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SPITFIRE NUMBERS DETER ATTACKS
With the successful arrival of 17 more Spitfires, the RAF today maintained an almost constant patrol of Malta’s airspace, ready to intercept any incoming enemy formations. Having suffered heavy losses since 10 May, the enemy is sending few bombers to attack Malta, and those mainly under cover of darkness.
The few bombers attempting a raid this afternoon were heavily attacked and prevented from landing bombs on target. Spitfires destroyed two bombers and damaged three more, plus one fighter.
MALTA BOMBERS BACK ON OFFENSIVE
Malta forces launched an attack overnight on a convoy northbound out of Tripoli. The RAF pounced on a merchant vessel and two destroyers 35 miles off Tripoli. The enemy raised a thick smoke screen which made observation difficult. Despite the poor visibility, bombs were dropped from 2000 feet and scored hits on enemy vessels.
MALTESE CIVILIANS COMMENDED FOR BRAVE SEA RESCUE
“The Air Officer Commanding brings to notice the courageous action of Joseph Camenzuli, 40 Anny Street, Valletta, and two brothers, Emanuel and Vincent Mappa, of 42 Fontera Street, Valettta in their rescue of a British fighter pilot.
On Sunday 10th May 1942, during the height of a heavy air raid on Malta, a Spitfire pilot was shot down. He baled out, coming down in the sea over a mile from the shore. As he reached the sea, his dinghy opened, and he was soon endeavouring to run towards land.
Despite the fact that there were many enemy fighters in the vicinity, the three men mentioned, without thought of personal danger, manned two boats and struck out strongly towards the pilot who had been wounded. He was quickly brought ashore and hurried away in an ambulance.”
AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 MAY TO DAWN 20 MAY 1942
Weather Wind southerly.
0840-0905 hrs Two Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagements.
0921-0950 hrs A formation of enemy fighters is reported heading towards the Island. Two Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft. Five ME 109s carry out a fighter sweep: no engagements.
1047 hrs A formation of enemy fighters is plotted heading towards the Island. Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far: no interceptions.
1115 hrs Eight Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali. 15 ME 109s carry out a fighter sweep: no engagements.
1145 hrs Raiders passed.
1226-1300 hrs One Spitfire from Luqa carries out photo-reconnaissance over Malta, including Luqa and Ta Qali.
1330 hrs Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept an incoming formation of ten ME 109s. Both Spitfires open fire at a ME 109 but with no results. The ME 109s split into pairs over the Island and carry out a fighter sweep.
1440 hrs Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept an incoming formation of Cant 1007s escorted by ME 109s and Re 2001s. Ten Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons are also scrambled from Luqa: P/O Caldwell destroys one Cant 1007 bis and damages another. Two Spitfires are slightly damaged in combat. F/Lt Lawrence, 185 Squadron damages a Macchi 2002.
1508-1550 hrs Three Cant 1007s escorted by nine ME 109s and five Re 2001s attack Luqa and Safi strip from 23,000 feet. 100 high explosive bombs are dropped but land well clear of the target, several hitting Gudja and Birzebbugia. Small anti-personnel bombs are also dropped in Ghar Dalam area. One civilian is killed; L/Cpl Savage, Pte Venton and Pte Holes, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt are wounded.
1515-1615 hrs Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagements.
1653-1713 hrs Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa on patrol for intercept enemy aircraft: no engagements.
1756-1838 hrs Four Spitifres 126 Squadron are scrambled form Luqa on patrol for enemy aircraft: no engagement.
1900-2015 hrs Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali to intercept six ME 109s patrolling near the Island: no engagements.
2026 hrs The fighters are followed in by a small formation of six JU 88s. Heavy and Light Ack Ack (LAAA) and anti-aircraft light machine guns engage: LAA damage two of the raiders.
2045 hrs Four JU 88s then go on to attack Ta Qali and Zebbug. Bombs are dropped on the eastern dispersal area of Ta Qali, causing a number of craters and setting one Spitfire on fire.
Night Five enemy bombers approach the Island singly: all bombs are dropped in the sea.
0320-0400 hrs One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit is airborne from Luqa and destroys a Cant 1007 bis.
Military casualties Nil.
Civilian casualties Birzebbugia Carmel Pace, age 30. Paola Consolat Bondin, age 6.
OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 19 MAY 1942
ROYAL NAVY Three Albacores attacked a M/V escorted by 2 destroyers and obtained hits on one destroyer and the merchant vessel.
AIR HQ Arrivals Two Wellingtons from Gibraltar. Departures Three Wellingtons to 108 MU.
HAL FAR 2230 hrs Three Albacores of NAS took off to attack a convoy consisting of one merchant vessel and three destroyers northbound from Tripoli. Hits were scored on one destroyer and the merchant vessel was also probably hit. All three Albacores returned safely at 0330 hrs.
LUQA 2115-0310 hrs One Wellington on armed search in area north of Tripoli locates a convoy and drops flares and bombs.
TA QALI Miss Cottrell commenced work as shorthand-typist.
4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT 0900-1700 hrs Working party of 9 Officers and 200 Other Ranks plus 8 x 15 cwt trucks daily for reconstruction of pens for aircraft at Luqa aerodrome.
1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT Luqa: 3 Officers and 100 men on pen-building; 2 Officers 50 men crater-filling; 1 NCO 11 men ammunition working party and 18 men driving trucks. A Company 1 Officer 50 men for Ospizio Depot.
1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continue.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 8; dealt with 5 (1 x 1000kg; 2 x 250kg, 2 x Italian AP bomb containers).
11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS Luqa working party continued.
8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT Working party at Ta Qali 50 men and 100 standing by.
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