RSS

Monthly Archives: April 2016

23 April 1941: Malta Pilots’ Nerves Now ‘Frayed’

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

“Valletta and Floriana are showing their battle scars today. Roads, avenues and houses have been hit, and water mains punctured.”  War Diary, 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment

COULD PILOT’S DEATH HAVE BEEN AVOIDED?

The morale of Malta’s fighter pilots took another hit today as one more of their number was lost following an air battle with Luftwaffe fighters. Canadian Flying Officer Henri F Auger was pilot of one of six Hurricanes of 261 Squadron scrambled to intercept five enemy fighters and a JU 88 on a reconnaissance mission over Malta early this evening. 

Auger’s Hurricane was hit and badly damaged in a dogfight and crashed into the sea off Delimara. Auger managed to bale out safely in the sea between Filfla and the mainland, where he was spotted by another aircraft, signaling his whereabouts.  However, the rescue launch was not sent out immediately as enemy aircraft were still in the vicinity.  When the launch did arrive at the scene some time later, there was no trace of F/O Auger. (1)

F/O C D Whittingham expressed the frustration of his fellow pilots in his diary for today: “Auger ran into a bunch of 109s. Saw his parachute coming down, south of the Island. But he was never picked up. The pilots in the squadron were all very indignant because they felt that control should have sent some searchers up. Things being as they are … people’s nerves somewhat frayed, what with the stream of so many casualties, bombing at night and bad news in Greece and Libya. There was a general moan, and Ginger got some pretty outspoken abuse from various members of the Squadron.” (2)

Italian auxiliary cruiser Egeo sunk today

Italian auxiliary cruiser Egeo sunk

MALTA DESTROYERS HEAD OUT TO ATTACK CONVOY

Malta-based destroyers Jervis, Jaguar, Janus and Juno set out today to attack a major German convoy in the Mediterranean.  Three merchant ships – to be carrying essential supplies to German military forces in North Africa – were spotted by reconnaissance steaming out of Naples with an escort of four destroyers.  Two more Axis destroyers and two light cruisers had also been seen nearby.

As they approached the point of interception with the convoy the Malta destroyers encountered an Italian armed motor ship steaming unprotected out of Benghasi towards Tripoli. The destroyers attacked and sank the Italian ship but the convoy managed to escape damage.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 APRIL TO DAWN 24 APRIL 1941

Weather  Fine.    

0840-0935 hrs  Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber escorted by six fighters. The JU 88 crosses the Island on reconnaissance from the south east to Grand Harbour.  Hurricanes and anti-aircraft guns engage; no claims.

0943-0950 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

1217-1250 hrs  Air raid alert for six enemy aircraft which patrol 15 miles off the east coast of Malta. Six Hurricanes are scrambled but the raiders do not cross the coast.

1741-1855 hrs  Air raid alert for one JU 88 which crosses the Island on reconnaissance escorted by five ME 109s. Six Hurricanes and anti-aircraft guns engage; no claims.  One Hurricane crashes; the pilot bales out.  A search is launched but the pilot is not located.

0032-0103 hrs  Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber which crosses the coast on reconnaissance at high altitude. Heavy anti-aircraft guns engage; no claims.

Military casualties  Flying Officer Henri Ferdinand Auger, Royal Air Force, 261 Squadron.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 23 APRIL 1941

ROYAL NAVY Destroyers sailed to intercept a southbound convoy covered by a force of two cruisers with destroyers. On the way out a northbound transport of 4000 tons was sunk but the convoy was possibly warned by this action and took evasive action, so not located.   

AIR HQ 69 Squadron Maryland patrol area between Cape Bon and Trapanix. Maryland patrols eastern Tunisian coast AM and PM. 148 Squadron 2 Wellington bombers night raid on Tripoli Harbour facilities. 

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  PM  The PAD Platoon were called out with their fire engine to assist with putting out a fire in Valletta.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 3; dealt with 0.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Six storemen proceeded to Ordnance Dump, Gozo, for duty.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  One secton of carriers returned from Gozo.

(1) From website Battle of Britain London Monument 

(2) Diary of Flying Officer C D Whittingham, from Malta – the Hurricane Years, Christopher Shores, Brian Cull, Nicola Malizia, Grub Street 1987

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 23, 2016 in 1941, April 1941

 

Tags: , , , , ,

22 April 1941: Night Blitz on Valletta and Harbours

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

Enemy flares illuminate bomb targets (NWMA, Malta)

Enemy flares illuminate bomb targets (NWMA, Malta)

OVER 300 BOMBS TOTALLING 34 TONS DROPPED IN A SINGLE RAID

A massive air raid was launched over Malta’s capital tonight in what is believed is an attempt to destroy the convoy which arrived yesterday. The air raid alert just after sunset was followed by what authorities described as an endless stream of aircraft heading towards the Island.  At least 40 bombers were involved in the raid, including JU 87 dive-bombers, JU 88 and Heinkel HE 111s, as well as accompanying ME 110 fighters. 

1st Bn Cheshire Regiment whose job is the defence of Valletta and the Dockyard areas describe what happened:

“Soon after dark Malta experienced what is now known as a ‘blitz’. Many aircraft were over for about 1¾  hours.  A large number of flares were dropped, making the night as bright as day.  Quantities of bombs were dropped, and some mines, a large percentage of which came down on civilian buildings. 

Two bombs landed about 20 yards outside our Battalion HQ, and a third landed right in the courtyard, hitting a slit trench, which was luckily empty – and narrowly missing one which was full of men. Other bombs fell in our Company areas but there were no casualties.” 

A total of 36 high explosive bombs of 500kg and 333 of 50kg were dropped, 40 houses around the Dockyard and across Valletta were demolished. Ten civilians are reported missing, believed buried under debris, four have been rescued so far, all seriously injured.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 APRIL TO DAWN 23 APRIL 1941

Weather  Fine; cloudy later.    

0625-0650 hrs  Air raid alert as enemy aircraft approaching the Island and carry out reconnaissance. Eight Hurricanes are scrambled; nothing to report.

1609-1730 hrs  Air raid alert for a large formation of ME 109s escorting one JU 88 bomber approaching the Island from the north. While the fighters circle, the bomber crosses the Island on reconnaissance at 2200 feet.  Eight Hurricanes are scrambled and engage the fighters, while anti-aircraft guns engage the JU 88; no claims.

1810-1840 hrs  Air raid alert for a single unidentified enemy aircraft which circles the Island, probably on meteorological reconnaissance. Four Hurricanes are scrambled but the aircraft does not cross the coast.

2038-2206 hrs  Air raid alert. An endless stream of aircraft is reported heading to Malta from Sicily.  40 enemy aircraft, including ME 110 fighters and JU 88 bombers which carry out a large-scale bombing raid, dropping numerous bombs and mines on the Dockyard, damaging offices and communications and destroying a Sergeants’ Mess.  Flares are used on a moonless night to illuminate targets.  A trawler is also damaged.  Bombs are also dropped on Hal Far, Zurrieq, Safi and Ta Qali.  A Hurricane night fighter is scrambled while searchlights illuminate the raiders but they are too far away for interception.  Heavy anti-aircraft guns engage with 13 predicted barrages and Bofors also engage; one JU 88 is damaged.  One enemy mine is exploded in mid-air.

Civilian casualties Valletta  Vincent Schembri, age 60.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 22 APRIL 1941

ROYAL NAVY Jervis (Captain D14) with Juno, Jaguar and Janus returned from Tripoli convoy operations.  Another heavy night bombing and minelaying attack by enemy aircraft. 

AIR HQ 69 Squadron Maryland special reconnaissance Tunisian coast, sighted two merchant vessels at sea on the same course and a destroyer hugging the coast.  

HAL FAR  New draft arrived to join 830 Squadron.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 20; dealt with 3 (3 x 50kg).

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 22, 2016 in 1941, April 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

21 April 1941: Royal Artillery Reinforcements Land at Malta

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R) 

BRECONSHIRE BRINGS 380 TROOPS AND FUEL SUPPLIES

Malta's new Bomb Disposal Officer Lt G D Carroll

Malta’s new Bomb Disposal Officer Lt G D Carroll

The fast transport ship Breconshire docked safely today after the Mediterranean Fleet engineered her safe passage to Malta.  380 troops disembarked after a three day journey from Alexandria during which the only enemy action had been from individual aircraft shadowing the convoy.  Having detached from Breconshire and her escort destroyer Encounter at dusk yesterday, the Fleet steered southwards to launch a bombardment of Tripoli at 0500 hrs this morning in an attack designed to divert enemy attention from the vital Malta supply convoy.

Breconshire was unable to enter Grand Harbour, which is currently closed due to the large number of mines; Marsamxett Harbour remains open. As well as troops Breconshire was carrying essential supplies of aviation spirit, oil fuel and general stores.

Reinforcements disembarked: 

  • Royal Artillery officers 6 other ranks 360
  • 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers other ranks 3
  • Royal Engineers officers 1 other ranks 6
  • 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment officers 2
  • 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment officers 2
  • Total: officers 11 other ranks 369

MALTA HAS A NEW BOMB DISPOSAL OFFICER

A new Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officer arrived today aboard Breconshire.  Lt G D Carroll is to take over as RE Bomb Disposal Officer Malta from Lt E E C Talbot, RE, who is entitled to respite leave after six months’ continuous service.  The Bomb Disposal Officer is responsible for all unexploded bombs across the Island outside of Royal Navy or RAF premises.

Before being posted to Malta, Lt Carroll served in the London Blitz where he dealt with high explosive bombs up to 1800kg including a large number of delayed action fuzes. He arrived with Sgt Holland who is also experienced in bomb disposal.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 21 APRIL TO DAWN 22 APRIL 1941

Weather  Fine.    

0746-0801 hrs; 1038-1120 hrs  Air raid alert; raids do not materialise.

1813-1848 hrs  Air raid alert for six ME 109s escorting one JU 88 bomber approaching from the north. The JU 88 crosses Grand Harbour at 21000 feet.   Eight Hurricanes are scrambled and engage the raiders, destroying one ME 109 and another probable.  Anti-aircraft guns also engage; no claims.

2356-0122 hrs  Air raid alert for 20 enemy aircraft which approach singly from the north and use flares to carry out widespread bombing; the main target is Grand Harbour. Bombs are dropped from varying heights from 1000 to 10000 feet over the Dockyard and surroundings.  Two aircraft lay mines off the south of Grand Harbour from a height of 2000 feet.  One Hurricane night fighter is scrambled but searchlights provide no illumination of the raiders; no engagement.  Anti-aircraft guns engage the raiders with eleven predicted barrages; no claims.

0505-0527 hrs  Air raid alert for six enemy aircraft which approach Grand Harbour from the north and drop bombs on the Dockyard area. Raiders also drop bombs in the water before crossing the coast over Benghaisa.  Heavy anti-aircraft guns engage the raiders with predicted barrage once at 10000 feet; no claims.

Civilian casualties Zeitun  Anna Spiteri, age 21.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 21 APRIL 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Breconshire loaded with aviation spirit, oil fuel and general supplies, arrived with Encounter under cover of the Fleet movement to bombard Tripoli.  Many mines in Grand Harbour which was closed but Marsamxett Harbour remained open.  Submarine Undaunted arrived at Malta from Gibraltar to join the 1st Submarine Flotilla.

AIR HQ 69 Squadron Maryland photo-reconnaissance Tripoli Harbour: one merchant vessel capsized and the small mole have been damaged in yesterday’s raid. Maryland reconnaissance eastern Tunisian coast. 148 Squadron 8 Wellington bombers night bombing attack on Tripoli harbour as a precursor to naval bombardment.      

HAL FAR  A civilian labourer fell from a hangar roof and sustained heavy injuries.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Work on many defences is complete. A programme of training on machine guns and other small arms, including grenades and Molotov cocktails, is now underway.  5 more NCOs attended a bomb reconnaissance course. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS The RE (Malta Section) is now increased in strength. Major H D Tanner assumes Company Command, 24 Fortress Company, replacing W De Piro-Cowley. Lt G D Carroll, RE and Sgt Holland arrived and posted to Bomb Disposal Section. Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 17 (14 near Rabat).

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

20 April 1941: Strain of Air Raids Severe, Says Clergyman

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

Two Bristol Bombay aircraft arrived today

Two Bristol Bombay aircraft arrived today

“I FIND MYSELF SHIVERING AS THOUGH I HAD THE AGUE”

Rev Nicholls, Chancellor of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, recalls an Easter under bombardment:

Easter has come and gone, and it has seemed very strange in some ways. We had quite good congregations on Good Friday. On Easter Day we had over 100 communicants, which was good considering; Just as we were singing the “Easter Anthem”, we were given our 500th ‘Alert’ and we had some difficulty in accommodating the large congregation in the Crypt. On that night and on the eve, we had several hours of night bombing raids. By the way the Easter Offering was far more than I ever expected – over £20; some people must have put their hands very deeply into their pockets, for which I am very grateful.

The Huns have been very active here lately, and the strain is somewhat severe. At night when the siren wakes us, I find myself shivering as though I had the ague; that is only at night. It is horrible to hear the drone of the enemy getting louder, and then the crumps. But what about poor London, which has just had its worst raid of the war? (1)

CONVOY COMPLETES SECOND PHASE OF JOURNEY TO MALTA

The fast transport ship Breconshire made a successful rendezvous with the Mediterranean Fleet today to continue her 1000 mile journey from Alexandria to Malta.  Breconshire and her escort met the Fleet at 0800 hrs this morning as it was also joined by three cruisers and two destroyers.

At noon the ships met with eastbound convoy ME 7; destroyers Janus and Jervis joined the Fleet.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 APRIL TO DAWN 21 APRIL 1941

Weather  Fine.    

0814-0850 hrs  Air raid alert for one JU 88 which crosses the Island from south to north at 24000 feet. No bombs are dropped.  Eight Hurricanes are scrambled but do not intercept.  Ten anti-aircraft gun positions engage with heavy fire; no claims.  Six ME 109s also approach and attempt to intercept two Bombay aircraft arriving at Hal Far, but are driven off by anti-aircraft fire.  

1132-1215 hrs  Air raid alert for three Italian SM 79 bombers, escorted by six CR 42 and two ME 109 fighters which approach the Island from the north east at 19000 feet and cross the coast over Grand Harbour, dropping bombs on the Fort San Rocco area and in the sea. Anti-aircraft guns engage with light and heavy anti-aircraft fire.  Ten Hurricanes are also scrambled and engage, two succeeding in shooting down three CR 42s confirmed, and another unconfirmed, into the sea.  A search is launched for the enemy pilots who baled out but with no success.

0420-0505 hrs Air raid alert for three unidentified enemy aircraft which approach the Island singly from the north and drop bombs on Grand Harbour, near Hompesch, on Cospicua, Msida Creek, Tarxien, Zurrieq, south of Latnia and on Zeitun, where three houses are demolished. One civilian is killed and two are seriously wounded.  A number of Wellington bombers land during the raid.  One Hurricane night fighter is scrambled but unable to intercept due to poor visibility.

Military casualties  Sergeant Gilbert S Priestnall, Royal Marines, HMS St.Angelo. 

Civilian casualties Msida  Lucardo Vassallo, age 70.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 20 APRIL 1941

AIR HQ Arrivals 2 Bombay. 69 Squadron Maryland photo-reconnaissance of Tripoli.  Maryland patrol eastern Tunisian coast.  Glenn Martin patrol western Ionian Sea. 

HAL FAR Two Bombay aircraft arrived at Hal Far. One was attacked by enemy aircraft but landed safely. 

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Bombs fell near Battalion HQ during the night raid; damage negligible.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Sapper Zammit, no 576, awarded MBE for gallantry in rescuing RAF survivors of sinking.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  A sea mine reported off A Company’s area was later washed up south of St Julian’s Tower.

(1) Extract from diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St.Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta. Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 20, 2016 in 1941, April 1941

 

Tags: , ,

19 April 1941: Malta Submarine in Dramatic Rescue Attempt

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R) 

HM Submarine Regent

HM Submarine Regent

REGENT COMES UNDER FIRE ON YUGOSLAV COAST

A Malta-based submarine has been engaged in a dramatic mission to rescue British dignitaries and civilians from German-occupied Yugoslavia. The Balkan state has been under Axis occupation for several days following invasion by German and Italian troops.  As the enemy advanced rapidly, the British Ambassador Sir Ronald Campbell and his staff found themselves potentially stranded in a hostile country.  The Ambassador is understood to have cabled a message out to London and left immediately for the Yugoslav coast with the other British civilians. 

HM Submarine Regent was ordered to leave Malta on Thursday 17 April for the naval port of Kotor (1) in the hope of rescuing the stranded group.  However, within hours of her sailing, the Yugoslav government had signed an armistice with the Axis powers, due to come into effect at noon yesterday.  The submarine had to negotiate two minefields in her approach to Kotor. As Regent neared the harbour entrance, Lt Edward Stanley was sent up on deck to fly a white flag to signify a peaceful mission.  However, two German aircraft swooped down and dive-bombed the submarine, scoring a near-miss with a bomb which injured Lt Stanley in the chest. 

The white flag in place, the decision was taken to proceed with the mission and Lt D Lambert was sent ashore to meet the British Ambassador; he was immediately taken prisoner. The submarine’s commanding officer, Lt Cdr H C Browne, and a rating were also seriously wounded by machine gun fire from the shore.  Lt Cdr Browne was forced to depart without Ambassador Campbell, who it is believed has been taken prisoner.  

CONVOY ME 7 DEPARTS MALTA

Four merchant ships left Malta at dusk today, having delivered their supplies safely to the Island. British steamers City of Lincoln, Clan Ferguson, City of Manchester and Perthshire formed the supply convoy which was bombed within an hour of arriving in Grand Harbour on 23 March.  Both Lincoln and Perthshire were hit in the raids but are now fully seaworthy. 

The merchantmen were escorted on their departure today by four destroyers Jervis, Janus, Nubian and Diamond, the latter having completed refit at Malta.  They expect to rendezvous with other ships of the Mediterranean Fleet tomorrow for the steamers to be escorted back to Alexandria.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 APRIL TO DAWN 20 APRIL 1941

Weather  Fine.    

1214 hrs  Air raid alert for two ME 109 fighters which circle the Island and are engaged by Tigne anti-aircraft guns; no claims.

1511-1530 hrs; 1606 hrs  Air raid alert; raids do not materialise.

2018-2043 hrs Air raid alert for two JU 88 bombers which cross the coast singly and drop bombs in isolated localities causing no damage or casualties. Searchlights illuminate the raiders on two occasions and anti-aircraft guns engage heavily, causing the raiders to withdraw; no claims.

Military casualties  2nd Lieutenant Harry Leslie Deacon, Royal Army Service Corps.

Civilian casualties Msida  Nicolo Cassar, age 40; Michael Sammut, age 40; Jane Zammit, age 60; John Zammit, age 50; Joseph Zammit, age 65.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 19 APRIL 1941

ROYAL NAVY Convoy ME7 – City of Lincoln, Clan Ferguson, City of Manchester and Perthshire – sailed for Alexandria escorted by Jervis, Janus, Nubian and Diamond, the latter having completed refit at Malta. 

AIR HQ 69 Squadron Maryland reconnaissance Taranto; chased by three Macchi 200 fighters; no damage. Maryland reconnaissance western Ionian Sea. 148 Squadron 8 Wellington bombers night bombing attack on Tripoli Harbour.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 4; dealt with 2 (1 x 50kg; 1 x 500kg).

(1) Now in Montenegro 

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 19, 2016 in 1941, April 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

18 April 1941: Convoy Embarks With Vital Reinforcements

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R) 

ENEMY MUST BE DISTRACTED FROM ATTACKING SHIPS

Escort cruiser HMAS Perth

Escort cruiser HMAS Perth

The Mediterranean Fleet departed Alexandria at this morning to bring the supply ship Breconshire carrying essential reinforcements to Malta. Under Operation MD 2, the Fleet will also escort empty ships out of Malta.  Operation MD 3 will operate simultaneously, with bombardment of Tripoli designed to divert Axis attention from the convoy and allow its journey to be completed safely.

Three battleships, eight destroyers, two cruisers including ant-aircraft ship Calcutta and aircraft carrier Formidable sailed from Alexandria at 0700 hrs for Suda Bay to fuel.  At 1900 hrs Breconshire left Alexandria, escorted by the cruiser Perth and destroyer Hotspur.  The supply convoy is expected to rendezvous with the main fleet tomorrow.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 APRIL TO DAWN 19 APRIL 1941

Weather  Fine.    

0818-0930 hrs  Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber which approaches the Island with a fighter escort. While the JU 88 carries out reconnaissance over land, the escorting aircraft remain out to sea.  Anti-aircraft guns engage the bomber without result.

1047-1115 hrs; 1622-1654 hrs  Air raid alerts; raids do not materialise.

0306-0555 hrs Air raid alert for 25 enemy aircraft which approach the Island singly from the north. Bombs are dropped on Salina Bay, St George’s, Hal Far and Marsaxlokk, and the Dockyard, where naval buildings, lighters and tugs are damaged.  One tug and the Panamanian ship Margit are sunk in Kalkara Creek.   Minor blast damaged is caused at War Headquarters. The Old Fish Market is destroyed and civilian property considerably damaged.  Four civilians are killed and 15 wounded.  One searchlight is hit and put out of action.  One Hurricane night fighter is airborne for the first hours; no interception.  Anti-aircraft guns also engage three times with predicted barrage deflecting many aircraft from their course.  One JU 88 bomber is destroyed by a direct hit from a Bofors guns over Grand Harbour and crashes into the sea.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 18 APRIL 1941

AIR HQ 69 Squadron Maryland reconnaissance of Tripoli Harbour. Maryland reconnaissance Tunisian coast for enemy shipping.  Maryland reconnaissance eastern Ionian Sea. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 6; dealt with 1 (43lb incendiary).

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 18, 2016 in 1941, April 1941

 

Tags: , ,

17 April 1941: No Rifles for Malta Conscripts

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R) 

recruits with sticks 12000 CONSCRIPTS MAY BE WITHOUT ARMS

Malta does not have enough rifles to arm its new conscript troops. The number of new recruits now enrolled in the Island’s military forces will soon reach 2000, after conscription began on 3 March.   Between July and September last year the Governor and Commander in Chief put in five orders for 3830 rifles but none has yet received War Office authorisation. 

With the rise in infantry strengths since conscription the Island’s stocks of rifles are now considered very low and insufficient for tactical requirements. Stressing the urgency of the situation, Lt Gen Sir William Dobbie as asked that if the required weapons are not at present available in the UK, the Commander in Chief Middle East be instructed to supply a proportion immediately, with the balance despatched from India. 

SEA INVASION THREAT LOWERED; PARACHUTE THREAT REMAINS HIGH

Military chiefs in Malta have now decided that an attempted landing by night from the sea is unlikely. The Island was placed on high alert on 28 March following intelligence reports of Italian vessels patrolling in the vicinity of Malta.  The threat level for sea attack has now been lowered.  However precautions against parachute landings are still in place as the threat is still considered high.

SANDFLIES

The attention of all ranks has drawn to the great importance of surveying the localities occupied by their units and detachments, in order to discover the likely breeding places of flies, sandflies and mosquitoes, and to deal with these effectively. Such measures are believed effective when taken at this time of year, on account of the prodigious fertility of these insects, and their rapid rate of multiplication. 

All regimental officers have been asked that, in the interest of their men and of themselves, they possess a working knowledge of such preventative measures. Advice can be obtained from medical officers or from the Field Hygiene section.

MALTA NEEDS A REST CAMP

The Governor and Commander in Chief proposes to establish permanent rest camp in Malta. The facility is believed necessary as the strength of the British Garrison on the Island now numbers nearly 12000.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 17 APRIL TO DAWN 18 APRIL 1941

Weather  Fine.    

1535-1630 hrs   Air raid alert for six Italian CR 42 fighters which patrol off the coast of Malta at 19000 feet. Ten Hurricanes are scrambled but do not engage as the CR 42s turn back when still two miles offshore.  The Hurricanes have landed to refuel when a single JU 88 crosses the Island at 26000 feet.  Anti-aircraft guns engage; no claims.  Four of the Hurricanes take off again but the bomber recedes before they intercept. 

2047-2210 hrs  Air raid alert for 15 enemy aircraft which approach the Island from the south west. Five raiders cross the coast and drop bombs on the St Paul’s Bay area.  Searchlights illuminate two targets and intense fire from the anti-aircraft guns drives the raiders out to sea.

0330-0405 hrs  Air raid alert caused by the return of two Wellington bombers.

0416-0530 hrs  Air raid alert for one twin-engined enemy bomber which approaches from the north and drops bombs on the St Paul’s Bay area. One farmhouse is damaged; three sheep, two goats and a donkey are killed.  Searchlights illuminate the raider for a short period; no anti-aircraft gun claims.  One Hurricane night fighter is airborne but the searchlight illumination is too brief for an attack.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 17 APRIL 1941

ROYAL NAVY Regent sailed for Kotor to attempt to bring off Mr Campbell, British Minister to Yugoslavia.

AIR HQ 69 Squadron Maryland patrol of the eastern Tunisian coast.  

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  5 more NCOs attended a bomb reconnaissance course.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 1 (500kg).

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 17, 2016 in 1941, April 1941

 

Tags: , , ,