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BOMBS LAND NEAR ARP HQ
The community of Hamrun suffered a severe blow tonight when several 250kg high explosive bombs landed on the town. In one of the most intense bombing campaigns of recent months, seven aircraft of the Italian Regia Aeronautica launched a series of four raids between 1030 at night and 2 in the morning.
Shortly before midnight, bombs landed near the local headquarters of the Air Raid Precautions volunteers, destroying six houses and seriously damaging a water main. At least 14 people were killed, including one Maltese serviceman; another six residents are currently unaccounted for. 19 more were injured, including 10 seriously.
BBC TO BROADCAST ON ‘GALLANT DEFENCE PUT UP BY MALTA’
Personal Telegram for General Dobbie from General Collins
“I hope to be able to say something of the gallant defence put up by Malta in a broadcast on 24 July. I would be grateful for any facts about the life of the Garrison and the inhabitants likely to interest relatives at home which can be broadcast, as well as local colour etc. Details of the numbers of attacks made on Malta, enemy aircraft brought down, the skill of the anti-aircraft artillery and so on would I think be of interest to all at home.”
In a separate telegram the War Office has asked the Governor and Commander in Chief whether the BBC special programme (maltagc70 13 June 1941) for forces in Malta is appreciated, whether reception is good and times are suitable.
HURRICANE PILOT KILLED IN UNEXPLAINED CRASH
A Hurricane pilot was killed today when his aircraft crashed into the sea shortly after take-off from. Sergeant Thomas Hackston of 126 Squadron took off from Safi without any problem but within minutes the fighter was seen to crash into the sea. The reason for the crash remains a mystery.
The Hurricane was one of 44 which on 6 June took off from an aircraft carrier in the western Mediterranean to fly to Malta as part of ‘Operation Rocket’. One of the 44 fighters was found to have defects and returned to its carrier.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 4 JULY TO DAWN 5 JULY 1941
Weather Fine; humid
1013-1041 hrs Air raid alert for 25 Macchi 200 fighters escorting an unidentified reconnaissance aircraft approaching from the north west. They come to within 10 miles of St Paul’s Bay when they are intercepted by four Hurricanes of 185 Squadron. One Hurricane attacks three Macchi fighters, damaging one badly which descends in a spin from 8000 feet. A second Hurricane badly damages a Macchi six miles north of Spinola. Several others are damaged. The enemy aircraft split up and recede north east. Ten more Hurricanes pursue the raiders as far as Cape Passaro but do not engage again. HMS Gloxinia picks up the body of a dead Italian pilot who is buried at sea.
2231-2243 hrs; 2259-2333 hrs; 0007-0036 hrs; 0107-0210 hrs Air raid alerts for a total of 7 enemy aircraft: operating singly or closely following each other in pairs they cross the coast at about 16000 feet. In the first three raids Malta night fighters are scrambled and searchlights active but there are no illuminations due to haze, and no engagements. In the last alert only searchlights and anti-aircraft guns are active; no claims. Bombs are dropped on Hamrun near ARP headquarters, destroying houses and causing civilian casualties. In other attacks bombs are dropped near Mosta and Lija with no serious damage or casualties; others are dropped in the sea. One of the raiders fires its machine guns in the direction of Filfla for no apparent reason.
Military casualties Gunner Karmenu Dingli, Royal Malta Artillery; Sergeant Thomas Hackston, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 126 Squadron.
Civilian casualties Hamrun Carmelo Azzopardi, age 24; Walter Azzopardi, age 16; Lorenza Burlo, age 56; Carmelo Burlo, age 55; Anthony Burlo, age 33; Francis Criminale, age 47; Carmelo Criminale, age 21; Paul Criminale, age 17; Mary Criminale, age 12; Ines Micallef, age 13; Francis Sant, age 56; Joseph Woodhouse, age 18.
Enemy casualties Tenente Gian Paolo Mantovani, 7o Gruppo, 54o Stormo, Macchi 200 fighter pilot shot down and died.
OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 4 JULY 1941
ROYAL NAVY Urge returned from patrol south of Messina having sunk cruiser believed to be Bolzano, obtained one hit on a 9000 ton merchant vessel and blew up a train in a tunnel.
AIR HQ Arrivals 2 Blenheims 110 Squadron, 1 Bombay. Departures 1 Bombay, 1 Catalina, 1 Sunderland. 69 Squadron Marylands reconnaissance Tripoli, Homs, Sirte and special patrols. 110 Squadron 6 Blenheims attacked troop motor transport on the Buerat-Sirte road, with three direct bomb hits on lorries plus others destroyed by machine-gun fire.
HAL FAR Sir Oliver Lyttleton, AOC Middle East, visited Hal Far with the AOC Mediterranean.
1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT We start a scheme which includes the whole of the Army on the Island. Even the Malta volunteers will ‘play’ after working hours. At 2045 hrs we received the order ‘Exercise Asia’ which starts the scheme off. Certain defence posts were then manned and leave automatically stopped. Umpires posted at each Battalion HQ and each Company outlined the scenario: an attacking force is gathering in Southern Italy and there is heavy bombing of our aerodrome defences.
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