1 February 1941: Three Cities Locked Down in Case of Sabotage

01 Feb

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MALTA GARRISON 1 FEBRUARY 1941 – click here

Zabbar Gate

Zabbar Gate


Measures have been announced today to close the area of the Three Cities during the hours of curfew. The three adjacent communities of Cospicua, Senglea and Vittoriosa surround the Dockyard.  The move is intended to secure the Dockyard area against any attempt by saboteurs to create a diversion during a major attack on the Island.

A ring of bastions already surrounds the area. Whenever code ‘Asia’ is in force, placing the Island on full war status all entrances to the three Cities will be closed. Salvatore Gate, Zabbar Gate and Polverista Gate will be locked by the Police.  St Lawrence Deni Bastion will be blocked with barbed wire.  The small footbridge connecting the Naval tanks with Corradino will be guarded by personnel of the local Bofors gun position.  The Ghain Dwieli tunnel entrance will be guarded from one hour before darkness until full daylight. 

Extra security has also been introduced for the Ghain Dwieli tunnel during air raids. In future the tunnel will also be guarded with a temporary road block from the air raid alert until the all clear, during which time nobody will be allowed to pass in or out of Cospicua, unless they can prove they are on official duty.


  • Raids 58 (including 6 night raids)
  • Total time from warning to all clear: 31 hrs 35 minutes
  • Average length of raid: 32.7 minutes
  • Civilians killed: 63


  • 261 Squadron 28 Hurricanes (8 unserviceable)
  • 806 Squadron 3 Fulmars (1 unserviceable; 4 Gladiators (1 unserviceable)


Weather  Fine.

0944-1010 hrs  Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber which flies over the Island, apparently on reconnaissance.   No bombs are dropped.  Malta fighters are scrambled; no interception.

1140-1220 hrs  Air raid alert for one SM 79 escorted by 12 CR 42 fighters which fly over the Island at 20000 feet. Hurricane fighters are scrambled and shoot down one CR42 is shot down on land at St Andrews Barracks in the Pembroke area, and another in the sea north of Malta.  Both pilots are confirmed killed.

1342-1352 hrs  Air raid alert for two enemy aircraft reported five miles north east of Grand Harbour. Four Malta fighters are scrambled; raid does not materialise.

Military casualties  Sapper Jack Abela, Royal Engineers, Malta Territorial Force.

Enemy casualties  Sergente Maggiore Andrea Baudone, 156th Gruppo Autonomo, pilot of Fiat CR 42 shot down and died.


AIR HQ 148 Squadron Wellington aircraft attacked Tripoli.   0550-1231 hrs Sunderland anti-convoy patrol of Eastern Tunisian coast with a striking force standing by. 1013-1300 hrs Spitfire despatched on special photoreconnaissance task: not completed due to cloud.  0945-1159 hrs  Maryland reconnaissance of Syracuse, Augusta, Catania and Messina for ships in harbour. 0955-1530 hrs Maryland photoreconnaissance of Taranto.  Slight inaccurate heavy Ack Ack. 0955 hrs one merchant vessel is spotted with two Cant flying boats patrolling nearby. 1451 hrs A Sunderland took off to intercept and attack an Italian ship leaving Tunis; striking force also standing by.  Unable to locate ships; returned 2145 hrs.  

Photoreconnaissance results (to treat interpretation with reserve): Taranto one battleship, four cruisers, seven destroyers, four torpedo boats, three merchant ships, 27 Cant flying boats; Catania port three merchant vessels, aerodrome three SM 79 bombers, 42 JU 87 bombers, 12 JU 88 bombers, two JU 52 transport aircraft, 14 Macchi 200 fighters, one CR 42 fighter plus other aircraft; Augusta three submarines, 18 Cant flying boats; Syracuse no ships, seaplane base not shown.  

LUQA 69 Squadron One Maryland photoreconnaissance Syracuse, Augusta, Catania, Messina; one Maryland photoreconnaissance Taranto.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Defence posts manned from 1800 hrs to 0700 hrs each night. Ghain Tuffieha camp evacuated due to artillery practice.   


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Posted by on February 1, 2016 in February 1941


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