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GOVERNOR REACTS TO PUBLIC CONCERN
The introduction of compulsory conscription has caused a certain amount of tension among Maltese communities, it has been reported. While many have responded positively to assisting in the defence of Malta, relatives of some facing the call-up have expressed strong emotions at the prospect of their menfolk engaging in battle.
To calm the situation, the Governor defended his policy in a Rediffusion broadcast to civilians across the Island:
“The coming months may bring situations which will require our biggest possible efforts, and we may need to use all our resources of all kinds to cope with the problem. We must be as strong as possible in order to ensure that all attacks are decisively beaten off, should they be attempted. The Government must, therefore be in a position to utilise the resources of Malta (including the manpower) to the best advantage, and it is for that reason that conscription of manpower is being brought into being.” (1)
AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 24 FEBRUARY 1941
0700-0715 hrs Air raid alert for two ME 109 fighters which cross the coast over Grand Harbour and then retreat without launching any attack.
1017-1055 hrs Air raid alert for four JU 88 bombers escorted by five ME 109 fighters which approach the Island from the east, cross the coast over Delimara and drop bombs 60 yards from a gun position and on the Hal Far road at Benghaisa. They are engaged by Ack Ack: no claims. Eight Hurricane fighters are scrambled and come within sight of the raiders, who swing away west and then north. Anti aircraft guns also engage and one gun position reports two aircraft smoking badly as they retreat.
Enemy casualties Oberfahrnrich Roman Heil, III/StG 1, pilot, and Gefreiter Heinrich Stamm, III/StG 1, wireless operator of a Junkers JU 87 Stuka shot down, picked up from the sea by RAF Launch and taken prisoner.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 23 FEBRUARY 1941
ROYAL NAVY HMS Upright from Malta attacked the ‘Fanny Brunner’ class merchant vessel Silvia Tripcovich en route for Libya, which burned out and sank.
AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland.
KALAFRANA One Sunderland arrived from Middle East with passengers.
(1) Malta Diary of A War, Michael Galea, PEG 1992
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