DECEMBER 1940
1000-1023 hrs Air raid alert for some twelve enemy fighter aircraft approaching the Island at 20000 feet. Six are spotted 12 miles due north of Grand Harbour. Six Hurricane fighters are scrambled to intercept. Observers at Marsaxlokk report six enemy raiders over Tarxien heading due west. Marsaxlokk then reports ten aircraft over Hal Far heading towards the sea. Anti-aircraft guns at Ta Karach and Delimara open fire, scattering the enemy formations. Six CR 42 fighters are then seen over Rabat heading east, while four others head west over Tarxien. No bombs are dropped.
1300-1340 hrs Air raid alert for five enemy bombers and five fighters approaching the Island. Four Malta fighters are scrambled. The raiders cross the coast over Spinola at 16000 feet, passing from north to south. Bombs are dropped in the sea off St Julians, on Gzira and Marsa, on Grand Harbour, on the eastern edge of Luqa aerodrome and between Giacomo and Hal Far. The head away over Delimara. Civilian property is damaged and some civilians injured. Ack Ack guns engage and Malta fighters are airborne; no claims.
1845 hrs Two mines are reported at Mellieha by 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment..
2125 hrs Air raid alert for two enemy bombers which approaches the Island from the North East and drops bombs on land near Tal Bajjada searchlight and in the sea south of Delimara. Searchlights are illuminated but unable to locate the raiders.
2209 hrs Two Wellington bombers which approached the Island during the raid land safely at Luqa.
2220 hrs Raiders passed sounds.
2225-2310 hrs Air raid alert for enemy aircraft which approach the Island but do not cross the coast. Nine bombs are dropped about a mile out to sea between Delimara and Benghaisa.
0045-0107 hrs Air raid alert for a single enemy bomber which approaches from the north, skirts the coast of the Island and drops incendiary bombs in the Kalkara/Cospicua area as well as in the sea off Leonardo. Searchlights are illuminated but unable to locate the raider.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 14 DECEMBER 1940
ROYAL NAVY Swordfish aircraft 830 Squadron attack Naples, damaging the Italian heavy cruiser Pola.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS No 1 Works Company completed Hompesch Ack Ack gun position and accommodation. Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 4; dealt with 4 (Italian 130lb x 1; 43lb x 3).
(1) Recollections of a Malta HAA Gunner, Maurice G Agius, Allied Publications 2008
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