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Category Archives: February 1942

8 February 1942: German Fighter-bombers A New Threat

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MESSERSCHMITT BF 109 FIGHTERS SEEN TO BOMB AIRFIELD

Messerschmitt Bf 109

Observers at Ta Qali this afternoon reported that bombs on the airfield were not dropped by the usual JU 88 bombers, but by ME Bf 109 fighter aircraft.  Communications from defence positions at Marsa and Naxxar appeared to confirm reports.  The speed and manoeuverability of Messerschmitt “Jabo” fighter-bombers enables them to strike and escape quickly, and to evade engagement with Malta’s Hurricane aircraft.  Military intelligence indicates that they can be equipped to carry one 250kg or two 50kg bombs as well as the usual fighter cannon equipment.

MALTESE ENLIST TO SUPPORT ISLAND’S WAR EFFORT

Governor and Commander in Chief Lt Gen Dobbie sends a cable to inform London that Maltese personnel have come forward to enlist in the field ambulance service (see 27 January 1942).   In response, the War Office confirms that 90 more can be recruited for signals duties:

SECRET CIPHER TELEGRAM                                      

From:  War Office                                                          To: Governor & C in C Malta

  • First.  Enlistment of up to ninety (repeat ninety) Maltese other ranks for employment Malta signals approved.
  • Second.  Confirm rate of pay those Maltese already enlisted.  Is this as for Royal Malta Artillery.
  • Third.  Confirm Maltese enlisted liability for service in Malta only.
  • Fourth.  Remainder proposed War Establishment under consideration.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 8 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 9 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Fine; sky overcast with high clouds.  Wind southerly.

1030 hrs  Three Hurricanes scrambled from Ta Qali for search; returned 1100 hrs.

1058-1255 hrs  Six ME 109 fighters patrol round the Island at very low altitude.  A Maryland is airborne at the time.  Two aircraft are scrambled from Ta Qali; the Maryland lands safely.

1334 hrs  Six ME 109s patrol south of Grand Harbour then proceed north.

1400 hrs  An attack on Ta Qali damages RAF property, wounding several RAF personnel.  Bombs are also dropped on Qrendi, Qormi, Marsa and Gozo.

1434-1515 hrs  Six ME 109s patrol north of Grand Harbour, finally receding north.  Four aircraft are scrambled from Ta Qali; no interceptions.

1605 hrs  Three JU 88 bombers escorted by twelve plus ME 109s approach from the north.  The JU 88s drop bombs on Gozo.  Then the ME 109s approach Malta and drop bombs from 11500 feet on Marsa, Naxxar Bridge and Ta Qali.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1700 hrs  One ME 109 drops bombs on the Safi Strip a single bomb and is engaged by Light Ack Ack fire at a height of 7000 feet.  1721 hrs  All clear.

1750 hrs  Five aircraft are scrambled from Ta Qali; no interceptions.  S/Ldr Norris crash-lands at Luqa with his engine on fire: he escapes injury.

Night 8/9th  Very bad weather – no operations by own or enemy aircraft.

Military casualties  Fusilier Herbert Hopwood, 11th Bn The Lancashire Fusiliers.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: SUNDAY 8 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Departures  One Whitley to Gibraltar.

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland SF6 patrol.  21 Squadron  Two Blenheims despatched to attack a merchant vessel; no attack made.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

TA QALI  0900 Church parade: [Air Officer Commanding] attended.  Officers move from Torri Cumbo to Point de Vue Hotel, Rabat.  Sergeants move from Mess on camp to Torri Cumbo.  Airmen of 126 Squadron take over Sergeants Mess on camp to relieve congestion and as plan of dispersal.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT Sunday and a holiday.  No working parties on Luqa as weekly task was finished yesterday.  Working party at Marina Pinto.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  1200hrs Fusilier H Hopwood died of wounds received by bomb on 5 February:  the first fatal casualty by enemy action in Malta for this unit.  Bomb-carrying Messerschmitts over this afternoon.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3 not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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7 February 1942: Malta’s Guns Silenced to Save Ammunition

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ROYAL ARTILLERY OPERATION INSTRUCTION: 7 FEBRUARY 1942

Anti-Aircraft Battery at Work

Anti-Aircraft Battery at Work

Information  Air attack is at present on a large scale causing heavy expenditure of ammunition.

Intention  To conserve stocks of Anti-Aircraft ammunition.

Method:  Enemy fighters will not be engaged by Heavy Anti-Aircraft Artillery with the following provisos:

  1. Fighters which look as if they intend to attack shipping or make low-flying attacks on aerodromes may be engaged by Heavy Anti-Aircraft artillery by Range Control procedure only.
  2. Heavy Anti Aircraft artillery may engage enemy fighters in order to afford protection to our own aircraft.
  3. When our fighters are airborne pointer rounds may be fired in accordance with present policy.
  4. These instructions will come into force at 1800 hours Sunday 8th February 1942.

Lieut-Colonel, RA

FUNERAL UNDER FIRE

“We buried Miss Yabsley on the 7th. There was a big crowd; gunfire opened while we were awaiting the body, and I personally asked Lady Dobbie to go to the door of a shelter quite near as unless she did so nobody would; and there were many young Scouts and Guides present. I went myself partly to set an example. Splinters of shell were falling through the leaves of the trees.

When the funeral was about to start Mrs Denaro the Head of the Guides said that she was not bringing the Guides to the graveside, I asked her what harm it could do them. In the end she allowed them to come round the grave after we had finished that part of the service which I took in the Chapel. That evening I heard again the scream of falling bombs close to the Cathedral.”

Extract from diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St.Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta (1) 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 7 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 8 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Clear sky, no cloud.  Wind south south-east.

0824-0846 hrs  Two ME 109 fighters approach from the north, patrol to the north east of the Island, are engaged by Heavy Ack Ack and recede north.

0905 hrs  Four aircraft of 249 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali: no interceptions.

0929-0936 hrs  One JU 88 bomber escorted by two ME 109s approaches from the south west having skirted the Island a long way to the east.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and Malta’s fighters are up: no engagement.  No bombs are dropped.

1031-1217 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by twelve plus ME 109s approach from the north.

1041 hrs  Enemy aircraft drop bombs in the Hal Far area.  Billets of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery at XLS 25 are damaged by bomb blast.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  Two ME 109s carry out a low-flying attack on Luqa and are engaged by ground defences.   Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1120 hrs  One ME 109 attacks a friendly aircraft trying to land on the Safi strip.  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery gun position attack, destroying the ME 109 which crashes near another gun position at Hal Far.

1130 hrs Kings Own Malta Regiment 3rd Bn reports two ME 109s shot down: one crashing between Zurrieq and Hal Far, the other near Gudja.

1229-1346 hrs  A hostile raid of six ME 109s approaches from the north: two ME 109s sweep very low over Luqa.  No Hurricanes are up; Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1425-1802 hrs  Fourteen plus ME 109s patrol round the Island while one JU 88 comes in on reconnaissance.  Heavy Ack Ack engage the bomber.  Three JU 88s then come in and drop bombs on Hal Far, damaging three Hurricanes and injuring two RAF personnel.  Heavy Ack Ack engage, damaging one JU 88, confirmed by an intercepted German radio message.  Several ME 109s are machine-gunned and engaged by Malta’s destroyers.  The enemy aircraft shadow the destroyers for some considerable time before returning to their base.

1745 hrs  Six aircraft of 249 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali as escort for a rescue launch; landing 1850 hrs.

1837-1857 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

1911-1945 hrs  Four bombers approach singly from the north and drop bombs in the Hal Far, Grand Harbour, Floriana, Qawra Tower areas and also in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1954-2028 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the south and drops bombs near Comino and then recedes north.

2051-2144 hrs  One bomber approaches from the north and after dropping bombs in the Madliena area circles the Island twice and recedes north.

2219-2250 hrs  One bomber approaches via Gozo, crosses the coast near Ghain Tuffieha and drops bombs in the Bingemma-Benghaisa areas.

2307-0035 hrs  One aircraft comes in from the north west, crosses the coast at St Paul’s Bay and drops bombs in the sea off Kalafrana, then machine-guns Hal Far.  Heavy Ack Ack engage, firing two barrages.  Another aircraft approaches from the north, is engaged by a barrage and drops bombs in the sea north of Ricasoli.

0050-0115 hrs  One aircraft comes in from the north and  drops bombs 2000 yards from Nicola.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage.

0213-0316 hrs  One aircraft comes in from the north over Gozo and Comino and drops bombs on Safi Strip, north of Gudia and in Gudia village.  Heavy Ack Ack do not engage.

0422-0549 hrs  One aircraft crosses the coast four times at various points, dropping bombs on Qrendi strip, Lapsi searchlight position, Luqa area, east of Qormi, north of Salvatore, near the Palace and on the Fleur de Lys gun position, near the headquarters of the 11th Bn The Lancashire Regiment.

0457 hrs  3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment reports a stick of bombs between Qrendi and Providenza.

Civilian casualties  Floriana  Anthony Pizzuto.

Enemy casualties  Oberfeldwebel Otto Goethe, pilot of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: SATURDAY 7 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Wellington from 234 Wing; three Wellingtons from UK (one missing).  Departures  Three Wellingtons to LG 224.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland special search; one Beaufighter Sicilian Task; one Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Taranto, Messina; one Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland special search Tripoli-Buerat.  40 Squadron  Seven Wellingtons sent to attack Tripoli.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search Lampedusa-Kerkennah.

TA QALI  One Blenheim arrived for attachment 242 Squadron.  15 air raid alarms between 0030 and 2220 hrs – no bombs on camp.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion drill parade held at Corrodino: 17 Officers and 290 Other Ranks on parade.  Luqa working parties increased to 140.  Holiday in the afternoon.

FORTRESS COMPANY ROYAL ENGINEERS  During an early evening raid, four bombs fell on and around Msida Bastion quarters of 173 Tunnelling Company RE.  Half of one is destroyed, with minor damage to equipment and stores.  Fortunately, there were no casualties, as the men were out, but it can be safely assumed that had this occurred on any other night in the week, casualties would have been of a serious nature.  No 1 Section were found alternative accommodation in Lintorn Barracks.  Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 2; dealt with 7.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Bombs fell in Battalion sector close to B Company: superficial damage to billet; no casualties.

(1) Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

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Posted by on February 7, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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6 February 1942: Malta’s ARP Heroes Save Five Lives

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ARP HEROES SAVE FIVE LIVES DURING AIR RAID

St Pauls Anglican Cathedral

“On the next day the 6th, I was walking back from visiting [King George V] Hospital, believing that there was no immediate danger; just as I got to the Casino Maltese a roaring barrage broke out overhead. I ran for the shelter of the Arcades. As soon as it was over – perhaps three minutes – I continued down Teatro Street for home and saw two huge black columns of smoke of exploded bombs appearing over the roof of St.Paul’s. They had fallen on Manoel, as usual these days. That was a bad day for Sliema. The Gaiety Theatre, a very fine theatre was gutted (luckily it was empty), the Union Club hit, Barclays Bank destroyed, and the cashier who was just wishing to finish a job at his desk, killed.” (1)

Barclays Bank had been hit by a bomb which destroyed the strong room in the basement, killing one and severely wounding five members of staff.  Superintendent C G Jones of the Sliema ARP District rushed to the scene with his men. Despite continued bombing, they gave First Aid assistance to the five surviving bank staff and then rescued them from the destroyed building.  Superintendent Jones would later be awarded the MBE for his work.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 6 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 7 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather   Wind south south-west.  30% cloud; little wind.

0756-0825 hrs  Four aircraft pass to the south of the Island but did not cross the coast.

0829-0910 hrs  Two ME 109 fighters patrol south and east of the Island and are engaged by Heavy Ack Ack.  Four Hurricanes are airborne.

1029-1040 hrs  Fourteen Hurricanes are airborne and make an interception, identifying the aircraft as friendly.

1054-1104 hrs  Aircraft identified as friendly.

1200-1347 hrs  One JU 88 bomber arrives with a large ME 109 escort, making a reconnaissance flight over the Island while the fighters patrol over the sea.  The JU 88 is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack.

1230 hrs  Three JU 88s and fighter escort then approach Grand Harbour, dropping a large number of bombs on Manoel, Tigne and Sliema.  One Ack Ack barrage is fired and LIght Ack Ack also engage.

1330-1347 hrs  Six more JU 88s plus fighter escort approach and drop bombs in the sea off Tigne, near the Dockyard and near Zabbar Gate.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage: one JU 88 and one ME 109 are destroyed.  The crew of the JU 88 bail out; one is killed on landing, two are taken prisoner.  The pilot is picked up from the sea by personnel of 11th Bn The Lancashire Regiment.  He is suffering from shock and immersion, and is taken for interrogation and first aid.

1525 hrs  Five aircraft are scrambled from Ta Qali.

1547-1849 hrs  Six JU 88s escorted by a large number of fighters approach from the north.

1620 hrs  A stick of bombs is dropped in the sea between Delimara and Benghaisa.

1705 hrs  Two JU 88s attack Hal Far.  Seven bombs are dropped in the Hurricane dispersal areas.  One Hurricane is slightly damaged.  No casualties.

1720 hrs  Two RAF Blenheim aircraft of 21 Squadron returning from an anti-shipping patrol off Libya are attacked by ME 109 fighters and shot down into the sea off the Island of Filfla.

1805 hrs  Four JU 88s attack Hal Far.  Fifteen bombs are dropped on the aerodrome destroying one hangar and the armoury of 830 Squadron and damaging other buildings.  One Albacore is destroyed.  No casualties.  225 Light Ack Ack Battery engages; several hits claimed and observed.

1930 hrs  3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment Ghar Lapsi position reports one aircraft burning in the sea near Filfla.

2038-2102 hrs  Three plus bombers approach from the north and drop bombs in the sea, staying out of range of Heavy Ack Ack guns.

2118-2339 hrs  Eight bombers approach from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack engage, causing all bombers to jettison their bombs in the sea except one, which drops bombs on land between Gudja and Hal Far.

2355-0015 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack and jettisons bombs in the sea.

0034-0054 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, is engaged by heavy Ack Ack and drops bombs south west of Zabbar.

0115-0143 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs near Tal Qroqq.

0246-0320 hrs  One Hurricane returning over the Island from a patrol is redeployed as a night fighter as an enemy aircraft approaches from the north west and drops bombs on the Hal Far area.  A second approaching aircraft is thought to be a returning Wellington but drops bombs west of Baida Ridge and recedes north.

0412-0443 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack fire and drops bombs south of Hal Far.

0641-0730 hrs  Three aircraft approach from the north and are engaged by Heavy Ack Ack fire.  Bombs are dropped on Safi Strip and a gun position at Ta Karach, where an unexploded bomb is found lying on the surface.  RE Bomb Disposal attend and deal with a 500kg High Explosive.

Military casualties  Sergeant Ronald Fletcher, Royal Air Force (VR), 21 Squadron; Sergeant Ronald Hall, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR), 21 Squadron; Sergeant George Hancock, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, Royal Air Force (VR); Staff Sergeant Cornelius Hourigan, Royal Army Medical Corps; Sub-Lieutenant Maurice Swithinbank, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve; Sub-Lieutenant Richard Thomas, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve; Squadron Leader Russell Stewart, Royal New Zealand Air Force; Pilot Officer James Grieve, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve; Flight Sergeant Gordon Cameron, Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Civilian casualties  Sliema  Edward Pace Bonello, age 51.

Enemy casualties  Obergefreiter Gernot Hartmann, crewman of a JU 88 bomber.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: 6 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Five Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  Four Wellingtons to LG224.

HAL FAR  Night 6/7th  Four Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack one merchant vessel and two destroyers north west of Marsala.  The merchant vessel was definitely hit once, possibly twice, despite an effective smoke screen.  Weather good.

Two Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched to attack a merchant vessel of 3000 tons and one destroyer.  One heavy explosion followed by a fire was observed by one aircraft; the other failed to return.  Pilot S/Lt Swithinbank and observer S/Lt Thomas are reported missing.

LUQA  69 Squadron One Maryland SF6 patrol; one Maryland SF 14 patrol; one Hurricane photo-reconnaissance (PR) Sicilian Task; one Beaufighter PR Sicilian Task; one Beaufighter PR Buerat, Misrata.  21 Squadron   Four Blenheims sent to attack shipping at Buerat.  S/L Stewart, P/O Grieve, Sgt Cameron failed to return.  40 Squadron  Seven Wellingtons sent to attack Sirte aerodrome.  S/D Flight  Two Wellingtons special search for convoy.

TA QALI  Aerodrome serviceable; all ranks helping with craters.  Movement of HQ to dispersal completed.  All other damaged offices vacated and new offices taken in caves.  Move to evacuate all sections in target area, namely Pottery and Chateau Bertrand, to caves and get caves serviceable.  0140 hrs  F/O Ruthie intruder raid to Comiso: ground mist, saw nothing; returned to Malta but could not find raiders over Hal Far – returned 0330 hrs.  0245 hrs  S/Ldr Westmacott carried out special task according to plan: no Ack Ack, no air activity; attacked large lorry at Lake Lentro, left stationary – returned 0525 hrs.

Tal Virtu

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  Permanent Infantry observation posts (OP) established at Tal Virtu and Tal Minsia to be manned continuously by four infantry battalions in rotation.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  OP at Tal Virtu manned by Intelligence Section.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Reports show numerous bombs dropped near the coast in this unit’s area during the last two days.

1800 hrs  New Brigade permanent OP Tal Minsia manned by this unit on continuous watch.  One low-flying ME 109 machine-gunned Luqa working party, damaging Ack Ack Light Machine Gun.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  The new Air Mail Letter Card Service is inaugurated for troops in Malta.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported; dealt with 1 (500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1) Extract from diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St.Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta.  Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

 

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Posted by on February 6, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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5 February 1942: 88 Aircraft Attack This Morning

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  • Enemy exploits fine weather to launch 14 air raids
  • 54 aircraft in a single attack
  • Heavy bombing along north coast
  • Officers and civilians killed
  • Airman’s body found washed ashore

HOMES BOMBED IN SLIEMA: HEADMISTRESS KILLED

“On Thursday February 5th the Clergy had a one-day retreat at Holy Trinity, Sliema. There were 16 of us. At 10.40 during the first lesson of Mattins a fearful barrage broke out over Sliema. The whole district rocked, the Church trembled, the crashing of buildings and of broken glass. Everybody sat tight, but our hearts were in our mouths, and I felt myself go white. Thomas who was reading the lesson carried on, shouting the guns down and bombs with his tremendous voice. The noise died down and a few moments later there was a whisper at the church door and Farrie fetched his surplice. He had been sent for to see Miss Yabsley [an elderly retired headmistress who had been standing at her front door when a bomb struck the house.  She] had been badly injured and was lying at the Blue Sisters Hospital. He took her the Blessed Sacrament, and she died within an hour.

Her house had had a direct hit. She was not in her shelter, but her maid, who was, was uninjured. Her great friend with whom she lived was out shopping and escaped. The retreat was abandoned as the Military Chaplains were anxious to see about their casualties. There was another bad raid on Manoel Island that afternoon.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 6 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  50% cloud; wind southerly.  Bright periods; warmer.

0750 hrs  Two aircraft are scrambled from Ta Qali, followed by two more at 0815 hrs; they join up at Luqa – no interceptions.

0843-0859 hrs  Two ME 109 fighters chase a returning friendly aircraft but recede before coming within range of the guns.

1010 hrs  Two Hurricanes are scrambled from Ta Qali; no interceptions.

1012-1122 hrs  21 plus aircraft approach from the north (six JU 88 bombers and ME 109s), and pass over Ta Qali and Grand Harbour areas.

1040-1100 hrs  Bombs are dropped east of Hamrun, on St George’s, Sliema, Manoel and Lazaretto Creek, Cospicua, St Edward’s College and Marsa Creek.  Manoel Command Post receives a direct hit: two Ack Ack officers are killed and several injured. Bombs on St George’s Bay strike a billet of 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers causing five casualties, two of them serious.  Corporal Latchem of ‘B’ Company saves two lives by administering prompt first aid.

Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage the enemy.  225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage two ME 109s flying at 100 feet.  Another low-flying ME 109 is attacked by Light Machine Guns from No 16 Platoon, 1st Bn The Dorset Regiment, who are carrying out training in the Leonardo area.

1110 hrs  Five ME 109s carry out a low-flying machine-gun attack on a Heinkel in Kalafrana Bay, setting it on fire and destroying it.  Enemy aircraft are engaged by Light Machine Gun fire from post GP8 and Fort Ta Silch.

1154-1227 hrs  Three ME 109s approach from the north, patrol the west and east coasts, and recede.

1305-1317 hrs  Raid does not materialise.

1424-1507 hrs  A total of 54 aircraft approach the Island (12 JU 88s with ME 109 escort).  Bombs are dropped in the Grand Harbour area, on the Three Cities, Bighi, on Zonkor Ridge, to the east of Tigne, and on Salina Bay.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage, damaging one JU 88.  Enemy fighters carry out a patrol round the Island.

1914-1930 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs near Msida Church.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2109-2140 hrs  One aircraft comes in from the north and drops bombs 300 yards west of Rabat searchlight position before receding north.  Heavy Ack Ack fires two barrages.

2223-2240 hrs  Aircraft do not approach beyond 12 miles east of Kalafrana.

2354-0036 hrs  Three aircraft cross the coast at various points and drop bombs on Floriana, in the sea off Hal Far and in the sea off Benghaisa.  Heavy Ack Ack fire one barrage.

0237-0312 hrs  One aircraft flies down the coast from the north west to south east and drops bombs near Hal Far.  A second aircraft comes in round the south of Gozo and crosses the coast near Dingli.  Bombs are dropped near Birzebuggia.  Two Ack Ack barrages are fired.

0434-0447 hrs  One aircraft crosses the coast near Zonkor, drops bombs near Latnia and recedes north over Madliena.  Two Ack Ack barrages are fired.

0543-0647 hrs  One aircraft approaches the north of the Island, circles the east coast and drops bombs in Marsaxlokk.  The aircraft machine-guns Kalafrana searchlight position, with no damage.  Two barrages are fired.  A JU 88 approaches from the south and drops bombs near Lancer Heavy Ack Ack position.

0655-0725 hrs  One aircraft approaches over St Paul’s Bay and drops bombs in the Lapsi-Qrendi areas and Safi landing strip.

Military casualties  Leading Aircraftsman Alexander Robinson, Royal Air Force, 249 Squadron; Captain Joseph Anderson, (6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment) 10 Heavy Ack Ack (HAA) Regiment, Royal Artillery; Lt (QM) John Sandell, 10th HAA Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Sliema  Liberata Bugeja, age 75, Adelaide Incorvaja, age 6, Edward Pace Bonello, age 51, Caroline Ethel Yabsley, age 72.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: THURSDAY 5 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Beaufighter, one Beaufort, ten Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  Six Beaufighters, ten Wellingtons to LG 224.

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Maryland SF6 patrol; one Maryland SF14 patrol; one Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Sirte.  40 Squadron  2330 hrs  Eight Wellingtons sent to attack motor transport park north of Tripoli Race Course; successful.  Returned 0322 hrs.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

TA QALI  Night  Intruder raids by 1435 Flight. 0015 F/O Thompson to Catania: saw red flare; had to return owing to engine trouble.  0115 hrs  F/Lt Stores saw nothing; returned 0300 hrs.  0320 hrs  S/Ldr Westmacott had special task would not complete owing to bad visiblity: machine-gunned train at Catania – two vivid white flashes and train lights extinguished – returned 0505 hrs.  0410 hrs  P/O Mills to Comiso but would not get there in time to attack aircaft landing – returned 0640 hrs and overshot on landing, damaging undercarriage only.

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Enemy aircraft engaged by Light Machine Gun fire from post GP8 and Fort Ta Silch.  One Ack Ack shell exploded near Post SA1 causing slight damage to cookhouse.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT Normal work and training.  Continuous air raids throughout the night; several long alerts during the day.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Battalion exercise:  “Speed in Attack”.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  1600 hrs  Gunner A Beard interred at Military Cemetery, Imtarfa.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER The body of a RAF man was washed ashore in the northern sector: identified by wrist watch and marks on clothing.  Northern Infantry Brigade informed.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2 not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1) Diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St.Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta.  Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

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Posted by on February 5, 2017 in 1942, February 1942, Uncategorized

 

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4 February 1942: Five Hour Air Raid

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  • Five hour raid; nine killed
  • Heavy bombing on Ta Qali: buildings and runway damaged, Headquarters evacuated
  • Three Hurricanes missing
  • Wellingtons attack motor transport south of Tripoli 
  • Blenheims attack Palermo: direct hit on train

    Bomb damage at Chateau Bertrand, Ta Qali

RED FLAG UP NEARLY ALL DA

A diary of life in Valletta, 4 February 1942

“For weeks now we have had them prowling round all night and nearly all day. The day raids cease at dusk, and there is a half an hour’s interval; then Wailing Willie goes again. Sometimes he announces ‘Raider Past’ once or twice in the night; but within a short time the enemy comes again. He appears to go round and round the island, just out of reach of the guns, dropping a bomb here and there; occasionally diving on some post through the clouds – for the very cloudy weather lately has helped him. When he approaches our end of the island our own particular barrage bursts out for a moment or two, and then ceases. We doze through it!

Nature cannot go on keeping on the alert. Sometime something drops fairly near; but we have been lucky. At the moment he definitely has command of the air, for the Messerschmitt which he uses here is definitely faster than our Hurricanes. Even his Junkers when they have discharged their load are only very slightly slower, and cannot be caught if they get any start.

It is very difficult to get anything done in the day. We now have a system by which a large red flag is hoisted when bombers are about. The shops and market immediately shut, and people keep one eye on the nearest shelter, go and sit in the Club, or stand at the door of a shelter till the guns open. This flag is up nearly all day! Many brave or rash people ignore it; some because they must. But many have paid the penalty with their lives.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 4 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 5 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Bright periods; 80% cover, low thundery clouds.

0920-0937 hrs  Two plus aircraft approach from the north, pass the Island to the east, turn and recede north without crossing the coast.

1131-1634 hrs  For the first three hours of the raid, single aircraft patrol to the south east and south of the Island.  One bomber drops bombs in the Salina area.

1225 hrs  Six aircraft of 249 and 126 Squadrons, Ta Qali are airborne: intercept JU 88 bombers south of Kalafrana.  F/Lt Davis scores strikes on both engines of a bomber, closing to 50 yards, silencing the rear gunner.  P/O Tedford gets in good bursts at 250 yards from astern.  S/Ldr Beazley attacks from above and astern.  The JU 88 is claimed as damaged.  All aircraft return safely to Ta Qali.

1350 hrs  Six Hurricanes of 249, 242 and 126 Squadrons, Ta Qali, intercept JU 88s over Kalafrana.  F/Lt Carpenter fires all his ammunition from 200 yards: no return fire.

1500 hours  A raid consisting of three plots of six aircraft and three plots of three aircraft approaches from the north.  Bombs are dropped in the Ta Qali area, and near San Biagio church.  The enemy attack Ta Qali camp with large bombs, presumed to be mines.  Headquarters and Billet of Section, Equipment and Parachute Section, Malta Night Fighter Unit, 242 Squadron Offices and A/Cs offices are badly damaged and rendered unusable.  Evacuation of HQ and other buildings is ordered.  The aerodrome surface is badly cratered and made partly unserviceable.  Casualties.

ME 109 fighters then patrol south of the Island, engage Malta’s fighters and machine-gun a high-speed launch.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1806-1817 hrs  Five ME 109s approach from the north, complete a circuit of the Island and then recede north.  They do not come within range of the guns.

1820 hrs  Eleven Hurricanes of 249, 126 and 242 Squadrons, Ta Qali, are airborne to engage the enemy.  Three pilots are reported missing: P/O Hulbert and Sgt MacDowell of 249 Squadron and P/O Main of 126 Squadron.  Searches are made without result: they are presumed shot by enemy aircraft.

2020-2114 hrs  Four aircraft approach from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and bombs are dropped in the sea.

2200 hrs  One aircraft approaches and drops bombs in the sea south of the Island.

2214-2229 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, turns at 15 miles from the Island and recedes north.

2255-0011 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the Bingemma area.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0135-0510 hrs  Four aircraft approach from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and bombs are dropped in the sea.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer John Hulbert, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR); Leading Aircraftsman Thomas Griffith, Royal Air Force (VR); Aircraftsman Gerald King, Royal Air Force (VR), Corporal Theodore Nielsen, Royal Air Force.  Lance Bombardier Albert Beard, 225 Battery, 74th  Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Mosta Joseph Buhagiar, age 50, Francis Chetcuti, age 29, Elian Tonna, age 51, Joseph Tonna, age 31; Naxxar  Bartholomew Buhagiar, age 80; St Paul’s Bay  Grazio Galea, age 42.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: WEDNESDAY 4 FEBRUARY 1942

HAL FAR  Night 3/4th Three Albacores 828 Squadron despatched on search for single merchant vessel off Kuriat.  Nothing was sighted and all aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Messina Harbour; one Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland SF6 patrol (modified); one Maryland special search Sfax.  21 Squadron  Six Blenheims sent to attack Palermo Harbour; [scored a direct hit on a train identified by daytime photo-reconnaissance mission].  Wing Commander William Selkirk, RAF, P/O Workman and Sgt Ibbetson failed to return.  40 Squadron  2341-0324 hrs  Wellingtons attacked motor transport at Tripoli.  S/D Flight One Wellington special search.

TA QALI  Headquarters evacuated [following air raid today] and all equipment salvaged.  Lessons to be learned.  Had bomb been a little closer almost entire HQ equipment and personnel would have been wiped out.  HQ should be underground to save equipment, and above all dislocation of communications and organisation and if possible should be right off the target area.  Shortage of equipment renders it essential that all adequate safeguards be taken.  Typewriters and office machinery were saved from damage through being placed under tables when air raid took place.  Casualties.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT   ’A’ Company held [training exercise] at Tal Balal.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Unexploded bomb C Company area.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party 120 strong.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  Gunner A H Beard died in hospital.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER  Heavy raid on Ta Qali.  Private Jones was injured when the truck in which he was sitting was very badly damaged by a bomb.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1) Diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St.Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta.  Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

 

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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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3 February 1942: Air Raid Shelters Overcrowded

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BUSY SHELTERS CANNOT MEET DEMAND

“When an air raid alarm is given, huge crowds of people can be seen heading for [the shelter at 111 Kingsway, Valletta]…large enough to hold at least 150 people, whilst in a raid this place is sheltering approximately 300 people with more than 50 persons outside the passage hoping to get in.” (1)

Shelter in South St, Valletta (NWMA)

With raids now often continuous throughout the night, air raid shelters are becoming congested with chairs and bedding brought in for comfort and rest.  Anticipating a night of raids, people begin to rush to shelters straight after supper and spaces are often over-subscribed.  Lt Gen Dobbie reports that the Government has decided to appoint wardens to manage the situation:

“Shelters have come into their own again as the main topic of public interest, and this has led to motion in the Council for investigation of methods of improving shelter accommodation by Select Committee consisting of certain elected members.  This Committee is now sitting.

Main problem is the earliest extension of accommodation so as to provide room for sleeping, drainage and lighting for shelters.  All these matters are being dealt with by the Government as you will see from despatch now on its way.  Public are being kept fully informed of the measures taken.

Need for shelter wardens is also urgent, but so far it has proved impossible to obtain more than a small number of volunteers.  Am very doubtful whether payment of low wages, which is all that would be justified, would attract the right people, and as I am sure the most satisfactory solution would be to induce persons who could exercise some authority in the shelters to come forward voluntarily, I am arranging further strong appeal to be made.  If this fails we shall probably have to resort to pay and I will address you further.”

Read more about air raid shelters – see Malta at War (r)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 3 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 4 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Gale force wind and rain all morning; bright periods afternoon, weather moderating.   Aerodromes at Hal Far and Ta Qali flooded.

0837-0852 hrs  Two aircraft fly from north to south passing 25 miles east of the Island, then recede south east.

0941-1212 hrs  Six aircraft approach singly from the north and south east, and patrol an area fifteen miles south east of the Island.  One JU 88 bomber crosses the coast at about 3000 feet and drops bombs near Kalafrana, between defence posts of 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment.  Light Ack Ack guns engage.  Another aircraft approaches Marsascala, is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack and jettisons bombs in the sea.

1409 hrs Kings Own Malta Regiment reports a mine spotted about 400 yards out of Zurrieq towards W Bassasa.

1627-1824 hrs  Ten JU 88 bombers and four ME 109 fighters come in singly, dropping bombs on Gozo, then on Hal Far.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage; Light Ack Ack damages one JU 88 which recedes with smoke pouring from a port engine.

1650 hrs  Bombs are dropped on the Safi landing strip and Tal Liebru area.

1745 hrs  Four Hurricanes are airborne from Ta Qali, intercepting JU 88s over Hal Far.  P/O McNamara attacks one JU 88 at 250-300 yards, scoring strikes, then attacks another JU 88 in stern, scoring strikes and using up all his ammunition.  Three other Hurricanes attack the same machines from 200-400 yards: all score strikes and damage the JU 88s.

1820 hrs  All clear: all Malta aircraft return safely.

Night  Weather deteriorates.

0610-0749 hrs  Four bombers approach the Island singly and drop bombs on Grand Harbour and Kalafrana areas.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: 3 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Five Beaufighters, one Clare from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Clare to Cairo.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland SF15 patrol; one Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance (PR) Messina; one Beaufighter PR Taranto.  21 Squadron  Six Blenheims despatched to attack shipping Palermo.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

TA QALI   249 Squadron stood down.  126 Squadron on readiness with 242 Squadron.  Night weather deteriorating – no intruder raids from Ta Qali.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT A’ Coy were to hold a training exercise but it was cancelled owing to rain.

2ND BN ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Mine exploded on rocks 30 yards from C Company post SB1.  No damage to post or personnel.

KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  1st Bn attended Northern Infantry Brigade lecture on Ack Ack problem in Malta.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party 120 strong.  Several plots during the day.  Bombs fell at Ta Xbiex, damaging C Company windows.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 4; dealt with 1 (50kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1) When Malta Stood Alone, Joseph Micallef, Interprint 1981

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Posted by on February 3, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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2 February 1942: Malta Not Equipped for Night Attacks

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“Anywhere else but Malta, an air raid warning would sound over a large area as the enemy aircraft moved towards their target; whereas when our sirens sounded, we were the target.” (1) 

Searchlights over Floriana

GUNNERS LEFT IN THE DARK

Malta’s defenders are struggling against an increasing numbers of night-time air raids.  The Island is just 27 km long and 14.5 km across.  From the first sight of an approaching raid to when enemy aircraft cross the coast and reach target takes just a few minutes, giving little opportunity for a successful counter-attack.  The Island needs more searchlights, to give the Gunners a better chance of getting enemy aircraft in their sights.

Telegram from:  Governor & Commander in Chief                         To: War Office

IMPORTANT 

Reasons for increase in AA S/Ls [Anti-Aircraft Searchlights].  Situation here not comparable with UK.  Small area of island with consequent proximity [vital positions] creates gun and fighter aircraft zone in confined space which demands quick pick-up and efficient illumination of many targets, in order to ensure quick results with gun or fighter aircraft in short time available for engagement.

Enemy intruder tactics demand adequate searchlights for co-operation with Bofors for defence of aerodromes.  Further searchlights required for co-operation with Bofors for defence [of] harbour and for anti mine-laying role.  Enemy activity over small area necessitates all lights in action constantly without gaps in layout, or in aerodrome or harbour defence.

Spares essential for organised system overhaul, for replacement damage enemy action and for training locally raised personnel and instructors.  Present holding 61.  Disribution: 48 operational and 13 for overhaul, replacement damage enemy action, and training.  Minimum operational requirement essential present commitments, including aerodromes and harbour: 66.  Spares: 4 for overhaul; 4 for replacement and 5 for training.  Total holding required: 79.  Proposals for additional personnel follow.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 2 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 3 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Rough and cold. Wind westerly.  Rain and hail during the day.

0945-0948 hrs  Aircraft identified as friendly.

1014-1025 hrs  Three aircraft are scrambled from Hurricane squadrons working out of Luqa.  One aircraft approaches from the north, turns when 30 miles north east of Grand Harbour and recedes.  No interceptions.

1110 hrs  One Hurricane is scrambled from Luqa and four more at 1130 hrs.  One JU 88 bomber approaches from north to south, crosses the Island from south to north at 28000 feet and is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack.  Malta’s fighters do not engage.

1240 hrs  Four Hurricanes scrambled from Luqa land back at Ta Qali: the airfield is now serviceable.

1319-1345 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, passes the Island fifteen miles to the east and recedes south.

1352 hrs The previous raid re-appears from the south, is barraged by Heavy Ack Ack as it approaches Kalafrana, and jettisons bombs in the sea.

1400 hrs  The JU 88 attempts to attack Hal Far and is engaged by Light Ack Ack, claiming three hits.  Two Hurricanes of 605 Squadron attack one JU 88 at 10000 feet south of the airfield.  The enemy aircraft is damaged, the rear gunner believed killed.  Both Hurricanes are slightly damaged.  1419 hrs  All clear.

1830-1913 hrs  Four JU 88s escorted by fighters approach from the north and cross the coast near Kalafrana, damaging a slipway and one Sunderland aircraft.  before dropping bombs on Hal Far and the Safi Strip.  Several heavy high explosives and many very small bombs are dropped on the Hurricane dispersal areas.  One Hurricane is a write-off; two airmen are wounded.

1859 hrs  3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report incendiaries between Nigret and Guarena, headquarters of C Company, a stick of High Explosives near Hagiar Qim battery.

1907 hrs  1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment reports incendiary bombs in the sea east of Delimara and in area Wied Ta Mazza.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage enemy aircraft and several hits are claimed on one JU 88 which is believed destroyed.  Gunner A Beard of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery is injured and taken to No 90 General Hospital.

2024-2045 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack, dropping bombs in the Qrendi area and in the sea.

2304-0204 hrs  Ten aircraft approach singly from the north over a period of three hours, dropping bombs on Hal Far, Zeitun, Siggiewi, Corradino and Ta Xbiex.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2317 hrs  One JU 88 attacks Hal Far.  Eight bombs are dropped causing craters on the aerodrome and damaging one building.  One Swordfish is slightly damaged.  No casualties.

2334 hrs  One enemy aircraft drops bombs 600 yards from Zeitun School.  0204 hrs  All clear.

0300-0325 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea just south of the Island before receding north west.

0417-0425 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, misses the Island, orbits six to ten miles to the east, drops bombs in the sea and recedes.

Military casualties  Gunner Leslie Mills, 222 Battery, 10 HAA Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Field, (relative of a serviceman).

OPERATIONS REPORTS: 2 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals Two Blenheims, one Sunderland, one Beaufort from Gibraltar.  Departures Three Blenheims to LH 224.

HAL FAR  Night 2/3rd  Four Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack merchant vessel of 7-8000 tons off Mahdia.  At least one, possibly two, torpedoes hit the ship.  Visibility good.  Light Ack Ack from ship rather accurate.

LUQA 69 Squadron One Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland SF15 patrol. 40 Squadron  Wellingtons despatched to attack repairing base at Naples.

TA QALI  0950 hrs  Aerodrome unserviceable.  Squadrons proceeded to Luqa for operations: eight aircraft and forty maintenance personnel. 1920 hrs  Night intruder raids over Sicily (Catania): one lorry damaged; no interceptions, returned 2200 hrs. 1955 hrs  W/Cdr Satchell over Comiso – damaged car and fired on by Ack Ack, intense at times, returned 2250 hrs. 2115 hrs  Sgt Wood to Catania; saw no enemy activity; was ignored completely – returned 0035 hrs. 2225 hrs  P/O Rathie to Comiso – saw nothing; returned 0035 hrs. 2245 hrs  F/Lt Stones to Catania: attacked large black limousine, set it on fire; returned 0125 hrs. 0055 hrs  F/O Thompson to Comiso and Gela: saw Cant Z506; gave bursts from 400 to 100 yards; aircraft fell in sea about 1/2 mile from Licata Harbour – returned 0320 hrs. 0215 hrs  F/O Robertson to Catania: saw flare path near C.Passero; no contacts, weather deteriorating, returned 0350 hrs. 0305 hrs  F/Lt Palmer returned owing to engine trouble 0330 hrs.

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Brigade HQ protective platoon formed.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  B Coy on the range firing Tommy gun: results were not very good on paper but the shortening was not too bad.  The Command photographer took Officers’ photographs for [security] passes.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party 120 strong.

8TH BN MANCHESTERA’ party from B Company were supplied for a working party at Ta Qali aereodrome.   Brigadier in charge of administration and STO expressed their appreciation of the excellent work done by military working parties in assisting with the unloading of merchant ships of the last convoy.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 4; dealt with 2 (1 x 30kg, 1 x 500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1) Henry Lavington, from UXB Malta, S A M Hudson

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Posted by on February 2, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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1 February 1942: Malta Supply Routes Cut Off

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Civilian casualties for January 1942:  83 killed, 59 seriously injured, 76 slightly injured.

AXIS GAINS ISOLATE MALTA

Field Marshal Rommel in North Africa

Allied armies have been forced back almost as far as Tobruk in the latest successful offensive by Axis forces under Field Marshal Rommel.  Reinforced by recent successful convoys across the Mediterranean in mid-January, the German leader rallied his troops and has reclaimed significant territory in North Africa.

Former Allied air bases which provided air cover for convoys from Alexandria to Malta are now in the hands of the Luftwaffe.  It is unlikely that any further convoys can be attempted until the situation improves.  And with strengthening numbers of German air forces in Sicily, Malta stands alone against an enemy increasingly dominant on both sides of the Mediterranean.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 1 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 2 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Cold; strong south west wind.  50% cloud; bright periods.

0913-0927 hrs  One aircraft comes in from the north and drops bombs in the sea off St Julian’s before passing over Grand Harbour and receding north.  Heavy Ack Ack engages.

1009-1102 hrs  Raid does not materialise.

1112-1120 hrs  Aircraft identified as friendly.

1152-1205 hrs  Raid does not materialise.

1250-1335 hrs  One JU 88 bomber approaches from the north and carries out a patrol to the south of the Island.  Bombs are dropped near Qrendi, including five near the office of D Company, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1520-1539 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by three ME 109 fighters crosses the coast near Dingli and recedes via Marfa without dropping any bombs.  Malta’s fighters are up with no interceptions.  Heavy Ack Ack engages.

Night  Very bad weather conditions.

1840 hrs  One aircraft approaches the Island and drops bombs in the sea.

1947-2036 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north [and drops bombs] on the Baida Ridge area.

2253-2312 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, circles for some time north of St Paul’s Bay, finally dropping bombs on the Madliena area from 1000 feet.  Light Ack Ack and Light Machine Guns engage the aircraft and Heavy Ack Ack fires a barrage.  A RDF [radio direction finder] Station is partly demolished and two RAF men were badly bruised.

0017-0050 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and is turned away from the harbour by Heavy Ack Ack, is barraged again and drops bombs in the sea off Kalafrana.

0418-0451 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north; one drops incendiary bombs between Safi landing strip and Gudja village; the other drops bombs in the sea off Ta Silch.  Heavy Ack Ack engages both raiders.

0659-0718 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, and drops bombs in the Attard and Ta Qali areas.  Heavy Ack Ack engages.

Military casualties  Lance-Bombardier William Dempster, 98thBattery, 32nd Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: 1 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals Four Hudsons, four Wellingtons, one Beaufort from Gibraltar.  Departures  Four Hudsons, one Beaufort, four Wellingtons to LG 224.

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Maryland SF15 patrol; one Maryland SF14 patrol; one Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Palermo-Pantelleria.   21 Squadron  Five Blenheims low level attack on Tamet Aerodrome; failed to locate.   S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

TA QALI  249 Squadron stood down.  Several air raid alarms during day – weather deteriorating.  Aerodrome unserviceable later in the day.  No night operations.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strength of detachment: 30 Officers, 187 Other Ranks.  MAS 5 Other Ranks.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Day extremely cold and wet.  Luqa working parties reduced to one officer and 30 other ranks for the day.

1ST BN DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Role of Battalion is Fortress Reserve with anti-parachute role for Dingli – Rabat – Inquisitor’s Palace area.

8TH BN KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Disposition of Bn:  A Company Tal Karceppu; B Coy & HQ Ta Salvatur; C Coy Ta Hasluk; D Coy Tal Providence.  35 Officers; 786 Other Ranks.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party 120 strong.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

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Posted by on February 1, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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