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MALTESE AND BRITISH ARTILLERY PRAISED FOR ‘UNCEASING WATCHFULNESS’
The Royal Malta Artillery has been held up as an example to Allied Troops across all war fronts. In a speech today, the Secretary of State for War stressed the need for British Troops to maintain constant vigilance, quoting as an example the Maltese defenders’ recent successful action against the Italian attempted invasion:
“On 26 July there were certain coast defences on the Island of Malta manned by the Royal Malta Artillery which had not opened fire for the whole of the war. There they had stood at their posts, day after day, night after night. What a good reason for boredom; what an excuse for relaxing vigilance.”
The Secretary of State then followed with a description of the attack, saying “by the skill and unceasing watchfulness of the Royal Malta Artillery, a British machine-gun detachment and some anti-aircraft guns manned by Maltese, this first serious attack of Italian surface craft was smashed.”
AIR RAIDS DAWN 16 AUGUST TO DAWN 17 AUGUST 1941
Weather Sunny and hot.
No air raids.
1730 hrs Four enemy aircraft cross the Island at 24000 feet unseen by Malta fighters.
0430-0505 hrs Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft which crosses the coast and drops incendiary bombs just outside the boundary of Hal Far aerodrome. Two Hurricanes are scrambled but there are no searchlight illuminations and no interceptions.
Military casualties Lance Corporal Joseph Muscat, Royal Army Service Corps.
Civilian casualties Hamrun Carmelo Pisani, age 29.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 16 AUGUST 1941
AIR HQ Departures 1 Blenheim, 4 Hurricane. 69 Squadron 5 Marylands on striking force patrols. Photoreconnaissance of Catania port and aerodrome. Four Hurricane fighter sweeps over Southern Sicily in the morning and afternoon.
HAL FAR 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 6 Swordfish attacked central quay and merchant ships at Catania harbour with determination and great success; large fires and explosions were observed.
1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT The Battalion gave a charity dance at the Vernon Club from 1430-1630 hrs in aid of the Volunteer Aid Detachment. The Regimental Dance Band played and the show was a great success. HE the Governor and Lady Dobbie were present. The sum of £25 was handed over to the charity. In the evening the band played for a dance at the Sliema Club.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 4.
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