RSS

Monthly Archives: January 2017

31 January 1942: Malta’s Aircraft “Outclassed by German Planes”

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

 

COMMANDERS REPORT ON A STORMY JANUARY

ME 109 fighter aircraft

Enemy air activity by day was further intensified in January with 263 alerts compared to 159 in December.  Bombs were dropped on land during 54 raids.  30 or more aircraft took part in 10 of the raids; the heaviest attack – by 72 aircraft – was made on a convoy.

Enemy raiders had a lot in their favour during the month; frequent cloud cover prevented Hurricanes and searchlights from operating successfully at night.  Despite innumerable barrages the Ack Ack fire has had little success in bringing down enemy planes although on many occasions it has caused bombs to be dropped in non-target areas.  Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal have handled 100 reports of unexploded bombs (UXB) in January, and dealt with 50 UXB including 11 High Explosive bombs of 250kg and 21 of 500kg.

Enemy targets were either the Dockyard or the aerodromes and dispersal areas.  There were 36 attacks on aerodromes, evidently to silence Malta’s opposition to Axis convoys of reinforcements and supplies to Libya.  To an extent they were successful, as the largest enemy convoy yet seen in the Mediterranean reached Tripoli.

At the beginning of January the main target was Luqa and at the end of the month Hal Far.  There were also raids on Ta Qali and Kalafrana.  Damage has been extensive and a considerable number of aircraft have been damaged or destroyed on the ground.

Heavy rains renderied Ta Qali and Hal Far waterlogged for days at a time often grounding Malta’s aircraft, restricting offensive operations and preventing fighter scrambles against enemy raids.  Malta’s dispersal areas have not stood up well to the bad weather and enemy bombs have taken a heavy toll of our aircraft on the ground.  However, the Army have provided 2500 men to work on the aerodromes, improving existing dispersal areas and laying additional ones, together with new taxi-ways.  Aerodromes have seldom been made unserviceable through enemy action for more than a few hours.

When Malta’s air forces could operate they proved vastly inferior in speed to the ME 109 and heavy casualties were sustained as a result:

“…our planes are obviously outclassed by the German machines.  The German JU 88 has enough speed frequently to evade our fighters and even when engaged has proved to be so heavily armoured that it is difficult to bring down.  Enemy fighter planes are superior to ours both in speed and manoeuverability.  Our planes lack cannon fire power…Despite this the enemy has by no means obtained his objective of neutralising Malta.”

AIR RAIDS DAWN SATURDAY 31 JANUARY TO DAWN 1 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Cold south-west wind.  Storm conditions: thundery showers and hail at mid-day.  Improving later.

0812-0834 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north, pass to the east of the Island and recede.

0855-0927 hrs  Two JU 88s, escorted by fighters, approach from the north west and drop bombs Qrendi area and between Ghaxaq and Sheleili Tower.  Heavy Ack Ack engage by barrage fire through 100% cloud.

0929-0947 hrs  Two ME 109s break back from the receding raid, cross the coast near St Paul’s Bay, are engaged by Heavy Ack Ack barrage and recede again.

1218-1302 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by fighters cross the coast near Rabat and drop 20 bombs from north east corner of Hal Far to the Safi strip, where one aircraft is burned.  A bomb lands near a working party of 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regt near Kirkop.  Private Gregory is injured in the leg by a bomb splinter and removed to hospital.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1359-1406 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, turns at 25 miles from the Island and recedes.

1512-1521 hrs  Raid does not materialise.

1546-1645 hrs  Three JU 88 with six ME 109 as escort approach from the north and drop bombs in the Mellieha area.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1950-2023 hrs  Four bombers come in from the north, three of which cross the coast and drop bombs between Ta Qali and Imtarfa, setting telephone wires on fire, and on the northern end of Luqa airfield.  The remainder drop bombs in the sea before receding.  Heavy Ack Ack fire four barrages.

2138-2158 hrs  One bomber comes in from the north, crosses the coast west of Kalafrana and drops bombs near Zeitun church, and near Ghar Dalam HQ of 2nd Bn The Devonshire Regt. Three more aircraft cross the coast and drop bombs in St Julian’s Bay, Bighi Creek and Msida Creek.  One coal barge is sunk and one damaged.  HMS Sunset is hit by bomb splinters, with several casualties.

2229 hrs  Three bombers approach the Island and drop bombs in the sea.  No Hurricanes are airborne; Ack Ack guns do not engage.

2324-2338 hrs  One JU 88 attacks Hal Far, dropping five bombs and causing slight blast damage to the Officers’ Mess.  No casualties.

Military casualties:  Able Seaman Anthony Bajada, of Valletta, minesweeping drifter HMS Sunset, Aircraftsman I Robert Grierson, Royal Air Force; Private Charles Holford, 2nd Battalion, Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment; Lt Edwin Cafiero, 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment.

Civilian casualties  St Julians Carmel Manicolo, age 55; Zejtun Anthony Farrugia, age 6; Antonia Zahra, age 6; Mary Zammit, age 30, John Mary Zammit, age 11; Joseph Zammit, age 1.

OPERATIONS REPORTS:  SATURDAY 31 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Blenheims to Gibraltar. Departures  One Catalina to Lisbon.

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Sicilian aerodromes; one Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland SF15 patrol.  21 Squadron  Four Blenheims merchant vessel off Kuriat – no attack made.  156 Squadron  Five Wellingtons Tripoli; two Wellingtons shipping at Buerat.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

TA QALI  Aerodrome unserviceable.  No scrambles at Luqa.  1905 hrs  Intruder raids by 1435 Malta Night Fighter Unit at night; from Luqa.  F/O Winton attacked a JU 88 over Comiso from 600 yards: believed damaged; had to break off owing to Ack Ack.  Attacked a car later which went into a ditch.  P/O Ruthie did not reach Catania owing to bad weather but attacked stationary motor transport with cannon – probably damaged.  F/Sgt Fowler and W/Cmdr Satchell proceeded on the raid but had to return owing to bad weather.  Operations suspended 0010 hrs.

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  HQ take posession of Bubaqra Tower, to be used as advance headquarters.

1st BN DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  Strength  Officers 34; Other Ranks 854; RAOC (attached) 5.

KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Lieut Edwin Cafiero, 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment, died after being severely wounded in the accidental explosion of a shrapnel mine on 29th January.  1200 hrs KOMR moved from Tal Virtu area into Wardia area.  Battalion HQ at 36203095.  1935 hrs Mine exploded on the beach off MA1.

8TH BN KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  A Company at Ta Chircippu; B Company at Ta Salvatur; C Company at Ta Habluk; D Company at Tal Providence; HQ Company at Ta Salvatur. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 31, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

30 January 1942: RAF Fight On Through Fire and Storm

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

 

  • Enemy use cloud cover to attack Hal Far five times in four hours.
  • Ta Qali and Hal Far waterlogged: operations restricted to Luqa aerodrome.
  • Successful Wellington attacks on shipping at sea.

MALTA AIR FORCES OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS REPORT JANUARY 1942

Castel Vetrano aerodrome 1942

Squadrons covered the Italian convoy routes almost daily through January.  PRU Hurricanes and Beaufighters of 69 Squadron carried out frequent photographic reconnaissance of Sicily and North Africa.  Marylands destroyed one ME 109 and probably one ME 110.  Our losses were one Maryland and one PRU Hurricane.

Wellingtons of 40 Squadron carried out 26 operations, dropping 152 tons of bombs.  Tripoli was attacked fifteen times causing large fires, destroying buildings and damaging ships in harbour, as well as one 13000 ton liner, three merchant vessels, and possibly a cruiser.  There were four attacks on Catania and one each on Castel Vetrano (14 aircraft destroyed and 3 damaged), on Comiso and on Naples, damaging the railway station and an airframe factory.

Blenheims of 18, 21 and 107 Squadrons carried out seven operations against shipping, hitting one merchant vessel, and on transport and buildings around Homs, Zeiten and Misrata.  Blenheims also played a prominent part in the successful raid on Castel Vetrano.  During these operations four Blenheims were lost.  One ME 109 was probably destroyed.

Swordfish of 830 Squadron carried out 12 operations against shipping, 54 aircraft taking part.  One merchant vessel of 12000 tons was sunk, one destroyer, one 8000 ton tanker and four merchant vessels [of 2000-8000 tons] were hit.  From these operations one Swordfish is missing.

Twenty three Albacores took part in mine-laying operations as well as attacking shipping.  One merchant vessel 5000 tons was hit amidships; another of 4000 tons was left stationary and listing to port.  Three aircraft are missing.

Hurricanes of the Malta Night Fighter Unit began intruder raids over Sicilian aerodromes, with 17 sorties so far.  Two JU 88s were destroyed and a third damaged at Comiso, where a twin-engined bi-plane was also shot down in flames.  Four Hurricanes carried out a daylight raid on Comiso aerodrome, starting two good fires.

AIR RAIDS DAWN FRIDAY 30 TO DAWN SATURDAY 31 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Wind south west, strong and very cold.  50% cloud.  Bright periods; heavy showers.

0911-0934 hrs  One JU 88 bomber approaches the Island via Gozo and drops bombs in Kalafrana Bay and Ghaxaq areas.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  During the raid a number of ME 109 fighters patrol north and south of the Island.

1112-1135 hrs  Two JU 88s approach the Island: one crosses the coast over Hal Far and recedes without dropping bombs.  The other JU 88 is joined by another bomber which approaches from the north.  Both cross the coast, dropping bombs in the Hal Far area from a height of 15000 feet.  Ten Hurricanes are airborne: no engagement with the enemy.  Heavy Ack Ack did not engage.

1143 hrs  One JU 88 from the previous raid approaches again, dropping bombs on the shore near Leonardo before receding north.  Eight Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage; Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1219-1229 hrs  Two JU 88s attack Hal Far, dropping four bombs just off the aerodrome.  Windows are blown out in Officers’ Mess.  No casualties.

1304-1340 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and crosses the Island from Mellieha to Ghain Tuffieha.  It then goes away to the south and re-approaches, crossing the Island from Dingli to Grand Harbour, dropping bombs on Qrendi Strip.  Heavy Ack Ack fire six barrages.  Six Hurricanes are airborne but are called in due to bad weather.

1428-1515 hrs  Two enemy aircraft follow a returning Maryland to within 25 miles of the coast and then recede.

1542-1743 hrs  Two JU 88s escorted by eight fighters patrol around the Island.  One JU 88 crosses the coast and drops bombs in the Dockyard area.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1923-2007 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, crosses the coast near Kalafrana and is met by a Heavy Ack Ack barrage.  The aircraft drops bombs in the Benghaisa area.

2305-0010 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north east, drops bombs on the Kalafrana Bay and Hal Far areas, then continues a nuisance patrol at 5000 feet.

0043-0216 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the south of the Island, between Kalafrana and Hal Far.

0238-0314 hrs  One aircraft approaches the Island from the north east, passes the Island 18 miles to the east, turns and recedes north.

0348-0410 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north east and attacks the Harbour, dropping bombs in the Dockyard and Zabbar areas.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage.

0528-0622 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, drops bombs in the Marsa area, recedes and makes three more attempts to cross the coast but each time is turned away by Heavy Ack Ack barrage.

Civilian casualties  Qrendi  Joseph Aquilina, age 38; Mary Rose Aquilina, age 34.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: FRIDAY 30 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ Arrivals  Five Blenheims from Gibraltar; one Catalina from Cairo; one Wellington from Burg el Arab. Departures  one Blenheim to LG 224; one Hurricane to Mersa Matruh.

HAL FAR  Night 30/31st Four Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack one merchant vessel of 8000 tons and one destroyer.  Three torpedoes released at merchant vessel which stopped and appeared to be listing to port when last aircraft left. All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland special search.  156 Squadron  Two Wellingtons shipping sweep Tripoli-Sirte-Misrata; five Wellingtons attacked motor transport park Benito Gate, Tripoli.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

TA QALI  Aerodrome unserviceable later in the day: no intruder operations..  Two Sections of 249 Squadron attached to Luqa for operations.  Concert at Mosta: Raffians “Babes in the Wood”.

1st BN DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  Bombs between RA7 and RA6.  No military damage or casualties.

8TH BN KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT MALTA  Bombs in D Company’s area during early morning.  Slight damage to civilian property.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; dealt with 2 (1 x 250kg, 1 x 50kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 30, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

29 January 1942: Bomb Kills Teacher’s Family While He Prays

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

 

“Practically continuous bombardment all day long.  Alert at 7pm and no all-clear until past 10.”  War Diary, General Staff, Malta

FAMILY TRAGEDY IN GOZO

Ghajnsielem, Gozo

A bomb killed the wife and four children of a village schoolteacher early today, while he was attending morning Mass at the local church.  The bomb smashed into the house of Wenzu Grech in Hamri Street in Ghajnsielem, Gozo at just after seven this morning, killing Carmela Grech, age 49 and children Emilia, 17, Ines, 16, John, 14 and Angela, aged just 7 years.

SECURITY MEASURES

A system of Military Identity Cards is instituted for all Officers in the Malta Command today with a view to tightening up security.

MALTA’S AIR FORCES ON THE ATTACK

Hurricanes and Wellingtons carry out successful night operations against Sicilian aerodromes and shipping out of Tripoli.

AIR RAIDS THURSDAY 29 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Wind west south-west; strong and cold.  Little cloud at times; some rain later.

0643-0745 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs on Gozo and east of Torri l’Abjad.

0908-0935 hrs  Two ME 109 fighters approach from the north at 12500 feet, turn east of the Island and drop to sea level before receding.  Malta’s fighters are up but there is no engagement.

1023-1045 hrs  One JU 88 bomber and fighter escort approach from the north.  The JU 88 crosses the coast at Kalafrana and recedes over St George’s Bay.  Heavy Ack Ack engages and no bombs are dropped.

1230 hrs A mine explodes accidentally in the area of 1st Battalion, Kings Own Malta Regiment, fatally wounding C S M Bussuttil.

1259-1357 hrs  Five JU 88s escorted by fighters approach from the north.  Only two JU 88s cross the coast and are immediately engaged by Heavy Ack Ack, causing them to jettison their bombs on Qrendi Strip.  One stick of bombs falls near the headquarters of 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment.

1510 hrs  Three aircraft are scrambled from Ta Qali: no contact with the enemy.

1654-1727 hrs  Two JU 88s escorted by fighters approach from the north west and attack Hal Far, dropping four bombs and 25 incendiaries on the aerodrome, and damaging one Hurricane.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage; 225 Light Ack Ack Battery claims one JU 88 damaged with a hit on the port engine.

1743-1838 hrs  Enemy fighters approach the Island at 4000 feet and are engaged by Heavy and Light Ack Ack.

1952-2236 hrs  Six aircraft approach the Island from the north and drop bombs in scattered areas.  Four bombs are dropped on Ta Qali eastern dispersal area: one Hurricane is slightly damaged.  Heavy Ack Ack strongly engage the enemy with barrage.

Night  Fourteen raiders in four raids attack Luqa causing slight damage, destroying one Mosquito and damaging another. In one raid, three aircraft come in from the north and drop bombs near Torri l’Ahmar on the north coast, to the west of Rabat, Qrendi village and near Siggiewi, killing two civilians and partly demolishing two houses.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage.

Military casualties  Flight Lieutenant Edwin Fox, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Civilian casualties  Ghajnsielem, Gozo  Carmela Grech, age 49, Emilia Grech, age 17, Ines Grech, age 16, John Grech, age 14, Angela Grech, age 7.  Siggiewi  Leonard Attard, age 57; Qrendi  Joseph Aquilina, age 38, Mary Rose Aquilina, age 24.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: THURSDAY 29 JANUARY 1942

HAL FAR  Night 29/30th Four Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched to attack one merchant vessel and one destroyer.  The merchant vessel was hit by one torpedo and the destroyer was also attacked but results not observed.  One aircraft failed to return: missing crew pilot Sub Lieutenant J F Wilson and observer Lieutenant J R O Stephenson, both 830 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF14 patrol.  21 Squadron  Four Blenheims dispatched to attack German headquarters at Ez Zauia – F/Lt Fox failed to return.  156 Squadron  Eight Wellingtons attacked motor transport on Tripoli-Buerat el Haun road.  S/D Flight  Two Wellingtons special searches.

TA QALI  2005 hrs  Intruder raids by 1435 flight.  F/Lt over Comiso attacked lorry and damaged it; encountered severe electric storms on return flight.  P/O Thompson over Catania: attacked two lorries, a machine gun on one silenced.  One lorry overturned while the other ran into a tree.  A car on the road was set on fire.  F/Lt Palmer – Comiso – attacked a train: no results observed.  Operations cancelled.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Funeral of the late Private T Hall, RAOC at St Andrews Cemetery.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  A B & D Companies sent on the march and run route march.  All Coys did about seven miles but most found it a bit of a strain the first time.

1ST BN DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  D Company moved out to camp at Jebel Ciantar and the Inquisitor’s Palace.

8TH BN KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT MALTA  Bombs in Siggiewi area: battalion defence post KO10 damaged by blast.  Roads also damaged but quickly repaired.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS TEWT [Training Exercise Without Troops] on how to prepare a training scheme.  Area L’Imrihel and neighbourhood.

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 29, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

 

Tags: , , , ,

28 January 1942: Bomb Disposal Men Have to Work Through Raids

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

 

“WE HAD TO WORK, EVEN DURING AIR RAIDS”  RE Bomb Disposal Officer Lt G D Carroll (1) 

The red flag over the Castile, Valletta

Malta’s military forces, dockyard workers and bus drivers must now work through air raids, according to an order from the Island’s high command.  A system of flags has been introduced so that work can continue across the Island, outside of the direct target area.  As well as the siren, a yellow flag will be raised for a raid heading for Malta; a red flag in the danger zone will be the signal to take immediate shelter.

“Necessity of spending long periods at night in shelters naturally reduces efficiency on the following day.  Moreover stoppage of work during raids interferes with business and the progress of works.  Stoppage of all buses during raids has also caused great inconvenience.  The large number of raids has made it essential to deal with this problem, and I have already arranged for buses to run during raids.  This they are now doing, and the arrangement is working well.

Necessity for unloading [convoys] as rapidly as possible made it essential to devise some means under which stevedores could be induced to work during raids until the danger actually approaches.  This has been achieved by posting naval lookout on the Palace Tower, and giving special signals by flag and sounding of the hooter in the Dockyard known as the typhoon, when raiders are likely to approach, or guns to fire over the Grand Harbour.

For the first three days unloading of two ships was worked by soldiers, but the stevedores are now unloading all three, and so far rate of progress is satisfactory.  Am now arranging to extend system of visual warnings of approaching danger so as to enable work to proceed during air raids as far as possible all over the Island.”

Governor & Commander in Chief, Lt Gen Dobbie in a cable to the War Office, January 1942

Airfields devised their own systems so that personnel working far from the main buildings could be alerted to immediate danger, as Joseph Zahra’s father experienced working at Hal Far:

“Dispersal of aircraft was a strategy to reduce the chances of group destructions on the ground by bombing. Dad and colleagues were urged by their immediate superiors to carry on with their job during air raids when the attack was not on Hal Far. Someone would be watching and when enemy formations are seen heading in their direction, a flare shot from a signal pistol warned Dad & Co to take cover. They would sensibly head away from airfield installations and towards a cave on the cliffs they knew of, called ix-Xifer, close by to Ghar-Hasan. There were times when enemy planes caught up with them and and the pilot opened up the machine guns. Lying down flat on their faces terrified they would keep fingers crossed.”

Joe Zahra, Malta 2011

AIR RAIDS WEDNESDAY 28 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Wind south west.  Little cloud, fine; rain at night.

1032-1135 hrs  21 aircraft (probably ME 109 fighters) approach the Island from the north and carry out patrols to the west, the south east and over the Island.  No bombs are dropped.  Heavy Ack Ack guns engage; no Hurricanes are airborne.  During the raid, three ME 109s carry out the usual patrol to the east of the Island at a height of 50 feet.

1407-1507 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by fighters approaches from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack engages but no bombs are dropped.

1517-1554 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by fighters approach from the north and drop five bombs on Hal Far aerodrome.  One Hurricane is burned out and two are damaged.  One Albacore is a write-off and five Swordfish are damaged.  Slight damage to buildings.  No casualties.  Heavy Ack Ack guns engage, along with four guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Regiment, twice forcing the bombers off course and destroying one JU 88 which crashes into the sea.

1715 hrs  Two aircraft are scrambled from Ta Qali, followed by four more at 1720 hrs.  No contact with the enemy.

1940-2040 hrs  Bombs reported in the sea off Madliena (possibly mines).

OPERATIONS REPORTS: WEDNESDAY 28 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ   Arrivals  Two Blenheims, one Hudson from Gibraltar; one Whitley from Kabrit. Departures  One Hudson to LG 224.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF14 patrol; two Hurricanes photo-reconnaissance south west Italian aerodromes – one (Sgt R Ballantyne, RAAF) failed to return [later reported as prisoner of war].  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

TA QALI  Congratulations to Malta Night Flight Unit from Air Officer Commanding.  No intruder raids: weather bad.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT C Company carried out their first run and route march.  Several long air alerts sounded and a few bombs dropped in the area.

1st BN DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT 1600 hrs Funeral of L/Cpl R Carter at St Andrews Cemetery.

1ST BN DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Settling in: heavy kit arrived from the docks.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; dealt with 1(500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1)  UXB Malta, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010/2012

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 28, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

 

Tags: , , , , ,

27 January 1942: Raiders Attack Disembarking Troops

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

 

  • Durham Light Infantry disembark in Grand Harbour

    Durham Light Infantry disembark in Grand Harbour

    Convoy bombed on Grand Harbour

  • Malta’s airmen train for ‘intruder raids’ of Axis airfields
  • Luftwaffe fighters surprise aircraft during training exercise
  • Malta’s two field ambulances not enough, says Commander
  • From:   Governor & C in C Malta                                                 To:  The War Office

    Request addition one S/Sgt (Clerk) 2 Sgts. And 5 Cpls (nursing orderlies for general duty) to…each of Nos 15 and 161 Field Ambulances RAMC while units serving in Malta.  Consider these increases essential: garrison very large for only two field ambulances, and general hospitals function telescoped into field ambulance organisation due to…necessity retention patient in dressing stations, of which there are twelve. 

    AIR RAIDS TUESDAY 27 JANUARY 1942

    Weather  Wind south west.  30% cloud; fine.  Warmer rain at night.

    0910 hrs  A convoy consisting of Force K and Breconshire arrives in Grand Harbour having passed through enemy minefields without incident.   The Breconshire is weighed down with supplies, and the convoy brings military reinforcements: 600 men of the 1st Durham Light Infantry.

    1010 hrs  Two aircraft scrambled; one at 1020 hrs; one at 1030 hrs.  No contact.

    1017-1041 hrs  Three unidentified aircraft pass northwards off the east coast.

    1100 hrs  Disembarkation of troops from convoy begins.

    1147 hrs  Five JU 88 bombers with fighter escort of twelve ME 109s approach Grand Harbour from the south at low altitude, aiming to attack the convoy.   Bombs fall near No 5 Gun Mounting Shop, the Naval Canteen Garden and south of St John’s Bastion.  Bombs on Cospicua cause civilian damage but no casualties.  Meanwhile three ME 109s carry out a patrol north east of the Island.  Heavy Ack Ack and Light Ack Ack guns are engaged.

    1730 hrs  As Hurricanes from Ta Qali take to the air for test exercises for planned intruder raids of Sicily, three of the aircraft are surprised by enemy fighters.   P/O Mackie is shot down and fatally injured.  One enemy plane is engaged by aerodrome defence posts of 8th Bn The Manchester Regt with small arms fire: some of the posts claim hits.  The plane is seen flying over Ghain Tuffieha with one wheel down and smoking.

    2017-2032 hrs  One enemy aircraft approaches from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack fire one barrage.  Bombs are dropped in the Rinella area and in the sea.

    2232 hrs  One JU 88 attacks Hal Far.  Three bombs strike, causing blast damage to windows in the Officers’ Mess.  No casualties.

    0112-0139 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north: barrage is held off as the aircraft is believed possibly friendly.  It crosses the coast and machine-guns a searchlight position in the Grand Harbour area.

    0309-0325 hrs  One bomber approaches from the north and drops incendiary bombs on Sliema and Hal Far, and High Explosive bombs in Cospicua.  Heavy Ack Ack fire four barrages.

    0445-0500 hrs  One bomber approaches the Island from the north at 240 mph and drops bombs in the sea off Delimara.  Heavy Ack Ack guns engage.

    Military casualties  Pilot Officer Alexander Mackie, Royal Air Force, died 29 January 1942.

    OPERATIONS REPORTS: TUESDAY 27 JANUARY 1942

    ROYAL NAVY  Breconshire arrives Malta escorted by Force K.  Kingston enters dry dock in Malta.

    AIR HQ  Arrivals  Three Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Beaufighter to LG 224; one Fulmar to Martula; two Wellingtons to LG 224.

    LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance (PR) Sicilian aerodromes; one Maryland SF6 patrol; one Maryland SF15 patrol; one Hurricane PR Pantelleria.  21 Squadron  Five Blenheims attacked one merchant vessel and one escort vessel.  156 Squadron  Six Wellingtons attacked shipping Tripoli.

    TA QALI  Training of airmen in defence commenced.  1925-2110 hrs  P/O Mills patrolled Comiso; no results.  1924-2145 hrs  Sgt Wood patrolled Catania: experienced heavy Ack Ack and went to Comiso where he shot down a possible JU 88 from 50 yards range.  Enemy aircraft fell to the ground in flames.  2150-0010 hrs  P/O Robertson patrols Catania and Germini: heavy Ack Ack; no result.  2230-0100 hrs  S/Ldr Westmacott patrolled Comiso: saw no activity; heavy Ack Ack.  2325-0210 hrs F/O Winton patrolled Catania and Comiso: no results; heavy Ack Ack.  0045-0250 hrs  F/Lt Stores: Comiso – no activity on aerodrome (heavy Ack Ack).  He fired at a beacon – red and green flares – and received a bullet hole in the tail.  0015-0300 hrs  P/O Grant Catania: saw twin-engined biplane south of Augusta: shot down in flames from 50 yards astern: it dived straight in the sea.

    CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE (CIB)  1st Bn Durham Light Infantry less one Company arrived from MidEast and placed under command CIB.  Floriana Detachment of Malta Tanks moved to area Verdala Palace, thus completing concentration of the amalgamated unit.

    1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT One fairly big air raid during the morning: one large bomb fell a few yards from B Company HQ.  No damage or casualties.

    1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Entered harbour and disembarked 1100-1200 hrs.  One air raid during disembarkation. Proceeded to camp at Verdala.  Now under command of Central Infantry Brigade: role to fill the gap in the defence of the high ground around Boschetto.  Accommodated in area Verdala Palace – Boschetto – Inquisitor’s Palace with HQ at Boschetto.

    KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  2nd Battalion to be trained by 8 Manch in weapons and duties for manning posts north of Victoria Lines and south of Baida Ridge, from 21 February 1942.  Bn HQ will move to Wardia Bay area.

    8TH BN KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT   ‘A’ Company were relieved on Gebel Ciantar by 1st Bn The Durham Light Infantry.  This Bn had been engaged for some time previously in erecting camps, etc. in preparation for the arrival of the [new] Bn.  New location of ‘A’ Company is Ta Chircippu near Siggiewi.

    11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  0600 hrs  Physical Training for all ranks before breakfast. 

    FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; dealt with 1 (250kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

     

    All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

     
    Leave a comment

    Posted by on January 27, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

     

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

    26 January 1942: Hospital Patients Armed Ready for Invasion

    Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

    Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

    IMTARFA INMATES TO HELP DEFEND TA QALI

    Hospital patients and RAF personnel will be called to action in the event of an invasion of Malta, as Ta Qali gets its own armed Garrison.  The extra manpower is to help the Army defend the aerodrome and occupy high ground at Imtarfa and Mdina overlooking the airfield. 

    18 pounder gun

    18 pounder gun

    On declaration of a “General Alarm”,  the Garrison troops will come under the command of 8th Bn The Manchester Regiment (8th Manch), and include one platoon 4th Buffs; two companies 8th Manch and one platoon Static Group.  200 RAF personnel from Ta Qali aerodrome will be called on as soon as the airfield is declared unable to operate.  Up to 200 patients will man the defence posts currently being built for 90thGeneral Hospital at Imtarfa.

    Ta Qali Garrison will be armed with heavy artillery – three 18 pounders – and a varying number of Ack Ack guns.  Two 18 pounders will be dug into the Imtarfa spur, and one at pt 369268, to direct fire on to the aerodrome landing grounds.  At least one automatic weapon will be issued per defence post as well as Ack Ack light machine guns.

    RAF personnel are currently undergoing training in infantry skills for their new defensive role.

    AIR RAIDS MONDAY 26 JANUARY 1942

    Weather  Wind south south-west.  70% cloud; bright periods.

    0838-0901 hrs  Two ME 109s approach from the north, patrol south and south east of the Island at a low height and then recede north.

    0945-1009 hrs  Aircraft identified as friendly.

    1027-1055 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by two ME 109s approach from the north, cross the Island from south to north at 26000 feet.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

    1210-1338 hrs  Four ME 109s approach from the north, circle the Island and patrol to the south.  The raid recedes at sea level.

    1240 hrs  One mine explodes on Marfa West Coast.

    1517-1609 hrs  Six plus aircraft approach from the north, circle the Island and recede north.

    1636-1709 hrs  A small number of aircraft approach the Island from the north and south.  One aircraft comes within three miles of Grand Harbour then recedes north; others come no closer than ten miles.

    2045-2211 hrs  Thirteen enemy bombers approach the Island from the north.  Only four come within range of Heavy Ack Ack and only one crosses the coast.  Heavy Ack Ack fire four barrages.  All bombs are dropped in the sea.

    2225-2247 hrs  One bomber approaches from the south, crosses the coast near Kalafrana and drops bombs in the Hal Far area.  Heavy Ack Ack fire one barrage.

    2340-0110 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, crosses the coast near Zonkor Point and drops bombs between San Nicola and Ta Silch.

    Night  Out of 21 raiders in six raids only four cross the coast but remainder are thought to be mine-laying, aware that a convoy is on its way to Malta.

    0246-0319 hrs  One bomber approaches from the north, crosses the coast south of Zonkor Point, taking evasive action by jinking, which makes engagement by Heavy Ack Ack difficult.  One barrage is fired and bombs are dropped in the sea.

    Military casualties  Sergeant Victor Morris, RAF; L/Cpl Gregory Spiteri.

    OPERATIONS REPORTS: MONDAY 26 JANUARY 1942

    LUQA  69 Squadron  One Hurricane photo-reconnaissance (PR) Sicilian aerodromes; one Hurricane PR Italian aerodromes; one Beaufighter PR Medinena-Ben Guardia; one Maryland Cairo 1 patrol; two Marylands Cairo 2 patrol; one Maryland Cairo 1a patrol.  21 Squadron  One Blenheim Cairo 1b patrol; two Blenheims barges off north African coast and motor transport on roads.  156 Squadron  Five Wellingtons attacked Catania aerodrome; three Wellingtons attacked Comiso aerodrome.

    TA QALI  Station Defence Training scheme started; Captain Hynes and five sergeant instructors Royal Irish Fusiliers attached this station for the scheme.  Five wireless operators ceased attachment and returned to Luqa.  Intruder raids by Malta Night Fighter Unit operations cancelled.

    CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  New Brigade HQ Defence Platoon formed from 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers and 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment and took over duty. 

    FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1; dealt with 2 (1 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

     

    All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

     
    Leave a comment

    Posted by on January 26, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

     

    Tags: , , , , , ,

    25 January 1942: “A Bad Day” for Ta Qali

    Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

    Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

     

    Hal Far Under Attack (NWMA Malta)

    Hal Far Under Attack (NWMA Malta)

    • 69 enemy aircraft attack Hal Far
    • Five Hurricanes and one Swordfish destroyed
    • One pilot killed
    • Five Hurricanes and one Fulmar damaged
    • Hal Far aerodrome heavily cratered
    • No enemy losses 

    GOVERNOR PRAISES MALTESE RESPONSE TO RAIDS

    In his report to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief Lt General Dobbie recognises the role of the Maltese in sustaining the Island during increased enemy action:  “Civil Defence Services have operated well and Demolition Squads and Air Raid Precautions have given general satisfaction.  Public also are bearing up well, although continuous raids are naturally subjecting them to strain.”

    AIR RAIDS SUNDAY 25 JANUARY 1942

    Weather  Wind south south-west.  70% cloud; fine.

    0817 hrs  One aircraft patrols the Island.

    0827-0841 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, skirts the Island to the north west and patrols 20 miles south, then recedes north east.

    1025 hrs  Fifteen Hurricanes are scrambled from Ta Qali and Hal Far to meet an incoming plot of four JU 88 bombers escorted by twelve ME 109 fighters.  Three Hurricanes return with mechanical trouble.

    1030 hrs The remaining Hurricanes are jumped by ME 109s.  F/Lt Kee shoots all his ammunition into an ME 109 and chases it 20 miles north: no claim.  Sgt Alpe of 126 Squadron and P/O M Jones are shot up and ‘belly-land’ at Ta Qali: they receive minor injuries only.  P/Os Anderson, Blackburn and Sluggett all bale out and the latter two are taken to Imtarfa Hospital with injuries.  P/O Russell (126 Squadron) is missing, believed killed.  Heavy Ack Ack engages the bombers.

    1053 hrs  The four JU 88s attack Hal Far leaving twenty craters on the aerodrome.  One Swordfish is burnt out and three damaged; one Fulmar and one Hurricane slightly damaged.  Casualties nil; superficial damage to buildings.

    1115 hrs  Raiders passed.

    1143-1220 hrs  Five aircraft, reported to be ME 109s, patrol to the east of the Island.  Two ME 109s attack HMS Abingdon which opens fire on them.  No Hurricanes are airborne; heavy Ack Ack guns do not engage.

    1413-1507 hrs  Three JU 88s with eighteen ME 109s as escort approach the Island and drop bombs on Hal Far causing another seven craters and destroying one aircraft and damaging another; no casualties.  Two ME 109s attack HMS Abingdon which suffers casualties.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage.

    Military casualties  Pilot Officer John Russell, Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve), 126 Squadron.

    OPERATIONS REPORTS: SUNDAY 25 JANUARY 1942

    ROYAL NAVY  Glengyle and Rowallan Castle departed after dark, escorted by Force K: cruiser Penelope and destroyers Lance, Lively, Legion, Maori and Zulu to rendezvous with a convoy out of Alexandria.

    AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Blenheims from El Adem.

    HAL FAR  AM Seven Hurricanes (four of 185 Squadron and three of 605 Squadron) intercepted four JU 88s and twelve ME 109s.  One JU 88 was damaged.  One Hurricane crashed (pilot F/Lt Thompson injured) and two Hurricanes were damaged.

    LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance (PR) Tripoli Harbour; one Hurricane PR Sicilian aerodromes and south west Sicily; one Maryland Cairo 1 patrol; one Maryland Cairo 2 patrol.

    TA QALI  Church parade held: AOC attended.  Six Sergeants attached to this station from Luqa for fighter Blenheims.  Intruder raids: two flights made – aerodrome found in darkness.  Further operations suspended.  Total casualties:  seven Hurricanes, one pilot missing, three injured. No enemy claims.  A bad day.

    1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Working party at Luqa aerodrome; now one officer and 140 Other Ranks daily.  This is liable to continue until some time in March.

    11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Working party at Luqa.

    225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY 1400 hrs Gunner J Dowling interred at Military Cemetery, Imtarfa.

    8TH BN THE MANCHESTER  The Battalion played the Lancs Fusiliers at soccer at the Empire Stadium.  The Battalion lost 5 goals to 2.

    FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 1(50kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

     

    All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

     
    Leave a comment

    Posted by on January 25, 2017 in 1942, January 1942, Uncategorized

     

    Tags: , , , , , ,