1 May 1942: 110 Enemy Aircraft Destroyed by Malta Guns

01 May

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Valleta from Kingsgate (Porta Reale) 1 May 1942


The Palace, Malta, 1/5/42 

“Dear Beckett, My best congratulations to the [Ack Ack] Gunners for reaching their century last month.  A very fine show – of which all concerned may be proud.  What about a double century this month?  There is an extra day in it, Yours ever, W G S Dobbie


Luftwaffe bombers carried out a series of individual bombing raids overnight across the Island but mainly concentrated on Luqa aerodrome.  The enemy is evidently targeting Army working parties now operating at night on repairs and the construction of pens to shelter fighter aircraft.

A high percentage of delayed action bombs have been used in the raids.  The intention has clearly been to disrupt the construction effort, as work has to be suspended during attacks and afterwards, until all delayed-action bombs have been rendered safe.


Weather  Wind westerly; 80% high cloud.

0627 hrs; 0722 hrs; 0955 hrs; 1324 hrs; 1408 hrs; 1551 hrs  Alerts are sounded for a total of 22 ME 109s on patrol; only two cross the coast.  Two Spitfires are airborne to intercept; they destroy one ME 109 and damage two others.

1615 hrs  A delayed action bomb explodes near the cook house of 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment: no casualties.

1618 hrs  Five Cant 1007 Bs escorted by ME 109s and Macchi 202s approach the Island.  Malta’s fighters are airborne, destroying one ME 109 is destroyed by fighters.  One Spitfire is shot down in combat injuring the pilot, Flt Sgt Jack Rae, who survives.

1650 hrs  The five Cant bombers drop 40 1000kg bombs on Luqa and surrounding areas, including Giacomo and Ta Salib cross-tracks.

1728 hrs  One ME 109 is destroyed by Ack Ack light machine gun fire from 4th Bn Hampshire Regt B Company and D Company (16 Platoon).  The aircraft crashes in Kalafrana Bay.

1800 hrs  Bombs dropped on Hal Far.

1829 hrs  All clear.

Night  A continuous series of air raids by 30 single JU 88 bombers over the Island, using many delayed-action bombs.  Bombs are dropped on Luqa, Hal Far, Grand Harbour, Ta Qali, Rabat, Birzebbuga, Attard, Jebel Ghauzara, San Biagio, Mosta and in the sea.  Several houses are destroyed.  Searchlights effect six illuminations and fighters engage the enemy but no claims made.  Heavy Ack Ack also engage.

Four Hurricanes from Hal Far are scrambled three times during the night to intercept enemy raiders.  Sgt Yarra engages a JU 88 twelve miles north east of Grand Harbour and gets home a long burst of machine gun fire.  Operations report that the plot fades 37 miles north.

2004 hrs; 0030 hrs  Two unidentified aircraft (JU 88s) carry out shallow dive-bombing attacks on Luqa aerodrome, dropping several delayed-action bombs.  One Beaufighter of Malta Night Fighter Unit is burned out.

2155 hrs  One aircraft drops bombs in Wied has Saptan.

2216 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Hal Far.

0004 hrs  Bombs are dropped on the Safi strip.

0101 hrs  Bombs are dropped near Gudja Camp, Loreto Church and San Nicola Church.

0444 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Hal Far and in Wied has Saptan.

0505-0512 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Luqa and Hal Far.  An unexploded delayed-action bomb is reported at Luqa.  One Hurricane is damaged and one soldier injured at Hal Far.

Military casualties  Gunner Thomas Brodie, 32 Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery; Lance Corporal Victor Torpiano, 3rd Battalion, King’s Own Malta Regiment.

Civilian casualties  NIL


ROYAL NAVY  ML 126 carried out anti E Boat patrol.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Five Wellingtons, one Sunderland from Gibraltar; one Hudson from Gambut.  Departures  Three Wellingtons, three Hudsons, one Beaufort to 108 MU.  Aircraft casualties  One Hudson crashed on landing: crew uninjured.  One Spitfire crashed after combat: pilot injured.

HAL FAR  Four Hurricanes came to readiness for night flying.

LUQA  No operations during daylight.  2055-0335 hrs  One Wellington S/D Flight to locate and strike on enemy convoy.  Two merchant vessels and one destroyer sighted but then lost as special equipment deteriorated in effeciency.  No attack made.

TA QALI  All sleeping out passes are cancelled.  Reduced scale of rations came into force.

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Exercise “Stand to” received from Command: the exercise lasted 72 hours.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Companies busy on administration and interior economy.  D Company 1 Officer  40 Other Ranks salvaging at Ospizio Ordnance Depot. Exercise “Stand to” received from Fortress HQ.  2040 hrs  Bn reported in position.  No information about the exercise received as yet.

2ND BN THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  1800 hrs Bn receives “Exercise Stand To” from Brigade, the exercise to last for 72 hours.  Forward Bn HQ was manned and Companies tightened up their defence schemes etc and laid mines, except on main roads.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continue.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 4; dealt with 2 (1 x 1800kg, 1 x 250kg).

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Reduction in scale of ration issues in full force: effect felt.  1800 hrs  This unit mans Observation Post Tal Minsia.  1815 hrs  Exercise “Stand to” given.  Possibility of genuine alarm.  2000 hrs  Luqa working parties continued.  Steady bombing of Luqa working parties overnight by single planes: no casualties.  0500 hrs  Exercise “Stand to” down.

2ND BN THE ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  1730 hrs  Warning order Exercise “Stand to” in force from 1800 hrs.  D Coy moved to Ta Kandia.  Luqa day and night working parties continue.  Stand to daily at 0514 hrs and 1945 hrs.

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Posted by on May 1, 2022 in 1942, May 1942


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