9 June 1941: Major Breach of Security in Malta

09 Jun

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R) 


gas respirator BWA secret security measure introduced as part of the Island’s anti-invasion preparations has been leaked to the enemy. In a recent broadcast, enemy propagandist Lord Haw Haw was heard to announce in English that yellow flaps are being worn on gas respirators in Malta.

The yellow flap was introduced to respirators as a recognition signal to enable the Island’s troops to differentiate enemy parachutists dropped disguised in British uniforms. Enemy knowledge of the measure now renders it useless. 

The Governor and Commander in Chief sent an urgent request for the broadcast to be checked, to establish whether the security measure had been compromised. According to the response the BBC monitoring service was unable to evidence of the statement but could not give an absolute guarantee that the comment was not made.  An immediate review of security measures has been organised.  However, questions remain as to how such information reached Germany.

Meanwhile initial interrogation of two Italian airmen taken prisoner yesterday has cast doubt on the reported build-up of invasion forces in Sicily. Surveys by Malta’s reconnaissance aircraft have also failed to support recent intelligence reports.  Malta’s military chiefs are beginning to wonder whether the invasion report has been deliberately circulated by the enemy.


Malta’s bus timetable has been further cut back as from today. According to the announcement, the measure is due to the need to exercise economy in the consumption of all essential articles, especially in petrol. There will now be no buses between 1130am and 2pm, except at weekends.


Weather  Fine and warm.

Early AM  Air movement monitors pick up four SM 79 bombers being ferried from Sciacca to Castel Benito, which are plotted on course to pass 30 miles west of Malta. Four Hurricane fighters are sent to attack and intercept the bombers 50 miles south of the Island.  They shoot down one SM 79 in flames into the sea.  A second is last seen breaking from the formation in a sharp dive, apparently out of control.  Two other SM 79s are badly damaged.  One Hurricane is damaged and ditches in the sea.

A search for survivors finds the Hurricane pilot uninjured. One Italian crew is rescued from the sea.  One of two Swordfish of 830 Squadron taking part in the search has to make an emergency landing on the sea; all the crew are rescued. 

Enemy search aircraft are monitored all afternoon to the south of the Island but Hurricanes are unable to intercept.

Military casualties  Captain Norman H Poole, 12th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.


AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Wellington, 1 Cunliffe Owen Flying Wing, 1 Beaufighter. Departures 2 Blenheim, 2 Beaufighter. 69 Squadron 3 Marylands on reconnaissance, one on shadow patrol; 1 Hurricane on photo-reconnaissance.  2 Blenheims on search to attack convoy but failed to locate.  

HAL FAR 1 Swordfish 830 Squadron force-landed in the sea. The crew were picked up safely and returned to Hal Far.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 5 (15kg).

1st Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  All ranks going to Gozo on leave are reminded that they must report on arrival to Headquarters, Gozo Training Camp, The Citadel, Rabat. Officers visiting the Training Camp, Gozo, on duty should whenever possible give 24 hours’ notice of their arrival.  The increasing number of respirators, A/G and steel helmets lost is reaching serious proportions.  The losses have resulted in failure to abide by the procedures in correctly marking the equipment.


All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 9, 2021 in 1941, June 1941


Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: