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One of Malta’s reconnaissance aircraft failed to return to base today after a mission to drop propaganda leaflets over Tunisia. Destinations for the leaflet drop were the towns of Bizerta, Tunis and Sfax, areas ruled by the Vichy French but currently being used by Axis troops.
The Maryland of 69 Squadron would have to dive to very low altitude to release the tens of thousands of leaflets over the target. An intelligence report has suggested that the aircraft was attacked during the mission and shot down over the sea. However, according to the report only two of the three crew members were rescued from the water and taken prisoner.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 13 AUGUST TO DAWN 14 AUGUST 1941
Weather Sunny and hot.
0148-0223 hrs Air raid alert for a single enemy bomber which approaches from the north, circles east of Delimara, turns west and eventually crosses the coast near Benghaisa. Hundreds of small incendiary bombs are dropped across Kalafrana and on Benghaisa, including near an anti-aircraft gun position. 22 fires are reported in the direction of Hal Far. There are no reported casualties. Two Hurricanes are scrambled but there are no searchlight illuminations and no interceptions.
Military casualties Sergeant Dennis L J Lawrence, Royal Australian Air Force.
OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 13 AUGUST 1941
ROYAL NAVY 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 6 Swordfish attacked Augusta submarine base. Due to poor visibility so Swordfish pilots chose individual targets. Bombs were dropped on Syracuse as well as Augusta, with large fires and explosions in both places.
AIR HQ Arrivals 4 Blenheim, 5 Wellington. Departures 69 Squadron 4 Maryland striking force patrols Ionian Sea and east Tunisian coast. Reconnaissance Lampedusa harbour. One Maryland was sent out to drop propaganda leaflets on Bizerta, Tunis, Sfax and surroundings but failed to return. 38 Squadron 7 Wellingtons sent to attack Tripoli in two formations of 4 and 3 aircraft dropped bombs on target. Sgt Williams crashed on Luqa aerodrome on landing, badly damaging his aircraft. 8 Hurrricanes carried out a fighter sweep over southern Sicily.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 2; dealt with 12 (3 x 2kg anti-personnel; 10 x 2kg incendiary)
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