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LUFTWAFFE PINPOINT BOMBING DESTROYS AIRCRAFT ON THE GROUND
Enemy bombers launch yet another series of raids on Malta’s defences, this time concentrating on Luqa. 36 High Explosive bombs are dropped on the airfield, including two massive 1000kg ‘Herman’ bombs. Yet again the Island’s infantry battalions are hard at work filling in craters to keep the aerodrome serviceable. One senior infantry officer looks back on a month of repeated bomb attacks on Malta’s airfields:
“During this month the enemy maintained bombing attacks on the Island with a view to neutralizing the aerodromes…The attacking enemy planes were German and the usual formation was 3 JU 88s escorted by about 9 MEs. The bombing which was done by both the JUs and the MEs from a great height was very accurate. The targets have been the Harbour areas, and the aerodromes and [their] dispersal areas. The line of aerodromes and dispersal areas running from Luqa to Hal Far has had particular attention. The enemy has been successful in destroying our planes on the ground and occasionally in rendering the aerodrome runways unserviceable for a short period…” Captain R T Gilchrist, Southern Infantry Brigade
SOLDIER DECORATED FOR BRAVERY
Private R J Pierce of D Company, 2nd Battalion the Devonshire Regiment, is awarded the British Empire Medal (Military Division). His citation reads: “On 15.6.41 an accident occurred in a land mine field in which a number of civilians were injured. Learning of the Private Pierce proceeded to the scene and made contact with three badly injured persons lying in the middle of the minefield, to whom he rendered first aid. He remained in the area, acting as guide to the Air Force Medical Officer and his party, and enabling them to avoid the mines. He then rendered valuable service in removing the casualties.”
AIR RAIDS DAWN 26 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 27 FEBRUARY 1942
Weather Deteriorating: rain at times. Cold wind; south west.
1140 hrs Nine Hurricanes are scrambled from Luqa and land at Ta Qali.
1305 hrs Four Hurricanes are scrambled from Ta Qali.
1306-1312 hrs One unidentified aircraft approaches from the south to within 15 miles, turns eastwards and recedes south. Hurricanes do not intercept. Heavy Ack Ack do not engage.
1410 hrs Eight Hurricanes are scrambled from Ta Qali.
1412-1426 hrs One JU 88 approaches from the west above the clouds and drops bombs on Luqa. Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage. Hurricanes do not engage.
1437-1447 hrs Air raid alarm. Four Hurricanes are scrambled from Ta Qali: no interceptions. Raid does not materialise.
1817-1824 hrs Air raid alarm. Aircraft is identified as a returning Maryland.
1951-2119 hrs Two single aircraft drop bombs in Kalafrana Bay and near Ta Qali. Heavy Ack Ack engage.
2143-0130 hrs Four aircraft approach the Island singly. Two are intruders which patrol for returning Wellingtons. The other two drop bombs on the Safi strip, near Kirkop village, near Rabat, and in the sea. Civilian property is damaged. Heavy Ack Ack engage.
0221-0300 hrs One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs between Madliena and Gharghur. Heavy Ack Ack engage.
0554-0627 hrs One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs between Ta Qali and Rabat, and near Hal Far. Heavy Ack Ack did not engage as the aircraft stays within an area where gunfire is prohibited.
Civilian casualties Valletta Reginald de M Smith, age 53
OPERATIONS REPORTS: THURSDAY 26 FEBRUARY 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals Eight Wellingtons, one Hudson from Gibraltar. Departures Four Blenheims to Marsa Matruh; one Hurricane to Heliopolis; one Fulmar to El Adem; six Wellingtons to LG 224.
LUQA 69 Squadron One Maryland SF2A patrol; one Maryland SF1A patrol. S/D Flight One Wellington special search. 37 Squadron Seven Wellingtons attacked shipping in Tripoli Harbour.
TA QALI Aerodrome serviceable.
1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT Luqa working parties cut down to 20 men per Company. 0930-1200 hrs Brigade Wireless Exercise: all Companies took part.
2ND BN THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT Private R J Pierce, D Company, awarded the British Empire Medal (Mliitary Division).
2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS Lecture to Battalion Officers by Squadron Leader, Fighter Command.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).
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