22 May 1941: Claims of Corruption in Ration Distribution

22 May

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Queuing for kerosene (NWMA Malta)

Queuing for kerosene (NWMA Malta)


Allegations have emerged of families being cheated of their kerosene ration. 506 gallons – the entire ration for 800 people – failed to be delivered in one district alone.  65 families in Qormi did not receive one expected delivery.  Following the reports, the Paola Assistant District Commissioner, C Dimech, proposes radical changes to the distribution system in his area. 

Kerosene carts are supposed to deliver supplies house to house, collecting a coupon in return for the allocated ration for that household. However, Mr Dimech has submitted a report today described the deliveries in his area as disorderly, bordering on corruption:

“Householders were compelled to abandon their homes to go in search of the tank-carts. Those who did not suffer this inconvenience were chancing to remain without their ration.  Even those who were ready to accept this sacrifice were not always sure to get their kerosene after wasting two or three hours trying to push their way in to reach the tank…

The kerosene seller having disposed of his kerosene used to call at the Police Station, Tarxien, where the chit given him by the supplying depot was filled up and signed by a Police Sergeant or Constable without any reference being made to the coupons collected…These coupons which were left in the hands of the delivery men to be returned to the depot clerk were not being counted before a next supply was issued. Thus sellers…might easily sell or otherwise dispose of some of these coupons.”

Kerosene is an essential commodity for lighting and cooking; the lack of even a single delivery can cause serious difficulties for householders. Many have complained that the kerosene ration, even when they do receive, it is insufficient for their needs.  Housewives claim they cannot cook one hot meal a day on half a gallon of kerosene, let alone light the house. 

Commissioner Dimech has now taken steps to remedy the situation in Paola. He has started a new system of distribution street by street, overseen by one of his men as well as the usual police escort. (1)


Weather  Fine.

1126-1310 hrs  Air raid alert for six ME 109s which patrol to the east of the Island. Hurricane fighters are scrambled; no interception.

1547-1618 hrs  Air raid alert for four ME 109s which patrol to the west of the Island.  Hurricane fighters are scrambled; no interception.


AIR HQ 69 Squadron Maryland reconnaissance after Blenheim attack reveals merchant vessel smoking and probably abandoned. Two Marylands patrol eastern Tunisian coast report a convoy.  A Maryland is despatched to shadow.  Four Blenheims 139 Squadron are despatched to attack and successfully bomb a tanker. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 1; dealt with 3 (3 x 250kg).

(1) When Malta Stood Alone, Joseph Micallef, Interprint 1981


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


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