19 August 1941: Malta Dockyard Diver Awarded Empire Medal

19 Aug

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5 incendiaries near Xlejli Tower

5 incendiaries near Xlejli Tower


London Gazette 19 August 1941

Awarded the British Empire Medal (Civil Division): Giuseppe Gauci, Diver, HM Dockyard, Malta:

“Diver Gauci showed great coolness and devotion to duty when carrying out an underwater examination of a ship which had been damaged. Gauci knew that further bombing attacks were to be expected and that, if one came while he was in the water, there was little chance that he could be removed from the target area before the bombs dropped.  By his coolness he set an example to the diving boat’s crew which enabled the examination to be competed and the ship to sail.”


Malta’s naval wireless telegraph (W/T) receiving station is soon to be moved underground near War Headquarters at Lascaris Barracks. The existing Cable and Wireless station in St Angelo will also be moved there.  Local under-sea cables damaged by enemy action are currently in the process of repair. Buried land-lines are being laid to provide a securely protected communications system immune from enemy bomb attacks.  The War Office is anxious to ensure cable capacity is kept at a maximum, particularly to maintain a reliable route for the high volume of cable traffic between Malta and Alexandria.


Weather  Sunny and hot.

1034-1055 hrs  Air raid alert for twelve Macchi 200 fighters which approach to within six miles of Grand Harbour at 23000 feet before turning away northwards. Twelve Hurricane fighters are scrambled and have time to reach sufficient height to pursue the raiders towards the coast of Sicily.  F/Lt Lefevre shoots down one Macchi over land and is attacked as he turns away but evades damage.  P/O Burke shoots down one Macchi in flames over land and a second over the sea.  His own aircraft is slightly damaged but he is able to land safely.  The remaining nine Macchis turn away from the engagement.

2122-2200 hrs  Air raid alert for five enemy aircraft which approach the Island from the north at 17000 feet and drop hundreds of incendiary bombs on Zeitun and along a ridge Ghaxaq-Bir-id-Deheb-Luqa causing a string of fires, including a large one near Gudja. Two people are killed and five wounded in Zeitun.  Five fall near HQ of 1st Bn Hampshire Regiment at Xlejli Tower and ignite but are extinguished within three minutes.  One other rank is slightly injured.  A large number of high explosive bombs are dropped in the sea.  Two Hurricanes are scrambled.  Searchlights effect one illumination but there is no engagement.

Military casualties  Able Seaman Cyril W J Errington, Royal Navy, HM Submarine Upright; Leading Aircraftsman Alexander L S Tennent, Royal Air Force (Auxiliary Air Force).

Civilian casualties  Zeitun  Joseph Cutajar, age 19; Consiglia Farrugia, age 48.


AIR HQ Arrivals 3 Beaufort, 9 Wellington. 69 Squadron Maryland reconnaissance of Tripoli, Lampedusa, and several aerodromes in Sicily. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Two Swordfish carried out shipping searches in the Pantellaria area.   

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB dealt with 10 (2kg incendiary).


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Posted by on August 19, 2016 in 1941, August 1941


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