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WAR CABINET REPORT ON MALTA: WEEK ENDING 9 OCTOBER
Eight Blenheims from Malta made a successful daylight raid on the power station, engine sheds and a munitions works at Catanzaro Marina, southern Italy, and hits were made on all the targets. The success of a night attack by two Blenheims on railway sheds at Catania was confirmed by photographs which showed five hits. Hurricanes carried out three attacks with bombs and cannon fire against the aerodrome at Comiso, Sicily, and against railway stations in the vicinity.
Many offensive sorties were despatched against enemy shipping located by our reconnaissance aircraft. Swordfish made two successful night torpedo attacks on ships in convoy. They sank a 6000 ton merchant ship off Cape Bon; and severely damaged two others totalling 15000 tons, and probably a third, 50 miles north east of Tripoli. A Blenheim made a successful moonlight attack on a 2000 ton merchant ship off Tripoli and left her with her stern under water after making two hits. A Wellington on patrol off western Sicily made one hit on a large merchant ship.
Eight Blenheims, unable to locate their shipping target, attacked the port of Zuara, west of Tripoli, straddling a destroyer and obtaining near misses on a blockhouse. One Blenheim was lost and one Italian fighter was probably destroyed during this operation. The Misurata-Sirte road was attacked by five Blenheims which destroyed a petrol tanker and 14 lorries.
Three night attacks were made by a total of 24 Wellingtons on shipping at Tripoli. In the course of these attacks one merchant ship was set on fire and another of 10000 tons was hit, while burning oil from a tanker spread over a wide area. Hits and near misses were also observed on two other merchant ships, and a number of lighters were destroyed or damaged. Reconnaissance aircraft carried out wide searches for shipping, and a Maryland so engaged attacked a submarine off Syracuse with machine-gun fire.
A few enemy fighters crossed the coast of Malta by day, and bombs were dropped on the Island on two nights. A few civilian casualties were caused; material damage was negligible.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 9 OCTOBER TO DAWN 10 OCTOBER 1941
Weather Heavy rainstorms.
No air raids.
Military casualties Private James Lawrence, 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment; Wing Commander Frazer A Harte, Royal Air Force, 107 Squadron; Flying Officer Neville Whitford-Walders, Royal Air Force, 107 Squadron; Lt Ellis E A C Talbot, Royal Engineers (attached 107 Squadron RAF).
OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 9 OCTOBER 1941
ROYAL NAVY Unique, Sokol and Upholder sailed at short notice to intercept a convoy between Pantellaria and Lampedusa. Upholder returned with generator problems.
AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Beaufighter. Departures 1 Bombay, 1 Catalina, 2 Sunderland, 4 Wellington. 69 Squadron 1 Blenheim and 1 Maryland patrols east Sicilian coast. 107 Squadron 2 Blenheims attacked motor transport on the Homs-Tripoli road. 2 Blenheims on shipping sweep of south coast of Italy. Both failed to return (W/Cdr Harte and F/O Whitford-Walders). 221 Squadron 1 Wellington on special patrol; 1 Wellington in shipping search. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 7 Swordfish attacked a southbound convoy of 4 merchant ships and 5 destroyers. 6 torpedoes were dropped and three hits claimed, stopping two merchant ships. The same 7 Swordfish carried out a second attack on two other merchant ships and four destroyers of same convoy. Five torpedoes were released and one hit stopped a merchant ship.
11th Bn LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS Fortress Orders state that no weapons are to be loaded in quarters.
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