12 July 1940: Plans Ready for Invasion of Malta

12 Jul

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Secret preparations are being put in place for a plan of action In the event of a successful invasion of Malta.  Special code words have been introduced for all troops: ‘Asia’ for full war routine with “Stand To” one hour before dawn, and ‘Europe’ for attack not likely, and no “Stand To” at dawn. Strategic preparations have been made to establish a final line of defence, with the identification of a ‘last ditch’ zone which covers the area surrounding Valletta and the Dockyard.

In a separate development today it was announced that Malta’s troops are to be formed into two operational groups covering the Island.  Northern and Southern Infantry Brigades.

Special Constabulary

Special Constabulary


The public are putting themselves at risk by trying to leave air raid shelters before the ‘All Clear’ has sounded.  Air Raid Wardens and the Special Constabulary have reported many cases of civilians insisting on leaving shelter immediately on the ‘Raiders Passed’ signal. 

The situation reached a critical stage today as residents left shelters to watch a dog fight between Malta fighters and enemy raiders:  “soon the word went round all over the Island…that some very spectacular fights were taking place high up in the sky.  This was followed shortly after by the excited shouts, ‘Qed in-nizzluhom’ (we are shooting them down) and then, long before the ‘Raiders Passed’ signal was given, people…rushed to the terraces, to the streets, and other vantage points…there were cheers and excited cries, as the people saw the enemy meet their just fate at the hands of our gallant pilots, and our English and Maltese anti-aircraft gunners.” 

Authorities have been pleased with the quick response to ‘Air Raid’ alerts but have expressed concern at the new developments.  Failing to take shelter, loitering in the street during a raid and leaving a shelter before the ‘All Clear’ are all offences punishable by law.  Several fines have already been levied from such offenders. (1) 


Weather  Low cloud. 

0550 hrs  Submarines are seen to surface near Benghaisa.

1548 hrs  Status ‘Europe’ declared to all batteries.

1612-1640 hrs  Air raid alert for six enemy fighters which fly over the Island and are engaged by Malta fighters.  Three bombs are dropped near Verdala.  Reports suggest one raider is shot down.  There have also been reports that bags of sweets were dropped over the area of Tarxien and Ghaxaq.    

Military casualties  Private George Le Provost, 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment


ARMY HQ  Troops are to be sent to a rest camp at Ghain Tuffieha for three days at a time. 

KALAFRANA  Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 Squadrons operating 12 hour naval patrols over wide area covering Greek coast, south Italian coast and Sicily under direct instructions from Middle East and HQ Mediterranean.  London aircraft K5261 P/O Minchinton attached from 202 Squadron for anti-submarine patrols in Malta area.

1st Bn DORSET REGIMENT  At 0300 hrs today Private G LeProvost died in the Military Hospital, Imtarfa, and at 1900 hrs Lance Corporal W Malcolm died at ADS Tarxien.  Both died as a result of burns received due to enemy action on 10 July.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Bomb Disposal UXB  1 incendiary Bighi Hospital; 1 incendiary Ricasoli Barracks.  Contact made with Commander Merriman, RN, who is responsible for dealing with unexploded bombs for the Navy.  All available assistance given.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Two miners were engaged to make a rock shelter at Company Headquarters.

(1) Source: When Malta Stood Alone, Joseph Micallef, Interprint Malta, 1981

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Posted by on July 12, 2020 in 1940, July 1940


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