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DESTRUCTION IN CIVILIAN AREAS TO DATE
Figures have been released today of the destruction in civilian communities across Malta. According to statistics, over 2000 houses have been destroyed but the figure masks a much greater impact, as ‘house’ includes apartment buildings occupied by many families. Even in so-called ‘safe’ areas where refugees have sought shelter have been badly affected. 21 ‘houses’ have been destroyed in Balzan and Lija, 7 in Birkirkara and 5 in Mgarr.
- Houses destroyed or severely damaged 2087
- Rendered homeless 11679, including:
- Cospicua 2986
- Vittoriosa 1205
- Senglea 1142
- Valletta 938
- Paola 850
- Sliema 841
- Zabbar 750
WAR OFFICE SAYS NO TO MORE FORCES FOR GOZO
The War Office has turned down a request from Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief for additional manpower for the defence of Gozo. The Island was recently named by intelligence sources as the prime landing point for a planned invasion of Malta. While the importance of this is acknowledged in London, the competing demands for the defence of the Home Front, the Middle East and Malaya precludes the possibility of providing additional forces for Gozo. Lt Gen Dobbie will have to find resources from his existing military establishment for the defence of Malta’s sister Island.
In reply Lt Gen Dobbie concedes that the naval situation in the Central Mediterranean is turning in the Island’s favour and that the need of other places may be greater than that of Malta. He considers it necessary for Gozo to be defended but can only secure a small force and even that may depend on the situation in Malta. Any force even part-time would create uncertainty for the enemy, he believes. Some additional manpower would be required for this.
Malta’s Commander in Chief still believes that Gozo needs anti-tank guns of any available kind, as well as carriers for 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment which has none. In return, the War Office repeats that General Wavell in the Middle East must take priority for supplies of anti-tank weapons from the UK. However, he suggests that Lt Gen Dobbie approaches Wavell for up to 24 Italian field guns captured in North Africa or Abyssinia, with ammunition. According to the War Office, the Italian weapons are believed superior to Allied anti-tank guns. The carriers for 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment will be despatched immediately.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 16 MAY TO DAWN 17 MAY 1941
0725-0750 hrs Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.
0952-1056 hrs Air raid alert for two JU 88 bombers which cross the Island singly, apparently on reconnaissance. Five Hurricanes are scrambled; no interception. Anti-aircraft guns engage; no claims.
1124-1155 hrs Air raid alert for 15 ME 109 fighters which circle to the east of the Island, then cross the coast near Kalafrana before splitting into several formations. Ten 250kg high explosive bombs are dropped on Hal Far from 15000 feet, damaging three Swordfish and killing two contractors’ labourers. Seven Hurricanes are scrambled; no engagement. 17 anti-aircraft gun positions engage the raiders with two heavy barrages; no claims.
Military casualties Gunner Saviour Zammit, 3rd LAA Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.
Civilian casualties Zeitun Carmel Attard, age 15. Zurrieq John Abdilla, age 16.
OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 16 MAY 1941
ROYAL NAVY 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Offensive operations.
AIR HQ Arrivals 5 Blenheims 139 Squadron arrived from Gibraltar to replace 21 Squadron. 69 Squadron Maryland photo-reconnaissance Tripoli. Maryland patrols eastern Sicilian coast AM and PM. Maryland patrols eastern Tunisian coast AM and PM.
LUQA Two Beaufighters 252 Squadron left for an operation from Crete attacking enemy aircraft on Hassani, Argos and Moladi.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 6 (5 x 250kg; 1 x 500kg).
MALTA SIGNALS COMPANY B20 cable Manoel cut by enemy action 15 May now repaired.
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