17 January 1942: Malta Needs More Troops

17 Jan

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Lt Gen Dobbie


From:  Governor & C in C Malta                        To:  C in C Middle East, copy: War Office

IMMEDIATE: Following are absolute minimum (repeat minimum) essential.

First:  Infantry 54 Officers [Off] 600 Other Ranks [OR].  As far as possible would like by regiments as follows but this is not essential.

Buffs 8 Off and 50 OR.  King’s Own 4 Off and 90 OR.  Lancs Fus.  4 Off. And 80 OR.  Cheshire 2 Off and 60 OR.  Hamps 8 Off and 120 OR.  Dorset 2 Off and 30 OR.  Royal W Kent 4 Off and 50 OR.  Manch 4 Off and 60 OR.  Royal Irish Fus 10 Off and 60 OR.  Devon 8 Off and nil OR.

Second: RASC 1 Supply Officer, 1 MT Officer, 84 Drivers.

Third:  RAOC 3 Officers and 47 Other Ranks made up as follows.  Officers 1 OO (Sub), 1 OME 2nd Class, 1 OME 4th Class.  Clerks 1 WO Class II, 1 S/Sjt, 1 Cpl and 1 L/Cpl.  Storemen 3 Sjts (1 trained in GL and two in Amn.), 1 Cpl, 2 Ptes (trained in GL), non-tradesmen 2 Sjts, 1 L/Cpl Amn. Examiners, 2 Cpls, 1 Pte Armament Artificers, 1 Radio 1 Wireless, 2 Inst AA, 1 Inst Field (All S/Sjts).  Fitters (MV) 4 Ptes.  Electricians 8 Ptes.  Inst. Mechanics 5 Ptes.  Radio Mechanics 5 Ptes.  Welders 3 Ptes.  Wireless Mechanics 1 Pte.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 17 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Wind south west.  80% low cloud.  Bright periods.

0001-0015; 0025-0040; 0214-0232 hrs  Air raid alerts.  Raids do not materialise.

0430-0800 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

0920 hrs Two Hurricanes are scrambled from Ta Qali.  P/O Russell attacks a JU 88 near Kalafrana – gets in a two-second burst but no hits observed.  Enemy aircraft dive into cloud and contact is lost.  Both Hurricanes return safely.

0942-1050 hrs  Three JU88s approach from the north east, drop bombs in the sea and then recede without crossing the coast.

1105-1112; 1140-1202 hrs  Air raid alerts.  Raids do not materialise.

1314-1345 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the east and recedes without crossing the coast.  Four Hurricanes give chase without result.

1314-1345 hrs  One aircraft approaches and recedes without crossing the coast.  Four Hurricanes give chase without result.

1543-1613 hrs  Two ME 109 fighters attempt to intercept a returning Beaufighter but recede when a few miles off the coast.

1615-1630 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

1659-1702 hrs  One JU 88 is reported over the Island.  Hurricanes are up and engage; enemy aircraft believed damaged.  Guns do not engage.

2220; 2250; 2322 hrs  Air raid alerts.  Raids do not materialise.


Vice Admiral Leatham, January 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Admiral Leatham with his secretary Commander Clay arrived in Malta to take over from Admiral Ford as Vice Admiral Malta.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Champion GAFCT, two Hudsons, seven Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  one Champion to Cairo; one Blenheim to Helwan; one Beaufighter to 108 MU; three Wellingtons to LG 224.

HAL FAR  Night 17/18th Five Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched to attack convoy consisting of Italian tanker Giulio Giordani, 7000 tons, and two destroyers, Da Recco and Usodimare.  The tanker was hit by one torpedo and one of the escorting destroyers also believed to have been hit.  All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance (PR) Sicilian and south Italian aerodromes, then Palermo, Messina and Reggio; one Maryland Cairo 2 search; one Maryland Cairo 1a search. 21 Squadron  One Blenheim Cairo 1B search.

TA QALI  Aerodrome serviceable.  Seven air raid alarms.  Hurricane No 1 long range tanks landed at Hal Far with wheels up.  One airman attached for Blenheim Fighter Flight.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  Distribution of ammunition from Benghaisa to Safi area (1296 rounds) and Hal Far (624 rounds) 40mm to make total holdings per gun to 2500 rounds.

8TH BN MANCHESTER REGIMENT  E Company took over A Company’s posts at Ta Qali.  A Company becomes a mobile Company responsible for the defence of the Imtarfa Hospital area. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 7; dealt with 6 (3 x 500kg, 2 x 50kg, 1 x 15kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.


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