1 April 1941: Cities Shut Down as Malta Put on Red Alert

01 Apr

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  • No of air raid alerts 109 (including 22 night raids)
  • No of bombing raids 30
  • Days without air raid alerts 0
  • Total time under alert 55 hours 33 mins
  • Average length of alert 31.7 mins
  • Enemy aircraft shot down 35; unconfirmed 4; damaged 21
Porta Reale Valletta crop

City gates will be shut at night


Acting on information that there are about 5000 parachute troops in Sicily, new anti-invasion measures decided at yesterday’s conference of military leaders were issued today to all troops in Malta.

With immediate effect, all gates around Valletta and the Three Cities are to be shut at night from 2100 hrs. In addition, they will all be manned round the clock, as will anti-parachute positions.  The hours between 0530 and 0630 hrs have been designated a period of special vigilance, especially during moonlight.  Troops have been warned that the enemy may make use of British uniforms.  Army officers are to visit Malta Defence Volunteers, to give advice and assistance in the construction of posts in villages, beginning with the main strategic approaches.  

Strict curfew regulations will also be enforced: all movement between 2100 hrs and 0630 hrs is now forbidden. Leave for key troop companies involved in the Island’s invasion defences and for headquarters personnel is now restricted to daylight hours only. 

The enemy is known to be moving gas, believed to be Phosgene, into southern Italy. Gas capes have not yet been issued to individuals but company commanders are ready to issue these at very short notice. 

In the event of large numbers (50 or more) of enemy planes being reported designated troops will rejoin their companies under arrangements made by each Adjutant. Red rockets will be prepared for immediate firing.  Motor transport will be made ready to move immediately on order to any part of the relevant brigade area.  Meanwhile, distributor arms of all vehicles not under guard will be removed at night until further notice. 

Officers will see that at ‘Lights Out’ each night everything is in order for a rapid ‘Stand To’. All communications will be tested daily at 0530 hrs and at intervals during the night.  The evening ‘Stand To’ will be 1930-1945 hrs but may be varied at the discretion of officers. 

Reports tonight revealed that city gates were not closed at 2100 hrs as planned, due to problems caused by the lack of sufficient notice through civilian communication channels. Information has now been disseminated across all affected communities and the closures will be implemented at 2100 hrs tomorrow.


“A pistol .38 No 2 Mk1 reg no 3892 was lost at the Monico Bar, South Street, on the evening of 29 March 1941. Will the finder please communicate with the OC, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment.”


Weather  Clear and fresh.

1407-1453 hrs Air raid alert for two ME 109s one mile south of Filfla approaching the Island at 24000 feet, followed at 1447 hrs by one JU 88 at 18000 feet which passes over Grand Harbour heading north east, evidently on reconnaissance. Anti-aircraft guns engage and damage the JU 88.  Seven Hurricanes are scrambled: no interception.

Military casualties  Lance-Corporal Michael Whelan, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion stood-to: airborne attack expected. Until further notice the Bn will stand to mornings at 0530 hrs until full light and evenings at 1900 hrs until dark.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Floriana area now allotted to the Sappers to defend in the event of an invasion.  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 2 (1 x 50kg; 1 x 500kg). Unexploded bombs dealt with Dec 1940-Mar 1941 Total 116: High Explosive (HE) 60; other (Ack Ack shells, anti-personnel) 56.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strengths officers 26, WOs 8, other ranks 123; Armourers other ranks 7; Artisans other ranks 4.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  L/Cpl M Whelan died from gunshot wounds in the proximity of gun position KM4.


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Posted by on April 1, 2021 in April 1941


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