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During the month the Marylands and photoreconnaissance Hurricanes of 69 Squadron have covered the Italian convoy routes daily and have also made frequent reconnaissances of Sicilian and southern Calabrian ports and aerodromes, and of Tripoli. As a result of these reconnaissances and a study of the excellent photographs obtained Wellingtons of 38 Squadron have carried out 15 raids on Tripoli and two raids on Catania. During the month over 200 tons of bombs have been dropped on Tripoli alone and have caused considerable damage to shipping and harbour installations. One Wellington failed to return from a raid over Tripoli.
Blenheims of 105 Squadron have carried out 23 operations, all except two of them against enemy shipping. Considerable damage was caused to chemical works at Crotone and to storage tanks and factories at Licata. Five aircraft have been lost but the crew of one are known to be prisoners.
Swordfish of 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm have carried out 16 operations, 13 of which have been most successful. Twice they have bombed the submarine base at Augusta and once shipping at Catania.
Hurricanes (cannon-loaded) of 126 Squadron have attacked floatplanes at Syracuse and balloons at Augusta with considerable success.
On 14 nights, Fulmars have operated over aerodromes in southern Sicily, dropping small bombs and carrying out machine-gun attacks; on one occasion at least five aircraft being burnt out at Gerbini. These intruder operations have frequently disturbed the Italian night flying routine.
No 126 Squadron has carried out 19 scrambles during the month, 249 Squadron has carried out 34 and 105 Squadron 36. The newly-formed Malta Night Flying Unit has had 17 scrambles and has shot down 4 enemy aircraft confirmed. There have been a total of 12 enemy aircraft confirmed destroyed, three probables and one damaged during the month, against the loss of one Hurricane and pilot.
It is probable that the Italians have been operating without German assistance during the month. There have been six day alerts and 18 night alerts, on 15 of which bombs were dropped, approximately half of them incendiary. It is interesting to note that on at least two occasions a ‘hang up’ of these incendiary containers has resulted in the enemy aircraft catching fire and being destroyed. Little damage has been done by air raids, and none to service property; there have been no service casualties.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 30 AUGUST TO DAWN 31 AUGUST 1941
Weather Sunny and hot.
No air raids.
Military casualties Sergeant William F Butler, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR); Sergeant Thomas P Butterfield, RAFVR; Sergeant Maurice H Cope, RAFVR; Sergeant Donald R A Garrick, RAFVR; Sergeant David D Todd, RAF.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 30 AUGUST 1941
AIR HQ Arrivals 5 Wellington. 69 Squadron Marylands reconnaissance Tripoli. Special patrol sighted two passenger liners 110 miles south of Malta steering south eat. 38 Squadron 9 Wellingtons despatched to attack shipping and specified targets in Tripoli in 3 waves. Several bombs struck the target area, causing fires and damage to buildings. 105 Squadron 6 Blenheims sent to attack a power station and chemical factory at Licata score hits on buildings and large fires. The attack was a complete surprise and there was no opposition.
HAL FAR One Fulmar patrolled over Comiso and Gerbini but low cloud prevented any attack. Four bombs were dropped on barracks at Pozzallo, starting a fire. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 5 Swordfish on anti-shipping search located a 1500 ton merchant vessel 20 miles west of Lampedusa and scored a hit with one torpedo and probably a second.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 1
ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Strength of detachment 27 officers, 192 other ranks.
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