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RAF PERSONNEL UNDERGO RIFLE TRAINING
RAF personnel are to be armed with rifles and trained to use them in defence of Malta’s airfields, in the event of a possible enemy invasion. A special army officer has been appointed to each airfield as Aerodrome Defence Commander. On attack he assumes command of all military personnel on the aerodrome, including RAF as soon as they are no longer able to fulfil their normal duties. Training of RAF personnel is now underway at each of the Island’s aerodromes. However, the Army is unable to supply sufficient rifles from already overstretched resources. The Governor and Commander in Chief has written to the War Office recommending that the RAF should be issued with their own supply of weapons.
GERMAN FOCKE WULF REPORTED OVER MALTA
A German Focke Wulf Condor is spotted taking part in an air raid over Malta this morning. The aircraft was seen dropping bombs in the sea to the west of the Island. Built as an airliner, the Condor is normally used in combat as a long-range reconnaissance and anti-shipping bomber. Reports are as yet unconfirmed.
ENEMY USING HEAVIER BOMBS
All but one of the unexploded bomb (UXB) reports handled since yesterday morning by Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal have been for German High Explosive bombs of 500kg. They include three Priority reports for UXBs requiring immediate disposal: two at Ghar Hassan searchlight station and one near Hal Far airfield. Bomb Disposal squads are also at work on excavations for buried bombs at Rinella and near Gudia, all identified as 500kg.
AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 15 JANUARY 1942
Weather Low clouds, sky overcast; SE wind reaching gale force at times; cold.
0156-0311 hrs Three aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs (and possibly mines) in the sea off Mellieha Bay and Qawra Tower, before receding.
0354-0417 hrs One aircraft approaches from the north, crossing over Gozo, dropping bombs in the sea before receding north.
0649-0803 hrs One aircraft passes west of Gozo and crosses the south coast, dropping bombs near Ta Qali, including incendiaries near Imtarfa. Guns do not engage.
0831-0850 hrs Air raid alarm: raid does not materialise.
0937-1016 hrs Two JU 88s and one aircraft identified as a Focke Wolfe Condor approach the Island. The JU 88s cross the coast and drops bombs near Luqa. Heavy Ack Ack at Luqa fire a barrage. The Focke Wolfe Condor crosses over Salina Bay and drops bombs in the sea west of Bingemma. Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.
1301-1320 hrs One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea five miles off Qawra Tower. Two Hurricanes are airborne but enemy aircraft are not engaged.
1354-1410 hrs One JU 88 crosses Gozo, machine-guns Jordan Lighthouse on the Island’s north west coast and drops bombs nearby. Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.
1438-1457 hrs One aircraft approaches from the north west, dropping bombs in the sea seven miles off Torri L’Ahmar before receding. Enemy plane dropped objects (suspected mines) two miles out to sea from Tigne. Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.
1539-1554 hrs One JU 88 from the west approaches Grand Harbour via the south west coast, dropping bombs on the Pembroke Ranges and killing three members of a firing party of B Company, Royal Malta Artillery. Heavy Ack Ack engages. Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.
1628-1712 hrs Two bombers escorted by three ME 109s approach from the north. One raid drops bombs on Gozo and in the sea. One ME 109 intercepts a returning Maryland, causing it to crash land.
1722-1727 hrs Aircraft identified as friendly.
1748-1800 hrs Raid does not materialise.
Night No enemy raids. Wellingtons from Luqa and Swordfish from Hal Far carry out attacks on enemy shipping, thought to have been successful.
Military casualties AC1 John Hoare, Royal Air Force, 69 Squadron; AC2 Ronald Lamble, Royal Air Force, 69 Squadron; Flight Lieutenant Edward Williams, DFC, Royal Air Force, 69 Squadron; Gunner Thomas Gravina, 1st Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery; Gunner Anthony Storace, 1st Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery; Gunner Philip Sammut, Royal Malta Artillery (died 20 January 1942).
Civilian casualties Siggiewi Ganna Micallef, age 17. Zurrieq Louis Farrugia, age 22. Nadur, Gozo Francis Cutajar, age 48; Rita Galea, age 15; Joseph Muscat, age 9.
OPERATIONS REPORTS: THURSDAY 15 JANUARY 1942
AIR HQ Departures Two Blenheims to Helwan.
HAL FAR Night 15/16th Five Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched to attack one merchant vessel and one destroyer. Two possible hits claimed on the merchant vessel. Smoke screen by destroyer very effective.
LUQA 69 Squadron One Maryland special search Kerkennah- Cape Bon; one Maryland SF6 patrol; one Maryland SF15 patrol. 21 Squadron Three Blenheims search one destroyer and one merchant vessel: not located. 40 Squadron One Wellington nuisance raid Tripoli. S/D Flight One Wellington T/B and S/M depot ship.
TA QALI Restricted flying owing to bad weather.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 1; dealt with 13 (4 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg, 1 x 15kg, 7 x 1kg).
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