26 January 1942: Hospital Patients Armed Ready for Invasion

26 Jan

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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.


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.


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.


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


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