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TWO MALTA FULMARS KEEP SICILIAN AIR FORCES AT BAY
Nightly offensive patrols by Fairey Fulmar fighters over Sicilian air bases have significantly reduced the rate of air raids on Malta, according to a Senior Air Intelligence Officer. Only two Fulmars at a time – and sometimes just one – with their nightly patrols over Sicily and short, sharp bomb attacks on airfields are managing to disrupt the Regia Aeronautica air campaign.
“It may not be realised by all what valuable work is being done nightly by Fulmar aircraft operating from Malta. Besides the damage they are inflicting on the enemy by small bombs and machine-guns, not to mention an occasional aircraft shot down while taking off to raid Malta, it must also be realised that while the Fulmar is on its patrol over Sicily, sometimes for long periods during the night, it is causing considerable alarm among the Sicilians and creating amazing confusion among the staff attempting to organise their raids on Malta.
Often [as a result of the Fulmar attacks, enemy] raiders are forced to land at another aerodrome. Often raiders cannot take off at all (and a change of programme does not suit the Italians). The anti-aircraft gunner must so frequently fire at their own aircraft returning that the Fulmer does not get his fair share of Ack Ack. While the Fulmar is over Sicily, most of the Island is kept in a state of air alarm.
The above are just a few points which speak for themselves to show the alarm and despondency caused by our Fulmar crews who carry out keenly a sometimes dull and tiring job of work.
H M W Thomas-Ferrand, Squadron Leader, Senior Air Intelligence Officer
JUNIOR OFFICERS’ REST HOUSE – FROM 3 KOMR
An Army Officers’ Rest House is being opened at the Officers’ Mess, Tigne, and is for the use of officers of the rank of Captain and under only. The inclusive daily charge for accommodation and meals (less tea) will be 7/6d per day. Amenities available free will be billiards, tennis, squash and sea bathing (within two minutes). Lady visitors are allowed to meals and to use the amenities. The date of opening will be announced in due course.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 8 AUGUST TO DAWN 9 AUGUST 1941
0856-0920 hrs Air raid alert for three JU 87 Stuka dive-bombers which approach from the north and cross the coast over Grand Harbour before receding over Delimara without dropping any bombs. Hurricanes are scrambled; no engagement. Hurricanes of 185 Squadron are scrambled but raiders remain at 29000 feet and Hurricanes do not intercept. F/O Oliver bales out when his engine fails out at sea. He is rescued by a Float Swordfish.
1229-1241 hrs Air raid alert for three JU 87 Stuka dive-bombers which approach the Island from the north at 26000 feet, turn west over Gozo and change course on two more occasions before eventually crossing the Island from Ghain Tuffieha to St Paul’s Bay without dropping any bombs. Hurricanes of 185 Squadron are scrambled but altitude of raiders prevents engagement.
OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 8 AUGUST 1941
ROYAL NAVY HM Submarine Thunderbolt arrived with aviation spirits for Malta.
AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland, 3 Blenheim. Departures 2 Beaufort, 3 Blenheim, 1 Sunderland. 69 Squadron Strike force patrols of Tunisian coast and western Ionian Sea. Reconnaissance of Tripoli and Misurata. Photoreconnaissance Catania port and aerodrome, Augusta and Syracuse. 38 Squadron 7 Wellingtons sent to attack Tripoli. A total of 16000lbs of high explosive bombs, 1500 lbs of anti-personnel bombs and 5280lbs of incendiaries were dropped on target from a height of 7000 feet, between 0155 and 0317 hrs, causing large fires and explosions. 105 Squadron 5 Blenheims sent to attack ships in Catania harbour causing underwater explosions near ships and the quay. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Fulmar patrolled Gerbini and Catania area, dropped bombs on Gerbini aerodrome starting fires. It is believed that his Fulmar gave Malta a raidless night.
HAL FAR One Fulmar patrol over Catania and Gerbini, gunning five bombers and dropping one flash bomb. In a second Fulmar patrol in the afternoon three bombs are dropped on Gerbini starting two fires. The Fulmar flies on to Comiso and drops three bombs on the aerodrome; results not observed.
1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT 260 men working throught the night on unloading of convoy ships.
1st Bn HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT Battalion in Gozo.
2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT Battalion providing working parties day and night for unloading of convoy ships.
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