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3 August 1941: Churchill Praises ‘Firm and Steadfast’ Malta

03 Aug

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British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (IWM MH26392)

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (IWM MH26392)

MESSAGE FROM WINSTON CHURCHILL

“Now that the convoys have reached you safely with all the stores and reinforcements, I take occasion to congratulate you on the firm and steadfast manner in which you and your devoted garrison and citizens have maintained Malta inviolate against all attacks for more than a year and to express my confidence that with the help of God our cause will continue to prosper and that the contribution of Malta to the final victory will add a noble chapter to the famous story of the Island.” (1)

ITALIAN POWS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO UK

Italian prisoners of war captured following the attempted e-boat attack on Grand Harbour last week have been taken to the United Kingdom, it was revealed today. The 18 prisoners – three officers and fifteen ratings – have been held in Corradino Military Prison since their capture.  Yesterday they were taken back to Grand Harbour and boarded HMS Manxman.  The cruiser-minelayer left Malta yesterday afternoon and is now on its way to Scotland.

MALTESE CLEARED TO ENLIST IN RAMC

Enlistment of selected Maltese subjects into the Royal Army Medical Corps has been approved by the War Office. Maltese are already serving with the Fortress Royal Engineers on the Island, as well as locally-formed units such as Royal Malta Artillery and Kings Own Malta Regiment.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 3 AUGUST TO DAWN 4 AUGUST 1941

Weather  Sunny and hot.

AM  A small fighter patrol approaches the Island. Malta fighters are scrambled and the enemy formation recedes immediately.

2300-2320 hrs  Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft which approaches Grand Harbour from the north and drops a single 250kg high explosive bomb on land in fields south of Zeitun, near Delimara and another in the sea before receding. Malta fighters are scrambled but there are no searchlight illuminations and no engagements.

2340-0056 hrs Air raid alert for three enemy aircraft which approach Grand Harbour from the north east but do not cross the coast, dropping bombs on Tarxien, Zabbar and in the sea off Della Grazia. A fourth raider approaches Grand Harbour and drops several 250kg high explosive bombs in the dockyard area damaging NAAFI stores and an Officers Mess as well as electric and telephone cables.  One makes a crater 15 feet by four, damaging main drains.  Other bombs are dropped in the sea.  A fifth aircraft approaches over Grand Harbour and is caught for a moment in searchlights, at which he changes direction and immediately releases bombs on Sliema, destroying several houses and damaging many others.  Part of Sacred Heart Church receives a direct hit.  Two civilians are admitted to hospital with broken bones; several onlookers suffer minor injuries.  Malta fighters are scrambled but there are no other searchlight illuminations and no engagements.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 3 AUGUST 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Utmost arrived from patrol north of Messina, having sunk a 4000 ton ship and blown up a train.

AIR HQ Departures 3 Beaufighter, 2 Blenheim. 69 Squadron Maryland reconnaissance: Regio Calabria and Messina; Marittimo to Cape Carbonnera; Tripoli and Misurata. 143 Squadron 2 Beaufighters sent to attack fighters on Reggio Calabria aerodrome damaged aircraft on the ground.  105 Squadron  5 Blenheims sent to attack shipping in Tripoli harbour scored direct hits on ships and damaged buildings and port installations.  Sgt Williams aircraft hit several times and had to make a belly-landing on return.   830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm  2 Fulmars patrolled Catania and Gerbini aerodromes, dropping bombs on Gerbini; no results observed.  

KALAFRANA 2 Fulmars, Fleet Air Arm, patrolled over Catania and Gerbini aerodromes. Each Fulmar dropped four bombs on the flarepath of Gerbini aerodrome.

1st Bn HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion in Gozo.

MALTA SIGNALS COMPANY  Main cable route from Floriana TP to Marsa TP is badly strained by enemy action. Pieces were let into all cables without interruption in communication.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Battalion providing working parties for unloading of convoy ships.

(1) Malta Diary of a War, Michael Galea, BDL Publishing 2015

 

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1 Comment

Posted by on August 3, 2016 in 1941, August 1941

 

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One response to “3 August 1941: Churchill Praises ‘Firm and Steadfast’ Malta

  1. a gray

    August 3, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Before reading this series, I did not, heretofore, realize the role that Malta played as a stationary aircraft carrier in action against Axis forces in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. Without it, it seems that the Axis would have had free play throughout North Africa and the Near East. This is a great blog and whoever is doing the work needs to be congratulated for this extraordinary learning tool.

     

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