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Passers-by in Valletta were lucky to escape injury this afternoon when a large building collapsed into the City’s main street. The ruins of the building which housed the former Courts of Justice, already badly damaged by the blast of an enemy mine, caved in without warning leaving large blocks of masonry blocking Kingsway. The collapse of the building, formerly the Auberge d’Auvergne, was apparently caused by shock waves from an explosion in the Tigne area. (1)
GENERAL STAFF REVIEW OF THE MONTH
The month of May has been noticeable for a gradual but marked decrease in German air activity. During the first few days the heavy night raids on the Dockyard continued with bombing and minelaying. The cruiser Gloucester and part of the Naval light striking force finally left Malta on 2 May, and the Germans turned their attention to the aerodromes. After a few days these too ceased. Reconnaissance by JU 88s continued and about the middle of the month a squadron of ME 109 fighter bombers was operating from Sicily by day. Towards the end of the month these left and it was apparent from the tactics that the Italians had once more taken over the night raiding of Malta.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 31 MAY TO DAWN 1 JUNE 1941
1030-1040 hrs Air raid alert triggered by the return of a Glenn Martin Maryland.
No enemy air raids.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 31 MAY 1941
ROYAL NAVY During the month three or four submarines were continuously on patrol. 830 Squadron had only five flying crews through the month. Blenheims of anti-ship bomber squadrons reported successful attacks on twelve merchant vessels and two destroyers. The Bomb Safety Officer dealt with 14 unexploded 50kg bombs and one 500kg.
AIR HQ Arrivals 2 Sunderland. Departures 2 Sunderland; 1 Beaufighter. 69 Squadron 2 Marylands patrol eastern Tunisian coast AM and PM. 2 Marylands patrol PM Ionian Sea to Greek coast. 82 Squadron Three Blenheim bombers attacked Florida II off Sfax; direct hits were scored, causing explosions and volumes of black smoke.
LUQA One Beaufighter left for the Middle East.
1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT As a result of General Alarm Exercise at beginning of week personnel are to be withdrawn from selected posts to form a mobile reserve. One platoon of 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt will also come under this unit for operations.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal Total unexploded bombs during month: reported 251; dealt with 109.
2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT Strengths: officers 30; other ranks 684
8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT 69 conscripts enlisted during May.
ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Strengths: officers 25, other ranks 123.
(1) Malta Blitzed But Not Beaten, Philip Vella, Progress Press 1985
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