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MINERS NEEDED TO EXCAVATE NEW FACILITIES
In the face of recent heavy bombing, Malta’s high command has decided to relocate essential facilities underground. The Governor and Commander in Chief has written to the War Office with a proposal to create a new combined War Headquarters, a main supply depot, ammunition and military cold stores, all of which are currently above ground in a target bombing area, by tunnelling into the Island’s rock. The plan also includes an underground emergency operating theatre for the General Hospital – which has already had 40 bombs within its perimeter.
However, all the excavations will require rock mining and Malta lacks the necessary manpower to create the new facilities. Labour shortages arising from conscription, and the civil government’s use of miners in the digging of shelters for the civilian population, have seriously reduced the number available for war department work. In an unusual move, Lt General Dobbie has turned to Gibraltar for assistance. He has written to the Governor of the Rock asking if a company of Canadian miners currently based there, as well as any surplus power tools, could be spared for Malta. If so, he hopes they might be shipped by the next supply run through the western Mediterranean.
BLANKET BAN ON NEWSPAPER DISTRIBUTION
The Government has issued a new Order banning the dissemination of printed material. The order applies to all military Services and ranks. Under the ban, no person attempt to send or convey from Malta to any destination outside Malta any local newspaper (including the Government Gazette) or other printed matter containing news, intelligence, reports of events, any remarks or observations, or advertisements. Any item to which the order relates may be detained and destroyed by the Censor or any authorised officer.
TROOP WELFARE CENTRE OPENS IN VALLETTA
A new welfare facility for troops of all three Services has been opened in Valletta. The Command Welfare Hostel is located at 205 Old Bakery Street, at the corner of Britannia Street; its entrance marked ‘St Andrews Hall’. The centre is sleeping accommodation for 39 men, and offers breakfasts and light suppers. Charges for the accommodation and food are the same as an existing facility at the Vernon Club. The new hostel also has a good-sized recreation room with a ping-pong table, dart-boards and a piano.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 8 MAY TO DAWN 9 MAY 1941
Weather Overcast, wet and misty; poor visibility.
1650-2000 hrs Air raid alert for about 10 enemy aircraft which cross the coast and drop five bombs in the area of Della Grazia. Night Hurricanes are scrambled but two searchlight illuminations are too brief for them to intercept the raiders. Anti-aircraft guns fire one barrage. Many bombs are dropped in the sea and a few on land.
OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 8 MAY 1941
ROYAL NAVY 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm One Swordfish search for Fulmar failing to arrive from Formidable.
AIR HQ Arrivals 2 Sunderland; 4 Wellington. 69 Squadron Maryland patrol between Skerki Bank and Cape Carbonara; visibility bad.
LUQA Four Wellingtons arrived from Gibraltar.
1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT Exercise for the Mobile Company cancelled due to the weather: it was feared that damage to crops would be too great.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 4; dealt with 2 (1 x 50kg; 1 x 500kg).
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