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STOCKS OF FOOD, FUEL AND AMMUNITION LOW
Plans are being drawn up for a major convoy for Malta. Stocks of food on the Island are now running low and as a result of prolonged air attacks, anti-aircraft shells and aviation fuel are nearly exhausted. Mines and torpedoes for submarines are also needed.
Malta has been under siege for a year and with German forces now installed in Greece and Crete the problems of supplying the Island have increased. The evacuation of Crete also resulted in Allied ship losses, leaving the Mediterranean Fleet less equipped to provide protective escorts for supply convoys. The Luftwaffe and Italian air force now have bases in Crete and Libya to launch attacks on eastern convoy routes from Alexandria, along with those in Sardinia and Sicily to attack western routes via Gibraltar.
Fully committed to the defence of Malta as a key Allied base in the Mediterranean, the British Government and military commanders are now fully committed to supplying the Island, whatever the risks. Security is a high priority in plans for the convoy, which it is hoped will be underway within a month.
A Wellington bomber flying in from Gibraltar crashed within yards of Malta’s shores today. The Wellington, piloted by Sgt E Beattie, was heading in to land at Hal Far aerodrome when it developed difficulties and crashed into Kalafrana Bay. The rescue launch rushed to the scene but none of the crew survived. The Wellington was one of four due to arrive from Gibraltar today. A second aircraft failed to arrive at Malta; the cause is as yet unknown.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 16 JUNE TO DAWN 17 JUNE 1941
Weather Hot and sunny.
0958-1005 hrs Air raid alert for six enemy aircraft which approach to within 35 miles east of the Island, apparently in an attempt to intercept a Maryland reconnaissance aircraft. 11 Hurricanes are scrambled and the raiders turn back.
0250-0319 hrs Air raid alert for two enemy aircraft which approach the Island singly. The first turns west and drops bombs near Gozo, receding north. The second raider approaches to within five miles of St Paul’s Bay, dropping bombs in the sea. Two Hurricanes are scrambled but searchlights do not illuminate the raiders and there are no engagements.
Military casualties Sergeant Evan B Beattie, Pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR); Sergeant John R Bolton, RAFVR; Sergeant Leslie B Butler, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, RAFVR; Pilot Officer Donald Cameron, Royal Canadian Air Force; Gunner Joseph Saliba, Royal Malta Artillery; Sergeant Cyril R Sanders, Wireless.Operator, RAFVR.
Civilian casualties Marsa Louis Farrugia, age 42.
OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 16 JUNE 1941
ROYAL NAVY Unique successful attack on 20000 ton merchant ship; two probable hits. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 7 Swordfish in operations against Tripoli. 8 Swordfish attacked shipping in Lampedusa Harbour; turned back due to low cloud.
AIR HQ Arrivals 2 Wellington (one landed in sea off Kalafrana and was lost). Departures 8 Hurricane, 1 Blenheim, 1 Hudson. 69 Squadron 3 Marylands on reconnaissance.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 2 (15kg).
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