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Bad weather has forced Malta’s Air Officer Commanding to send two squadrons of Wellington aircraft to the Middle East, until hard standings can be constructed in waterlogged dispersal areas. The conditions have so far prevented the Lufwaffe from carrying out their planned dive-bombing attacks on the airfields.
The cloudy weather is also preventing the searchlights operating in tandem with the Island’s Night Fighter Squadron against enemy raiders. Instead, the Squadron’s aircraft are fitted for offensive operations against enemy aerodromes.
AMMUNITION ON ITS WAY
From: The War Office To: Governor & C in C Malta
Reptd: C in C Middle East
Reference your telegram of 30 December: 20 million half 40 millions SAA are being sent to you from Middle East.
AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 7 JANUARY 1942
Weather Fair; wind SW. Heavy rain in the morning, clearing later.
0912-0937 hrs One aircraft approaches from the north above the clouds, circles Grand Harbour and drops bombs in the Dockyard area and in Zabbar. Heavy Ack Ack fires the Harbour barrage.
1019-1111 hrs One JU 88 approaches from the north, patrols several miles north of Grand Harbour and recedes without crossing the coast.
1138-1153 hrs Air raid alarm; raid does not materialise.
1705 hrs A plot of three JU 88s and twelve ME 109s bombs Ta Qali and Luqa: no damage. One JU 88 is damaged by Ack Ack. The enemy fire machine guns at searchlights.
1720-1749 hrs Three JU 88s escorted by twelve ME 109 approach from the west, dropping bombs on Ta Qali and Luqa , and on Dingli village, where two houses are demolished, with one casualty. Four bombs drop on the RAF camp at Ta Qali near barrack huts and dispersal areas. One barrack hut is damaged. Some RAF casualties; no damage to aircraft reported. No Hurricanes airborne. Heavy Ack Ack engaged: one JU 88 is hit and left smoking badly but is not seen to come down.
1825-1855 hrs Four aircraft approach from the north east and cross the coast over Kalafrana, dropping bombs on Marsaxlokk, Hal Far, Luqa and Gudja. One JU 88 is engaged by three guns of 225th Light Ack Ack Bty firing 34 rounds 40mm. Another gun engaged a separate JU 88 at the same time with total of six rounds 40mm.
1952-2102 hrs One aircraft approaches from the north east and patrols east of the Island. On approaching Kalafrana he flies into a barrage, recedes and resumes his patrol off-shore. No bombs are reported.
2135-2145 hrs One aircraft approaches Gozo and recedes without crossing the coast.
2315-0039 hrs Two aircraft approach from the north east and patrol south east of the Island. One aircraft crosses the coast and drops bombs near Ta Qali and two sticks of bombs north of Rabat. Heavy Ack Ack open fire.
Night Five alerts during hours of darkness lasting most of the night. Bombs are dropped between Ta Qali and Qrendi, and on Kalafrana. Ack Ack fire is heard over Grand Harbour and machine-gunning towards Gozo.
Civilian casualties Dingli Anthony Pace, age 75.
Military casualties Sergeant Sydney Baker, Royal Air Force, 18 Squadron; Sergeant Robert Hillman, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 18 Squadron; Sergeant Derek Phillips, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 18 Squadron; AC1 William Fullbrook, RAF Volunteer Reserve (VR); AC1 George Horn, RAF VR; AC2 George Maltby, RAF VR; AC1 Jeremiah Ryan, RAF VR; AC1 William Watson, RAF VR; L/Bdr Edward Brown, 7th Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.
OPERATIONS REPORTS: WEDNESDAY 7 JANUARY 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals Fourteen Hudsons, three Wellingtons from Gibraltar. Departures Five Hudsons, one Beaufighter to 108 MU.
LUQA 69 Squadron One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Tripoli Harbour; one Maryland SF 15 patrol reversed. 107 Squadron One Blenheim SF14 patrol. 18 Squadron One Blenheim SF14 patrol.
TA QALI Aerodrome unserviceable: no flying.
1st BATTALION CHESHIRE REGIMENT At ‘stand-to’ a total of 22 Vickers machine guns and 27 light machine guns in the battalion were manned for Ack Ack defence of Luqa aerodroma, and the normal 22 guns had been thickened up to 90 in some depth. The dive-bombing attack did not materialise. Five enemy aircraft came over and dropped bombs through the clouds. Some fell in the dockyard but the last of the stick fell on the sports store of D Company, in which there were four men. Miraculously no-one was killed: one man is fit for duty and three are in hospital. Their injuries are not yet known. 1615 hrs The new GOC Major General D M W Beak, VC, DSO, MC visited Battalion HQ.
1st BATTALION DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT 0714 hrs 56 Light Machine Guns mounted for Ack Ack at ‘stand to’. “B” Company consisting of nine LMG detachments and Company and platoon HQs in position in area Bir Miftuh church.
11TH BATTALION LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS 0815 hrs All troops of this unit reported in position as per Operations Order. No attack developed as yet. Working parties at Luqa again not utilised.
8TH BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT New General Officer Commanding (GOC) visited Battalion area. Message from Brigade cancels the anti-aircraft precautions ordered yesterday, except on aerodromes. One unexploded mine located; Post GT3 evacuated.
2ND BATTALION ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT 0730 hrs Battalion mounted all available Light Machine Guns for protection of Luqa aerodrome. D Company Mqabba; C Company Luqa; E Company Poorhouse; HQ and B Company Marsa area. Guns manned all day. 1600 hrs GOC Major General Beak visited Battalion HQ.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 1.
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