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Monthly Archives: May 2017

21 May 1942: Maltese Man Branded Axis Spy

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

RESCUED MAN IN BOTCHED SPYING MISSION FOR ITALIANS

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.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 21 MAY TO DAWN 22 MAY 1942

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.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 21 MAY 1942

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.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com.

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

 

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20 May 1942: Malta’s Suffering Far Exceeds UK Blitz, Parliament Told

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Houses of Parliament, London

BRITISH DO NOT REALISE SCALE OF ATTACKS ON MALTA, SAYS LORD PRIVY SEAL

In two days of debates over the War Situation in the House of Commons, Ministers have emphasised to the British Parliament the real extent of the bombing suffered by Malta in the previous two months.  Speaking yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Clement Attlee, said:

“…In Libya a considerable portion of the German air force has to be employed, and in the watch on the Mediterranean and in the attacks on Malta.  I think everyone has been thrilled by the magnificent defence put up by our troops and by the people in Malta.  Watching day after day, one realises the weight of that attack.  There has been nothing like it for continued weight of attack in any other part of the world during this war.  It has been a tremendous attack.  All credit is due to the people of Malta, and to their gallant Governor, General Dobbie, now in this country after very hard service, whose place has been taken by General Lord Gort. But Malta has not only defended itself; it has occupied the attention of a very large portion of the German Luftwaffe.”

Contributing to the debate, Mr John Wardlaw-Milne (member for Kidderminster) questioned the scale of enemy action against the Island: “…I think he said that a considerable proportion of the Lufwaffe was occupied in fighting against Malta?  Does he really believe that?  Does he really believe that a considerable proportion of the whole of the air forces of Germany is occupied against Malta?  If so, all I can say is that I wish he would give the House the information on which he bases that view…”

Sir Stafford Cripps, The Lord Privy Seal, today responded to that question in a speech about the conduct of the war: “I do not think that either the House or the country realises the enormous degree of attack which Malta has suffered, and the enormous number of aircraft we have had to get into Malta in order to counter that attack….During the month of April no fewer than 5,000 sorties were flown by the Germans against Malta, and more bombs were dropped on the island during that period than were dropped in this country in any month during the worst period of the blitz.  And if one realises the area of Malta compared with the area of this country one appreciates what a vast concentration there was…”  Hansard, May 1942

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 MAY TO DAWN 21 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind south-westerly.

0835-0935 hrs  The alert is sounded for a small group of incoming enemy fighters.  Four Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons from Luqa and four Spitfires 185 Squadron from Hal Far are scrambled to intercept: no engagements.

0935 hrs  A second small plot of enemy aircraft approaches.  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali.  P/O McLean and P/O Northcott chase two ME 109s down to deck level but observe no results.

1000 hrs  Sgt Sim 185 Squadron from Hal Far lands at Ta Qali due to shortage of petrol.

1035 hrs  A third small group of enemy fighters is reported heading for Malta.  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali and sight two ME 109s but have insufficient height to engage.

1114 hrs  The air raid alert sounds for more enemy fighters approaching the Island.

1137 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali.  They land at 1205 hrs without engaging the enemy.

1413 hrs  A formation of some six ME 109s is reported approaching the Island.  Four Spitfires 601 Squadron are airborne from Luqa to intercept: no engagement.

1534 hrs  Five ME 109 fighter bombers approach the Island.  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far but do not engage.

1555 hrs  The fighter bombers drop high explosive bombs on Ta Qali, causing craters on the runways.

1600-1700 hrs  Two Spitfires are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagements.

2032 hrs; 2150 hrs; 2302 hrs  A total of nine enemy raiders drop high explosive and anti-personnel bombs on Luqa airfield and dispersal areas.

2148-2247 hrs  One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit is airborne on patrol: no engagements.

0037-0215 hrs  One Beaufighter is airborne from Luqa to search for delivery Wellingtons: nothing sighted.

0310-0326 hrs  One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit is airborne on patrol but returns with radio transmitter failure.

Military casualties  Sergeant Frank Howard, Pilot, 777674, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 601 Squadron.

Civilian casualties  Nil.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 1942

ROYAL NAVY  One Albacore failed to return from a mission against small convoy previously reported by SDF Wellington. The sortie was unsuccessful due to the effective smoke screen laid by escorting destroyers.  The sailing of Porpoise with stores from Alexandria to Malta was held up on account of the mine situation at Malta.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Three Wellingtons from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Gambut.  Departures  Two Wellingtons to 108 MU; one Lodestar to Heliopolis.

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 5; dealt with 4 (1 x 250kg, 1 x 50kg, 2 x Italian AP bomb containers).

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party continued.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in 1942, May 1942

 

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19 May 1942: New Spitfire Patrols Keep Enemy at Bay

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Cant Z 1007 bis in Sicily

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.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in 1942, May 1942

 

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18 May 1942: Italian Spy Caught – Reveals Invasion Plot

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RAF Air Sea Rescue Launch

ITALIAN DIVER CONFESSES

A lone figure scrambled ashore this morning in Marsascala Bay and gave himself up to members of 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment guarding the coastline.  Italian navy diver Giuseppe Guglielmo was immediately taken prisoner.  He later confessed that he had been dropped from a naval torpedo boat in the bay during the night, with a mission was to investigate the beach defences.  However, he was unable to locate the boat which was due to collect him.  Faced with few options, he decided to put himself at the mercy of Malta’s forces.

SEVENTEEN NEW SPITFIRES

Yesterday afternoon, HMS Eagle sailed from Gibraltar along with HMS Argus, under the protection of cruiser HMS Charybdis and six destroyers, to deliver of another seventeen Spitfires and six Albacores to Malta.  At 0830 hrs this morning, Charybdis escaped with a near miss from torpedoes, fired from an Italian submarine.  Despite being shadowed by enemy aircraft, some of which carried out a brief attack, the convoy reached the rendezvous point.  The aircraft were flown off successfully but the six Albacores experienced defects and had to return to Eagle.  All the Spitfires arrived safely in Malta.

AIRMEN SUFFER FOOD AND WATER SHORTAGES

RAF personnel at Ta Qali will no longer be able to supplement their diet between set meal times.  Commanders at the aerodrome today announced that the sale of bread and sandwiches in the canteens is to stop.  The measure is necessary due to the serious shortage of food supplies and is expected to remain in place until a significant convoy can reach the Island.  The announcement added that water use is to be rationed to nine gallons per head per day.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 MAY TO DAWN 19 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind southerly; clear.

0545 hrs  Six plus aircraft patrol fifteen miles north east of the Island. Then fourteen Caproni Reggiani Re 2001s and ME 109s carry out a sweep at 12000 feet.

0625 hrs  Four Spitfires are airborne from Ta Qali and sight four of the Re 2001s.  Sgt Brennan, F/O West and Sgt Gilbert each destroy one.

0705 hrs  Another Re 2001 is forced to land in good condition near Fort Leonardo; the pilot is taken prisoner.  (1)

0845 hrs  An Italian diver comes ashore at Marsascala Bay and is taken prisoner by 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt.

0845-0925 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: nil report.

0927 hrs  Five ME 109s patrol around the Island at heights between 23000 and 15000 feet.  Heavy Ack Ack fire pointer rounds.

0940 hrs  25 ME 109s and Re 2001s are reported approaching the Island.  With the arrival of a new delivery of Spitfires expected, five Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept the enemy aircraft.  Two are recalled.

1028 hrs  The remaining three Spitfires 601 Squadron are jumped by ME 109s.  P/O Scott claims one ME 109 destroyed.  Sgt Farlow is shot down.  The RAF Air/Sea Rescue launch puts out.

1100 hrs  Four Hurricanes 229 Squadron are airborne from Hal Far to escort to incoming aircraft. They engage enemy fighters: Sgt Pendlebury is shot down and killed.  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far are airborne to act as high cover for the Hurricanes.  Sgt Yarra attacks four ME 109s, destroying one and probably destroying another.

1114 hrs  Three Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to help protect the rescue launch.  P/O Bisley destroys one ME 109.

1145 hrs  Sgt Yarra 185 Squadron runs short of petrol and has to land his Spitfire at Ta Qali.   Five Spitfires 249 Squadron are ordered up from Ta Qali to patrol.  Sgt Gilbert destroys one ME 109; Sgt Gray probably destroys another.

Sgt Farlow and a German pilot are rescued alive by the RAF launch but Sgt Pendlebury is found to have been killed during the air attack.

1300-1340 hrs  Six Me 109s fly over the Island at 18000 feet and are engaged by Heavy Ack Ack.  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: nil report.

1600-1705 hrs  Four Spitfires 601 Squadron are airborne to patrol over the Island: no combats.

1609 hrs  One Dornier 24 escorted by 20 plus fighters carries out a rescue search to the east of the Island.  Fighters are airborne but do not engage.

1724 hrs  20 ME 109s and Macchi 202s make a sweep over the Island.  Heavy Ack Ack fire pointer rounds: one hits and damages a Macchi 202 at 23000 feet.

1750 hrs  Six Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: nil report.

1755 hrs  Six Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept the enemy aircraft.  They chase several ME 109s.  Two Spitfires (P/O Peck and Sgt Jones) fire at a ME 109 from extreme range; the aircraft is later seen to crash in flames by Spinola Ack Ack battery.

2043-2133 hrs; 2123-2217 hrs; 2340-0115 hrs; 0050-0400 hrs; 0245-0345 hrs; 0340-0445 hrs  Beaufighters maintain a standing patrol to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagements.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer John Boyd, Royal Australian Air Force; Pilot Officer Robert Charters, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR); Sergeant James Pendlebury, Royal Air Force VR, 229 Squadron; Lance Bombardier A Aquilina, 2nd Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Nil.

Enemy casualties  Johann Lompa, Pilot of ME 109 Messerschmitt shot down into the sea, rescued by RAF Launch and taken prisoner; Tenente Remo Cazzolli, 152a Squadriglia, Re 2001 Pilot, shot down and crash landed, badly injured and taken to hospital as a prisoner; diver Giuseppe Guglielmo, Italian Navy: taken prisoner.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 18 MAY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  17 Spitfires, 2 Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  Four Beauforts, two Wellingtons to 108 MU; one Hudson, one Lodestar to Heliopolis.  Aircraft casualties  One Hurricane shot down in combat; pilot missing.  One Spitfire shot down in the sea; pilot injured.  One Beaufort failed to arrive at Middle East: crew missing.

HAL FAR  2015 hrs  Three Albacores of the NAS were airborne to attack a convoy.  The convoy was not located and they returned with their torpedoes at 0245 hrs.  2224 hrs  Four Albacores of the NAS took off to attack a convoy.  Two returned with mechanical trouble and the other two found their target but did not attack owing to unfavourable conditions.  They returned with their torpedoes, landing at 0340 hrs.

LUQA  No bombs on the aerodrome.  1015-1240 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance of Messina and Sicilian aerodromes.  2104-0400 hrs  One Wellington on search to locate and join Albacores strike onto enemy convoy in Tripoli area.

TA QALI  Eight Spitfires arrived ex Carrier.  Consumption of water reduced to 9 gallons per head per day.  Sale of bread or sandwiches in EF1 canteens to be discontinued until further notice owing to shortage of supplies.

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 working parties increased this morning.  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 continued.  D Company moved from Jebel Ciantar to Boschetto Gardens.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  One half of No 2 Section, 1 Works Company RE commenced work at Hompesch (accommodation for RA and Infantry).  Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3; dealt with 3 (1 x 500kg, 2 x 50kg).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  17 trucks, 4 officers and 140 Other Ranks working on pens at Hal Far.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Battalion working parties continue to be engaged at aerodromes doing valuable work.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party continued.

(1)  Italian pilot recalls his capture – CLICK HERE

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2017 in 1942, May 1942, Uncategorized

 

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17 May 1942: Stealth E-Boat Attack Repulsed

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MALTA’S DEFENCES COMBINE TO FIGHT OFF ENEMY VESSELS

German Schnellboot (E-boat)

In the early hours of this morning Malta’s early warning systems picked up the presence of enemy vessels close to the coastline.  In an unprecedented co-operative effort, the Island’s coastal defenders, gunners and fighter aces thwarted an evidently top secret mission by German E boats.

0105 hrs  A shipping plot is detected by radio direction finder off the Island: engines are heard north of St Elmo.  Their movements are followed and searchlights are exposed but nothing is detected.  Campbell Battery fires two rounds by the plot at an unseen target.

0204 hrs  Four E boats illuminated by coastal searchlights suspected of attempting to lay mines.  Royal Artillery guns at Tigne Battery engage the boats at 10,000 yards.  The boats retire under cover of smoke.

0215 hrs  The E boats are illuminated again: this time both Tigne and Rocco forts engage, firing 22 rounds. The enemy again create a smoke screen and retire northwards.

0235 hrs  An explosion is heard bearing 050 degrees from St. Elmo and the Royal Artillery claim an E boat probably destroyed and one immobilised.

Daybreak  One E boat is observed stopped in position 073 degrees St. Elmo at 10,000 yards. Fort Rocco engages and scores a direct hit.

0515 hrs  Four Hurricanes 229 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far on anti E boat patrol.  One of the Hurricanes returns almost immediately with a minor defect.  The remaining three find and attack an E boat five miles east of the Island.  All three fire from 150 to 50 yards and score many strikes.  Return fire very soon ceases and they leave the boat disabled with no signs of life on board.  Hurricanes land at 0605 hrs untouched.

0600 hrs  One Dornier 24 with strong escort approaches the Island on search.

0610 hrs  Four ME 109s reconnoiter and then attack the immobilised E boat, setting her on fire.  She finally sinks in position 097 degrees 15,800 yards.

Only two boats are detected retreating after the action; at least two are considered sunk.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 17 MAY TO DAWN 18 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind south-south-westerly; 30% cloud.  Good visibility.

0652 hrs  Fifteen Caproni Re 2001 Falco Italian fighters complete a sweep at very high level, the first time the aircraft has appeared in strength over the Island.  One JU 88 approaches with an escort of ME 109s.

0700-0750 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron from Ta Qali are ordered to attack the JU 88.  F/Lt Buchanan engages the JU 88 off St Paul’s Bay and destroys it.

0730-0815 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagement.

0806 hrs  Five Spitfires 126 Squadron are airborne from Luqa to intercept enemy air sea rescue service.  Sgt Goldsmith on taxiing out runs into a partly filled bomb crater and is unable to take off.

0844 hrs  One Dornier 24 carries out a search for survivors of the E boats.  F/Sgt Parks, 126 Squadron attacks the Dornier, claims destroyed.

0912 hrs  An unknown number of ME 109s approach.  One is destroyed by Spitfires.

1008-1112 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are airborne from Hal Far: no interception.

1012 hrs  Five ME 109s approach, apparently searching for the pilot of a plane destroyed in the previous raid.

1110-1140 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagement.

1116 hrs  Two ME 109s and two Macchi 202s approach from the north.  The Macchis machine-gun Hal Far, injuring six RAF personnel working on a pen.

1130 hrs  One Macchi 202 is engaged by three guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery; no claims.

1155-1300 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron and six 603 Squadron from Ta Qali are ordered to climb up and bounce fifteen ME 109s a Dornier 24 flying boat searching near the Island.  F/Sgt Verrall destroys one ME 109 and damages another.  P/O Nash destroys one ME 109 and P/O King damages one.  Sgt Hurst and P/O Barlow both attacke and damage a Dornier 24 flying boat.  P/O Nash is shot down near Dingli and killed.

1307 hrs  Four ME 109s continue the search.

1347-1411 hrs  Two Spitfires are airborne from Luqa on defensive patrol: no combat.

1450 hrs   One Dornier 24 escorted by twelve ME 109s carries out a search ten miles north east of the Island.

1715-1810 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagement.

1732 hrs  15 Caproni Re 2001 Falcos accompanied by 15 ME 109s and Macchi 202s approach from the north at 20,000 feet and split up into twos and threes as they near the Island.

1805-1900 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali and sight the enemy formations.  They climb to intercept the bombers as they head in to attack St Paul’s Bay – but instead turn back without dropping their bombs.

Seven Spitfires from Luqa intercept some eight of the Caproni Re 2001s.  P/O Boyle and P/O Le Bas claim two probably destroyed; W/O Belcher claims one damaged.  Sgt Howard is shot up and crash lands; he is seriously injured.

1900-2015 hrs  Six plus enemy aircraft patrol ten miles south east of the Island. Six Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagement.

Night  Two alert sound for single aircraft, one of which turns out to be friendly.

0155-0240 hrs  One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol to intercept enemy aircraft and destroys one Italian BR 20.  No bombs are dropped on land.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Peter Nash, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 249 Squadron.

Civilian casualties Ghaxaq  Michael Abela, age 26.  Mdina  Stella Sant Manduca, age 76.  Zabbar  Mary Fava, age 8.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 17 MAY 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Albacores returned from an unsuccessful sortie against shipping.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Four Beauforts, two Wellingtons, one Hudson from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Gambut.  Departures  Two Hudsons, one CW 20 to Gibraltar; one Lodestar to Heliopolis.  Aircraft casualties  One Spitfire shot down in combat; pilot killed.  One Spitfire damaged in combat and crashed on landing; pilot killed.  One Wellington crashed on take-off; crew injured.

LUQA  No bombs on the aerodrome.  0905-1154 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance of Sicilian harbours and aerodromes.  2337-0450 hrs  One Wellington on search for enemy shipping.  Located two merchant vessels and three destroyers.  A smoke screen was put up and no attack made.  Wellingtons dropped flares for Albacores.

TA QALI  20 airmen attached to this station from Kalafrana for the purpose of the special operations returned to their unit.  Gallows erected on stations.

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 DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3; dealt with nil.

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  4 Officers, 192 Other Ranks and 17 trucks working on Hal Far building pens.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Unit supplied belt fillers, armourers party and a working party of 50 men with 100 men standing by for Ta Qali aerodrome.

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Posted by on May 17, 2017 in 1942, May 1942

 

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16 May 1942: Spitfires Claim 137 Bandits in First Week

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MILITARY SITUATION REPORT FOR WEEK ENDING 16 MAY 1942 

From:  Governor & C in C Malta     To:  C in C Middle East    Copy: The War Office 

MOST SECRET

Enemy attack on HMS Welshman on 10 May received severe trouncing.  Effort thereafter greatly reduced.  Mainly consisted of fighter sweeps in force.  Some night raiding and E boat activity.  Occasional use of fighter bombers with little effect.  Daily scale enemy effort:

  • 10 May 13 JU 88s; 35 JU 87s; 5 Cant; main target HMS Welshman
  • 11 May 4 JU 88s; main targets Hal Far, Luqa
  • 12 May 7 JU 88s; 3 Cants; main targets Hal Far, Ta Qali
  • 13 May 15 JU 87s; main targets Hal Far, Luqa
  • 14 May 10 JU 88s; main targets Luqa, Ta Qali
  • 15 May 5 JU 88s; 3 Savoia 84; main target Ta Qali
  • 16 May 3 JU 88s; 5 Cants; main target Ta Qali

Also as much as 100 fighters per day ME 109s, Macchi 202s, some Falco.  Total of 31 night bombers in addition, bombs widespread.  1 JU 88, 4 Br 20s night raiders destroyed…

40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun and crew Malta 12 May 1942 (IWM)

Aerial photos show steady decrease of German bombers in Sicily.  Possibly accounted for by losses over Malta.  Enemy aircraft casualties:  Ack Ack destroyed 3 JU 88s, 4 JU 87s, 1 ME109; probably destroyed 1 JU 88; damaged 2 JU 88s, 2 ME 109s.  By RAF destroyed 8 JU 88s, 9 JU 87s, 3 Cants, 4 Br 10s, 16 ME 109s, 7 Macchi 202s; probably destroyed 7 JU 88s, 10 JU 87s, 2 Cants, 1 Br 10, 18 ME 109s, 3 Macchi 202s; damaged 9 JU 88s, 10 JU 87s, 1 Cant, 26 ME 109s, 1 Macchi 202, 2 Savoia Marchetti 84.  Total destroyed 55; probables 42; damaged 53.

Own Troops: HMS Welshman arrived 10 May with 82000 rounds bofors ammunition.  Unloaded within 5 hours mainly by Royal Artillery personnel.  Heavily attacked but reinforced fighters, heaviest ever barrage over ship and use of smoke screen surprised enemy.  One stick [of bombs] within ten yards caused slight damage and casualties.  Ack Ack ammunition restriction reimposed 12 May.

Western Infantry Brigade formed and started operating 13 May: located high ground near Rabat; role mobile reserve.  Consists of 4 Buffs, 8 Kings Own, 1 Durham Light Infantry, Commander Lt Col Brittorous.  Infantry working parties on aerodromes continue.  Party for serving and maintaining Spitfires reduced to 250 men on account reduced scale attack but 1500 men now on pen building also.  RE Bomb Disposal Section disposed of 55 UXBs totaling 11 tons.

Military and civil damage slight.  Army casualties: 4 Other Ranks killed; 1 Officer 3 Other Ranks wounded.  Conclusion reinforcement of fighters, improved organization based on experience and large scale assistance of Army to other services have enabled us to obtain local air superiority.  Enemy now concentrating on wearing down fighter strength and bombing attacks almost stopped temporarily.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 16 MAY TO DAWN 17 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind southerly; no cloud.  Warm.

0610-0710 hrs  Six Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept incoming enemy aircraft: no engagement.

0635 hrs  Twelve ME 109s carry out a preliminary sweep to clear the way for one JU 88 to carry out reconnaissance.

0930 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled but land again at 1040 hrs without engagement.

1105 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept approaching ME 109s.  S/Ldr Douglas-Hamilton damages one and P/O Northcott another.  Sgt Johnson is shot up and crash-lands at Ta Qali.

1106 hrs  Six Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft.  P/O Hone and P/O Haggar claim one Cant 1007 bis probably destroyed.  Sgt McConnell claims one Macchi 202 probably destroyed.  One Spitfire is damaged; P/O Hagger is unhurt.

1111 hrs  Three ME 109s drop bombs on Ta Qali.  Six Macchi 202s and numerous ME 109s patrol to the west and south of the Island.

1152 hrs  Six Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons are scrambled from Luqa to intercept another incoming formation of enemy aircraft.  Fighters are unable to climb to the height of the bombers in time.

1200 hrs  Five Cant 1007s approach from the west and drop bombs on the Ta Qali dispersal area and camp, killing two airmen and one soldier.  One JU 88 carries out reconnaissance at the same time.

1252 hrs  Raiders passed.

1350-1420 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far: no interceptions.

1459 hrs  Six Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept an enemy formation including one JU 88 with ten Macchi 202s and twenty ME 109s.  F/L Buchanan destroys one Macchi 202; P/O Nash and P/O Plagis jointly destroy one ME 109 and Sgt De Namerede damages another.

1516 hrs  Five Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept.  One Macchi 202 is damaged.  F/Sgt Milner’s aircraft is hit by machine gun bullets and damaged; pilot unhurt.

1608 hrs  One JU 88 with ten Macchi 202s and 20 ME 109s drops bombs on waste ground between Hal Far and Kalafrana.

1617 hrs  Raiders passed.

1646-1732 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are airborne from Hal Far: no interceptions.

1820-1915 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron from Ta Qali are ordered to jump ME 109s escorting a flying boat 20 miles north of the Island.  F/O Mitchell damages one ME 109.  Sgt Hurst and F/Lt Sanders each probably destroy one ME 109.

1920-2105 hrs  Seven Spitfires 601 Squadron are airborne from Luqa on interceptions: no engagement.

0245-0500 hrs  P/O Daniel on patrol in a Beaufighter destroys three BR 20s.

0301-0445 hrs  Eight bombers approach singly from the north and drop bombs on Hal Far, Safi, Ta Qali and Gozo.  Eight bombs land in the dispersal area at the Safi end of Hal Far aerodrome, damaging one Spitfire starting a small fire burning oil in some of the pens.

0355 hrs  Six bombs are dropped on the Safi strip and eight are dropped between Gudja and Luqa villages.  One Beaufighter is airborne and destroys three BR 20s.  Private Reeves, B Coy, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt is patrolling on Hal Far aerodrome during the air raid and is wounded in the right arm.

Military casualties  Corporal Timothy French, Royal Air Force, 126 Squadron; Corporal Donald Sussems, Royal Air Force, 126 Squadron.

Civilian casualties  Nil.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 16 MAY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Three Wellingtons, two Hudsons, one CW 20 from Gibraltar;  one Lodestar from Gambut.  Departures  Two Wellingtons to 108 MU.

LUQA  1033-1310 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance of Messina, Palermo, Bocca di Faleo, Trapani harbour and aerodrome, Baglio Rizzo, and Castel Vetrano.

TA QALI  NAAFI opened at Boschetto Gardens.

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 (Luqa and Ospizio) as usual.

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

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  No 3 Section, 173 Coy, RE moved from St Patricks to Lintorn Barracks and took over bakery job.   Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3; dealt with 2 (both 50kg).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  3 Officers, 150 Other Ranks and 17 trucks working on Hal Far aerodrome.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Lord Gort complimented Lt Col Allen on 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers guard on San Anton Palace.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party as usual.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  One driver of B Coy was injured on Ta Qali and admitted to hospital.  GOC Major General D M W Beak VC, DSO, MC expressed himself as being extremely pleased with the hard work carried out by all concerned on Ta Qali aerodrome last week.  He wishes his appreciation of the work done to be made known to all ranks.

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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in 1942, May 1942

 

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15 May 1942: Governor Gort Wounded by Bomb

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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….

Lord Gort

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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Posted by on May 15, 2017 in 1942, May 1942

 

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14 May 1942: Fighter Aces Lost in Ferocious Battles Over Malta

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PILOT AGED 22 KILLED ON EVE OF HOME LEAVE

John Livingstone “Tony” Boyd

The battle for Malta today lies in the hands of the young fighter pilots of the Allied and Axis air forces, as fierce dog fights continue in the skies over the Island.

At 0915 hours this morning, fighter ace Sergeant John “Tony” Boyd, DFM, was piloting one of three Spitfires of 185 Squadron scrambled from Hal Far to intercept enemy aircraft heading for an attack on Luqa aerodrome.  Over the sea to the ast of Grand Harbour, the Spitfires caught their prey.  Sergeant Boyd attacked a Messerschmitt 109 piloted by Luftwaffe Leutnant Alfred “Martello” Hammer, causing serious damage.  Hammer survived, managing to limp back to Comiso in Sicily, where he crash-landed.  Boyd had to watch as fellow Spitfire pilot Sergeant Colin Finlay was shot down.

Three hours later Tony Boyd was in the air again, as one of four Spitfires sent up to attack a dozen Macchi 202 fighters over Hal Far.  This time, he was not so lucky, as witnessed by Pilot Officer Reade Tilly from the ground:

Alfred “Martello” Hammer

” A dog fight started overhead some 3 Ju88s came in with 109 escort Ack Ack going like mad, bursts all over the sky, then I saw a 109 sit on a Spitfire’s tail and I heard the brrr on cannon. The Spit rolled over and dived vertically in what appeared to be a controlled evasive manoeuvre, doing a series of aileron turns: there was no smoke trail and apparently he was OK but for some reason I felt he’d had it. Sure enough he started to pull out too late at 100 feet, then when it looked as if he would make it, the pilot either died or lost consciousness and ploughed into the deck on the far side of the drome at 300 mph. So at 1305 hrs the career of Sgt. Pilot Tony Boyd came to an abrupt and spectacular end – just a terrific explosion and a long sheet of flame.” (1)

One of the enemy fighters had turned back and got onto Sergeant Boyd’s tail, firing several rounds on target.  He crashed some 250 metres from the perimeter of Luqa airfield and was killed.  Tomorrow was due to be Tony Boyd’s last day in Malta before he returned to England for a period of rest and recuperation.  He was 22 years old.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 14 MAY TO DAWN 15 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind south-westerly; cold and rough.  Little cloud.

0651 hrs  One JU 88 with an escort of three ME 109s drops one large bomb in Sliema.

0755 hrs  ME 109s patrol to the north of the Island.

0855 hrs  A formation of 24 enemy aircraft approach and fly thirty miles to the south east before turning back towards the Island.

0900 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron and eight Spitfires 249 Squadron from Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept.  F/O West destroys one JU 88 and damages one ME 109.  Sgt Hesselyn destroys one JU 88.  F/Sgt Williams damages one ME 109 and then makes a belly-landing at Ta Qali due to a shortage of petrol.

0907 hrs  13 Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons are also scrambled from Luqa to intercept.  P/O Tilly and Sgt Goldsmith each destroy one ME 109.  F/Lt Winfield probably destroys one ME 109.

0915 hrs  Three Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far and intercept a number of ME 109s to the east of Grand Harbour.  Sgt Boyd destroys one ME 109.  Sgt Finlay is shot down and killed.  Remaining Spitfires land 1010 hrs.

Three JU 88s with ME 109 escort drop bombs on Luqa aerodrome, damaging one lorry and wounding one soldier.  Four ME 109 fighter bombers drop bombs on Ta Qali aerodrome.

0940-1004 hrs  ME 109 fighters dive on Hal Far and are engaged by light Ack Ack machine guns of B Coy 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt.  One JU 88 and four ME 109s are engaged by two guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery.  One gun claims hits on the JU 88.

1015 hrs  Raiders passed.

1130-1145 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept ME 109s carrying out a fighter sweep: no engagement.

Caproni Re 2001 Falco

1237 hrs  Three JU 88s approach the Island with an escort of 40 plus fighters, including Italian Caproni Re 2001 (Falco) aircraft.

1245 hrs  Four Spitfires 185 Squadron are airborne and intercept twelve Macchi 202s carrying out a fighter sweep over Hal Far.  Sgt Ferraby probably destroys one Macchi 202.  Sgt Boyd is shot down and crashes 200 yards from a defence post at the edge of Luqa airfield: he is killed.

1300 hrs  Eight Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft.  P/O Ingram and F/Lt Barnham claim one JU 88 destroyed; Sgt Goldsmith claims one JU 88 destroyed.

1335 hrs  Five Spitfires 603 Squadron from Ta Qali intercept three JU 88s carrying out a bombing raid on the airfield.  All three are attacked by F/O Mitchell, F/Sgt Hurst and P/O Sherwood: claim three destroyed.  One crashes on the aerodrome and is burned out with no survivors.  Another recedes north, smoking badly.  F/Lt Sanders damages one ME 109.

1350 hrs  Raiders passed.

1713 hrs  Three JU 88s with an escort of forty ME 109s and Macchi 202s approach the Island from the south east and drop bombs in a scattered pattern across the Hal Far, Gudja and Safi areas.

1715 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled but do not engage.

Seven Spitfires 249 Squadron from Ta Qali make contact with the JU 88s after they have dropped their bombs.  F/Lt Buchanan probably destroys one ME 109.  F/Sgt Fox destroys one ME 109 but is himself later shot down into the sea.

One JU 88 receives a direct hit from Heavy Ack Ack.  One baler out lands between two defence posts of 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt.  Personnel of D Coy help to round him up and he is taken to the RAF Guard Room.  He speaks English slightly and receives only slight injuries on landing.

1734 hrs  13 Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons from Luqa are scrambled to attack the enemy aircraft.  P/O Tilly destroys one ME 109; S/L Barton probably destroys another.  P/O Tilly and P/O Johnson each damage one ME 109.  One JU 88 is also damaged.

1843 hrs  Raiders passed.

Night  Two alerts sound for three enemy raiders, of which only one crosses the coast.

0045-0115 hrs  One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit (MNFU) is airborne on patrol to intercept enemy aircraft: claims one BR 20 destroyed.

0330-0445 hrs  One Beaufighter MNFU is airborne on patrol: no interceptions.

Military casualties  Sergeant John Boyd, DFM, Royal Australian Air Force; Sergeant Colin Finlay, Pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 185 Squadron; Flight Sergeant Harold Fox, Royal Canadian Air Force, 249 Squadron.

Civilian casualties  Naxxar  Joseph Deguara, age 20.  Sliema  Rosina Busuttil, age 32; Angelo Falzon, age 73; Sarah Falzon, age 67; Alfred Micallef, age 16; Beatrix Scicluna, age 14; Winnie Smith, age 56; Dr Hector Vassallo, LLD, age 41.

Enemy casualties  Hauptman Emil Brain, Pilot, JU 88 bomber; Obergefreiter Herbert Burger, Observer, JU 88, baled out from crashing aircraft and taken prisoner; Gefreiter Rudolf Hertzler, Observer, JU 88; Obergefreiter Rolf Hueppop, Air Gunner, JU 88; Obergefreiter Hermann Koester, Wireless Operator, JU 88; Obergefreiter Ferdinand Lechner, Air Gunner, JU 88; Unteroffizier Johannes Meinel, Air Gunner, JU 88; Unteroffizier Johannes Prokesch, Pilot, JU 88; Unteroffizier Otto Richter, Wireless Operator of JU 88; Feldwebel Gunter Schwerdt, Pilot, JU 88; Obergefreiter Karl Heinz Stadtmann, Observer, JU 88; Feldwebel Paul Stahl, Wireless Operator, JU 88 bomber.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 14 MAY 1942

AIR HQ  Departures  One Hudson to Gibraltar; one Wellington to 108 MU.  Aircraft casualties  One Lodestar crashed on take-off; crew injured.  Two Spitfires shot down in combat; pilots killed.  One Spitfire shot down in the sea; pilot missing.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  Party of one Officer and 20 Other Ranks filling ammunition belts for aircraft at Ta Qali aerodrome.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Luqa working party of 50 men continues as yesterday.

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

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Lt C Falzon, No 1 Works Company RE is injured by enemy action and admitted to hospital.  Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 6; dealt with 9 (1 x 500kg; 7 x 250kg; 1 Italian AP bomb container).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  17 trucks, 7 Officers and 230 Other Ranks building pens at Hal Far.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Working parties continue building pens at Luqa airfield.

(1) Malta: The Spitfire Year 1942, Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Nicola Malizia, Grub Street, 1991

 

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Posted by on May 14, 2017 in 1942, May 1942

 

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13 May 1942: German Fighters Throw Grenades at Civilians

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Citadel, Victoria, Gozo

FIGHTERS TARGET CIVILIANS

“I was living in Rabat.  We had moved there from Msida when the bombing started, for safety.  We had a little hole underground for a shelter.  One day when the raid had finished I came up into the sunshine.  I saw a plane and waved to the pilot, thinking he was one of ours.  He was German.  I could see his face; he was wearing glasses.  He threw a grenade at me.  It landed on the other side of the wall.”   Maria Parsons Spiteri, George Cross Island Association, October 2011

“Four Messerschmitts flew very low over the Citadel, so low that I could quite clearly see the pilots.  The leading pilot, after circling three or four times, pushed back the cover of his cockpit and waves his hand, as if giving signal to the others; the pilot of the second machine did likewise.  Then each plane came down in twin and machine-gunned the town, at the same time throwing out hand grenades and dropping anti-personnel bombs.” Gozo eye-witness, May 1942 (1)

BOMBERS TARGET HAL FAR

Malta commanders report that enemy bombers are now targeting their bombing raids on the southern airfield of Hal Far.  With the number of aircraft destroyed now totalling 112 for the past 72 hours, it seems Axis forces in Sicily are seeking to limit their losses by avoiding attacks requiring extensive flying over land.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 13 MAY TO DAWN 14 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind southerly; no cloud.

0746hrs  The air raid alert is sounded for one JU 88 which carries out reconnaissance accompanied by ME 109s.

1218 hrs  The air raid alert sounds for a formation of some twenty ME 109s heading for the Island to carry out a fighter sweep.

1230 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron and five Spitfires 603 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali and engage in numerous dog fights over the Island with the ME 109 fighters.  F/Sgt Hesselyn chases one ME 109 twenty miles out to sea and destroys it.  On his return he attacks another ME 109 which he also destroys.  One Spitfire is slightly damaged.

1245 hrs  A formation of 16 JU 87s accompanied by more ME 109 and Macchi 202 fighters approaches the south east of the Island.  The Spitfires from 249 and 603 Squadrons are already engaged by the fighter sweep and unable to intercept the incoming bombers.

1253 hrs  16 JU 87s attack Hal Far and the Safi strip.  Bombs on the windsock dispersal area of Hal Far damage three Hurricanes.

1258-1310 hrs  Numerous JU 87s and ME 109s are engaged by six guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery: no claims.

1344 hrs  Raiders passed.

1600-1720 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept a reported incoming enemy patrol: no engagement.

1715-1800 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept a further reported patrol: no engagement.

1805-1914 hrs  Eight Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa too late to intercept a JU 88 reconnaissance flight accompanied by approximately eight ME 109s.  They are sighted 6000 feet above the Spitfires: no combat ensues.

1910-1955 hrs  Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft on patrol.  P/O Peck claims one Macchi 202 damaged.

Night  Two air raid alerts sound for several approaching enemy aircraft.  Two Italian Br 20s cross the coast.  Bombs are dropped near Birkirkara and on Safi Strip, south of Luqa village and near the HQ of Central Infantry Brigade.

0055-0233 hrs  One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol for enemy aircraft: no interceptions.

Military casualties  Nil

Civilian casualties  Nil

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 13 MAY 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Some confidential papers were washed ashore, probably from C 308.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Wellington, one Hudson from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Heliopolis.  Departures  One Wellington to 108 MU; two Hudsons to Gibraltar.  Aircraft casualties  Nil.

LUQA  No bombs on the aerodrome.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  Working party for RAF Ta Qali continues.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Luqa working party cut to 50 men.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Battalion came under command of Western Infantry Brigade.  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 5; dealt with 14 (1 x 500kg, 5 x 250kg, 4 x 50kg,2 x 35kg, 2 Italian AP bomb containers).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  17 trucks, 6 Officers and 230 Other Ranks building pens and filling craters on Hal Far aerodrome.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Unit transferred from Southern Infantry Brigade to newly formed Western Infantry Brigade under command of Brigadier F G Brittorous, DSO, MC.  Unit Ack Ack light machine guns engaged low-flying aircraft: no claims.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party resumed pen building with transport RV Addolorata Cemetery.

(1)  Malta Diary of a War, Michael Galea, Publishers Enterprises Group Ltd 1992

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com  

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2017 in 1942, May 1942

 

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12 May 1942: Luftwaffe Fight Back – 9 Spitfires Lost

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  • Enemy losses 5 destroyed, 3 probably destroyed, 7 damaged 
  • RAF losses 7 Spitfires downed by enemy; 2 damaged on ground

    Savoia-Marchetti SM 84

GOVERNOR & COMMANDER IN CHIEF PRAISES RAF AND ARTILLERY

“I congratulate all the fighting services on their magnificent team work over the week-end and I particularly congratulate the Royal Air Force and the Anti-Aircraft defences on their notable success.  The Lufwaffe has seen that wounded Malta can hit back gamely.”  Signed Gort, General.

BRITISH REPORTER LOST FOR WORDS AFTER TOUR OF MALTA

‘Words do not exist to convey the picture of what has happened in Malta as the result of air raids, so I have tried figures instead,’ writes a correspondent of the British United Press who has just completed a tour of the Island.

Valletta 1942 (NWMA Malta)

‘The following buildings have been destroyed or damaged:  15500 houses (this counts blocks of flats as one house), 70 churches, 18 convents and nunneries, 10 theatres, 22 schools, 8 hospitals, eight of the principal clubs, five of the principal banks, 48 other buildings of which many were world-famous.  75 per cent of the houses of Valletta have been destroyed or damaged and more than 55 per cent of the buildings in most populated areas have been so smashed that complete rebuilding will be necessary.  There is hardly a hamlet on the Island that has not been hit.

The miracle is that the casualties are so low: 1104 killed, 1308 seriously injured, and 1299 slightly injured.  This is due chiefly to underground shelters.’  British United Press, Sunday 10 May 1942

AIR RAIDS DAWN 12 MAY TO DAWN 13 MAY 1942

Weather  No cloud; haze.

0605 hrs  One JU 88 with an escort of ME 109s carries out reconnaissance.

0615-0720 hrs  Three Spitfires 603 Squadron are scrambled to intercept reconnaissance formation: no interceptions.

0946 hrs  Two ME109s are in the vicinity of the Island attempting to intercept a photo-reconnaissance Spitfire.  Two Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadron are scrambled to intercept the ME 109s: no engagements; they land at 1030 hrs.

1052 hrs  Three JU 88s with a fighter escort of over 35 ME 109s approach the Island from the south east and bomb Hal Far aerodrome.

1055-1207 hrs  Eight Spitfires 601 and 126 Squadrons are airborne from Luqa and engage in combat with enemy aircraft off Kalafrana with ME 109s: no claims.  One Spitfire is shot down; pilot unhurt.  One Spitfire crash-lands; pilot unhurt.  One bailer out is seen bearing 45 degrees off Grand Harbour.

1110 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron and eight Spitfires 603 Squadron attack JU 88s with fighter escort.  F/O West probably destroys one JU 88 and damages another.  P/O Linton damages one JU 88.  Sgt Hesselyn damages one ME 109 and destroys another.  P/O Mitchell is shot down in the sea and is missing.  Sgt Brennan is slightly wounded.  The remainder land at 1205 hrs.

1113 hrs  Seven Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept incoming enemy aircraft.  P/O Wigley damages one JU 88 and Sgt Yarra destroys one ME 109.  Owing to a bad crosswind at Hal Far, six of the Spitfires land at Luqa at 1216 hrs, without damage or casualties.

1139 hrs  Two JU 88s bomb Hal Far, causing no damage or casualties.

1140 hrs  One JU 88 is engaged by three guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery: no claims.

Three ME 109s carry out a patrol.

1344 hrs  Raiders passed.

1555 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialize.

1700 hrs  A formation of three Italian Savoia Marchetti SM 84 bombers with fighter escort approaches the Island.  Three Spitfires 603 Squadron, are scrambled from Ta Qali to intercept the incoming aircraft.

1705 hrs  Twelve Spitfires 126, 601 and 185 Squadrons are airborne from Luqa.  Sgt McConnell claims one Macchi 202 probable; Sgt Graves claims one JU 88 probable; Sgt Lusty claims one ME 109 damaged.  Two Spitfires are lost in combat: P/O Graves is unhurt but Sgt Graysmark is killed.  Sgt Bush receives gunshot wounds and his aircraft is damaged.  P/O Baily’s aircraft is damaged but he is unhurt.

1715 hrs  The Spitfires of 603 Squadron attack three SM 84 bombers high over Ta Qali as they attempt to bomb the airfield.  F/O Mitchell and F/L Sanders claim one SM 84 and P/O Sherwood another.

1735 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Ta Qali from a high level.  Four parachutes are seen falling from the sky.

1745 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron from Ta Qali are airborne on patrol as three JU 88s with fighter escort approach to bomb the aerodrome.  F/O Lee damages one ME 109.  F/Sgt Williams damages one JU 88.  One Spitfire is slightly damaged.

1749 hrs  Six Hurricanes 229 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept enemy aircraft.  All fire guns but make no claims.  Sgt Vidler lands at Luqa.  The other aircraft land at Hal Far at 1850 hrs.

1815 hrs  One section of 603 Squadron is waiting to take off from Ta Qali when the red flag goes up calling the operation to a halt.  The aerodrome is bombed, damaging two Spitfires on the ground.

1830 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron and three Spitfires 602 Squadron are airborne to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagement.  One Spitfire 601 Squadron engages one ME 109: no claims.

1942 hrs  All clear.

Night  Four alerts are sounded for ten enemy aircraft.  Bombs, including incendiaries, are dropped on Rinella, Salina Bay, St Pauls and Mellieha, and in the sea.

2159-2315 hrs  One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol to intercept enemy aircraft: claims one JU 88 destroyed.

0100-0130 hrs  One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol: no interceptions.

Military casualties  Sergeant Charles Graysmark, Pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 601 Squadron; Pilot Officer Herbert Mitchell, Royal New Zealand Air Force, 603 Squadron.

Civilian casualties  Mosta  Joseph Schembri, age 11.

Enemy casualties  Aviere Scelto Francesco Carabellese, pilot; Primo Aviere Luigi Conte, Air Gunner; Averie Scelto Sergio Orsingher, crewman; Primo Aviere Gustavo Petrai, crewman; Sergente Eugenio Rivolta, crewman, Tenente Vinicio Vego Scocco, pilot; all shot down while crew of Savoia Marchetti S 84 aircraft of 14a Squadriglia, 4o Gruppo Autonomo, Regia Aeronautica.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 12 MAY 1942

ROYAL NAVY  The Greek submarine Triton sailed for Alexandria at 0030 with passengers.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Five Wellingtons, two Hudsons from Gibraltar.  Departures  Three Wellingtons to 108 MU; one Lodestar to Heliopolis.  Aircraft casualties  One Spitfire shot down in the sea off Malta; pilot safe.  One Spitfire missing from operations; pilot missing.  One Spitfire force-landed; pilot injured.  One Spitfire shot down into the sea; pilot safe.  One Spitfire crashed on landing; pilot uninjured.  Two Spitfires collide on the runway during scramble; pilots uninjured.  One Spitfire damaged by enemy aircraft; crashed on landing; pilot uninjured.  ONe Spitfire shot down into the sea; pilot killed.

LUQA  No bombs on the aerodrome.

TA QALI  1350-1430 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron and two Spitfires 603 Squadron from Ta Qali patrol along the Sicilian coast at 31000 feet.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  2355 hrs 4th Bn The Buffs became embodied in Western Infantry Brigade.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Working parties four Officers and 100 Other Ranks for Luqa.  A Coy party 1 Officer and 33 Other Ranks still working at the Ospizio.

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

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3; dealt with 14 (2 x 500kg, 5 x 250kg, 4 x 50kg, 2 x 35kg, 1 Italian AP container).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  17 trucks, 16 Officers and 297 Other Ranks building pens and filling craters on Hal Far aerodrome.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Chief task of unit during this period is maintaining Luqa aerodrome.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Unit supplied a working party of 150 men on Ta Qali aerodrome.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2017 in 1942, May 1942, Uncategorized

 

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