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ENEMY ATTACKS AND INCREASED OPS FROM AIRFIELDS CREATE MANPOWER SHORTAGES
From: Governor & C in C Malta To: C in C Middle East, copy: War Office
IMMEDIATE: Following are absolute minimum (repeat minimum) essential.
First: Infantry 54 Officers [Off] 600 Other Ranks [OR]. As far as possible would like by regiments as follows but this is not essential.
Buffs 8 Off and 50 OR. King’s Own 4 Off and 90 OR. Lancs Fus. 4 Off. And 80 OR. Cheshire 2 Off and 60 OR. Hamps 8 Off and 120 OR. Dorset 2 Off and 30 OR. Royal W Kent 4 Off and 50 OR. Manch 4 Off and 60 OR. Royal Irish Fus 10 Off and 60 OR. Devon 8 Off and nil OR.
Second: RASC 1 Supply Officer, 1 MT Officer, 84 Drivers.
Third: RAOC 3 Officers and 47 Other Ranks made up as follows. Officers 1 OO (Sub), 1 OME 2nd Class, 1 OME 4th Class. Clerks 1 WO Class II, 1 S/Sjt, 1 Cpl and 1 L/Cpl. Storemen 3 Sjts (1 trained in GL and two in Amn.), 1 Cpl, 2 Ptes (trained in GL), non-tradesmen 2 Sjts, 1 L/Cpl Amn. Examiners, 2 Cpls, 1 Pte Armament Artificers, 1 Radio 1 Wireless, 2 Inst AA, 1 Inst Field (All S/Sjts). Fitters (MV) 4 Ptes. Electricians 8 Ptes. Inst. Mechanics 5 Ptes. Radio Mechanics 5 Ptes. Welders 3 Ptes. Wireless Mechanics 1 Pte.
AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 17 JANUARY 1942
Weather Wind south west. 80% low cloud. Bright periods.
0001-0015; 0025-0040; 0214-0232 hrs Air raid alerts. Raids do not materialise.
0430-0800 hrs Air raid alert. Raid does not materialise.
0920 hrs Two Hurricanes are scrambled from Ta Qali. P/O Russell attacks a JU 88 near Kalafrana – gets in a two-second burst but no hits observed. Enemy aircraft dive into cloud and contact is lost. Both Hurricanes return safely.
0942-1050 hrs Three JU88s approach from the north east, drop bombs in the sea and then recede without crossing the coast.
1105-1112; 1140-1202 hrs Air raid alerts. Raids do not materialise.
1314-1345 hrs One aircraft approaches from the east and recedes without crossing the coast. Four Hurricanes give chase without result.
1314-1345 hrs One aircraft approaches and recedes without crossing the coast. Four Hurricanes give chase without result.
1543-1613 hrs Two ME 109 fighters attempt to intercept a returning Beaufighter but recede when a few miles off the coast.
1615-1630 hrs Air raid alert. Raid does not materialise.
1659-1702 hrs One JU 88 is reported over the Island. Hurricanes are up and engage; enemy aircraft believed damaged. Guns do not engage.
2220; 2250; 2322 hrs Air raid alerts. Raids do not materialise.
OPERATIONS REPORTS: SATURDAY 17 JANUARY 1942
ROYAL NAVY Admiral Leatham with his secretary Commander Clay arrived in Malta to take over from Admiral Ford as Vice Admiral Malta.
AIR HQ Arrivals One Champion GAFCT, two Hudsons, seven Wellingtons from Gibraltar. Departures one Champion to Cairo; one Blenheim to Helwan; one Beaufighter to 108 MU; three Wellingtons to LG 224.
HAL FAR Night 17/18th Five Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched to attack convoy consisting of Italian tanker Giulio Giordani, 7000 tons, and two destroyers, Da Recco and Usodimare. The tanker was hit by one torpedo and one of the escorting destroyers also believed to have been hit. All aircraft returned safely.
LUQA 69 Squadron One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance (PR) Sicilian and south Italian aerodromes, then Palermo, Messina and Reggio; one Maryland Cairo 2 search; one Maryland Cairo 1a search. 21 Squadron One Blenheim Cairo 1B search.
TA QALI Aerodrome serviceable. Seven air raid alarms. Hurricane No 1 long range tanks landed at Hal Far with wheels up. One airman attached for Blenheim Fighter Flight.
225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY Distribution of ammunition from Benghaisa to Safi area (1296 rounds) and Hal Far (624 rounds) 40mm to make total holdings per gun to 2500 rounds.
8TH BN MANCHESTER REGIMENT E Company took over A Company’s posts at Ta Qali. A Company becomes a mobile Company responsible for the defence of the Imtarfa Hospital area.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 7; dealt with 6 (3 x 500kg, 2 x 50kg, 1 x 15kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.
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