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ACK ACK AND SEARCHLIGHT PERSONNEL DISEMBARK
Cruisers HMS Gloucester and Southampton, entered Grand Harbour today carrying reinforcements for Malta. The cruisers embarked from Alexandria on Monday in the company of two destroyers. They bring much-needed additions to the Island’s anti-aircraft defences, including Royal Artillery and Searchlight personnel. The ships were quickly unloaded and sailed immediately to rejoin the Mediterranean Fleet.
WAR OFFICE TAKES OVER SUPPLY OF MALTA CIVILIANS
The War Office has decided to assume responsibility for the entire supply of key perishable foods for Malta, under new measures agreed today. The Island’s civilian supplies have until now been organised by the Colonial Office. From today, all orders for beef, mutton, pork, butter, margarine and grated cheese will be placed with Middle East war command, copy to the War Office. Civilian and military supply needs will be shown separately in cabled orders.
However, the Middle East has no cold storage space available for perishable foodstuffs. Shipments from Australia will be timed to enable immediate onward shipment from Port Said to Malta. To facilitate this, the Island’s Governor and Commander in Chief has been asked to submit to the War Office, copy to the Middle East, estimated civilian requirements for the next six months for each of the named food items.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 8 JANUARY TO DAWN 9 JANUARY 1941
OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 8 JANUARY 1941
ROYAL NAVY Gloucester and Southampton arrived with military draft from the Middle East, disembarked personnel and sailed to join Senior Officer Force H for operation MC4. Janus remained for quick docking.
AIR HQ 0628-1050 hrs Maryland reconnaissance Cagliari: two destroyers, seven merchant vessels 1500-4000 tons, eight unidentified seaplanes; Trapani four destroyers, seven merchant vessels 2000 tons. Slight heavy and medium Ack Ack very inaccurate; visibility poor. 0616-1117 hrs Maryland reconnaissance Naples: one Littorio battleship, two Cavour battleships, two auxiliaries and large number of merchant vessels. Mission disrupted by two Macchi 200 fighters which chased at 12000 feet but failed to intercept. Messina: three cruisers, five destroyers, one merchant vessel 5000 tons heading north. 0647-1142 hrs Maryland reconnaissance Taranto for shipping: outer harbour one damaged Cavour battleship, nine merchant vessels 1500-4000 tons; inner harbour four cruisers, two destroyers, two torpedo boats, plus entering harbour two 3000 ton merchant vessels. One Macchi 200 fighter approached at 5000 feet and followed the Maryland to the Gulf of Taranto; no combat. As a result of reconnaissance ten Wellington bombers despatched to attack Naples tonight. 228 Squadron left for reconnaissance western Ionian Sea returned 0616 hrs with engine trouble.
LUQA 431 Flight: 1 Maryland reconnaissance Cagliari and Trapani; 1 Maryland reconnaissance Taranto; 1 Maryland reconnaissance Messina and Naples chased out by Macchi 200s. 148 Squadron 10 Wellingtons bombing raid on Naples.
8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT Northern Infantry Brigade exercise No 11: counter attack in the Wardia Sector by 4th Bn The buffs, supported by three I tanks.
2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT Brigade Commander toured Rinella Sector.
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