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The Chief of the Air Staff has told the War Cabinet in London that Malta must be filled with fighter aircraft in order to maintain itself against its unfavourable geographical position so close to Sicily, where a large bomber force could be assembled. If our fighter aircraft flew away from Malta [to attack convoys] he said, they left the Island liable to enemy attack.
The radius round Malta over which fighter aircraft can operate does not extend far enough to enable them to intercept enemy transport aircraft carrying personnel or stores to Cyrenaica. The main conclusion of the discussion was that the War Cabinet cannot currently be certain of interrupting the enemy supply line to Tripoli.
FRIENDLY FIRE INCIDENT
Flying Officer Adrian Warburton of 69 Squadron had a lucky escape today when his Maryland was attacked by a Hurricane fighter over Malta. F/O Warburton took off from Luqa this morning for a test flight prior to a reconnaissance mission planned for later in the day.
Meanwhile Hurricane fighters were scrambled to intercept an incoming formation of a JU 88 bomber escorted by ME 109s. The Maryland was mistaken for an enemy raider and Hurricane pilot F/O I Westmacott attacked. His starboard engine and undercarriage damaged, F/O Warburton was forced to crash-land at Luqa. He was unhurt.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 14 APRIL TO DAWN 15 APRIL 1941
0942-1020 hrs Air raid alert for one JU 88 bomber escorted by ten ME 109 fighters as it carries out reconnaissance of Grand Harbour at 25000 feet. Malta fighters are scrambled and anti-aircraft guns engage heavily; no claims.
2124-2202 hrs Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft which approaches from the north and is engaged by anti-aircraft guns, whereupon it retreats north over St Paul’s Bay. Minutes later the aircraft returns to attack St Paul’s Bay where it is illuminated by searchlights and heavily engaged by anti-aircraft guns; no claims. One flare is dropped in the sea.
OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 14 APRIL 1941
AIR HQ 69 Squadron Maryland reconnaissance Tripoli noted 8 merchant vessels; engine trouble necessitated immediate return. Maryland patrolled area between Cape Bon and Trapani; no ships seen. 148 Squadron Four Wellingtons night bombing raid on Tripoli harbour. Average height of bombing 6-7000 feet: anti-aircraft fire less accurate at this height.
4th Bn THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT REGIMENT) 24 unexploded bombs found in B Company area from previous air raid, reported to bomb disposal squad.
1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT 5 WOs/NCOs attended a four hour bomb reconnaissance course.
1st Bn DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT 0030 hrs One man was injured in Valletta by bomb splinters.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 7; dealt with 1 (50kg).
2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT Two conscripts joined the Battalion. Three bombs are dropped near a defence posts which do not exploded; one is found and identified as 250kg with a fuze marked 50, reported to bomb disposal squad.
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