19 May 1942: New Spitfire Patrols Keep Enemy at Bay

19 May

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Cant Z 1007 bis in Sicily


With the successful arrival of 17 more Spitfires, the RAF today maintained an almost constant patrol of Malta’s airspace, ready to intercept any incoming enemy formations.  Having suffered heavy losses since 10 May, the enemy is sending few bombers to attack Malta, and those mainly under cover of darkness.

The few bombers attempting a raid this afternoon were heavily attacked and prevented from landing bombs on target.  Spitfires destroyed two bombers and damaged three more, plus one fighter.


Malta forces launched an attack overnight on a convoy northbound out of Tripoli.  The RAF pounced on a merchant vessel and two destroyers 35 miles off Tripoli.  The enemy raised a thick smoke screen which made observation difficult.  Despite the poor visibility, bombs were dropped from 2000 feet and scored hits on enemy vessels.


“The Air Officer Commanding brings to notice the courageous action of Joseph Camenzuli, 40 Anny Street, Valletta, and two brothers, Emanuel and Vincent Mappa, of 42 Fontera Street, Valettta in their rescue of a British fighter pilot.

On Sunday 10th May 1942, during the height of a heavy air raid on Malta, a Spitfire pilot was shot down.  He baled out, coming down in the sea over a mile from the shore.  As he reached the sea, his dinghy opened, and he was soon endeavouring to run towards land.

Despite the fact that there were many enemy fighters in the vicinity, the three men mentioned, without thought of personal danger, manned two boats and struck out strongly towards the pilot who had been wounded.  He was quickly brought ashore and hurried away in an ambulance.”


Weather  Wind southerly.

0840-0905 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagements.

0921-0950 hrs  A formation of enemy fighters is reported heading towards the Island.  Two Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft.  Five ME 109s carry out a fighter sweep: no engagements.

1047 hrs  A formation of enemy fighters is plotted heading towards the Island.  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far: no interceptions.

1115 hrs  Eight Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali.  15 ME 109s carry out a fighter sweep: no engagements.

1145 hrs  Raiders passed.

1226-1300 hrs  One Spitfire from Luqa carries out photo-reconnaissance over Malta, including Luqa and Ta Qali.

1330 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept an incoming formation of ten ME 109s.  Both Spitfires open fire at a ME 109 but with no results.  The ME 109s split into pairs over the Island and carry out a fighter sweep.

1440 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept an incoming formation of Cant 1007s escorted by ME 109s and Re 2001s. Ten Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons are also scrambled from Luqa:  P/O Caldwell destroys one Cant 1007 bis and damages another.  Two Spitfires are slightly damaged in combat.  F/Lt Lawrence, 185 Squadron damages a Macchi 2002.

1508-1550 hrs  Three Cant 1007s escorted by nine ME 109s and five Re 2001s attack Luqa and Safi strip from 23,000 feet.  100 high explosive bombs are dropped but land well clear of the target, several hitting Gudja and Birzebbugia.  Small anti-personnel bombs are also dropped in Ghar Dalam area.  One civilian is killed; L/Cpl Savage, Pte Venton and Pte Holes, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt are wounded.

1515-1615 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagements.

1653-1713 hrs  Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa on patrol for intercept enemy aircraft: no engagements.

1756-1838 hrs  Four Spitifres 126 Squadron are scrambled form Luqa on patrol for enemy aircraft: no engagement.

1900-2015 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali to intercept six ME 109s patrolling near the Island: no engagements.

2026 hrs  The fighters are followed in by a small formation of six JU 88s.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack (LAAA) and anti-aircraft light machine guns engage: LAA damage two of the raiders.

2045 hrs  Four JU 88s then go on to attack Ta Qali and Zebbug.  Bombs are dropped on the eastern dispersal area of Ta Qali, causing a number of craters and setting one Spitfire on fire.

Night  Five enemy bombers approach the Island singly: all bombs are dropped in the sea.

0320-0400 hrs  One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit is airborne from Luqa and destroys a Cant 1007 bis.

Military casualties  Nil.

Civilian casualties  Birzebbugia  Carmel Pace, age 30.  Paola  Consolat Bondin, age 6.


ROYAL NAVY  Three Albacores attacked a M/V escorted by 2 destroyers and obtained hits on one destroyer and the merchant vessel.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  Three Wellingtons to 108 MU.

HAL FAR  2230 hrs  Three Albacores of NAS took off to attack a convoy consisting of one merchant vessel and three destroyers northbound from Tripoli.  Hits were scored on one destroyer and the merchant vessel was also probably hit.  All three Albacores returned safely at 0330 hrs.

LUQA  2115-0310 hrs  One Wellington on armed search in area north of Tripoli locates a convoy and drops flares and bombs.

TA QALI  Miss Cottrell commenced work as shorthand-typist.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  0900-1700 hrs  Working party of 9 Officers and 200 Other Ranks plus 8 x 15 cwt trucks daily for reconstruction of pens for aircraft at Luqa aerodrome.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Luqa: 3 Officers and 100 men on pen-building; 2 Officers 50 men crater-filling; 1 NCO 11 men ammunition working party and 18 men driving trucks.  A Company 1 Officer 50 men for Ospizio Depot.

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

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 8; dealt with 5 (1 x 1000kg; 2 x 250kg, 2 x Italian AP bomb containers).

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party continued.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Working party at Ta Qali 50 men and 100 standing by.

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Posted by on May 19, 2022 in 1942, May 1942


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