2 November 1941: The Bomb Disposal Men

02 Nov

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Times of Malta, 2 November 1941


The 24thFortress Company includes that which interests every civilian in this war – Bomb Disposal Sections.  The men of these sub-units of the Engineers are responsible for the ‘disposal’ of unexploded bombs here, and dangerous as is their task, they are the last to claim any special merit for their job.  Quietly efficient, experienced in handling their dangerous charges, both here and in Britain, these soldiers take their orders in a routine manner.


Their attitude is a commendable one.  Trained and provided with the very latest information concerning the types of fuzes and explosives they are likely to encounter, they simply ignore any further danger.  The bomb disposal officer, under whom they work, examines each new charge, and, when his decision is made and line of action decided upon, Sappers of the Bomb Disposal Section carry on as if with a parade-ground order. 

Despite their reluctance to allow the factor of heroics to be associated with them, these Sappers have, nevertheless, done sterling work here, amid breathtaking hazards.  Readers will appreciate also that these risks are taken in a premeditated manner, without the exhilaration of actual battle to lend a spur to courage.

Nothing at any hour comes amiss to these soldiers.  They are prepared to tackle at any time of the day or night any enemy missile from a small fire bomb to the heaviest high explosive.  In Britain they have tackled all types of Nazi bomb, while their experience in Malta covers both German and Italian efforts.”


There were five day raids and ten night raids during October. Casualties were seven killed and seven seriously injured (3 men, 2 women and 2 children in each case). 12 houses and 1 store demolished or seriously damaged. Reduction in price of essential imported commodities was announced on 30th October and has had admirable effect locally.


0855 hrs Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

1201 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Three plus Macchi fighters approached Island from NE split formation and crossed coast just S of Grand Harbour.  Heavy Ack Ack engaged by means of barrage and height control fire.

2216 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two enemy aircraft approached Island from N and dropped bombs in sea off Tal Qroqq.

Military casualties  Sergeant Harold Forth, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve  (RAFVR); Sergeant Ernest Spry, RAFVR, both 40 Squadron, Sergeant Ian McCalman, Royal Australian Air Force.

Enemy casualties   Tenente Francesco Toscano, pilot; Sottotenente Felice Bussolin, Sottotenente, pilot.


ROYAL NAVY Four Albacores sent to attack sulphur factory at Licata with good results.  Submarine HMS Tetrarch under command of Lt.Cdr. George H Greenway, RN has failed to arrive in Gibraltar, having sailed from Malta on 26 October 1941 for refit in the USA. She is presumed lost while passing over Italian mines off Capo Granditola, Sicily.

HAL FAR Two Hurricanes 185 Squadron on enemy ferry service patrol off Panteleria. Two Fulmars, Fleet Air Arm also on patrol off Pantelleria.  Nothing sighted. 

LUQA  Wellingtons of 40 Squadron attacked Castel Benito aerodrome in company with Wellingtons of 104 Squadron. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 7; dealt with 28 (27 x Thermos; 1 x 2kg incendiary).


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1 Comment

Posted by on November 2, 2016 in 1941, November 1941


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One response to “2 November 1941: The Bomb Disposal Men

  1. Allan Gibson

    October 16, 2018 at 1:12 am

    40 Squadron lost one Wellington bomber X9763/U, crashed in Tripoli harbor. The two surviving crew died of burns over the following month in Tripoli hospital.


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