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21 February 1941: Reinforcements for Malta – 1300 Troops Disembark

21 Feb

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OPERATION MC 8 DELIVERS TROOPS SAFELY

HMS Gloucester enters Malta (1)

HMS Gloucester enters Malta

Two battalions of infantry arrived today to reinforce the Malta garrison. Light cruisers HMS Orion, Gloucester, Ajax, and destroyers Mohawk, Nubian and Diamond entered Grand Harbour just before dawn this morning and docked at 0630 hours.  

Aboard Gloucester were 655 officers and ranks of 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment.  1st Bn Hampshire Regiment arrived in two ships, 339 officers and ranks by Ajax and 372 from Orion, which also carried individuals from other Malta-based units.

Forming part of a two-pronged Operation MC 8 which set out from Alexandria two days ago, the Malta convoy, Force B, was covered on the journey by two battleships and nine destroyers of Force A. Their passage passed without incident and their approach to harbour appears to have been unobserved by the enemy. 

Disembarkation of men and baggage began without delay and all men, except baggage parties, were clear by 1030 hrs. The convoy also carried tons of equipment, seventeen Bren carriers and other vehicles, sixty motor cycles, and a large quantity of guns and ammunition. The convoy ships sailed at dusk, except for Diamond which remains at Malta for refit. 

1st Bn Hampshire Regiment will be located in the area Ghaxaq-Bubaqra-Qrendi-Mqabba and will come under the command of the Southern Infantry Brigade.  The Battalion will be provided with as many bicycles as possible to make them mobile.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 21 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 22 FEBRUARY 1941

Weather  Fine.

0630 hrs Three Cruisers disembark reinforcements including 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment and 1st Bn Hampshire Regiment.

1134-1155 hrs Air raid alert for six enemy bombers escorted by ten ME 109 fighters which approach the Island from the north and circle to the south east at 23000 feet. Eight Hurricane fighters are scrambled.  In response, six of the enemy aircraft dive and make a half-hearted attack on the Hurricanes but then withdraw.  No bombs are dropped.

1407-1412 hrs  Air raid alert for one JU 88 bomber which crosses the coast and is engaged by anti-aircraft fire before retreating. No bombs are dropped.

1850-1910 hrs Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

1955-2016 hrs Air raid alert for one enemy aircraft which crosses the Island and is engaged by anti-aircraft fire, then retreats without launching any attack.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 21 FEBRUARY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Orion, Gloucester, Ajax, Mohawk, Nubian and Diamond arrived at dawn and sailed at dusk leaving Diamond to refit. 

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland. 0535 hrs Sunderland reconnaissance of western Ionian Sea.  

KALAFRANA  One Sunderland returned from Gibraltar.

LUQA 148 Squadron  Six Wellingtons bombing raid on Catania and Comiso aerodromes.

4th Bn THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT REGIMENT)  The Battalion acted as hosts to arriving Hampshire and Cheshire Regiments.

2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Two officers and one other rank arrived by convoy. C Company handed over defence of the emergency landing ground at Loreto to 1st Bn Hampshire Regiment and reverted to Ghar Dalam.

1st Bn DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  Three officers arrived by convoy

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB dealt with 3 (3 x 200kg German).

ROYAL ARTILLERY  One officer arrived by convoy.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  One other rank arrived by convoy.

 

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Posted by on February 21, 2016 in 1941, February 1941

 

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