30 March 1942: King Honours Royal Malta Artillery

30 Mar

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King George VI


To:  Governor Malta – 30 March 1942

I have it in command from KING to transmit to you the following message.  Begins.

I have been watching with admiration the stout hearted resistance of all in Malta – Service personnel and civilian alike – to the fierce and constant air attacks of the enemy in recent. Weeks.

In active defence of the Island the Royal Air Force have been ably supported by R.M.A., and it therefore gives me special pleasure, in recognition of their skill and resolution, to assume Colonel in Chief of Regiment.  Please convey my best wishes to all ranks of my new regiment, and assure them of the added pride with which I shall follow future activities. Ends.


From: Governor of Malta – 30 March 1942

May the following be transmitted to His Majesty the King:-

“The Royal Malta Artillery desire to thank your Majesty for the most gracious message conveyed to them and for the signal Honour Your Majesty has been pleased to accord them in becoming Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment.  They desire to express their loyalty and devotion to Your Majesty’s Person and they will endeavour to prove themselves worthy of the High Honour conferred on them.” Ends.

Jack Shiner, RAAF


Seven Sergeants of the Royal Australian Air Force were lost today, as they attempted to deliver aircraft to Malta.  The airmen were attached to a despatch unit of the Royal Air Force based at Almaza in the Middle East.  Three were from Western Australia: Sgt Harold Janney of Cottesloe, Sgt Conrad Johnson of Kalamunda and Sgt Jack Shiner, of Pallinup.  It is believed they were shot down in an air battle with enemy aircraft as they approached Malta.  After a thorough search they are officially listed as missing, presumed dead.

The Hudson aircraft carrying the other four airmen reached Malta, only to stall on the approach to landing.  The plane went into a tight spin and crashed into the ground where it caught fire, killing all four.  Two were from New South Wales – Sgt Thomas Pollock of Gordon and Sgt Kenneth Riordan of Gosford.  Sgt Alfred Garrett came from Elsternwick, Victoria and Sgt Charles Reed from Mowbray Heights, Tasmania.


Weather  Wind westerly; 100% cloud.

Daylight  Four air raid alerts but no aircraft cross the coast. Malta’s fighters damage one JU 88.

2039 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the Torri L’Ahmar and Wardia areas.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  One aircraft drops bombs on Hal Far.

0106 hrs  An approaching formation of aircraft identified as friendly turns out to be hostile and drops bombs in Kalafrana Bay.

0209 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north then recedes south east.

0358 hrs  Two ME 109s patrol 30 miles south of the Island.

0652 hrs  Two ME 109s patrol south of the Island.

2300 hrs  A Hudson aircraft from Gibraltar stalls on coming in to land at Luqa and spins into the ground at the east end of the long runway.  The plane catches fire, killing the crew: Sgt Pollock, Sgt Garrett, Sgt Riordan and Sgt Read.

Military casualties  Sergeant Harold Janney, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF);  Sergeant Conrad Johnson, RAAF; Sergeant Jack Shiner, RAAF; Sergeant Alfred Garrett, RAAF; Sergeant Thomas Pollock, RAAF; Sergeant Charles Reed, RAAF; Sergeant Kenneth Riordan, RAAF.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Louis Fenech, age 64.


AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Hudsons, two Beauforts, one Wellington, one Beaufighter, one Catalina from Gibraltar.  Departures  Six Beaufighters, seven Wellingtons, one Beaufort, two Blenheims to 108 MU; one Catalina to Lisbon.

LUQA  2355-0340 hrs  One Wellington Transit Flight ASF despatched to attack Catania aerodrome: target not located – bombs dropped through cloud.

TA QALI  Spitfires operating from Luqa: no combats.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  The Battalion took the part of the enemy in a night exercise against 11th Lancs Fusiliers.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Battalion scheme in mobile operations against 1st Bn Durham Light Infantry.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 7; dealt with 2 (500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

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Posted by on March 30, 2022 in 1942, March 1942


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