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REINFORCEMENTS BRING LATEST BOMB DISPOSAL INFORMATION & EQUIPMENT
“Lt G D Carroll and Sgt Holland who are trained and experienced in bomb disposal have sailed via the long sea route. Date of arrival Malta not known. It is intended that they should strengthen your bomb disposal organisation. Lt Carroll is in possession of all the latest information in respect of bomb disposal up to the time of embarkation.”
Since November, a single Royal Engineers officer, Lt E E C Talbot, GC, has been responsible for all unexploded bombs across the Island, outside of Royal Navy or RAF premises. The increased intensity of bombing raids since the arrival of the Luftwaffe in Sicily has resulted in more unexploded bombs. Should the current BD officer be out of action for any period, the Island’s communities would be left vulnerable.
At the same time, a large quantity of bomb disposal equipment was loaded, along with other stores for Malta, aboard SS Waimarama:
- 75000 HE 25 pdr; 5000 18 pdr smoke; 5000 18 pdr shrapnel; 40000 18 pdr HE; 3500 3.7” Howitzer; 10000 mines shrapnel; 10000 detonators; 10000 cartridges; 516000 0.45” auto Colt; green signal rockets 575; general ordnance 492 tons.
- 28 ambulances, 25 motor cycles, 19 lorries, 10 cars, three water trailers and 17 other vehicles, plus 31 tons of motor transport stores
- 525 tons of general Royal Engineers stores, 380 tons of timber and 3½ tons of bomb disposal equipment;
- 917 tons of general military supplies and stores, 248 tons of NAAFI and victualling stores, 17 tons of medical stores and 121 tons of other ammunition and explosives
Meanwhile, spare parts for 60 mortars which should have been sent to the Island last June have not arrived. The Governor and Commander in Chief has written to the War Office asking for the supplies to be traced, as they are now urgently needed. However, according to the War Office, the spares were definitely loaded on a convoy some months ago and may have been misdirected on arrival in Malta.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 3 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 4 FEBRUARY 1941
Weather Cold and unsettled.
1142-1152 hrs Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber which approaches from the south east and flies over the Island at 12000 feet on reconnaissance. Two Hurricanes are scrambled and anti-aircraft guns opened fire: no claims.
Military casualties Gunner Bert Coote, 40 Battery, 13 Mobile Coast Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery.
OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 3 FEBRUARY 1941
AIR HQ 0812-1055 hrs Maryland photoreconnaissance Tripoli Harbour sighted four destroyers and twenty merchant vessels with another heading for harbour. Anti-aircraft opened fire: intense and accurate. The Maryland was attacked by an Italian G50 fighter and returned fire: no damage observed.
Rome radio announced that the Spitfire overdue from yesterday’s reconnaissance mission came down yesterday near Viareggio and the pilot was taken prisoner.
LUQA 69 Squadron One Maryland photoreconnaissance Tripoli attacked by a G 50.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 1.
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