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

29 Jan

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“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

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

 

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