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MALTA NIGHT FIGHTER ATTACKS E BOATS
Just after midnight, a Luqa-based Beaufighter aircraft on night patrol sighted eighteen E boats some twenty five miles south of the island. F/Sgt Miller and F/Sgt Walsh launched a vigorous attack on the vessels with cannon and machine-gun fire. They reported seeing definite strikes on vessels and claim to have damaged three of them.
Minutes later E boats were again reported, this time at closer range, near the small off Island of Filfla. Infantry regiments manning Malta’s nearby coastal defences were placed on alert and the Harbour defences were manned in preparation for any possible attempted landing or seaborne attack. By 4 am the E boats had withdrawn and beach sentries were stood down. The night’s events fuel concerns that the enemy is planning an invasion.
MALTA BOMBERS STRIKE AT AXIS CONVOYS AND SUPPLY TRAINS
Luqa based bombers successfully attacked two enemy convoys overnight. One Wellington bomber took off at ten this evening on a search for enemy shipping off the coast of Sardinia. 120 miles from Cape Spartivento, they located a convoy of two merchant vessels of 3000 and 5000 tons, heading south under the protection of two destroyers. The Wellington crew targeted the larger of the merchant ships, causing explosions some 50 yards to port. Bomber and crew returned safely to Luqa at 0325 hrs.
A second Wellington took off ten minutes later on a mission to locate and attack a convoy reported to be heading eastwards from southern Italy. The crew sighted two 5000 ton merchant vessels and four destroyers 37 miles east of Ponte Stilo and unleashed their bombs. One was seen to explode close to a merchant ship, which the pilot then closed on and attacked with machine-gun fire before withdrawing. The bomber landed at Luqa at 0240 hrs.
Nine Wellingtons were also despatched from Luqa tonight to attack the train ferry terminus at Messina. A heavy smoke screen restricted visibility and their bombs appeared to land either side of the target.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 27 MAY TO DAWN 28 MAY 1942
Weather Wind south-easterly, moderate, becoming south-westerly later. 80% cloud above 15000 feet. Visibility 10-15 miles.
0742 hrs A formation of enemy fighters is reported approaching the Island. Four Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to intercept: no combat.
0818 hrs Enemy fighters are reported heading for Malta. Four Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to intercept but do not engage. W/O Miller returns early with oxygen trouble.
0830 hrs Air raid alert: fighters approach but no bombing.
0915 hrs The alert sounds for approaching hostile aircraft. Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne; nil report.
1553 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali airborne to intercept a reported plot of enemy aircraft: no engagement.; nil report.
1555 hrs Air raid alert: fighters approach but no bombing.
1910 hrs A formation of twelve enemy aircraft is reported heading southwards in the direction of Malta. The air raid alerts sounds and four Spitfires 603 Squadron airborne.
1924 hrs Twelve ME 109s cross the coast without being intercepted. Four fighter-bombers head in to attack Luqa but drop bombs in fields in the area of Wied il Kbir.
2045-2126 hrs The alert is raised for an approaching enemy formation. One Beaufighter is scrambled from Luqa to intercept but develops engine trouble and part of the airscrew flies off. He lands safely at Luqa.
2300-0040 hrs One Beaufighter airborne from Luqa on intercept patrol sights an estimated eighteen E boats and attacks them with cannon and machine-gun fire. Strikes are seen.
2320 hrs The air raid alert sounds. Enemy bombers approach the Island and drop bombs on Ricasoli and Luqa.
0050 hrs The E boats are now reported to be off Filfla. 11th Bn Lancashire Regiment are placed on special ‘stand to’ for beach posts, 18 pounder positions are manned.
0100 hrs Air raid warning sounds. Three JU 88s drop high explosive bombs on the Luqa area.
0106 hrs Double sentries are posted by Beach Companies 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt for an E boat alarm. Patrols are warned.
0120 hrs 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment are called out for partial manning of Harbour defences. 18-20 E boats have been spotted off Filfla.
0357 hrs Beach sentries 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment stand down.
The Island remains on alert throughout the night: the all clear does not sound until 0907 hrs.
Military casualties Gunner Frederick Fensom, 7th Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery; Private Francis Lake, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment; Lance Corporal George Porter, 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment.
Civilian casualties Luqa Rosa Bonnici, age 60. St Julians Saviour Magri, age 58.
OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 1942
ROYAL NAVY St Angelo and Trusty Star carried out a sweep and cut seven mines off the Grand Harbour. Four Albacores and two Swordfish on an unsuccessful sortie. All returned.
AIR HQ Arrivals Two Lodestars from Gambut; two Wellingtons from Gibraltar. Departures Two Wellingtons to LG 222; one Lodestar to Heliopolis; twelve Hurricanes, one Beaufort to Sidi Barrani. Aircraft casualties One Spitfire damaged: crash-landed, pilot uninjured.
HAL FAR 1400 hrs Twelve Hurricanes 229 Squadron left for the Middle East.
LUQA 2050-0456 hrs Nine Wellingtons despatched to attack the train ferry terminus at Messina. 2210-0240 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight on armed search for enemy shipping sighted six vessels and scored a near miss on a large merchant vessel. 2200-0325 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight on search for enemy shipping scored near misses (50-60 yards) on the large merchant vessel in a convoy of two merchant vessels and two destroyers.
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 Working parties at Luqa and Ospizio continue. Party at the Porte des Bombes no longer required.
1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT 1130 hrs Pte G Porter sustained gunshot wounds in the head. He died on the way to No 90 General Hospital.
1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continue.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 3; dealt with 8 ( 2 x 1000kg; 6 x 250kg).
1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT 17 vehicles, 4 Officers, 150-250 Other Ranks at Safi strip widening and levelling runway.
8TH BN THE KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT Night working parties building pens for aircraft 6 Officers 200 Other Ranks.
11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS Luqa working party continued.
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