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8 July 1941: Malta Attacks of ‘Supreme Importance in Defence of Egypt’

08 Jul

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HMS Upholder

HMS Upholder returns from sinking Axis merchant ship

SUBMARINE AND AIR CREWS PRAISED FOR ‘ENTERPRISE AND GALLANTRY’

The War Office in London has written to the Commander in Chief Middle East and the Governor & C in C Malta praising the achievements of Royal Navy and RAF attacks from the Island. Stressing the strategic importance of the offensive campaign, today’s telegram read: 

“Chiefs of Staff appreciate the enterprise and gallantry with which submarines and aircraft have operated against the enemy line of communication to Africa resulting in a heavy toll of ships during the last two months. They hope that all ranks and ratings in the Naval and Air Forces engaged are aware of the supreme importance of these operations in the defence of Egypt and are confident that they will spare no effort to make their attacks even more effective.”

MALTA NEEDS MINES

Malta needs more mines to maintain its defences against enemy invasion from the sea. The Governor & C in C has written to the War Office asking for an urgent despatch of thousands of components for anti-tank mines.  The mines have been laid in all areas around the Island’s coastline considered vulnerable to attack.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 8 JULY TO DAWN 9 JULY 1941

Weather  Hot and sunny.

1101-1130 hrs  Air raid alert for a SM 79 which crosses the Island on reconnaissance escorted by 13 Macchi fighters.

2214-0025 hrs  Air raid alert for a single SM 79 bomber which approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea off Bubaqra. Searchlights illuminate one BR20 and the raider is engaged by a Hurricane fighter.  Pilot F/O Cassidy follows the bomber and engages at very close range at 15000 feet, shooting it down in flames in the sea south of the Island.  Further aircraft then cross the coast and drops bombs near the Blue Sisters’ Hospital, near Tal Qroqq, on Qormi, Hamrun, Birkirkara and St Julians, and off Tigne fort. 

0059-0202 hrs  Air raid alert for three enemy aircraft which approach the Island singly, crossing the coast north of Grand Harbour, and drop 100kg high explosive bombs on Marsa and on Luqa, where a Wellington is hit and burned out.

0324-0416 hrs  Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft which approaches form the north, crosses the coast and drops 100kg high explosive bombs on Kalafrana, causing slight damage to buildings and injuring two NAAFI employees.

During the three raids Hurricanes are airborne 11 times, with several engagements. Two enemy aircraft are believed damaged. 

Civilian casualties Zeitun  Antonia Spiteri, age 24.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 8 JULY 1941

ROYAL NAVY Upholder returned from patrol south of Messina, having sunk a fully laden westbound merchant vessel of 6000 tons. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 8 Swordfish bombed and laid 5 cucumbers at Tripoli. 

AIR HQ  Arrivals 2 Blenheims 110 Squadron, 1 Bombay. Departures 1 Bombay, 7 Hurricane, 1 Maryland. 69 Squadron Marylands reconnaissance Augusta, Syracuse, Catania, Tripoli, Quara, Taranto, Naples and special patrols.  

HAL FAR  A Fulmar patrolled over Catania but returned due to deterioration in the weather.

TA QALI  8 Hurricanes took off for Middle East; two returned after a collision in mid-air.

2nd BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Under ‘Exercise Asia’ a general alarm was sounded this afternoon and all anti-parachute posts were manned. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 4; dealt with 1 (15kg HE).

 

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Posted by on July 8, 2016 in 1941, July 1941

 

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