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ENEMY OUTNUMBERED BY MALTA FIGHTERS
For the first time Malta’s fighters outnumbered enemy attackers in an attempted raid this morning. The Island’s early warning system picked up signs of an incoming formation at 1130 this morning. By the time they reached Malta’s airspace, twenty aircraft – four Spitfires and sixteen Hurricanes – were in the air to meet them. At least three enemy fighters were damaged. The raid was aborted and the JU 88s turned back without dropping a single bomb.
The success of Malta’s defenders appears to have deterred further raids today: several formations or single aircraft approached the Island, triggering the air raid alarm, but retreated without nearing the coast.
ADMIRAL’S FLAGSHIP SUNK HELPING MALTA SHIPS
HMS Naiad was sunk early this evening while she was leading a protective convoy covering the passage of HMS Cleopatra and HMS Kingston from Malta to Alexandria. The flagship of Admiral Vian, commander of 15th Cruiser Squadron, Naiad was hit by a torpedo fired from German submarine U565 at dusk, to the north of Sidi Barrani. Naiad sank in minutes, with the loss of 77 hands.
Vian’s squadron had been sent after an enemy vessel reported by reconnaissance on 9th March but finding nothing they diverted to escort the two vessels on their journey south from Malta. The torpedo strike followed a day-long battle in which continuous attacks by Italian and German aircraft on the thirteen-strong convoy were fought off by barrages from the besieged ships. Admiral Vian and his flag-captain were rescued from the water by HMS Dido which returned them to Alexandria.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 11 MARCH TO DAWN 12 MARCH 1942
Weather Low clouds at times.
0902 hrs One JU 88 with fighter escort carries out reconnaissance from 22000 feet. Heavy Ack Ack engage.
1135 hrs Four Spitfires of 249 Squadron and twelve Hurricanes of 126 Squadron from are scrambled from Ta Qali. They are joined by four Hurricanes of 605 Squadron from Hal Far to intercept an incoming formation.
1146 hrs Enemy aircraft – JU 88s with fighter escort – approach from the north.
1215 hrs The Spitfires engage the ME 109s. S/L Grant attacks one, claiming a probable; F/L Connell damages another. 605 Squadron Hurricanes also attack: P/O Ormrod claims one damaged ME 109; P/O Noble fires at a second without observed results. The JU 88s turn back without dropping any bombs. Ack Ack engage.
1232 hrs All clear.
1410 hrs Air raid alarm. Raid does not materialise.
1449-1545 hrs Air raid alarm. Raid does not materialise.
1654-1936 hrs Air raid alarm. Raid does not materialise.
2130 hrs Four 50kg bombs are dropped near battle Headquarters of 11th Bn Lancashire Regt at Tal Minsia, St Julians.
2330-0042 hrs Island under continuous alert; few bombs dropped on land.
0340-0459 hrs One aircraft approaches from the north but does not cross the coast.
Civilian casualties Sliema Georgia Borg, age 22.
OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 11 MARCH 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals Two Swordfish from El Adem; one Wellington from Gibraltar. Departures Two Beaufighters to 108 MU.
LUQA DSO is awarded to F/L Warburton DFC and Bar of No 2 Photo Reconnaissance Unit for courage, determination and devotion to duty. DFM is awarded to AC1 Haden who accompanied F/L Warburton. 0745-1250 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron carries out Spanner patrol and reconnaissance of Lampedusa Harbour. 1400-1815 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out northern half of Spanner Patrol and Pantelleria.
TA QALI 1500 hrs Funeral of Pilot Officer Mayall.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).
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