7 February 1941: Secret Strike Mission Launched From Malta

07 Feb

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Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber


Eight Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bombers landed at Malta this evening in preparation for a top secret mission to be launched from the Island.  The Whitleys left UK early today and flew partly over occupied France to reach the Malta.  On board were 38 paratroopers who will carry out the special mission codenamed ‘Operation Colossus’.  The troops are expected to spend some time in Malta in preparation for their mission, the date and location of which remains a carefully guarded secret. 


A Fortress Order was issued today notifying troops that “damage has occurred to both the internal and the stands of general alarm sirens”. New instructions have been issued to ensure the proper use of sirens to avoid further damage:

when started from rest, the handle will be turned slowly and gradually brought up to full speed;

the siren will not be forcibly stopped but allowed to run down without being checked by hand

the sirens are top-heavy and if knocked over the stands are broken. To avoid this, companies must mount their sirens on a wooden base at least three feet square, securing the legs by metal clips.


It has been reported to Fortress HQ that various crops have been removed by troops from private lands. In order to safeguard troops [from such accusations], it is essential that, should any serviceman see an unauthorised person entering private property and helping themselves to the crops, they should report the matter immediately to the authorities. 

Meanwhile troops are reminded that the removal of private crops is a very serious offence and is liable to cause ill-feeling between farmers and military personnel. Strong action will therefore be taken against any troops caught taking crops from private land, unless they have express permission from the farmer.


Weather  Unsettled; strong wind from the north west and heavy swells.

1725-1741 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

1841-1900 hrs  Air raid alert for one enemy aircraft which passes briefly over the north coast and then retreats over St George’s. No bombs are dropped.

2115-2250 hrs  Air raid alert for enemy aircraft which approach over Marsaxlokk and drop bombs between Marnisi Palace and Luqa aerodrome. Soon afterwards the raider returns and drops bombs between Tarxien and Tal Handaq before retreating over Qrendi.

2306-0115 hrs  Air raid alert for approaching enemy aircraft. Three heavy high explosive bombs are dropped near Verdala Palace causing slight damage to the Palace and military property, and killing one child.  Bombs are also dropped on the areas of Luqa and Hal Far.  Raiders also machine gun Luqa, Hal Far and San Pietru.  Four bombs are dropped in a field near post R12 and fail to explode.

Civilian casualties  Zabbar  Carmela Vella, age 14.


AIR HQ Arrivals 8 Whitley for special operation. Sunderland patrol off Tunisian coast for shipping. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 1.


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Posted by on February 7, 2016 in 1941, February 1941


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