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1ST BATTALION CHESHIRE REGIMENT TO HAVE DUAL ROLE
1st Bn Cheshire Regiment has been given the task of defending the surroundings of Grand Harbour and approaches to Valletta. The 655 strong Battalion, which arrived in Malta yesterday, will have a dual role: defend the Harbour Sector from seaborne and airborne attack and also to control the movement of the civil population both into and out of Valletta, in the event of a land attack. Their HQ will be established at St Francis Ravelin.
One Company will be disposed in the areas of Kalkara, Vittoriosa and Cospicua, where their special tasks will include the co-ordination of the defence of the Sector alongside the Royal Navy, and of the Corradino Heights in co-operation with the Dockyard Defence Battery. In the event of an enemy attack the Company will operate to prevent the entry of enemy airborne troops through the Cottonera Lines from the outlaying countryside as well as preventing the movement of the civilian population through these Lines.
A second Company will operate in Valletta with the role of the coastal defence of the City and control of the civilian population within, should the need arise. A third Company will operate in the area of Msida Bastion and Pieta, to man the exits from Valletta via the Porte des Bombes and to control the movement of the civilian population in or out of the City, with particular reference to civilians attempting to enter during active operations from the area Balzan, Birkirkara, Hamrun and Qormi.
A fourth Company will be allocated in the area Msida-Gzira-Tigne with the object of defending Marsamxetto Harbour from enemy attack and also of preventing movement by the population of Sliema into Valletta when necessary.
Two Platoons of 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment at present in the Harbour Sector will now revert to the Southern Infantry Brigade. 4th Bn Buffs will also return to their original locations and duties. All other military personnel still stationed within the Harbour Sector will be responsible for their own local protection in the event of a general attack, including from parachutists, and will man their defences on receipt of the codewords ‘Defend Harbours’ which will be issued direct from the CO of 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 23 FEBRUARY 1941
0717-0800 hrs; 1127-1132 hrs Air raid alert; raids do not materialise.
1400-1425 hrs Air raid alert for three ME 109 fighters which cross the coast and circle over Grand Harbour at 15000 feet. Hurricanes are scrambled but the Messerschmitts recede without making an attack before the Malta fighters can reach sufficient height to attack them.
1600 hrs A mine is spotted floating in the water in Ghain Tuffieha Bay. The beach defence position is evacuated.
0455-0555 hrs Air raid alert for two enemy aircraft which circle over the Island for an hour without dropping any bombs. The raiders are engaged by Ack Ack.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 22 FEBRUARY 1941
ROYAL NAVY HMS Ursula from Malta attacked and sank a Sicilia class transport heading for Libya.
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