19 September 1941: Freighter Survives Western Med to Deliver Fodder

19 Sep

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The freighter Empire Guillemot docked safely at Malta today after completing the hazardous passage through the western Mediterranean.  The merchant ship was carrying essential supplies fodder to feed Malta’s horses and donkeys.  With the shortage of fuel on the Island, the animals are providing much-needed transport for civilians.  However, Malta cannot grow crops to feed them, especially now that cultivated land is given over entirely to food production for the population.

Empire Guillemot left the UK last Saturday and passed through the Straits of Gibraltar disguised as a Spanish vessel. Under ‘Operation Propeller’ she left Gibraltar, adopting a new French disguise, and headed for Bizerta before turning north towards Sicily. 

As the freighter approached Malta, she hoisted British colours and none too soon, as her night-time passage took her close to an Italian convoy which was being attacked by Swordfish aircraft. Fortunately, the Fleet Air Arm pilots had been alerted to her presence. Empire Guillemot entered Grand Harbour safely this morning.


Weather  Fine and warm.

1412-1440 hrs Air raid alert for ten enemy aircraft approaching the Island in two formations. Six Hurricanes 249 Squadron and eight 185 Squadron are scrambled.  The raiders come within a short distance of the coast but do not cross it and there are no interceptions.

0508-0545 hrs  Air raid alert for six enemy aircraft approaching the Island; some bombs are dropped in the sea. One raider crosses the coast and drops incendiaries on land near Dingli causing no damage or casualties.  Two Hurricane night fighters are scrambled but there are no searchlight illuminations and no interceptions.


ROYAL NAVY  Empire Guillemot arrived safely under Operation Propeller.

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland, 1 Wellington. Departures 1 Sunderland. 38 Squadron 7 Wellingtons attacked Tripoli Harbour. 69 Squadron Photoreconnaissance Catania, Gerbini, Comiso.  1 Maryland special search. 107 Squadron 4 Blenheims on shipping sweep.  2 Blenheims attacked shipping at Tripoli. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 5 Swordfish carried out a sweep off Kerkenah. For an enemy convoy. Three possible hits are claimed, resulting in one merchant vessel probably and one possibly being damaged.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  The CO attended a lecture at 10 Heavy A A Brigade HQ on the anti-aircraft defence of the Island and afterwards visited the Gun Operations Room.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 1 (50kg).


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Posted by on September 19, 2021 in 1941, September 1941


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