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MALTA’S TALLY OF ENEMY AIRCRAFT MOUNTING
In Friday’s raids over Malta four more enemy planes were destroyed and six others damaged with no losses at all to the RAF. The attack on Friday was lighter than usual and the enemy’s techniques changed completely. Just a small force of bombers are sent with an extremely large force of fighters to escort them….
Rome radio states that Lord Gort was wounded by bomb splinters in the left arm, during a raid on Malta last week. Army News, Darwin, 17 May 1942
CHURCHILL APPOINTS GORT SUPREME COMMANDER
A telegram marked “personal and secret” was sent by Winston Churchill to Lord Gort, Governor and Commander-in-Chief Malta today, appointing him as ‘Supreme Commander of the Fighting Services and Civil Administration in Malta’ until further notice.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 MAY TO DAWN 16 MAY 1942
Weather Wind south-westerly; medium 50% cloud.
0821 hrs One JU 88 escorted by 12 fighters carries out reconnaissance.
0917 hrs Three Savoia Marchetti 84s with a strong fighter escort deliver a high level bombing attack on Mellieha.
1050 hrs Seven Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept a formation of 20 enemy fighters carrying out a fighter sweep over the Island. P/O Booth is shot up by four ME 109s and his aircraft damaged; he is unhurt but crash-lands at Ta Qali.
Another sweep follows by 30 ME 109s.
1156 hrs Raiders passed.
1212 hrs; 1255 hrs Two air raid alerts for nine enemy aircraft carrying out a search off Gozo.
1537 hrs Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept 20 ME 109s and Macchi 202s with one JU 88 crossing the Island. No bombs are dropped. Sgt Yarra destroys two Macchi 202s and damages one ME 109. Both Spitfires land undamaged at 1620 hrs.
1640 hrs One ME 109 is shot down near Paola.
1655 hrs A baler out from a ME 109 lands at Zeitun and is apprehended by a guard from B Coy, 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt.
1704 hrs Five ME 109s and three JU 88s cross the Island and drop high explosive bombs on Ta Qali – one stick on the eastern dispersal area and one stick between Rabat and the western dispersal area, at the back of the caves. Bombs leave craters on the aerodrome. One Beaufighter is airborne but unable to intercept.
1811 hrs One JU 88 drops bombs on the Safi strip and near HQ 4th Bn Hampshire Regt before being hit by Ack Ack guns and crashing near Ta Karach Ridge.
2030-2115 hrs Six raiders, three of which are identified as JU 88s, drop bombs on the Ta Qali area, Mdina and Rabat, causing some civilian casualties and damage to property. One Beaufighter is airborne from Luqa on patrol: no interceptions.
0302 hrs Four enemy aircraft approach the Island at intervals and drop bombs on Marfa Ridge and in St Thomas’ Bay area.
0345 hrs 24 incendiary bombs are dropped between three defence posts at the edge of Luqa airfield.
Military casualties Nil.
Civilian casualties Floriana Joseph Camilleri, age 16. Sannat, Gozo Anton Hili, age 16.
Enemy casualties Leutnant Herbert Soukup, 6/JG 53, Pilot of a Messerschmitt 109 fighter, shot down but managed to parachute down to land, where he was taken prisoner.
OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 15 MAY 1942
LUQA 0700-0856 hrs One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance of east Sicilian aerodromes.
4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT 0900-1700 hrs Working party of 9 Officers and 200 Other Ranks plus eight 15 cwt trucks on Luqa aerodrome for reconstruction of pens for aircraft.
1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT Luqa working party changed. 2 Officers and 50 Other Ranks to standy by at Luqa from 0500-2030 hrs daily for crater filling. Party at Ospizio as usual.
1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continued.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 7; dealt with 3 (all 50kg).
1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT 17 trucks, 5 Officers and 142 Other Ranks pen-building and crater-filling on Hal Far aerodrome.
11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS 1800 hrs This unit takes over Brigade Observation Post at Tal Minsia from 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regt.
8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT 50 strong working party at Ta Qali and a further 100 men stood by in billet areas. CSM May of E Coy was admitted to hospital after receiving injuries caused by an unexploded bomb which exploded near him.
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