17 September 1940: Corporal’s Bravery Under Fire

17 Sep

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NWMA Malta

NWMA Malta

The exceptional courage of a serviceman during an air raid on Luqa aerodrome today has earned him a recommendation for a bravery award. In a heavy dive-bombing and machine-gun raid on the airfield by JU87 Stukas, a Wellington bomber was set on fire. Ignoring the flames Corporal J G M Davis entered the aircraft to retrieve four Vickers machine guns and ammunition, despite some of that ammunition exploding around him. He succeeded but the Wellington was destroyed. A salvage dump and hangar were also ignited by the flames; a Hurricane aircraft inside was burned out. For his act of bravery Corporal Davis has been recommended for a British Empire Medal.


German JU87 aircraft recently engaged in the battle over Malta are piloted by members of the Regia Aeronautica, it was revealed today. The pilot of a Stuka rescued up from the sea today was one of two taken to the Castille for interrogation. Under questioning he stated that the JU87 aircraft are operating from a base at Pantelleria and that the pilots are members of an Italian squadron.


Weather  Fine, with scirocco.

1040-1122 hrs  Air raid alert for 12 Junkers 87s and 25 CR 42s which approach the Island in three formations passing over Hal Far and dive-bomb Luqa aerodrome and a reservoir. Several hangars are machine-gunned. A salvage dump at the side of a hangar is set alight and the fire causes some damage to the hangar. A small office is hit by an incendiary bomb and demolished. One Wellington bomber which arrived in Malta this morning is burned out and a Hurricane burned out inside a hangar.

Malta fighters are scrambled and engage the raiders, along with Ack Ack and ground defences. Two Junkers and one Caproni are shot down by fighters. One destroyed enemy plane crashes at l’Iskorvit near Zammitello Palace, between Gnejna and Mgarr, and burns itself out; its pilot is taken into custody by the military authorities. The Marine Craft Section puts out from Kalafrana and picks up the surviving pilot and the dead gunner of one JU 87 eight miles north west of Filfla. In all, two Italian pilots are taken to the Castille for interrogation.

Fifteen unexploded bombs are reported in the Luqa area. They are believed to be delayed action bombs, so an exclusion zone is set up surrounding the bombs, to be enforced for seven days. Several roads are closed to all traffic; all military personnel in the area are required to wear steel helmets and follow restricted movement orders.

1555-1619 hrs  Air raid alert for three bombers and eight fighters which fly over the Island, probably on reconnaissance. No bombs are dropped.

Enemy casualties Sergente Maggiore Luigi Catani, 237th Squadriglia, 96th Gruppo Autonomo, pilot of JU 87 Stuka, shot down, rescued and taken prisoner. Sottotenente Francesco Cavalli, 70th Squadriglia, 23rd Gruppo Autonomo, pilot of CR42 shot down and taken prisoner. Primo Aviere Francesco Di Giorgio, 70th Squadriglia, gunner of CR42 fighter, shot down near Filfla and died.


AIR HQ  Departures 3 Sunderlands.

KALAFRANA  Three Sunderlands left for Alexandria. One returned to Kalafrana four hours later with engine trouble

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Construction work at A Company held up due to unexploded bombs. CO congratulated A and B Companies on standing up to air attacks.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  High explosive 15 x 250kg or 500kg believed delayed action inspected and left 7 days Luqa. Incendiary x 3 Luqa.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS Instructions are issued regarding action of mobile reserve should large enemy formations approach.


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Posted by on September 17, 2020 in 1940, September 1940


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