6 April 1942: Bomb Crushes Civilian Shelter – 18 Dead

06 Apr

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1-6 APRIL 1942: Enemy bombers over Malta 893; bombs 1,069,540kg (1053 tons); casualties 173

  • 114 bombers attack Malta today
  • Civilian shelter crushed in Tarxien: 18 dead
  • Widespread bombing in Floriana
  • Attacks on Hamrun, Zejtun, Guardamangia, Marsa, Zabbar and Zabbar
  • Ta Qali “nearly all buildings destroyed”


“Divebombers were again used by the enemy [Malta, Sunday] in full-scale attacks on the harbour, and more damage was done to civilian buildings.  Entrances to 3 shelters were blocked by debris, but they were soon cleared, and the people taking shelter were unhurt.

Such incidents are an everyday affair to the people of Malta after the most prolonged and intensive air assault the world has ever known.  Dive-bombing attacks, in which Valletta and countryside are attacked indiscriminately, have failed to stop the Maltese from carrying on.  Even before the all-clear signal is sounded police and ARP men are already rescuing people trapped in burnt houses and taking victims to hospital.

Meanwhile, ordinary work goes on. Buses sometimes have to make detours, but by the end of the day the roads are clear.  Electricity, gas and water supplies are always restored in a matter of hours.  Up to now, 4,200 private houses have been destroyed.”  The Argus, Melbourne


Weather  Wind westerly; 100% medium cloud.

0654-0720 hrs  One JU 88 and two ME 109s patrol north of the Island.

1015-1101 hrs  One JU 88 circles the Island, then drops bombs between Zabbar and San Pinto.

1354-1449 hrs  Two ME 109s machine-gun Ghain Tuffieha and Mellieha camp.

1740 hrs  Over 100 aircraft approach the Island in four waves.  The first wave of 15 JU 88s drops bombs in the Marsa and Hamrun areas.

1755 hrs  The second wave of 17 JU 87s and 20 JU 88s attacks the Dockyard area dropping bombs on Club House Wharf, wrecking cranes on Hamilton Wharf and sinking a floating crane.  A private shelter in Tarxien is hit by a heavy bomb, collapsing the structure and killing 18 civilians.

1809 hrs  Four ME 109s drop bombs on Hal Far, with a direct hit on the RAF Officers’ Mess, causing severe damage to the ante-room and bar.

1815 hrs  The third wave splits into two formations.  17 JU 88s attack the Dockyard again; another 12 88s strike other areas including Hamrun, Zejtun, Guardamangia, Floriana, Marsa and Ricasoli.  Ack Ack destroy one JU 88 and damage two.  In Floriana St Francis Barracks are hit, killing one soldier is killed and severely injuring three.  Bombs also damage St Thomas’ Street, Gunlayer Street, the Granaries, Sannia Street, Great Siege Road, Capuchins Street and Crucifix Hill.  Two killed and 12 injured.

1824 hrs  Numerous JU 88s and ME 109s are engaged by guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery: 10 hits claimed.  One JU 88 recedes smoking badly.  6 JU 88s drop bombs on Luqa aerodrome, damaging a cookhouse, the NAAFI, motor vehicles, wireless and electrical equipment.  One transit Beaufighter, five Hurricanes and a Spitfire of the photo-reconnaissance unit are damaged.  East Safi approach is rendered impassable.

1843 hrs  All clear.

2014-0710 hrs  11 bombers: JU 88s and Italian BR20s come in singly.  Raiders are engaged by Ack Ack.  Only one drops bombs on land, near Zonkor Point.  One Beaufighter is up but does not intercept.  Two Hurricanes 1435 Flight are airborne from Ta Qali from 0130 hrs: Sgt Wood damages one unidentified enemy aircraft.

Military casualties  Gunner William Bowen, Bombardier Stanley Nunn, Gunner Sidney Self, all 4th Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery; John Terrill, Driver, Royal Army Service Corps.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Gianninu Psaila, age 12.  Hamrun  Joseph Borda, age 82; Paul Cassar, age 43; Jane Farrugia, age 50.  Marsa  Anthony Pizzuto, age 38.  Paola  Joseph Curmi, age 38.  Qormi  Salvo Agius, age 68.  St Paul’s Bay  John Grech, age 28.  Tarxien  George Borg, age 63; Antonia Borg, age 56; Cetta Borg, age 25; Mary Borg, age 18; Francis Busuttil, age 44; Mary Busuttil, age 38; Rose Busuttil, age 18; John Busuttil, age 13; Joseph Busuttil, age 7; Michael Cilia, age 31; Paola Falzon, age 38; Mary Falzon, age 11; Concetta Falzon, age 9; Giorgina Formosa, age 56; Carmela Formosa, age 31; Maria Annunziata Muscat, age 26; Lewis Muscat, age 3; Rose Muscat.  Valletta  Paula Abela, age 55.  Zejtun  Anthony Spiteri, age 54.  Zurrieq  Anna Schembri, age 75.


ROYAL NAVY  Urge returned from patrol in Tyrrhenian, having sunk one 6″ cruiser, shelled a merchant vessel and blown up a train.  Upholder proceeded for patrol west of Tripoli, and P34 on the Calabrian coast.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Beaufighter, three Blenheims, one Hudson, four Beauforts, three Wellingtons from Gibraltar; one Blenehim, one Beaufort, ten Hurricanes from Gambut.  Departures  One Maryland to Gibraltar; two Hudsons, five Wellingtons, one Beaufort, three Blenheims, one Beaufighter to 108 MU.

LUQA  One Beaufort overshoots the runway at Luqa airfield, crashes and bursts into flames, killing the entire crew.  1015-1110 hrs  One Spitfire 69 Squadron photo-reconnaissance locally.  Photos taken of Grand Harbour, St Patrick’s Hospital.  1116-1150 Photos of Luqa aerodrome and dispersals.  1610-1630 hrs  Hal Far, Ta Qali, Grand Harbour, Kalafrana, W/T Station Luqa.  1330-1730 hrs  One Spitfire 69 Squadron photo-reconnaissance Vibo Valincia, Naples, Reggio Calabria aerodromes and Africa Depot at Naples.

TA QALI  Several scrambles during the day: no interceptions.  Aerodrome serviceable on runway.  Extension repairs still necessary.  Almost all buildings destroyed.  Many attempts to salvage gear and equipment carried out between raids.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT 0800 hrs Work on Pampas starts again.  Heavy raids Grand Harbour again: damage extensive in the Dockyard.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  A, B and part of HQ Company on working Ta Qali; C and D training.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 24; dealt with 12(3 x 50kg; 7 x 250kg; 2 x 500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Five hand grenades are dropped on the Mellieha area.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT Working party of 200 Other Ranks and 3 Officers building protective walls for aircraft at Hal Far.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  The Battalion less E Company were on manoeuvres, attacking the 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment defences on Mellieha and Marfa Ridges.

2ND BN THE ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Several sticks of bombs around Battalion HQ.  Two elephant shelters are demolished: no casualties.


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Posted by on April 6, 2022 in 1942, April 1942


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