21 May 1942: Maltese Man Branded Axis Spy

21 May

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  • Enemy activity increased
  • No Italian fighter sweeps
  • 103 enemy aircraft destroyed over Malta since May 5


Carmelo Borg Pisani

A man who was rescued from a cave beneath the Dingli cliffs has been identified as a possible enemy spy.  Calling himself Caio Borghi, he was apparently discovered yesterday by Sliema evacuee Robert Apap, waving and calling for help from near the cave at Ras id-Dawwara, between Dingli and Imtahleb.  Apap reported him to the Royal Malta Artillery at a nearby defence post, who raised the alarm.  Borghi was apparently stranded when the sea washed away his equipment and he was unable to climb the cliffs to safety.  Rescued by the high speed launch from Kalafrana, he spoke to his rescuers only in Italian, and claimed to be from Italy.

Ras id-Dawwara

However, when he arrived at Imtarfa Military Hospital he was recognised by Captain Tommy Warrington as Carmelo Borg Pisani, a former boyhood neighbour from Senglea.  Admitting that he had been brought to Malta under cover of darkness to report back on conditions and defences on the Island, Borg Pisani was taken into custody pending further enquiries.


Weather  Wind southerly.

0530 hrs  The alert is raised for incoming enemy aircraft.  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept them but do not engage.

0602 hrs  Five ME 109s make a dive-bombing and strafing attack on Hal Far aerodrome.  Sgt Dewhurst, recently awarded the Military Medal, is killed, as well as one Leading Aircraftsman; another three airmen are injured, one seriously.

0620 hrs  Raiders passed.

0955 hrs  ME 109s approach the Island and carry out a fighter sweep.  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to intercept, without results.

1035 hrs  Raiders passed.

1230-1330 hrs  ME 109s approach again and patrol round the Island.  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to intercept, with no results.

1255 hrs  Four Spitifres 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to attack enemy aircraft.  P/O Lambert destroys one ME 109.  The Spitfires land at 1402 hrs.

1349-1455 hrs  Two Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft: they sight two ME 109s but there is no combat.

1900-1930 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagement.

2230-0020 hrs  One Beaufighter is airborne from Luqa on patrol: no interceptions.

2304-2351 hrs  An alert for four raiders, two of which drop hundreds of 4kg anti-personnel bombs on Hal Far, Safi and Luqa.

Military casualties  Sergeant James Dewhurst, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR); Sergeant Reginald Hanley, Royal Air Force (VR); Aircraftsman William King, Royal Air Force.

Civilian casualties  Attard  Anthony Pace, age 24.  Kirkop  Spiro Bartolo, age 73.

Enemy casualties  Unteroffizier Gerhard Beitz, pilot of Bf 109 Messerschmitt fighter shot down into the sea, rescued by RAF Launch and taken prisoner.


AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Lodestar from Gambut; one Hudson from Heliopolis; three Blenheims from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Lodestar to Heliopolis; one Wellington to 108 MU; one Hudson to Gibraltar; two Wellingtons to LG 222.

HAL FAR  2156 hrs  Three Albacores of the NAS take off to attack a convoy southbound in the Lampedusa area.  Owing to the efficiency of the smoke screen the Albacores return with their torpedoes.  One Albacore is missing: S/Lt Barnes, pilot, S/Lt McGlusky, observer.  The other two Albacores landed at 0412 hrs.

LUQA  0700-0915 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance of Messina Harbour and south east Sicilian aerodromes.  2123-0359 hrs  One Wellington on armed search for a convoy of two merchant vessels and two destroyers: attacked one destroyer.

TA QALI  4 Officers and 36 Airmen commended for outstanding good service during recent operations.

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  Pen building party at Luqa reduced to 2 Officers and 50 men.  Other parties unchanged.

1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  Private Hillear slightly injured by bomb splinters at Hal Far.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continue.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; dealt with 10 (6 x 250kg, 2 x 35kg, 2 x Italian AP bomb containers).

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  B Company moved from Ta Salvatur to Ta Karceppu. Night working party: 6 Officers and 200 Other Ranks building pens for aircraft.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party continued.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Working party Ta Qali 100 men and 50 standing by.

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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in 1942, May 1942


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