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GERMAN BOMBER SHOT DOWN OVER HAL FAR
Anti-aircraft gunners shot down an attacking Luftwaffe bomber over Hal Far aerodrome in an air raid tonight. The single JU 88 bomber flying without fighter escort was spotted approaching Malta from the north early this evening. Sources report that the pilot flew a complete circuit of the Island, which allowed plenty of time for searchlights to pick up and track his progress.
The aircraft was seen to turn over the south coast, and dropped bombs the new landing strip at Qrendi. The Island’s defensive Gunners were primed and ready to fire at the first sighting. The JU88 flew into a barrage of Heavy Ack Ack and Bofors fire and fell into a steep dive, crashing in front of hangars at the edge of Hal Far aerodrome. Members of 2nd Battalion The Devonshire Regiment were manning defence posts within yards of the crash site but no injuries are reported. There were no survivors among the JU88 pilot and crew.
AIR RAIDS 28 DECEMBER 1941
0942-1020 hrs Air raid alarm: 19 enemy aircraft approached the Island, only one crossing the coast. Ack Ack engaged; no claims.
1102-1116 hrs Air raid alarm; raid does not materialise.
1235-1315 hrs Air raid alarm: two enemy aircraft crossed the coast and dropped bombs on the St Angelo area.
1507-1540 hrs Air raid alarm: one JU 88 on reconnaissance escorted by 12 fighters, crossed over Grand Harbour. Harbour guns fired a heavy Ack Ack barrage. One Hurricane was lost.
1806-1840 hrs Air raid alarm: six enemy aircraft crossed the coast near St Paul’s Bay and dropped bombs at Marsa and in the Mellieha area. Heavy Ack Ack engaged; no claims.
1940-2057 hrs Air raid alarm: one JU 88 approached and carried out a complete circuit of the Island before crossing the south coast and dropping bombs on Qrendi landing strip. The raider was illuminated by searchlights for periods of two, one ,and half a minute. Heavy Ack Ack shrapnel and Bofors engaged; the aircraft was hit and crashed west of Hal Far.
2324 hrs Air raid alarm: two enemy aircraft approached from the north and probably laid mines south of the Island. One aircraft machine-gunned Lapsi searchlight position – no damage or casualties. Bofors and light machine gun engaged. The second aircraft dropped bombs near Hal Far. Heavy Ack Ack engaged; no claims.
Enemy casualties Leutnant Wilfred Babinek, pilot; Gefreiter Heinrich Schwarz, wireless operator; Gefreiter Wilhelm Gutt, air gunner.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 28 DECEMBER 1941
HAL FAR Night 27/28th Three Albacores 828 Squadron despatched on a minelaying operation outside Tripoli Harbour. Opposition intense but inaccurate light Ack Ack. Rain over target area. All aircraft returned safely.
LUQA 69 Squadron One Maryland SF 15 patrol. Photo-Reconnaissance (PR) One Maryland North African aerodromes, harbours of Zuara and Tripoli; one Maryland PR North African dromes. 18 Squadron One Blenheim SF 1 patrol; one Blenheim SF 2B patrol; two Blenheims attacked Mellaha aerodrome. 104 Squadron Four Wellingtons attacked Tripoli Harbour. 107 Squadron One Blenheim SF 2B patrol; two Blenheims attacked Homs Road.
TA QALI Night 27/28th Bombs dropped on various parts of the Island. Night fighters airborne. P/O Winton destroyed one enemy raider. 0942-1622 hrs Four alerts. Three scrambles: no interceptions, one Hurricane missing. Sgt Owen rescued from sea, multiple gunshot wounds left arm.
HQ FIXED DEFENCES ASV [search] set installed at Harbour Fire Command post Elmo for detecting the approach of E-boats.
KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT Stick of bombs on Mehrla strip and north of Mehrla Church. One unexploded bomb at 403186.
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