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- Fifteen raids in the last twenty hours
- Two air raids – lasting all day
- 116 enemy aircraft over Malta
- ME 109s dive-bomb aerodromes
- Almost continuous dog-fights
- Hurricanes and Ack Ack claim hits
WAR OFFICE WARNS GUNS NOT IN USE SHOULD GO TO MIDDLE EAST
From: The War Office To: Governor & C in C Malta; copy C in C Middle East
Understand you have recently received Mideast ten (repeat ten) German 0.77mm guns with ammunition, but that you have not the personnel to man them. If this is so suggest you return guns and ammunition to Mideast at first opportunity.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 23 FEBRUARY 1942
Weather Fair; wind south-westerly. Low cloud later in day.
0922-1312 hrs Four waves of three JU 88s each, with approximately ten fighters as escort, attack Hal Far. Heavy Ack Ack engage. Three ME 109s dive on Hal Far and are engaged by guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Regt. During pauses between bombing ME 109s patrol south of the Island.
A total of 52 bombs are dropped on Hal Far, causing severe damage to buildings. Cinema and motor transport buildings are demolished by direct hits, which destroy one omnibus, two light cars, two tractors and a petrol bowser. Other vehicles are badly damaged. Aircraft damaged: five Albacores (three write-offs) and two Swordfish. Personnel casualties: one seriously injured, three slightly.
1100 hrs One gun position of 225 Light Ack Ack (LAA) Regt engages one JU 88: no claim.
1121 hrs Bombs are dropped in the area of Misrah Blandun.
1130 hrs One gun position of 225 LAA Regt engages one ME 109 at 3000 feet: no claim.
1135 hrs Eight aircraft are airborne from Ta Qali and attack three JU 88s and fighters: claims two probable, three damaged.
1200 hrs A bomb near A Company of 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regiment severely injures L/Cpl R Crawford in the head. [He is taken to 90 General Hospital but dies later.]
1209 hrs Bombs are dropped in the area of Misrah Blandun.
1255 hrs Bombs are dropped in the Mqabba area.
1312 hrs All clear.
1325 hrs Seven Hurricanes of 185 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali.
1345 hrs Two guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Regiment engage three JU 88s: no claims.
1353 hrs Seven unidentified bombers and twenty-five escorting fighters approach from the north. Bombs are dropped on Hal Far, Lija, Nadur, Ta Qali, Luqa (including the Safi strip), Tal Liebru and in the sea. At Ta Qali one Hurricane is written off and a barrack block severely damaged. One airman is killed. At Luqa One delivery Wellington under repair is destroyed and another seriously damaged; one Hurricane is damaged. Three soldiers are injured.
Hurricanes claim one JU 88 destroyed, one ME 109 destroyed. S/Ldr Chaffe, OC 185 Squadron, is shot down. He is later spotted in a dinghy 4-5 miles south of Delimara Point but is not picked up. Heavy Ack Ack fire 13 barrages.
1400 hrs Light machine guns of 1st Bn Dorset Regiment engage one ME 109 fighter from Fort Ta Silch; no claim made.
1445 hrs Bombs are dropped on Safi landing strip.
1547 hrs Bombs are dropped on Safi landing strip and Ta Klantun area. Two unexploded bombs are reported west of Ta Karach. Guns of 225 LAA Regt engage three JU 88s at 4-5000 feet, claiming one hit.
1815 hrs 225 LAA Regt: all guns engaged three ME 109s at 3-5000 ft. One hit is claimed. Billets are damaged at one gun position and a generator at another is rendered unsafe.
1905 hrs 225 LAA Five gun positions engaged one JU 88.
1910 hrs Bombs are dropped on Safi landing strip.
2055 hrs All clear.
2104-2115 hrs One enemy bomber approaches from the north east, dropping bombs in the sea ten miles east of Grand Harbour. Heavy Ack Ack engage.
2300 hrs Bombs are dropped on Ta Qali aerodrome, causing damage to one Hurricane, a steam roller and fire fighting equipment.
2314-0030 hrs Two enemy aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs south of Ghain Tuffieha and between Ta Qali and Naxxar. Heavy Ack Ack engage five times.
0042-0235 hrs Two enemy aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs east of Rabat searchlight position, and in the sea north of Grand Harbour. One barrage is fired.
0502-0625 hrs A single enemy aircraft approaches from the north to within 15 miles of the coast then recedes north east.
Military casualties Squadron Leader Ronald Chaffe, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 185 Squadron, Hal Far; Sub-Lieutenant (A) J Buscall, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (attached to HMS Grebe the Naval Air Station in Egypt, but operating from Malta); Lance Corporal Robert Crawford, 8th Battalion Kings Own Royal Regiment.
Enemy casualties Unteroffizier Walter SCHWARZ, Pilot of Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter, shot down: his body was recovered from the crashed aircraft.
OPERATIONS REPORTS: 22 FEBRUARY 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals Six Wellingtons from Gibraltar (one missing); six Wellingtons from Shallufa; two Albacores from El Adem (one missing).
LUQA 69 Squadron One Maryland special search for convoy. 21 Squadron Two Blenheims despatched to carry out SF2 modified. One aircraft returned owing to hatch blowing off. F/Lt Mitchell also returned. Took off again but was attacked by ME 109s so returned. S/D Flight One Wellington search for enemy sea forces. Returned with oil trouble, then took off again.
TA QALI Aerodrome serviceable.
2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS Bombs in Battalion area 80 feet from HQ billets – no casualties but electric cables down. AOC held memorial service at Battalion HQ.
11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS One ME 109 shot down in this area. Wreckage guarded by D Company.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).
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