3 March 1941: Malta’s First Conscripts Line Up in Birkirkara

03 Mar

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Young men lined up at Birkirkara School this morning to become Malta’s first conscripts since 1792. Conscription was announced on 19 February under new Compulsory Service Regulations introduced by the Island’s Governor and Commander in Chief, Lt Gen Dobbie.  Notices were immediately sent out calling all men aged 20-25 to report to their local office. 

In charge of the recruitment session was Director of Compulsory Services Mr Sansom, assisted by Captain A Bartolo. “Every help possible was given to every recruit to state his case, whether of hardship or that of one engaged in essential work.  Fourteen men were exempted there and then from military service as being needed for other essential service.  51 were under height and accordingly exempted.  Only six men were found medically unfit at the preliminary examination. 

There were 30 applications for postponement certificates, and all who applied, whether their case was prima facie justifiable or not, will be remitted to the ‘Hardship Committee’, before whom their case will be heard.” (1)

In the coming days men of the same age group will be reporting at their local conscription centre. Any man who receives a notice to report but fails to comply will be liable to arrest by the police.


The Malta Government Gazette announced today that Police Constable Carmel Camilleri has been awarded the George Medal for gallantry and devotion to duty. The award citation reads:

Burned out Wellington bomber in Qormi

Scene of PC Camilleri’s bravery at Qormi

“In the early morning of the 4th November 1940, a Royal Air Force aircraft crashed on a house at Qormi, and the front portion of the machine fell into a 40ft shaft at the bottom of a deep quarry beyond the house.  Moans were heard coming from the shaft, from which flames were spouting, and an injured airman was observed supporting himself under the vertical edge of the shaft.  A wire rope was lowered which the airman grasped, but after being drawn up a few feet he could not maintain his hold and fell back into the shaft.  PC Camilleri, who had been one of the first on the scene, immediately volunteered to go down for him, in spite of the flames from the burning aircraft and in disregard of danger from the possible explosion of heavy calibre bombs, and was lowered into the shaft.  The rope slipped and he fell to the bottom, fortunately without serious injury.  A third rope was lowered to which PC Camilleri tied the injured airman who was then hauled up.  The rope was again lowered for Camilleri, who was brought up with no injuries beyond slight burns.”


Weather  Fine.

0810-0817 hrs  Air raid alert for a single unidentified enemy aircraft which approaches at 18000 feet and carries out reconnaissance.

0932 hrs  Two enemy motor torpedo boats are spotted 15 miles south of Mazara course.

Military casualties  Supply Assistant Kenneth O Hedgecock, HMS Illustrious; Private Arthur C Higgins, 2nd Battalion, Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment.


AIR HQ  69 Squadron Maryland photoreconnaissance aborted over Palermo due to enemy fighter patrol, and over Trapani due to thick haze.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 4; dealt with 3 (2 x 50kg; 1 x 1000kg).

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  A Company moved to Luqa and took over positions from B Company, who moved to the Rinella sector.

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


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Posted by on March 3, 2021 in 1941, March 1941


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