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21 June 1942: Rations Too Low for Physical Labour
Military rations are now too low for physical exertion, according to medical chiefs. With the failure of the recent convoys, food stocks are now critical and supplies are not expected in the immediate future. As a result there will be no increase in the daily allowance – and further cuts in rations cannot be ruled out.
A typical daily military ration now includes just 12oz (340g) of bread, 1oz (28g) of margarine and ½oz (14g) jam or marmalade, with 1oz (28g) each of tea, tinned milk and sugar. Meals are small. On a Monday, for example, the lunch allowance consists of ¾oz (21g) of tinned bacon and 1 oz (28g) of tinned cheese, dinner provides 6oz (170g) of preserved meat, 1oz (28g) of onions, 8 oz (227g) of potatoes and of fresh vegetables plus 2oz (57g) of tinned fruit and 3½oz (99g) of flour.
In a report released today, the chief of Malta’s military Medical Services writes: “It is agreed that the present ration is insufficient for men carrying out hard manual labour and training, as is the case with an appreciable number of troops. A supplemental ration scale is considered advisable and has been recommended. Arduous training and P.T. although not officially countermanded on paper, is not being carried out in practice.” (1)
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At dawn yesterday morning an Axis air attack was launched on Tobruk, followed by a heavy ground offensive. Last night reports were received in Malta that Tobruk had fallen to Rommel’s forces.
MALTA FORCES ON THE ATTACK
Overnight one aircraft attacked a southbound enemy convoy of two 10000 ton merchant vessels and three destroyers 32 miles from Cape Bon. The leading merchant vessel was hit and a minute after leaving the target a dull red glow was seen.
Nine Beauforts with Beaufighter escort also attacked a convoy of two merchant ships with one escort vessel, to the south of Cape Bon. Against heavy opposition, five of the Beauforts attacked, scoring two hits on each merchant vessel. Another aircraft which managed to hit the vessels failed to return. An escort vessel was also hit. One of the enemy ships was believed to be the Reichenfels and which was later identified a considerable distance away, enveloped in smoke.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 21 JUNE TO DAWN 22 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind southerly; no cloud.
0652-0727 hrs Eight Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far are on intercept patrol: no engagement.
0705-0815 hrs Seven Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are ordered up to cover the departure of Blenheim aircraft from Malta.
0750-0820 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft: no combat.
0815 hrs Air raid alert. Three ME 109s carry out reconnaissance of the Island at 23000 feet. Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to intercept but do not engage; they land at 0845 hrs.
1400-1435 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron patrol Gozo: nothing sighted.
1710-1745 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are on intercept patrol: no interceptions.
1910 hrs Air raid alert.
1945 hrs Twelve Spitfires 185 Squadron are airborne to intercept approaching enemy aircraft. F/SGt Yarra destroys two ME 109s and damages one JU 88; F/Sgt Sim destroys one ME 109. F/Sgt Conway is shot up and crash-lands at Ta Qali; he is seriously injured. F/Sgt Terry is also shot up and crash-lands on the Attard Field dispersal area; he is unhurt.
2002 hrs Alert for one JU 88 and 12 ME 109s. Spitfires destroy three ME 109s and damage the JU 88. Two Spitfires crash-land.
2025-2125 hrs Enemy raiders are reported approaching the Island. Four Spitfires 603 Squadron are scrambled too late to intercept and see nothing.
2040 hrs Air raid alert: raid does not materialise.
2233-2341 hrs; 0245-0356 hrs Two air raid alerts for a total of 28 JU 88 bombers. Luqa is the main target but bombs also fall in the areas of Hal Far, Hamrun, Ta Qali, Verdala, Naxxar and Dingli. Flares are used to illuminate targets. A field of wheat is set on fire at Safi.
0445 hrs Air raid alert: raid does not materialise.
Military casualties Squadron Leader Robert Lynn, Royal Air Force, 217 Squadron.
Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS 21 JUNE 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals One Wellington, one Catalina, one Spitfire, one Blenheim from Gibraltar; two Lodestars from Heliopolis via 121. Departures One Wellington, two Hudsons, eight Blenheims to LG 224. Aircraft casualties One Spitfire shot down; pilot injured. One Spitfire crashed on landing from combat; pilot safe. One Beaufort damaged by enemy aircraft during a strike; pilot injured, remainder of crew safe. Three Beauforts missing from operations; crews missing. One Blenheim missing in Transit from Gibraltar to Malta; crew missing. One Blenheim missing in transit from Malta to LG 224.
HAL FAR 2330 hrs Two Albacores and two Swordfish are despatched on a strike mission; nothing sighted.
LUQA 0600-0918 hrs One Baltimore 69 Squadron on shipping search sighted three merchant vessels without escort in the Cape Bon area. 1145-1404 hrs Six Beaufighters 235 Squadron on escort duties attacked two JU 88s and two SM79s. F/O Wood and S/L Cook destroyed one SM 79; F/O Underwood destroyed two JU 88s; F/O Eyre damaged one SM 79. 1120-1425 hrs Eight Beauforts 217 Squadron on shipping strike located and attacked the convoy, scoring two hits on each merchant vessel and one possible hit by one of three Beauforts which failed to return. 1240-1600 hrs One Baltimore 69 Squadron on shipping search sighted two destroyers and one merchant vessel. 1713-2100 hrs One Baltimore 69 Squadron on shipping search sighted two merchant vessels of 5-6000 tons, two liners and two destroyers. 2245-0518 hrs One Baltimore 69 Squadron on shipping search located a convoy of two merchant vessels and three destroyers.
22 June 1942: Raids Increase – Crops at Risk
Some 40 JU 88 bombers have attacked Malta since yesterday. An estimated 50,000 kg of bombs were dropped in just 24 hours, in the heaviest round of bombing raids for many days. All of the attacks have been in the hours of darkness: the enemy has adopted a new tactic of using flares to illuminate the targets. Incendiary bombs have been widely used, causing damage to crops. The Government is planning to warn farmers and householders to remove all flammable materials into shelter.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 JUNE TO DAWN 23 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind southerly.
0530 hrs Air raid alert.
0555-0630 hrs Three Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to cover the arrival of delivery aircraft; nothing sighted.
0835 hrs Air raid alert. Eight Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are airborne to intercept three enemy fighters which approach and carry out reconnaissance over Grand Harbour. The Spitfires do not engage and land at 0920 hrs.
0935-1010 hrs Four Spitfires 603 Squadron are scrambled to intercept an incoming plot which proves friendly.
1158-1245 hrs Four Spitfires are airborne from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagement.
1252 hrs Air raid alert. Three Spitfires 603 Squadron and three Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled but the aircraft is friendly.
1323-1446 hrs Four Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled for a reported raid which did not come in.
1745 hrs Air raid alert for six approaching ME 109 fighters. Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled to intercept but do not engage. The Messerschmitts withdraw.
1918 hrs Six more ME 109s are reported approaching the Island. Four Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled to intercept. F/Sgt Reid destroys one ME 109. Sgt Ferraby also fires but without result.
2239 hrs Air raid alert. 27 enemy aircraft approach, including a dozen JU 88s which drop incendiary bombs in the Luqa area, damaging one barrack block, and in the Safi dispersal area, damaging one Spitfire.
0250 hrs; 0322 hrs The air raid alert sounds for single enemy bombers which drop bombs mainly on Luqa, Safi and Hal Far but also Baida Ridge. A Bofors gun position in Qrendi is hit, killing one Other Rank and wounding two others. One Other Rank is wounded by an anti-personnel bomb at Boschetto.
Military casualties Bombardier Richard Clee, 182 Battery, 4 Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery; Gunner Cornelius Falvey, 186 Battery, 74 Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery; Lance Sergeant Francis Hancocks, 186 Battery, 74 Heavy Ack Ack Regiment.
Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 22 JUNE 1942
ROYAL NAVY Eleven mines swept in entrance channels. Two parachute mines reported dropped off Marsaxlokk.
AIR HQ Arrivals Two Hudsons, one Beaufort from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Heliopolis; two Wellingtons, five Beauforts from LG 05; five Beaufighters from LG 224. Departures One Wellington to Shallufa; one Wellington, three Blenheims, one Beaufort to LG 224; two Lodestars, one Spitfire to Heliopolis; one Cataline, two Hudsons to Gibraltar; four Beaufighters to Edcu. Aircraft casualties One Sea Gladiator damaged on the ground by enemy aircraft.
LUQA One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance (PR) of Catania, Gerbini, Biscara, Gela and Pachino LG. One Spitfire PR Lecca aerodromes. One Spitfire PR of two large merchant vessels, then three small and one large merchant ship in Palermo. One Spitfire PR Palermo shipping.
0700-1135 hrs One Baltimore 69 Squadron on shipping search: no sightings, only an oil patch and debris. 1435-1509 hrs Four Spitfires 129 Squadron act as escort for delivery aircraft: no combat. 2248-0415 hrs Two Wellingtons (38 Squadron and S/D Flight) on strike mission but made no attack. 2159-0432 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight on patrol located a convoy of two large merchant vessels and three destroyers: possible hit on one merchant vessel. 2209-0500 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight on patrol on patrol located two large merchant ships and two destroyers with two smaller vessels: a near miss is scored on one destroyer. 2203-0524 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight on patrol: no attack.
TA QALI Flying personnel 89 Squadron arrived and were posted to 1435 Flight.
23 June 1942: Malta Pilots Halt Enemy Convoy
An attack was launched from Malta today by twelve Beauforts with Beaufighter escort. They targeted a convoy of four destroyers and two large merchant vessels steaming eastwards, 31 miles from Cape Spartivento. One merchant vessel was hit four times and was seen to go down at the stern. The other merchant vessel was probably hit twice and a destroyer was also hit, causing an explosion. All ships were left stationary. A photo-reconnaissance pilot today confirmed that the larger of the two ships is still sitting low at the stern.
A single aircraft launched a solo attack on another convoy of one merchant vessel 5-6000 tons with another small vessel, 30 miles off Cape Bon. Heavy clouds prevented any report of results.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 JUNE TO DAWN 24 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind southerly.
0820-0915 hrs Twelve Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept nine approaching enemy aircraft. They sight six ME 109s and get into a dogfight. P/O Slade damages one ME 109 and another is later seen in the sea. P/O Glenn damages one ME 109.
1100-1150 hrs; 1125-1220 hrs Four Spitfires at a time from Ta Qali are airborne: nil report.
1445-1545 hrs Three Spitfires 603 Squadron are scrambled to cover the return of Baltimores and Beauforts from their shipping strike.
1700 hrs A large plot of enemy aircraft is reported approaching the Island, including eight Cant 1007s and seven BR 20s flying in several formations with fighter escort. Twelve Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled to intercept: F/Sgt Vineyard damages one ME 109.
1740 hrs Twelve Spitfires 249 Squadron and eight 603 Squadron are also scrambled and sight three Cants flying in tight formation, with an escort of Italian fighters. P/O Slade damages one ME 109; P/O Glenn damages another. F/O MacLeod destroys a Macchi 202 and damages another. Three pilots shared in the destruction of another Macchi. One Spitfire is destroyed (pilot uninjured) and one slightly damaged.
1815 hrs The air raid alert sounds. Three BR 20s escorted by fighters get through to drop 10kg anti-personnel bombs and 50kg high explosives on Ta Qali and Mosta, causing civilian damage and casualties. One Other Rank of 2nd Bn Devonshire Regiment is killed and another seriously wounded by an anti-personnel bomb.
1840 hrs Two Spitfires are scrambled from Hal Far to assist but do not intercept. F/Sgt McNamara crash-lands; he is unhurt.
2100 hrs Air raid alert: raid does not materialise.
2235 hrs Air raid alert for a formation of JU 88 bombers. One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit (MNFU) from Luqa on intercept patrol probably destroys one JU 88. The remaining aircraft drop bombs including incendiaries on Luqa. One Spitfire is burned out.
2335 hrs The air raid alert sounds for another approaching formation, this time of twenty enemy aircraft. Ten cross the coast and drop bombs, including incendiaries mainly on Luqa but also Qurmi, Ta Karach, Marsa, Hamrun, Zurriek, Nigret and Rabat. Flares are used to illuminate targets.
2340-0110 hrs One Beaufighter MNFU is on intercept patrol: no engagement.
Military casualties Private Walter Hillman, 2nd Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment; Aircraftsman 1st Class Anthony Vella, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, Kalafrana.
Civilian casualties Mosta Paul Bonnano, age 45; Matthew Bonanno, age 4; James Mangion, age 67; Catherine Micallef, age 57. Mqabba Catherine Saliba, age 72. Zejtun Laurence Spiteri, age 62; Joseph Spiteri, age 55.
OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 23 JUNE 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals Eleven Wellingtons, one Spitfire, five Blenheims, one Beaufort from Gibraltar; four Wellingtons from 231 Wing. Departures One Beaufort, one Beaufighter, nine Spitfires, seven Wellingtons to LG 224; two Wellingtons to Shallufa; one Lodestar to Heliopolis.
Aircraft casualties One Wellington in taxiing accident; crew safe. One Spitfire shot down into the sea; pilot safe. One Spitfire crashed on take-off; pilot safe. One Beaufort shot down while attacking a convoy; crew missing. One Beaufort damaged by enemy aircraft while attacking a convoy; pilot injured, crew safe. One Beaufort missing after shipping strike; crew missing. One Spitfire crashed on landing; pilot safe.
HAL FAR Naval Air Service is stood down.
LUQA One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance (PR) located two large merchant ships and four destroyers. One Spitfire PR Messina, Palermo and Trapani Harbour located one merchant ship off Trapani, three more in Trapani. One Baltimore PR sighted oil patches; one destroyer appeared to be damaged and in tow. One Spitfire PR located two motor torpedo boats, plus three destroyers and one merchant vessel in Palermo, and three merchant ships at Pantelleria.
1138-1535 hrs Eight Beaufighters 238 Squadron on escort located an enemy convoy of two merchant vessels and four destroyers, plus one Cant 501, two CR 42s and one ME 109: no combat. 1110-1519 hrs Twelve Beauforts 217 and 39 Squadron locate and attack four destroyers and two large merchant vessels, scoring three hits and one probable hit on one merchant ship and two hits on the other. All ships were reported stationary after the attack. Two aircraft of 39 Squadron failed to return; one of 217 Squadron crashed on landing. Three aircraft were slightly damaged by anti-aircraft fire. 2200-0507 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight on shipping search: no sightings. 2208-0525 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight located one merchant ship and a small vessel: no hits scored.
24 June 1942: Solo Attacker Targets Enemy Convoy
The damaged merchant vessel observed yesterday in the Straits of Messina is now reported under tow by a destroyer. Tonight a single Wellington aircraft attacked a convoy of two large merchant vessels and one destroyer 50 miles from Taranto, heading north. On sighting the positioning flares, the convoy closed in and put up an intense smoke-screen. The attacker dropped bombs in middle of the smoke-screen but was unable to observe the results.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 JUNE TO DAWN 25 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind southerly; no cloud.
0805-0840 hrs Four Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa on intercept patrol: no combat.
0935 hrs Air raid alert. Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to intercept enemy fighters carrying out a patrol: no combat.
1125-1200 hrs Four Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled to intercept an unidentified aircraft which proves friendly.
1200-1245 hrs; 1545-1620 hrs Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron, followed by another four are airborne on intercept patrol: no combat.
1724-1815 hrs; 1820-1900 hrs; 2000-2035 hrs Patrols by our Spitfires 185 Squadron, four Spitfires 249 Squadron and four of 126 Squadron: nil report.
2330 hrs; 0215 hrs; 0405 hrs Air raid alerts. A total of 19 enemy aircraft approach the Island. Heavy Ack Ack destroy one JU 87: the pilot, an Italian, survives and is taken prisoner. A Beaufighter of Malta Night Fighter Unit destroys one JU 87 and an unidentified four-engined aircraft. All bombs are dropped in the sea.
0405-0630 hrs A Beaufighter of 1435 Flight Ta Qali on patrol sights a JU 88. F/O Fumerton and P/O Bing follow and open fire: the bomber bursts into flames and explodes.
Military casualties Lance Corporal James Byrne, 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment.
Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 24 JUNE 1942
ROYAL NAVY Three mines swept away.
AIR HQ Arrivals Two Sunderlands from Aboukir; one Hudson, one Catalina, one Blenheim Bisley from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Heliopolis; four Wellingtons from LG 15. Departures Three Wellingtons, three Blenheim Bisleys to LG 224; one Hudson, one Catalina to Gibraltar; two Spitfires, one Lodestar to Heliopolis; two Sunderlands to Aboukir; four Wellingtons to Shallufa; one Wellington to LG 106.
LUQA One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance (PR) located one large merchant ship and four destroyers stationary plus two small vessels in Crotene Harbour. One Spitfire PR Trapani, Messina and Palermo, locating five small ships outside Trapani Harbour. One Spitfire PR Marittimo, Pantelleria, Cape Bon, Kerkennah. One Spitfire visual reconnaissance Messina observes a tanker and train ferry.
0703-1125 hrs One Baltimore 69 Squadron on search located one small merchant vessel in Lampedusa Harbour. 1915-1930 hrs One Baltimore 69 Squadron airborne on search but wireless telegraph equipment failed. 1540-2035 hrs One Baltimore 69 Squadron on shipping search Messina Straits: no sightings. 2157-0715 hrs One Wellington 38 Squadron on shipping search was joined from 0228 hrs by another and three Wellingtons S/D Flight to attack. One Wellington attacked: no results were observed due to a smoke screen.
25 June 1942: Gunners Help Spitfires in Attack
Pinpoint firing from Heavy Ack Ack gunners helped Spitfire pilots destroy two enemy fighters today. In recent days ME 109s attempting patrols of the Island have managed to escape pursuing Spitfires before they could engage.
Malta photo-reconnaissance reports that the enemy merchant vessel damaged in recent air raids has reached Taranto Harbour, where it is currently being unloaded and transferred to another ship.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 25 JUNE TO DAWN 26 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind south-westerly; no cloud.
0615 hrs Air raid alert. Eight Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are airborne to intercept enemy aircraft: no combat.
0910 hrs Air raid alert. Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled and attack eight ME 109s carrying out a patrol but there are no claims.
0930-1005 hrs; 1050-1140 hrs Patrols by four Spitfires 126 Squadron followed by two Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne to intercept enemy aircraft: no combat.
1320-1330 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled to patrol a given point: no air raid.
1340-1440 hrs Two Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled to cover a photo-reconnaissance aircraft.
1625-1735 hrs; 1850-1915 hrs Patrols by three Spitfires 249 Squadron and two Spitfires 126 Squadron: no combat.
1955 hrs Air raid alert for approaching enemy aircraft. Twelve Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled and intercept ME 109 fighters over Gozo. P/O Berkeley probably destroys one; P/O Lattimer destroys two. F/Sgt Tomkins is jumped and shot up over Gozo. He makes it back to Ta Qali but crashes on the aerodrome. His aircraft bursts into flames: he does not survive.
2044-2150 hrs Four Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne to cover the return of friendly aircraft: nil report.
2205-0035 hrs Three JU 87s attempt to bomb the Safi strip; one is destroyed by a Beaufighter on intercept patrol.
0317 hrs Air raid alert. Ten JU 88 bombers drop high explosive and anti-personnel bombs mainly on Luqa but also on Gudja, Zejtun, Hamrun and Paola. Incendiaries are dropped between Tarxien and San Giacomo causing several fires and damaging buildings, including some of 2nd Bn Devonshire Regiment.
0303-0432 hrs; 0331-0506 hrs One Beaufighter 89 Squadron at a time carries out intercept patrol: no combat.
Military casualties F/Sgt Maurice Tomkins, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR); Sergeant Stephen Matthews, Royal Air Force VR; Sergeant Wilfred Culbert, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, Royal Air Force VR.
Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 25 JUNE 1942
ROYAL NAVY Minesweepers and motor launches sweeping entrance channels. Fourteen mines swept.
AIR HQ Arrivals Three Wellingtons, one Hudson from Gibralter. Departures Two Wellingtons, two Blenheims to LG 224; one Hudson to Gibraltar. Aircraft casualties One Wellington crash-landed; crew safe. One Spitfire shot down in combat; pilot killed.
LUQA One aircraft on delivery crashed near Luqa and was destroyed. Pilot F/Sgt Docherty was injured and two members of the crew were killed: Observer Sgt Matthews and Wireless Operator Sgt Culbert. One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance (PR) sighted a tanker just north of Messina. One Spitfire PR Taranto, Foggia and Naples located two merchant vessels and one destroyer off the Straits of Messina. One Spitfire PR in Straits of Messina reported the two merchant vessels and one destroyer; one tanker had left. One Spitfire PR of shipping Trapani, Palermo, Messina. One Baltimore on shipping patrol east of Catania. Two Beaufighters 235 Squadron on shipping search: no sightings except for a floating body.
2032-2250 hrs Three Beaufighters 235 Squadron despatched to escort Wellington strike: nothing seen en route. 2100-0520 hrs Three Wellingtons on search and attack mission located one tanker and two destroyers. One Wellington attacked with bombs but torpedoes were brought back. 2102-0612 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight and two 38 Squadron on shipping search and attack. One Wellington attacked a convoy of one tanker and two destroyers: no hits; torpedoes brought back. 2209-0612 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight on search and attack, attacked two merchant vessels and one destroyer: no results observed.
26 June 1942: Italians Attempt Daylight Raid
AIR RAIDS DAWN 26 JUNE TO DAWN 27 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind westerly; no cloud.
0750 hrs Air raid alert. Two Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled but the raid does not materialise.
0915 hrs Two Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to intercept an enemy fighter on patrol: no combat.
1020 hrs Air raid alert. An enemy fighter on patrol does not approach the Island.
1220 hrs Air raid alert for another single ME 109. Six Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled to intercept: no engagement.
1802 hrs Air raid alert for twelve ME 109s which approach and carry out a fighter sweep. Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled to intercept.
1820 hrs Air raid alert for the main formation, including five Cant Z1007s, 15 Macchi 202s as well as Re 2001 fighters. escorted by twelve fighters. Eight more Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled to intercept: F/O Currie destroys one ME 109. One Macchi 202 is also destroyed. Twelve Spitfires 185 Squadron join the attack: F/Lt West destroys one Re 2001. Two Spitfires are damaged in combat. Sticks of anti-personnel bombs are dropped from Ta Xbiex, Msida, Guardamangia and across to Luqa. Bombs are also dropped in the Luqa area, killing one man who was handling an unexploded bomb canister.
2032-2138 hrs Four Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft: raid does not materialise.
0045 hrs Air raid alert One enemy aircraft drops bombs in the sea off Zonkor Point.
0045-0117 hrs One Beaufighter on intercept patrol: no combat.
Military casualties Fusilier William Wootton, 11th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers.
Civilian casualties Gzira Anthony Caruana, age 13; Henry Cassar, age 2; Mary Tanti, age 17; Concetta Tanti, age 13. Mosta Gerald Camilleri, age 33. Msida Lilian Dimech, age 17; Carmelina Dimech, age 12; Josephine Dimech, age 7; Mary Dimech, age 6; Rita Dimech, age 3. Qormi Anthony Borg, age 59; George Borg, age 35. Sliema John Attard, age 25. Ta’ Xbiex Agnes Smith, age 47. Zurrieq Catherine Darmanin, age 13.
OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 26 JUNE 1942
ROYAL NAVY Six mines swept. Surface plot investigated by Beaufighters with any tangible result.
AIR HQ Arrivals One Hudson en route from Gibraltar to Matruh crashed on Malta. Departures One Blenheim to LG 224. Aircraft casualties One Hudson engine failed and crashed on landing; observer and wireless operator killed; rest of crew injured.
LUQA One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance (PR) located three merchant vessels and one destroyer at sea, and two merchant ships leaving Taranto. One Baltimore 69 Squadron reconnaissance Cape Spartivento and Corfu: nothing sighted. One Spitfire PR located one convoy of three merchant vessels and one destroyer, then another of one merchant ship and two motor torpedo boats.
27 June 1942: Rations Cut Below Healthy Levels
GOVERNOR’S REPORT: WEEKLY MILITARY SITUATION FOR WEEK ENDING 27 JUNE 1942
From:- Governor & C in C Malta To:- C in C Middle East Rpt:- The War Office
1. Air: No attempt to bomb merchant vessels in harbour. Enemy activity over Island by only strong fighter patrols and eight Italian bombers. At night total of approximately 90 raiders, some identified as JU 87s and JU 88s. Main target Luqa and many anti-personnel, incendiaries and high explosive dropped by aid of flares. Military damage very slight.
Enemy aircraft casualties 15 fighters destroyed. Two fighters probably destroyed; five bombers, seven fighters damaged by RAF during daylight for the loss of two Spitfires destroyed and two damaged. Night Beaufighters destroyed four bombers (word corrupt) at night destroyed two bombers. One Italian prisoner taken confirms other evidence that Italians now flying JU 87s.
35 sorties by Malta-based torpedo aircraft. At least four merchant vessels, one destroyer hit for the loss of five Beauforts and five damaged.
2. Military: Army working parties employed distributing cargoes ex convoy from dumps to consignees. Working parties on aerodromes decreased by half. Calorific value of army ration now 2200 calories which necessitates reduced physical exertion.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 27 JUNE TO DAWN 28 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind westerly; a few small scattered clouds below the main cloud blanket.
0748 hrs Air raid alert. Eight Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft: nothing sighted.
0845 hrs Air raid alert. Three Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to intercept enemy aircraft: no combat.
0945-1035 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali, led by F/L Daddo-Langlois, are airborne and jump eight Macchi 202 fighters. P/O Verrall, F/Sgt and F/Sgt Rae each destroy one Macchi. F/Sgt Rae probably destroys another and F/Sgt Middlemas damaged a fifth. Three of the enemy fighters are observed in the water, all within 200 yards of each other.
1020-1145 hrs; 1128-1214 hrs; 1220-1330 hrs; 1455-1515 hrs; 1544-1637 hrs; 1620-1720 hrs Intercept patrols by eight Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa, two from Hal Far, four from 603 Squadron, two from 601 Squadron, four from Hal Far, then four Spitfires 603 Squadron: no combat.
1755-1825 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are despatched to search for E Boats suspected 15 miles from the coast: no sightings.
1840-1945 hrs; 1930-2050 hrs Intercept patrols by four Spitfires 601 Squadron, twelve Spitfires from Hal Far: no interceptions.
Military casualties Nil.
Civilian casualties Sliema Ivo Falzon, age 37. Zejtun Louis Zammit, age 46.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 27 JUNE 1942
ROYAL NAVY One mine cut. Sweeping curtailed by unfavourable weather.
AIR HQ Arrivals One Hudson en route from Gibraltar to LG 15 landed at Malta. Departures One Hudson to LG 224.
LUQA One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance Taranto, Grottagli and Brindisi observes a tanker in Taranto.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 80; dealt with high explosives 15 (1 x 500kg, 8 x 250kg, 4 x 50kg, 1 x 35kg; 1 x AP container); dealt with 2kg x 300 plus few 2kg Italian and a large number of German 1kg incendiaries.
(1) Adapted from UXB Malta, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010/2012
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