24 October 1940: Anti-Italian Feeling Grows in Malta

24 Oct

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Kingsway or Strada Reale

Kingsway or Strada Reale


Anti-Italian feeling is growing among some groups of Maltese civilians. Increasing numbers of letters are being sent to newspapers seeking the eradication of Italian language and cultural symbols from Maltese life. One correspondent commented: “Whenever we hear the siren, there are only Italian planes, directed by Italian pilots, dropping Italian bombs…are we going to leave the Italian language on our walls? Are we to continue to write our address in Italian?…Is the Italian language to be continued to flow in our Secondary Schools? Street names are already being changed from Italian to English in response to demand. However, while the Government has sounded a note of caution, some views published in the press have enflamed anti-Italian feelings.

A minority of individuals have taken the matter into their own hands, accusing others of being Italian sympathisers. And only days ago an angry crowd gathered around an Italian pilot prisoner of war who had been taken to Valletta for some shopping. According to one report: “There was a great commotion in Strada Reale and it was only through the great tact of the Police that something very distasteful did not happen…It took the Police a long time to dissuade the crowd not to tear him to pieces.” (1)


Weather  Fine.

1131-1230 hrs Air raid alert for a formation of enemy aircraft approaching from the north. The come within ten to fifteen miles east of Valletta and circle. Six Hurricanes and two Gladiators are scrambled and the raiders turn away.

Military casualties  Gunner Emmanuel Callus, Royal Malta Artillery.


ROYAL NAVY Clearance sweep continued by Oropesa; four mines swept up in position 141 degrees Delimara 12.3 miles. Reconnaissance Swordfish and Skua Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Skua reported on landing seeing French 10000 ton liner coming out of the straits of Messina.

AIR HQ  Aircraft casualties One Swordfish. Reconnaissance of Ionian Sea for enemy surface forays by Blenheim attached 431 Flight, Swordfish 830 Squadron FAA and Sunderland 228 Squadron; Glenn Martin 431 Flight; nil reports by all aircraft.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 Squadrons. Sunderland 230 Squadron reconnaissance are Malta-Tripoli-Jerba Island; reported on landing seeing one Italian destroyer and one merchant vessel in convoy. Operational base for Sunderlands transferred to St Paul’s Bay owing to sea conditions at Kalafrana.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT Ack Ack firing practice: the target was towed by aircraft. 10 hits were registered.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Petrol bombs tried out and proved successful. Tar used instead of oil, giving more sustained burning. Work began to prepare 500 to issue to Infantry Battalions.

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

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Posted by on October 24, 2020 in 1940, October 1940


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