2 March 1942: Malta’s Bombers on the Attack

02 Mar

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Wellington bombers

Wellington bombers from of 37 Squadron based at Luqa launched a highly successful attack overnight on Palermo Harbour, an important base for convoys supplying Axis forces in North Africa.  Despite a smokescreen set off obscure the target, the Wellingtons succeeded in dropping 26 tons of bombs on shipping and dockyard facilities, including a shipyard, oil dump, warehouses and a seaplane base.  Two merchant vessels of 5000 and 9000 tons were sunk and a third was set on fire along with its cargo of motor transport.  Reconnaissance aircraft reported fires still burning six hours after the attack.


Weather  Wind southerly; 30% cloud.  Warmer.

0740-0819 hrs  Two ME 109s patrol the Island.

1038-1205 hrs  Nine JU 88s with fighter escort approach in two waves.  Bombs are dropped on Gudja, Safi Strip, Corradino, Cospicua and Zabbar.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.  Two bombs land in Gudja army camp and behind HQ at Safi.  One Other Rank of 1st Bn Hampshire Regt is seriously wounded (died 5 March 1942).

1358-1443 hrs  Four JU 88s with fighter escort cross the south east coast, drop bombs on the Safi Strip and recede north.

1658-1850  Six JU 88 with fighter escort approach from the north and drop bombs on Grand Harbour and Lazaretto, from Ta Karach Ridge to Safi strip and Luqa airfield where one Wellington is damaged.

1941-0410 hrs  One continuous raid: thirteen raiders approach the Islandsingly, dropping bombs on land and in the sea.

1944 hrs  Three unidentified enemy aircraft attack Luqa, damaging one Maryland.  Bombs also land on Siggiewi, Tal Providenz (demolishing one building) and Ta Mehrla Chapel during the late evening.  near the Officers’ Quarters, Kalafrana.

2040 hrs  One JU 88 at 2-3000 feet is engaged by guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery: one hit claimed.

2050 hrs  One JU 88 at 2000 feet diving to 500 feet is engaged by two guns from 225 Light Ack Ack Battery: one hit claimed.

Military casualties  Leading Aircraftsman George Boorman, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Civilian casualties  Cospicua  Anthony Zammit, age 70.  Kalkara  Lorenzo Mejlak, age 55.  Zabbar  Grezzju Abdilla, age 45; Maria Abdilla, age 15.


AIR HQ  Arrivals  Five Wellingtons, one Sunderland from Gibraltar.  Departures   Five Beaufighters, two Blenheims to 108MU; six Wellingtons, one Hudson to LG 224; one Sunderland to Gibraltar.

HAL FAR  828 Squadron  One Albacore on search for enemy shipping:  one merchant vessel of 4000 tons in position 206 degrees Lampedusa 42 miles.  830 Squadron  Three Swordfish dispatched to attack the merchant vessel reported off Lampedusa.  The vessel was not located and all three aircraft returned to base at 0615 hrs 3 March.

LUQA 0740-1219 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron photo-reconnaissance (PR) and SF 2A patrol, Lampedusa.  1216-1403 hrs  One Beaufighter 69 Squadron PR Palermo.  1403-1250 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron PR Pantelleria and SF 1A patrol.  2115-0312 hrs  One Wellington S/D Flight special search.  2203-0540 hrs  Sixteen Wellingtons 37 Squadron attacked shipping in Palermo Harbour, sinking two ships, damaging and gutting warehouses and buildings on the northern mole and in the dockyard.  2320-0430 hrs  One Wellington 38 Squadron despatched on a torpedo attack on shipping; no attack made.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT   No Luqa working parties this week. Gas masks worn 10-1100 hrs.  First rehearsal for loading light equipment for mobile company carried out at Hornworks.  1700 hrs Conference at Marsa Club on Brigade wireless exercise.  Unexploded bomb hit post of B Company CA10: post needs complete rebuilding.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  C Company moved from Boschetto Gardens to Dingli and took up anti-parachute role in that area.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Debris from bombs on the outskirts of St Julians and blocking the coast road is cleared by a working party from C Company.  Brigadier De La Bere visits a demonstration of operational and ceremonial sentries at Battalion HQ.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).


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Posted by on March 2, 2022 in 1942, March 1942


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