13 May 1942: German Fighters Throw Grenades at Civilians

13 May

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)


Citadel, Victoria, Gozo


“I was living in Rabat.  We had moved there from Msida when the bombing started, for safety.  We had a little hole underground for a shelter.  One day when the raid had finished I came up into the sunshine.  I saw a plane and waved to the pilot, thinking he was one of ours.  He was German.  I could see his face; he was wearing glasses.  He threw a grenade at me.  It landed on the other side of the wall.”   Maria Parsons Spiteri, George Cross Island Association, October 2011

“Four Messerschmitts flew very low over the Citadel, so low that I could quite clearly see the pilots.  The leading pilot, after circling three or four times, pushed back the cover of his cockpit and waves his hand, as if giving signal to the others; the pilot of the second machine did likewise.  Then each plane came down in twin and machine-gunned the town, at the same time throwing out hand grenades and dropping anti-personnel bombs.” Gozo eye-witness, May 1942 (1)


Malta commanders report that enemy bombers are now targeting their bombing raids on the southern airfield of Hal Far.  With the number of aircraft destroyed now totalling 112 for the past 72 hours, it seems Axis forces in Sicily are seeking to limit their losses by avoiding attacks requiring extensive flying over land.


Weather  Wind southerly; no cloud.

0746hrs  The air raid alert is sounded for one JU 88 which carries out reconnaissance accompanied by ME 109s.

1218 hrs  The air raid alert sounds for a formation of some twenty ME 109s heading for the Island to carry out a fighter sweep.

1230 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron and five Spitfires 603 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali and engage in numerous dog fights over the Island with the ME 109 fighters.  F/Sgt Hesselyn chases one ME 109 twenty miles out to sea and destroys it.  On his return he attacks another ME 109 which he also destroys.  One Spitfire is slightly damaged.

1245 hrs  A formation of 16 JU 87s accompanied by more ME 109 and Macchi 202 fighters approaches the south east of the Island.  The Spitfires from 249 and 603 Squadrons are already engaged by the fighter sweep and unable to intercept the incoming bombers.

1253 hrs  16 JU 87s attack Hal Far and the Safi strip.  Bombs on the windsock dispersal area of Hal Far damage three Hurricanes.

1258-1310 hrs  Numerous JU 87s and ME 109s are engaged by six guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery: no claims.

1344 hrs  Raiders passed.

1600-1720 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept a reported incoming enemy patrol: no engagement.

1715-1800 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept a further reported patrol: no engagement.

1805-1914 hrs  Eight Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa too late to intercept a JU 88 reconnaissance flight accompanied by approximately eight ME 109s.  They are sighted 6000 feet above the Spitfires: no combat ensues.

1910-1955 hrs  Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft on patrol.  P/O Peck claims one Macchi 202 damaged.

Night  Two air raid alerts sound for several approaching enemy aircraft.  Two Italian Br 20s cross the coast.  Bombs are dropped near Birkirkara and on Safi Strip, south of Luqa village and near the HQ of Central Infantry Brigade.

0055-0233 hrs  One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol for enemy aircraft: no interceptions.

Military casualties  Nil

Civilian casualties  Nil


ROYAL NAVY  Some confidential papers were washed ashore, probably from C 308.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Wellington, one Hudson from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Heliopolis.  Departures  One Wellington to 108 MU; two Hudsons to Gibraltar.  Aircraft casualties  Nil.

LUQA  No bombs on the aerodrome.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  Working party for RAF Ta Qali continues.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Luqa working party cut to 50 men.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Battalion came under command of Western Infantry Brigade.  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 5; dealt with 14 (1 x 500kg, 5 x 250kg, 4 x 50kg,2 x 35kg, 2 Italian AP bomb containers).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  17 trucks, 6 Officers and 230 Other Ranks building pens and filling craters on Hal Far aerodrome.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Unit transferred from Southern Infantry Brigade to newly formed Western Infantry Brigade under command of Brigadier F G Brittorous, DSO, MC.  Unit Ack Ack light machine guns engaged low-flying aircraft: no claims.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party resumed pen building with transport RV Addolorata Cemetery.

(1)  Malta Diary of a War, Michael Galea, Publishers Enterprises Group Ltd 1992


All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of use contact  

1 Comment

Posted by on May 13, 2022 in 1942, May 1942


Tags: , , , , ,

One response to “13 May 1942: German Fighters Throw Grenades at Civilians

  1. joeborg

    May 13, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    Dropping bombs amy be impersonal but throwing grenades directly at people makes these pilots cold blooded murderers . Was ther a way that they could have been identified ?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: