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MALTA RADIO ANNOUNCES SPITFIRE SUCCESSES
“Oh, for a few Spitfires, we have thought again and again. It was said that Spitfires could not work here – on account of the climate said some, difficulties of upkeep said others, confused air-currents, etc. But we do know that the runways of the dromes have been lengthened, and somebody whispered that this was the real secret. Spitfires need a longer runway than we could hitherto supply. Last week there was a rumour that they were really coming – that some pilots had actually arrived.
Last Saturday some positively did, and Spitfires were flown over the island for recognition purposes. On Sunday and Monday they were in action; and in the local News last night, we were told that ‘our Aircraft’ together with ground batteries had destroyed 5 enemies and damaged 14 others. This is easily the best record for weeks and we are hoping to God that it may be the beginning of something like parity or even superiority in the air.” (1)
AIR RAIDS DAWN 13 MARCH TO DAWN 14 MARCH 1942
Weather Wind south east; 100% cloud.
1100 hrs Five Hurricanes 242 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept incoming enemy aircraft.
1105 hrs Three JU 88s accompanied by fighters approach the Island.
1130 hrs The JU 88s drop three 500kg, six 250kg and thirty 50kg bombs on Ta Qali, damaging Chateau Bertrand and the Pottery, and killing a horse. One fuel bowser and a Hurricane are set on fire. One fighter Blenheim and a Beaufighter are damaged. The aerodrome remains serviceable. Heavy Ack Ack damage one JU 88. Malta’s fighters engage.
1150 hrs Sgt Mulloy, 242 Squadron, attacks and damages one ME 109.
1209 hrs All clear.
1650-1730 hrs One JU 88 with six ME 109s patrols the Island without crossing the coast.
1941 hrs Two JU 88 bombers approach from the north and drop six 250kg and fourteen 50kg bombs on the Hal Far, Dingli and Wardia areas, and in the sea. Guns and searchlights engage.
2154-2340 hrs One aircraft drops bombs near Siggiewi, near Wolseley Camp, 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt, on Ta Sinia and in the sea. Heavy Ack Ack engage.
Military casualties Leading Aircraftsman Gordon White, Royal Air Force, 249 Squadron.
OPERATIONS REPORTS: FRIDAY 13 MARCH 1942
ROYAL NAVY Albacore search in the vicinity of Homs sighted nothing.
AIR HQ Arrivals Two Wellingtons, one Hudson, one Flamingo from Gibraltar.
LUQA 0745-1220 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out SF 5 patrol. 0943-1120 hrs One Spitfire carried out photo-reconnaissance east Sicilian aerodromes. Catania, Gerbini and Augusta photographed. 1558-1813 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out SF 4 patrol but returned early owing to intercom trouble. 0015-0342 hrs One Wellington 37 Squadron attacked Tripoli Harbour: no shipping sighted.
11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS Luqa working party still in abeyance. This unit hands over Observation Post Tal Minsia to 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regt.
ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Billets at 33 New Street and No 2 Piazza Miratore are damaged by enemy action.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).
(1) Extract from diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St.Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta. Courtesy of website Malta Family History
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