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- One continuous raid lasts 6½ hours.
- Vice Admiral, Malta congratulates Ta Qali fighter squadrons for performance during convoy attacks.
- Malta’s fighter squadrons and Ack-Ack gunners in co-ordinated defensive ops.
- 229 Squadron arrives at Hal Far from the Middle East to reinforce the Island’s fighter defences.
- Intelligence reports show a concentration of enemy troop-carrying aircraft and troops in southern Italy and Sicily.
ROYAL ARTILLERY ‘MAGNIFICENT’ SAYS RAF COMMANDER
Letter from Air Commodore H P Lloyd, Air Officer Commanding, Malta to Commander, Royal Artillery, Malta, Major General C T Beckett
“I wish to express my greatest admiration of your officers and men for the excellent way in which they are defending this island. I have been out when raids have been at their height, and I have seen your Gun Crews engage the enemy regardless of their own safety. For sheer guts, determination and hard work, your men can never be beaten. You must feel very proud of them.
The attack at Ta Qali was directed quite as much against your gun positions as against the aerodromes. I was in the target area at the time, so I am not retailing hearsay evidence. I wish to express my warmest admiration and appreciation to those Gun Crews for their magnificent work. It was a scene I shall never forget. Although bombs were directed at your gun positions and there was immense noise, smoke and dust, your Gun Crews engaged each aircraft one by one. No wild firing. Just waiting for each bird and then when within range letting him have it. A great sight, and a performance of which you may feel justly proud.
Then the attacks on Grand Harbour with the magnificent barrage and light Ack-Ack going for each bird. It takes terrific courage. Your officers and men have it and to spare. Every one in the Valletta area has the profoundest admiration for your work and courage. It is superlative and epic. Very well done – all of you. Magnificent.”
AIR RAIDS DAWN 28 MARCH TO DAWN 29 MARCH 1942
Weather Wind south; 100% low cloud: visibility poor. Rain in early morning.
0705-0716 hrs A single enemy aircraft carries out reconnaissance off the north coast; another patrols east of the island.
0830 hrs One enemy aircraft approaches on reconnaissance, is engaged by accurate Anti-Aircraft fire and withdraws to the south west.
0903-0940 hrs Two ME 109s patrol south east and north of the Island.
1151 hrs Two JU 88s approach from the north east and drop bombs in the sea off Della Grazia and Grand Harbour. Fighters are airborne and engage.
Afternoon Thirty JU88s with fighter escort came in singly and in twos, adopting night bombing tactics and dropping bombs from above cloud level. Malta’s Spitfires are operating from Luqa: fighters are airborne in pairs, co-operating with Heavy and Light AA to engage the enemy. Four Spitfires attack and damage a JU 88. Many bombs are dropped in the sea.
Over a hundred high explosive bombs are aimed on Grand Harbour and the Dockyard. The Victualling Yard Service Store and Marine Clothing Dept are damaged. Bombs also land on Gozo, Safi and Zonkor Point, and in the sea.
1630 hrs 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage one JU 88: no claims.
1704 hrs One JU 88 carries out a solo raid on Luqa, dropping four HE bombs on the Safi strip.
1825 hrs All clear.
Night 28/29th No raids: weather cloudy turning to rain.
Military casualties Lance-Corporal Felix Alan Walke, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 28 MARCH 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals Seven Wellingtons from Gibraltar. Departures Two Beauforts, one Blenheim to Burg-el-Arab; four Wellingtons to Shalufa; three Wellingtons to 108 MU.
HAL FAR PM 229 Squadron arrives at Hal Far.
TA QALI Congratulatory message received from the Vice Admiral, Malta, on the performance of the fighter squadrons during the heavy attacks on the convoy.
1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT Battalion drill parade: A & C Coys on Floriana Parade Ground; B & D at Dockyard School. Luqa working parties finished today.
2ND BN THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT Two Officers joined 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt from Breconshire.
KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT 1st Bn Two bombs near Campbell Battery. Stick of bombs 100 yards north west of post R7.
2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS Brigadier visits Battalion on dispersal scheme.
8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT Working party at Ta Qali aerodrome.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 2.
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