18 January 1942: Mystery Air Crashes

18 Jan

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Inquisitor’s Summer Palace


Early this morning a Lockheed Hudson aircraft on a delivery flight into Malta crashed in mysterious circumstances near the Inquisitor’s Palace, with only one survivor.  Twenty minutes later a JU 88 bomber crashed within 400 yards of the same location, killing the entire crew.  Cause of the crashes is unknown; the bomber was not under fire at the time.


Malta’s reconnaissance squadron reports an increase in the number of bombers in Sicily.  Under cover of darkness, eight Wellington bombers from Luqa launch a heavy attack on Catania.  Pilots report at least seven fires and several explosions.  Blenheim aircraft follow up with a further attack on the airfield.


Bad weather means Hal Far and Ta Qali are still unserviceable; all aircraft and crews from Ta Qali are transferred to Luqa.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 18 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Wind west.  50% cloud.  Bright periods with thundery showers.

0620 hrs  A Lockheed Hudson plane crashes near the Inquisitor’s Palace.  There is one survivor.

0623 hrs  Nine bombers approach from the north; only two cross the coast.  The remainder patrol south of the Island.  One JU 88 crosses over St Paul’s Bay, is engaged by a barrage and drops bombs east of Wardia and on the Qrendi strip.

0645 hrs  The second enemy raider crosses the coast at Madliena at 700 feet and crashes into the hillside near the Inquisitors Palace: this aircraft was not barraged.  There were no survivors.

0945-1005 hrs  One JU 88 bomber crosses the coast near Dingli, dropping bombs in the Zebbug area.  Heavy ack ack engages.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.

1026-1106 hrs  Six enemy aircraft (two JU 88 and four fighters) approach from the north via the east coast.  One bomber crosses the island from south to north without dropping any bombs.  A second aircraft drops bombs near Bingemma.  Heavy Ack Ack is engaged.  Seven Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.  Throughout the raid there are one or two doubtful ‘plots’ patrolling 25 miles south east of the Island.

1526-1546 hrs  Three aircraft approach the east coast and recede.  Eight Hurricanes are airborne: no engagement.

1735-1745 hrs  Aircraft identified as friendly.

1932-2122 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and patrols round the Island for 1½  hours, dropping bombs in the sea near trawlers.  The aircraft then crosses the coast near Kalafrana, dropping incendiary bombs, flares and grenades.  Heavy Ack Ack are on the alert for returning Wellingtons.

2207-2305 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and crosses the coast in the Mellieha area, dropping bombs in the Dingli area and two near Imtarfa.  Aircraft carry out a patrol round the Island before receding.

2319-2353 hrs  One aircraft approaches Gozo and recedes without crossing the coast.

0009-0140 hrs  One aircraft crosses over Gozo from the north, dropping bombs on Ta Qali.  Heavy Ack Ack fires two immediate barrages.

Civilian casualties  Zebbug  Filippo Chircop, age 68.

Military casualties  Sgt Alan Story, Pilot, RAF (Volunteer Reserve); Sgt Percy Hankins, WOAG, RAF (Volunteer Reserve); Sgt Noel Wouldes, Observer, Royal New Zealand Air Force; all 59 Squadron.

Enemy casualties  Leutnant Felix Dieter Schleif, 1/NJG2, Pilot; Gefreiter Rolf Wiegand, 1/NJG2, Wireless Operator; Gefreiter Karl-Heinz Buelow, 1/NJG 2, Flight Engineer.


AIR HQ  Departures  Two Wellingtons, one Hudson to LG224.

HAL FAR  Night 18/19th  Five Albacores 828 Squadron despatched on shipping sweep.  Only one small ship of 800 tons sighted.  No attack.  All aircraft returned with torpedoes.  Five Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched on shipping sweep.  No sightings.  All aircraft returned safely with torpedoes.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland Cairo 2 search; one Maryland Cairo 1a search; one Maryland Cairo 5 patrol.  21 Squadron One Blenheim Cairo 4 search; one Blenheim Cairo 1b search; one Blenheim Cairo 4 patrol.  S/D Flight  one Wellington special search.  40 Squadron  Eight Wellingtons attacked Catania aerodrome.

TA QALI  All available aircraft and 150 men transferred for 24 hours to Luqa. Four men removed from crashed Hudson aircraft.  One injured, three killed.  All members of delivery flight.

8TH BN MANCHESTER REGIMENT The bodies of three Italian seamen were washed ashore in the Battalion’s northern sector.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Orders of Battle: HQ Fortress RE Malta IX/18/2 includes 16 Fcoy (to be disbanded), 24FCoy, 127 & 128 Bomb Disposal Sections (formed in Malta).  Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1; not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.


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Posted by on January 18, 2022 in 1942, January 1942


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