16 March 1942: Poison Gas Warning

16 Mar

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Ta Qali


A message has been broadcast across Malta appealing for volunteers to help with improvements to Ta Qali airfield.  The work is needed to prepare the airfield for regular use by the Island’s new Spitfire squadrons.


Commanders of the Central Infantry Brigade warn forces that the enemy may attack Malta using any or all of the methods demonstrated in other countries.  The possibility of weapons not yet used in this war, such as poison gas, being employed by the enemy must not be overlooked, they state in their latest Operations Instruction issued yesterday.


In the midst of intense enemy air raids, Rogelia Odo Denver realised her baby was about to be born:  “She was taken by car during a raid to the hospital.  The driver stopped some distance from the hospital and so she walked to her destination with the raid continuing – completely on her own.   A normal birth ensued…  

Then three days later when Bernard was visiting his wife and son, and despite a massive red cross painted around the building, there was a direct hit.  Rogelia’s bed was now on the edge of what was the ward on the upper floor.  She was wrapped in sheets and lowered through the rubble to safety.  The baby, rescued by his father, was taken to safety.   Some days later an ambulance was taking Rogelia and the baby back from Imtarfa Hospital to Floriana when a raid stopped the ambulance.  The driver ran leaving mother and child in an unknown area.  Once again Rogelia’s character came to the rescue – no panic, just  find  a shelter.  Luckily an officer saw her plight and showed her the way to a shelter.  The officer then went in search of the driver who was never seen again.”   (1)


Weather  Thick cloud.

0746-0749 hrs  Two aircraft approach the Island but recede when still 25 miles north east.

0905-0925 hrs  One aircraft makes a complete circuit of the Island.

0954-1057 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Raid does not materialise.

1058-1114 hrs  Aircraft identified as friendly.

1434-1520 hrs  Four ME 109s patrol the Island in two pairs – one to the east and the other to the west.  Malta’s fighters are up but do not engage.

1725-1730 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Raid does not materialise.

Night  Nil to report.


ROYAL NAVY  P34 returned with 14 prisoners of war, from Italian submarine Ammiraglio Millo sunk by HMS Ultimatum off C. Stilo with the loss of 57 crew.  Sokol returned from patrol north of Lampion having been prevented from attacking two targets by counter A/S measures.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Four Spitfires, photo-reconnaissance unit, from Gibraltar.

HAL FAR  PM  One Albacore despatched on shipping search: nothing sighted.

LUQA  0712-1102 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out a special search of Messina and Taranto.  0008-0245 hrs  Two Wellingtons 37 Squadron despatched to attack Catania aerodrome.

TA QALI  Kings Own Malta Regiment C Company to be relieved of all guard duties, to be employed in carrying out repairs to the aerodrome, construction of pens and general emergency work.  Twelve of a detachment at Kalafrana are to be posted to Ta Qali.  Guard duties will now be carried out by Station Police.  Extra pens sited and arranged.  No scrambles.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  2000 hrs  Platoon B Company carried out night firing on Pembroke Ranges.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 16-20 March 35 (average 7 per day).

(1) From The Remarkable Woman, Bernard J Denver, 2005

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Posted by on March 16, 2022 in 1942, March 1942


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