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INCENDIARY ALERT ACROSS MALTA
An alert has been issued to householders across Malta to remove any inflammable objects or temporary fittings from roofs. (1) The warning by the Lt Governor’s office is necessary due to the very large numbers of incendiaries being dropped during the current campaign of night air raids by the Italian Regia Aeronautica.
Since 12 August, hundreds of 2kg incendiaries at a time have been scattered across Malta. Although small, the bombs contain fuel oil and can burn fiercely for up to ten minutes. The Island’s stone buildings are not especially at risk, but in the dry summer heat any inflammable material is vulnerable to the bombs. Precious food crops are also in danger of destruction.
ITALIAN RADIO CLAIMS ‘DARING ATTACKS’ ON HAL FAR
A particularly audacious action was carried out on Malta. In the early hours of yesterday an Italian fighter formation escorted by another formation of fighters flew over Malta and from a very low level machine gunned the highly equipped air base of Hal Far, while another formation crossed the sky over the Island. The daring attacks of our fighters although met with a furious anti-aircraft fire were crowned with success. Two large twin-engined bombers were set on fire and destroyed, while another two bombers and two single-engined planes were hit and rendered unserviceable. Furthermore several other aircraft to the south of the airfield were hit and, judging by the flames, they sustained extensive damage. The enemy’s anti-aircraft batteries were likewise attacked with armaments from on board our aircraft. British fighters flying over Malta did not engage our planes, all of which returned normally to their respective bases.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 AUGUST TO DAWN 21 AUGUST 1941
Weather Sunny and hot.
No air raids.
OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 20 AUGUST 1941
ROYAL NAVY Otus arrived with petrol and stores from Alexandria. Urge returned from patrol having sighted convoy, but was prevented from attacking by counter attacks.
AIR HQ Arrivals 2 Blenheim. 69 Squadron Maryland patrols Lampedusa, eastern Ionian Sea, Trapani and Tripoli harbour. 126 Squadron 6 Hurricanes attacked barrage balloons, seaplanes and petrol tanks at Augusta.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB dealt with 2 (2kg incendiary).
8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT His Excellency the Governor visited Gozo. A guard of honour of 3 officers and 106 ranks was provided by the Battalion.
(1) Malta Diary of a War, Michael Galea, BDL Publishing 2015
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