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15 December 1940: Sliema Now a Ghost Town Says Evacuee

15 Dec

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Sliema is 'like a ghost town'

Sliema is ‘like a ghost town’

CHRISTMAS PREPARATIONS BRING SENSE OF LOSS TO CHILD REFUGEE

Young Charles Grech of Sliema, now living as a refugee in Mdina, recalls how his family approached the first Christmas of the war in Malta: 

“We decided to lay on something special to celebrate this first war Christmas…  [My father] told me, ‘You know what we should do!  We’ll go down to Sliema and fetch the Christmas decorations, festoons and lights and put them up over here.’  As he used to import these decorations himself, we had loads of them at home. 

Next morning, we woke up early and, after hearing Mass at the Cathedral, we went down to Sliema.  It was like a ghost town.  Not a soul could be seen in the streets except for the odd emaciated dog or cat.  The shops were all boarded up and the streets which had always been full of life, were now deserted.  Even our footsteps echoed in the silence.  One could hear a pin drop… When I looked out of the balcony, from where I used to look out on a lot of activity before we left Sliema, I saw an empty street.  Houses were all closed and there was no sign of traffic or life.  I felt sad at this.” (1)

NAVY NEEDS MOTOR BOATS

The Royal Navy has launched an appeal with an advertisement in The Sunday Times of Malta today:

“Wanted – motor boats.  Small fast motor boats are required for Naval Service.  Any person owning such a boat and willing to sell it is requested to forward particulars forthwith to the Admiral Superintendent, HM Dockyard.” (2)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 DECEMBER TO DAWN 16 DECEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine and cold. 

1050-1147 hrs  Air raid alert for two enemy formations approaching the Island.  Six Hurricane fighters are scrambled, as the formations head towards Grand Harbour.  A Sunderland aircraft is also approaching the Island.  After 30 minutes the enemy formation is still some distance to the south of the Island; Malta fighters fly south to investigate.  One Hurricane lands at Ta Qali.  No air raid develops and the Sunderland lands safely.

1645 hrs  Two mines are reported at Mellieha by 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment and rendered safe.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 15 DECEMBER 1940

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; dealt with 2 (Italian 43lb).

(1)  Raiders Passed, Charles Grech (translated by Joseph Galea Debono), Midsea Books 1998

(2)  Malta: Diary of a War, Michael Galea, PEG Malta, 1992

 

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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in 1940, December 1940

 

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