10 February 1942: Bomb Attack on Refugee Village Kills 16

10 Feb

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  • Nine raids under cover of darkness
  • Enemy now using flares to illuminate targets
  • Civilian casualties in Birkirkara, Qormi and Xaghra, Gozo

    Flares illuminate bomb targets (NWMA, Malta)


Ten minutes after sunset today a German bomber unleashed its entire load of eight bombs on the community of Qormi.  Thirty houses were destroyed.  Sixteen civilians were killed and another twenty-six injured.  Servicemen from 8th Bn The Lancashire Fusiliers based nearby helped rescue  survivors.

The “bakers’ village” – bread-making centre for Malta – had grown in population with evacuees fleeing from Cottonera in the Three Cities at the height of bomb attacks on the Dockyard a year ago.  Qormi was thought to be far enough from enemy targets while still accessible for dockyard employees to reach their place of work.

As well as mourning the dead, many survivors will now be forced back on the road to seek safe shelter further afield.


Weather  100% cloud.  Wind southerly; cooler.

1103-1210 hrs  Two JU 88 bombers escorted by three ME 109s approach the Island form the north.  One JU 88 jettisons his bombs and recedes north in cloud.  The other comes in over Gozo and down the west coast of the Island, then moves away.  He is later picked up west of Gozo going north, turns back and drops bombs on Gozo before receding north north-east.  Hurricanes are airborne; no interceptions.  Heavy Ack Ack do not engage.

1514-1645 hrs  One JU 88 and 25 plus ME 109s approach from the north and drop bombs on Ta Qali and in the sea: off Tigne and off Ras il Fenek.  One barrack block is damaged at Ta Qali but the aerodrome is serviceable  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  Malta’s fighters are airborne but do not engage.

1748-1826 hrs  Three JU 88s and six plus ME 109s approach from the north and drop a stick of eight bombs on Qormi, demolishing 30 houses, killing 16 civilians and injuring another 26.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2006-2032 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs on the Tal Qroqq, Birkirkara, Floriana and Grand Harbour areas.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2140-2200 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs and flares on Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2212-2230 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, crosses the coast but drops no bombs.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2332-0020 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea and near Qrendi strip.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0045-0132 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the Grand Harbour area.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0203-0229 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs and flares in the Ta Qali area.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0316-0343 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the Ta Qali airea.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0355-0427 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea ten miles north of Grand Harbour.  Guns do not engage.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Paul Pace, age 48.  Qormi  Liza Aquilina, age 50; Giorgia Borg, age 43; John Briffa, age 33; Salvino Cassar, age 7; Anthony Ciappara, age 12; Saviour Gatt, age 47; George Grech, age 34; Emanuel Giordimaina, age 11; Joseph Giordimaina, age 8; Mary Giordimaina, age 5; Anna Muscat, age 15; John Portelli, age 34; Carmelo Saliba, age 55; Emanuel Sammut, age 7; Maria Sammut, age 6, Spiro Vella, age 20.  Gozo (Xaghra)  Carmelo Attard, age 72; Marianna Attard, age 70.


AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Albacores from El Adem; eight Beaufighters and two Beauforts from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Hurricane to Sidi Barani; one Wellington to Kabrit.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Sicilian aerodromes; one Maryland search Maritimo-Cagliari; two Marylands search Cagliari-Maritimo; one Hurricane photo-reconnaissance Pantelleria.  21 Squadron  Four Blenheims shipping sweep Kerkennah-Djerba.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search Kerkennah area.

TA QALI  Funeral of P/O Stewart.  No night flying: weather deteriorated.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  Brigade [training exercise] attended by Senior Officers of four Infantry Battalions and Royal Artillery representatives.

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Six observation posts established in Brigade area giving observation over the whole area.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  B, C and D Companies fired Bren guns on Pembroke range.  Three carriers handed over to 1st Bn Durham Light Infantry.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Battalion established new Observation Posts in sector.  Bomb in A Company area; no casualties – a house destroyed.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Bombs between C Company and Qrendi strip during the night.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Funeral of Fusilier Hopwood.  1746 hrs  Stick of eight bombs fell on this unit’s area at Qormi.  D Company assisted in the rescue work.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 9; dealt with 2 (1 x 50kg; 1 x 500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.


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Posted by on February 10, 2022 in 1942, February 1942


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