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AIR OFFICER COMMANDING TO BE REPLACED
Air Vice Marshal Forster Maynard, AFC is to leave his post as Air Officer Commanding at the end of the month. The former World War I fighter ace was appointed Air Officer Commanding Mediterranean in November 1939. When Italy declared war the following June, he was responsible for creating the only fighter forces to defend Malta when he organised the assembly of Gladiators ‘Faith’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Charity’ from packing cases. Since then he has overseen the strengthening of the Island’s fighter forces in the face of heavy German air raids, as well as the introduction of offensive bomber operations against Axis convoys. He will be replaced by Air Vice Marshal Hugh Pugh Lloyd MV DFC.
AMMUNITION USAGE FOR WEEK ENDING 25 MAY
- 4.5” HE 191 rounds
- 3.7” HE 1260 rounds
- 3” HE 134 rounds
- 40mm 40 rounds
AIR RAIDS DAWN 25 MAY TO DAWN 26 MAY 1941
Weather Very hot.
1150-1214 hrs Air raid alert for 30 to 40 enemy aircraft which approach the Island from the north and withdraw before reaching the coast.
1327-1430 hrs Observers report the approach of three formations of enemy aircraft which have not been reported by fighter control and raise the alarm. While one plot of four ME 109s circles the Island, apparently screening aircraft in transit between Tripoli and Sicily, a second formation turns inland and is over Ta Qali moments after the alert sounds. The ME 109s machine-gun a searchlight station on the airfield, wounding one gunner. Two Hurricanes are burned out and three others seriously damaged on the ground (but repairable). A Lister engine is damaged and 90 gallons of oil are lost. One pilot and one airman are injured by shrapnel and admitted to hospital; two other airmen are slightly wounded. Bofors, heavy and light anti-aircraft guns engage; the Bofors claims hits on two ME 109s. One ME 109 is believed probably shot down into the sea. No Hurricanes are scrambled owing to the apparent error in fighter control which is immediately under investigation.
1755-1820 hrs Air raid alert for a large fighter patrol which scouts round the Island. Seven Hurricanes are scrambled but the raiders do not cross the coast; no engagement.
Civilian casualties Naxxar Francis Mifsud, age 38.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 25 MAY 1941
ROYAL NAVY 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Since it is now apparent that Lampedusa is used as a refuge for small merchant vessels on the Sicily to Tripoli route, 4 Swordfish were despatched to lay ‘cucumber’ magnetic mines. A fifth Swordfish carried flares but owing to electrical failure none were dropped. Illuminating cartridges lit the harbour for short periods enabling two cucumbers to to be laid near the harbour entrance. Moderate light anti-aircraft fire was encountered. Two Swordfish returned with their cucumber mines, one with engine trouble. All aircraft returned safely.
AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland; transatlantic flying boat Golden Horn from Gibraltar carrying Air Vice Marshal Lloyd, MC, DFC. Departures 1 Sunderland; transatlantic flying boat. 69 Squadron Maryland southern part of eastern Tunisian coast. Maryland reconnaissance northern part eastern Tunisian coast. Maryland patrol east of Malta up to Cape Stilo for a convoy reported yesterday by a submarine. Maryland photoreconnaissance Tripoli reports convoy. Maryland reconnaissance eastern Sicilian coast reports enemy vessels.
LUQA Six Blenheims 139 and 82 Squadrons searched for troopships without success.
1st Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT C Company relieve D Company of 8 Manchester and will come under the command of 8 Manchester.
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