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26 March 1942: Malta’s Most Intense Raid to Date – Floriana a Furnace

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“Never during the War years was I overtaken by fear more than on the night of the 26th March 1942” (1)

  • Massed air raids on shipping in Grand Harbour
  • Plumleaf, Talabot, Pampas hit as well as Sliema Ferry
  • Breconshire hit again – on fire amidships
  • Targets outside harbour badly damaged – Marsa HAA gun position hit
  • Four JU 88s and three JU 87s destroyed; many more damaged
Talabot is hit (NWMA Malta)

Talabot is hit (NWMA Malta)

LUFTWAFFE PINPOINT BOMBING DESTROYS SHIPS IN GRAND HARBOUR

For nearly six hours today, 120 enemy bombers accompanied by massed fighters attacked in wave after wave, dropping over 350 high explosive (HE) bombs of 250kg and 500kg on ships, docks and gun positions in Grand Harbour and 40 more on Breconshire in Marsaxlokk Bay.

“Unfortunately on this day the German Air Force achieved a degree of accuracy with their bombing which they had never attained either before or since.  Talabot, Pampas and Plumleaf were all hit in a single raid and in the evening Breconshire too was hit and set on fire.

By the evening with Legion sunk, Penelope badly damaged and a large part of the small craft in the harbour sunk or out of action from near misses it was felt that there was little further injury that the enemy could do…Talabot which caught fire and blazed furiously as a result of her hit, had to be scuttled to avoid her cargo of ammunition exploding.  All her holds were flooded and the ship was aground with her gunwale just above water…” (2)

FLORIANA IS A FURNACE

“The odds were that the Talabot with considerable ammunition in its holds would, at any time, explode and damage would have been terrific.  The tragic situation was communicated to us in Floriana with strict instructions to evacuate all in Floriana residing in …the part overlooking the Grand Harbour where the Talabot was anchored.

At sunset Floriana became immersed in a reddish glow, deepening into an inferno-like colour as night set in.  All the surrounding areas in the Grand Harbour assumed a reddish incandescence: the skies were red, the sea was red; red prevailed everywhere – such a scene was never witnessed before.  In the meantime flames were still belching from the Talabot, uncontrolled, and presaging doom.  Floriana looked like a furnace!

As soon as orders for evacuation reached us we [advised] the people to leave their houses and their shelters, move to the northern area and use what shelter space was available.  Many obeyed; others did not as they preferred to watch the flaming scene from vantage points without realising the danger they were exposing themselves to, should the ship explode and blow up vast areas in Valletta, Floriana, Marsa and the three cities.” (1)

“Pampas” ablaze (NWMA Malta)

Desperate attempts to unload the two merchant ships, Talabot and Pampas, were hampered by conditions in the harbour and the constant heavy bombing of ships, docks and salvage equipment.  By the end of today, of the convoy escort which accompanied the supply ships to Malta, HM Ships Legion and Southwold were sunk, Kingston further damaged by bombs and Penelope has serious structural damage from near misses.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 26 MARCH TO DAWN 27 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind south; 100% low cloud.

0700 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north east but recedes before crossing the coast.

1022-1610 hrs  68 enemy aircraft – JU 87s, JU 88s and ME 109s – attack Grand Harbour.  Fighters destroy two JU 87s and two JU 88s, and damage one JU 87 and three JU 88.  One JU 88 is shot down in south Comino Channel and four German prisoners are captured in Gozo.  Ack Ack destroy one JU 88.

1210 hrs  S/L Gracie leading six Spitfires from Luqa attacks a JU 88 and sees strikes.  He himself is them jumped and his aircraft is damaged.  P/O Ormerod in a Hurricane chases a JU 88 through the barrage; his aircraft is damaged and he returns to Luqa.

1230 hrs  Talabot is hit by a 500kg bomb which explodes in the engine room, which starts to fill with oil; a large fire breaks out.  Firefighters and crew of other ships join the efforts to control the blaze while enemy bombs continue to fall close to the ship.  Both pumps in No 2 fire float and one in No 1 float are put out of action by the near miss.

Plumleaf at Parlatorio receives a direct hit and is sunk.  Tug West Cocker at Boiler Wharf is damaged and starts taking water. Front walls and doors in B and C Yards, Marsa are demolished with some damage to lighters.

High explosive bombs hit dockyard buildings and wharves.  The verandah and structure of 10-14 Stores on Stores Wharf and No 2 Caisson are damaged; the south end of No 8 Store demolished.  The north end of Hamilton Wharf is badly shaken. No 3 Boiler Shop entrance doors and offices are smashed by blast. Crane No 623 and  2/3 Dock Pumping Station are damaged. Explosions cause a large crater in front of No 1 Boiler Shop and others on Canteen Wharf and the Scrap Ground.

1335 hrs  Four Spitfires are scrambled from Luqa.  Sgt Brennan damages a JU 88.

1400 hrs  A stick of bombs falls close to PampasLuqa Spitfire P/O McNair gets on its tail and despatches it.  F/L Johnston damages two JU 87s – both probably destroyed.  F/L Connell severely damages a JU 87 and a JU 88.  P/O McNair destroys a JU 88.

1430 hrs  A 500kg bomb falls down the funnel of Pampas and explodes, flooding the engine room and starting a fire amidships.

1550 hrs  The drowned body of German pilot Winkler is discovered by 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment, washed ashore near Wied Zurrieq.  They also find some naval garments washed ashore at Wied Zurrieq and Ghar Lapsi.

Six Hurricanes from Hal Far are airborne to intercept a formation of JU 88s and JU 87s.  Hurricanes attack the bombers over Kalafrana and later over Grand Harbour.  Sgt Steele (cannon) accounts for one JU 88.  Sgt Broad hits two JU 88s.  F/Sgt Fletcher scores hits on two JU 88s, one ME 109 and one JU 87.

1632 hrs  A raid in three waves:  50 JU 88s drop bombs on Grand Harbour: Penelope is near missed and flooded forward; tug Ancient is hit and beached; submarine P39’s back is broken;  Sokol is near missed; Legion sunk; Avonvale hit (damage not very serious).

10 JU 88s attack Breconshire in Marsaxlokk Bay.  The ship is hit, causing a fire on board.  Fighters and Ack Ack engage.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack destroy one JU 87 and two JU 88s, and damage others.

1725 hrs  F/L Connell (Ta Qali) damages a JU 88.  Sgt Brennan damages a JU 88.

1730 hrs  225 Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA) engage two JU 88s: one hit claimed.  Post SA4 of 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt engages two JU 88s, expending two magazines.

1740 hrs  225 LAA engage three JU 88s: one gun claims four hits.  One gun and personnel transfers to the Nigret area.

1750 hrs  P/O McNair (Ta Qali) damages two JU 88s.

1808 hrs  Bombs land near Fort Ta Silch.

1815 hrs  Bombs are dropped near Hamria.

1915-1930 hrs  An enemy flying boat carries out rescue work to the north of the Island.

2230 hrs  Enemy boats are reported 12 miles south east of the Island.  Beach Companies are warned to keep a strict look-out.

Night 26/27th  No enemy aircraft activity although E Boats are plotted off E coast of the Island. The fire on Talabot is contained but the blaze on Breconshire is getting out of control.

Military casualties  Able Seaman Alfred Keylock, Mentioned in Despatches, HMS Avonvale; Able Seaman Albert Bowman, HMS Avondale; Able Seaman James Warwick, HMS Legion; Able Seaman Ernest Lynch, HMS Avonvale.

Civilian casualties  Balzan  Valent Sammut, age 33.  Mosta  Alfred St John, age 2.  Sliema  Carmel Coppola, age 50; Doris Coppola, age 17; Herman Mifsud, age 42.  St Paul’s Bay  Rita Vella, age 6.

Enemy casualties  Paul Winkler.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 26 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Upholder  returned from patrol, having sunk a U boat and trawler off Brindisi and missed a battleship off Taranto owing to very heavy weather and zig-zag on firing.

AIR HQ  Departures  Five Beaufighters, two Blenheims, eight Wellingtons to 108 MU; one Wellington to Shalufa.

HAL FAR  828 and 830 Squadrons amalgamated as Naval Air Squadron, Malta on instructions from Vice Admiral Malta, pending Admiralty confirmation.  PM  One Albacore on shipping search.  Nothing sighted.

LUQA  0753-1545 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron special search.

TA QALI  No night operations. 

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  A Company proceeds from Boschetto Gardens to camp at the Pumping Station between Rabat and Dingli.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  CO attends funeral of SSO1.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Working party at Ta Qali aerodrome.

2ND BN THE ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  A and B Companies changed over: A Company to Marsa, B Company to Luqa.  Private Ryan wounded at Luqa by enemy action.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 22.

(1) Floriana in Wartime, Emanuel S Tonna, Malta 1969

(2)  War Diary, Vice Admiral Malta, March 1942

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Posted by on March 26, 2017 in 1942, March 1942, Uncategorized

 

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19 March 1942: 345 High Explosive Bombs on Malta in 24 Hours

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LUFTWAFFE RECORD OF ATTACKS ON MALTA 19 MARCH 1942

  • 1 JU 88**               4 x 250kg (Ta Qali Aerodrome)
  • 4 ME 109**            4 x 250kg (Grand Harbour)
  • 5 JU 88**             20 x 250kg; 30 x 50kg (Grand Harbour)
  • 6 JU 88**             24 x 500kg (Marsaxlokk)
  • 10 JU 88**             8 x 500kg; 15 x 250kg; 36 x 50kg (Ta Qali Aerodrome)
  • 3 JU 88**             12 x 250kg; 24 x 50kg (Luqa and Safi strip)
  • 6 JU 88**             20 x 500kg (West of Luqa)
  • 13 JU 88*            44 x 250kg; 100 x 50kg (Positions on South Malta)

*night **daylight

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 MARCH TO DAWN 20 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind westerly.  No cloud.

0710 hrs  Two ME 109s approach the Island.  One dives on a submarine in Grand Harbour, then flies over Ta Qali and Luqa at 5000 feet.  Light Ack Ack engage.

0725 hrs  Three gun positions of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA) engage one ME 109: no claims.

0740 hrs  All clear.

0957-1027 hrs  One JU 88 drops bombs on St Paul’s Bay and Wardia Ridge.  Light Ack Ack engage: no claims.

1053-1122 hrs  One JU 88 and two ME 109s carry out reconnaissance.  Heavy Ack Ack engage: no claims.

1128-1143 hrs  Two ME 109s patrol round the Island without crossing the coast.

1405 hrs   Three JU 88s bomb Sliema, Gzira and St Julians. 

One Beaufort heading into Malta from Gibraltar crash-lands at Hal Far, its rear gunner wounded in combat with a ME 110.  The crew proceeds to Luqa.

1443 hrs  Six JU 88s drop twenty-four 500kg high explosive (HE) bombs on Hal Far and Benghaisa gun position.  One JU 88 is damaged by Light Ack Ack.  One man is injured at a Light Ack Ack position.  Two bombs hit headquarters of B Company, 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers, demolishing half of the buildings, including officers’ quarters.  2/Lt Wilsher and seven Other Ranks are admitted to hospital.

1500 hrs  One gun position of 225 LAA engages one JU 88: no claims.  One gun position is damaged by bombing and ammunition is destroyed.  Gunner McDermott is injured by bomb splinters and removed to No 45 General Hospital.

1540 hrs  All clear.

1617 hrs   One JU 88 carries out reconnaissance, followed by six JU 88s which drop 23 high explosive bombs on Ta Qali.

1630 hrs  Three JU 88s drop 36 HE bombs on Safi strip and Luqa.

1700 hrs  Six JU 88s drop twenty 500kg HE bombs on Luqa, east of Qrendi and Nigret.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  One Wellington at Luqa is burned out, one damaged; one Maryland is slightly damaged.

1705 hrs  36 HE bombs land on Ta Qali camp, damaging two buildings.  One Beaufighter under repair is partly burned out; another Beaufighter, a fighter Blenheim and two Hurricanes are slightly damaged.

1718 hrs  A stick of bombs drops on the area of San Kristu church.

1800 hrs  Five JU 88s drop HE bombs through Mqabba village to within 300 yards of Zurrieq village, straddling headquarters of D Company, 4th Bn Hampshire Regt. 

1820 hrs  One bomb falls 100 yards from headquarters of 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regt; another near Tal Hniena Chapel.

2120-0016 hrs  Five aircraft approach the Island and drop bombs in the sea, and on land across Qrendi, Kalafrana and Luqa.  Incendiary bombs are dropped on the Benghaisa area.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0151-0306 hrs  Seven aircraft approach the Island and drop bombs in the sea and on land at Tal Qroqq and Ta Giorni.  Night fighters and Heavy Ack Ack engage.  One JU 88 is damaged by fighters.

Military casualties  Gunner Joseph Moloney, 32nd Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery; 2nd Lieutenant Richard Morgan, 74th Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Gzira  Paul Vassallo, age 50. Lija  Paul Azzopardi, age 39. Sliema  Mikiel Borg, age 64.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 19 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Unbeaten returned from patrol off Spartivento having sunk a U boat and probably hit a large merchant vessel.  Embarked torpedoes and left again non patrol.  Upright sailed for Gibraltar and UK to refit.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Blenheims, seven Beauforts from Gibraltar.

LUQA  1536-1940 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron SF5 patrol

TA QALI  No scrambles.  No night operations.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT CO and Company Commanders visited loading demonstrations at 1st Bn Durham Light Infantry.  1930-2200 hrs  Night firing by platoons C Company on Pembroke Ranges.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY Vehicle loading demonstration to be inspected by all Brigades.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Exercise attack on Victoria Lines by D and C Companies.  A and B defended.  Fusilier Thompson was hit by bomb shrapnel in Sliema and killed.

KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  1st Bn reports a stick of bombs in the sea off Post MB5.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Demonstration Platoon and Company truck loading.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS 1700 hrs  Lecture at Marsa for all officers on “Correct Orders to Forward Artillery in Support of Infantry Attack.”

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 16-20 March 35 (average 7 per day).

 

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Posted by on March 19, 2017 in 1942, March 1942, Uncategorized

 

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17 March 1942: 30 Civilians Killed by Heavy Bombs Across Malta

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  • Air raids back to full force

    Heinkel He 111

  • 79000 kg high explosive bombs dropped across Island
  • Indiscriminate night bombing hits civilian areas
  • 30 civilian casualties including two policemen
  • Heavier enemy fighter escorts – 40 protect a single raid
  • Heinkel III appears over Malta
  • Malta’s Ack Ack and fighters score hits on enemy aircraft
  • One Spitfire crashes
  • Aircraft destroyed on the ground

AIR RAIDS DAWN 17 MARCH TO DAWN 18 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind westerly.  70% cloud at 500 feet.

0700 hrs  Four Hurricanes of 605 Squadron, Hal Far, are scrambled to intercept five JU 88s with an escort of ME 109s.  F/L Stone and P/O Noble make a head on attack on one JU 88: results not observed.  P/O Beckett engages a ME 109: no visible results.

0715 hrs  Six Spitfires of 249 Squadron are airborne and locate an incoming formation of JU 88s and Messerschmitts.  The Spitfires split into pairs.  Sgt Brenman scores cannon strikes on one Messerchmitt which goes down.  He then fires at a second ME but sees no results.  F/Lt Heppell has a short squirt at one ME 109 and sees a puff of black smoke as it climbs away.

0737 hrs  Air raid alert.  Six JU 88s escorted by ME 109s drop bombs on Luqa and the Grand Harbour area.  Malta’s fighters are up and engage.

0800 hrs  Six JU 88s drop bombs on Luqa aerodrome.  One bowser and two Wellingtons are burned out.  Three out of service Wellingtons are further damaged; one is written off. One Spitfire and one Mosquito of the Photo-Reconnaissance Unit are damaged.  One previously unserviceable Beaufighter is badly damaged.

0840 hrs  Seven Hurricanes of 126 Squadron from Hal Far join the fight, spotting five JU 88s and ten Messerchmitts.  S/Lt Wells scores strikes on one Junkers and P/O McHan fires machine gun bullets into the same aircraft.  Sgt Hale attacks another JU and sees smoke pouring from the starboard engine, believed to be glycol.  F/Lt Kemp attacks a ME 109 and sees bits fall from the starboard wing: the ME goes down into cloud.  Sgt Mulloy attacks a JU 88 and sees strikes under the starboard wing root.  He also claims strikes on a 2nd Junkers, along the tail end of the fuselage.

1000 hrs  JU 88s escorted by ME 109s drop bombs on Luqa and the Safi strip, and on the submarine base.

1025 hrs  One JU 88 is engaged by 225 Light Ack Ack Battery at 4-6000 feet: no claims.

1030 hrs  Four Spitfires are airborne.  Sighting a large formation of Messerschmitt fighters, the Spitfires dive away.  F/Sgt Cormack does not pull out of his dive and his machine heads straight towards Filfla: cause unknown.

1045 hrs  Five JU 88s drop bombs on Luqa aerodrome.

1050 hrs  The remaining Spitfires land safely.

1115 hrs  All clear.

1200-1355 hrs  Bombs are dropped on the Safi strip and Luqa, and in the sea off Delimara.

1310 hrs  Four JU 88s drop bombs in the Zurrieq area and on Safi strip. One JU 88 is engaged by two gun positions of 225 LAA at 5-6000 feet: no claims.

1407 hrs  Four JU 88s and one Heinkel 111 escorted by fighters approach the Island  Four Hurricanes of 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled to intercept the enemy aircraft.  Sgt Steele and Sgt Broad engage one JU 88: no visible results.  The raiders drop bombs to the west of Luqa and Ta Qali.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1415 hrs  Three Hurricanes 126 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali and three Spitfires of 249 Squadron from Luqa.  They chase and damage the Heinkel.  A second wave of six JU 88s escorted by ME 109s drop twelve bombs on Ta Qali, damaging one Hurricane. Two civilians are killed, two are admitted to hospital and two have minor injuries.  Ack Ack engage and damage one JU 88.

1425 hrs  Two JU 88s drop bombs in the Mqabba area and near Loreto Church.

1445 hrs  The Spitfires and Hurricanes land safely.

1500 hrs  One Hurricane at Ta Qali is damaged by a delayed action bomb dropped at 1415 hrs.  One civilian is injured and taken to hospital.

1600 hrs  Five Hurricanes of 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled to intercept a formation of JU 88s.  Sgt Steele and Sgt Sutherland attack one JU, hitting the fuselage and engines.  Sgt Sutherland engages a ME 109, scoring hits between the engine and cockpit.

1619 hrs  A six-wave attack of bombers protected by a large fighter force.  The first wave of six JU 88 drops bombs on Sliema, Tigne and Marsaxmett Harbour.

One JU 88 drops bombs on Kirkop and Qrendi.

Three JU 88s drop bombs on Safi and to the north of Luqa.

One aircraft recedes from south to north at 18000 feet.

Six JU 88s drops bomb on the Qrendi strip and in the sea.

Six JU 88s drops bombs on Ta Qali, Luqa and Hal Far.   Malta’s fighters are up and damage one HE 111, one JU 88 and two ME 109s.  Light Ack Ack destroy one JU 88 and damage another.

1725 hrs  Three JU 88s drop bombs on the Safi strip. Three out of service Wellingtons are further damaged and written off.  Guns of 225 LAA Battery engage two JU 88s and one ME 109 at 4-5000 feet: no claims.

1830 hrs  Two Hurricanes 126 Squadron take off from Hal Far with five other Hurricanes of 185 Squadron to intercept an incoming formation.  The two Hurricanes of 126 chase a JU 88 which is last seen diving steeply into the sea.

1836 hrs  Four JU 88s drop bombs on the Safi strip and Misrah Blandun.

1840 hrs  Two Spitfires of 249 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa and patrol behind the Hurricanes.  Two ME 109s are spotted.  S/L Grant damages one with cannon shells and P/O Plagis attacks the other, observing pieces fall from the aircraft.

1842 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage two JU 88s at 3-4000 feet: three gun positions claim five hits in total.

1846 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage one JU 88 at 3-4000 feet.  All guns claim hits; two confirmed on the fuselage and starboard wing of one aircraft.  Gunners collect fallen fragments of fuselage and a rubber dinghy.  The plane recedes south apparently badly damaged.

1920 hrs  All clear.

2007 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, is barraged over Grand Harbour and drops its bomb load in the sea.

2044 hrs  Three aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs in the sea to the east of Mellieha.

2200 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs on Pembroke Ranges, on Naxxar and in the sea.

2235 hrs  One aircraft drops bombs in the Rabat area.

2332-0100 hrs  Seven aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs on the Rabat and Rocco areas, and in the sea.

0156 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs on St Georges and in the sea.

0340 hrs  Three aircraft drop bombs in the sea west of Gozo and another drops bombs to the south of Latnia.

0517 hrs   Seven aircraft approach the Island: one drops bombs near San Rocco fort, the remainder in the sea.

Military casualties  Flight Sergeant Ian Cormack Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 249 Squadron.  Gunner Carmel Darmanin, 1 Coast Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Alfred Calleja, age 35.  Hamrun  George Debono, age 43.  Lija  Charles Lanzon, age 36.  Paola  Giuseppe Delia, age 60; Joseph Delia, age 4; George Gauci, age 80.  Qormi  Carmelo Aquilina, age 77.  Rabat  Francis Mallia, Ena Mallia Pulvirenti, age 12; Salvu Portelli, age 37; Andrew Spiteri, age 11; Samuel Vassallo, age 25.  Siggiewi  Carmelo Baldacchino, age 44.  Sliema  Eddie Bartolo, age 38; Joseph Bartolo, age 38; Alfred Calapai, age 54; Antonio Fava, age 20; Paul Formosa, age 50; Giuseppa Micallef, age 54; Joseph Micallef, age 11; Joseph Mifsud, age 66; Albert Mifsud, age 14; Anthony Pisani, age 38; Carmela Sghendo, age 15; Francis Spiteri, age 14; Alfred Vella, age 45.  Valletta  Muriel Brocklebank, age 47.  Zebbug  Giuseppe Petroni, age 29.  Zejtun  Joseph Mercieca, age 45.  Zurrieq  Ursola Schembri, age 58.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 17 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  MLs 126 and 130 arrived from Gibraltar.  Five Albacores left to attack convoy sighted earlier but failed to find.  Three Swordfish attacked one merchant vessel of 2000 tons east of Tripoli.  One torpedo was dropped and left ship ablaze from stem to stern.  Two Swordfish and four Albacores sighted and attacked two merchant vessels and two destroyers in Lampedusa area.  Two torpedoes dropped and one hit on a 7000 ton merchant vessel is claimed.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Hudson, one Wellington from Gibraltar.  Departures  Four Spitfires to 108 MU.

HAL FAR  Five Albacores 828 Squadron dispatched to attack convoy – nothing sighted.  Three Swordfish 830 Squadron on shipping search.  They attacked one merchant vessel (position east Tripoli 25 miles, 10 miles from shore).  A hit was scored: merchant vessel left ablaze from stem to stern.  One Swordfish – S/L Shute, Mid. Hillery – missing.

LUQA  0712-1300 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron special search south and east of Malta for enemy shipping.  1534-1940 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron special search for enemy shipping.

TA QALI  Signal 0831 HQ:  Identity of 242 and 605 Squadrons cease to exist as such on Malta with effect from 15 March 1942.  Pilots being absorbed with existing fighter squadrons at Ta Qali and Hal Far.  Night operations: no interceptions.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  B Company on exercise Corrodino area; normal work for other Companies.  1400 hrs A Company cross-country run.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  St Patrick’s Day parade of Battalion at San Pawl Tat Targe.  Shamrock presented by GOC.  March to Naxxar for church parade and sermon by Rev Navin.  Dinner in evening attended by Brigadier L/Col Iggleden, L/Col Brittorous.  Men entertained by concert party.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 16-20 March 35 (average 7 per day).

 

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Posted by on March 17, 2017 in 1942, March 1942, Uncategorized

 

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1 March 1942: 32 One-ton Bombs on Civilian Areas – 20 Dead in Floriana

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32 ONE-TON HIGH EXPLOSIVE BOMBS LAND ON CIVILIAN AREAS

1000kg ‘Hermann’ bomb ready for Malta (NWMA Malta)

20 people were killed and 49 injured when 1000kg ‘Hermann’ bombs struck the densely populated area of Gunlayer Square in Floriana on this Sunday afternoon.  Many of the casualties were caught out having stayed at home during the raid; others were standing at the entrance to an air raid shelter.  Emmanuel Tonna might have been among them: “Had it not been for the insistence of my friend, Mr Carmelo Gauci, I would have stayed there talking to people.  Better counsel did, however, prevail and I left the place together with Mr Gauci.  We had barely reached the shelter in St Publius Street, Floriana, when we were violently shaken by the thud of bombs.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 1 MARCH TO DAWN 2 MARCH 1942

Weather  Rain during the morning.  Wind south west.  Bright periods with low cloud at times.

0737 hrs  Two MEs circle the Island and recede north.  Malta’s fighters are up; no engagements.

0912-1000 hrs  16 fighters patrol the Island, dropping four high explosive bombs on Gozo.  Malta’s fighters are up; no engagements.

1210-1234 hrs  One JU 88 and two ME 109s carry out reconnaissance over Grand Harbour.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1245 hrs  Pilots of 242 and 605 Squadrons take to the air in nine Hurricanes and attack three JU 88s and their escort of twelve ME 109s.  F/Lt Stone machine-guns a JU 88; reports damaged.  P/O Lester attacks a Messerschmitt and observes the engine emitting grey smoke before he breaks off engagement; claims one ME 109F destroyed.  F/Sgt Howe claims a JU 88 as probable before he is shot down, baling out and sustaining a leg wound.  P/O Wigley attacks a JU 88 without visible results. P/O Tew and Sgt Harvey are shot down in the sea.  Sgt Harvey is seen to bale out but a rescue vessel later finds his body in the water.

1310 hrs  Two ME 109s are engaged by guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Regt at 5-800 feet; no claims.

1327 hrs  All clear.

1422-1515 hrs  13 JU 88s plus fighter escort drop thirteen 1000kg bombs in St Julian’s, Sliema, Hamrun, Marsa, Gzira, Marsamxetto, Floriana and the Grand Harbour area.   Heavy Ack Ack engage.  AC1 Wright is killed in an air-raid shelter in Floriana along with several civilians.

1716-1839 hrs  Two waves of enemy aircraft approach Malta: first six JU 88s with fighter escort, then eleven JU 88s with fighter escort.  1000kg bombs are dropped in St Julian’s, Sliema and Valletta areas.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.  One Other Rank 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment suffers concussion in the raid and is admitted to No 45 General Hospital.  Stella Maris Church in Sliema is gutted by a bomb.

2153-0658 hrs  One continuous air raid.  Ten aircraft approach the Island, one after another.  Bombs are dropped near the Royal Engineers works in Floriana and on rocks off Sliema sea front, then on the Dockyard, Jesuits Hill and near St Edward’s College, on Zabbar, Hal Far, Qrendi and Kalafrana.  Heavy Ack Ack engage, with 28 barrages and searchlights illuminating the target for ¾ minute.

Military casualties  Surgeon Captain Algernon Cheeseman*, Royal Navy, HMS Talbot age 55; James Tew, Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 242 Squadron; Flight Sergeant Ray Harvey, pilot, RAF 242 Squadron; AC1 George Wright, RAF, 249 Squadron; Staff Sergeant Jarvis Whittaker, Royal Army Ordnance Corps; Private Saviour Debono, 2nd Bn, Kings Own Malta Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Floriana  Robert Attard, age 60; Joseph Borg, age 8; Una Patricia Cameron, age 18; Giovanna Caruana, age 43; Joseph Darmanin, age 60; Stella Debattista,age 19; Annunziata Demanuele,age 13; Benjamin Maggi, age 15; Grezzju Magro, age 16; Emmanuel Pace, age 20; Jane Pace, age 15; Carmelina Portelli,age 4; Sarah Portelli,age 39; Antonio Pulo,age 27; Doris Zammit,age 24.  Msida  Carrie Portelli,age 23.  Sliema  Dolores Borg, age 60; Joseph Muscat, age 35.  St Julians  Doris Cheeseman*, age 45. 

OPERATIONS REPORTS:  SUNDAY 1 MARCH 1942

AIR HQ   Arrivals  Four Beaufighters from Gibraltar.  One Maryland was force-landed during the night.

LUQA  0730-1120 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron on photo-reconnaissance (PR) Lampedusa and SF 24 patrol.  1440-1632 hrs  One Beaufighter 69 Squadron PR Palermo.  1415-1925 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron SF1A patrol.  1952-0322 hrs  One Wellington S/D Flight on special search.  2225-0235 hrs  Six Wellingtons of 37 Squadron attacked shipping in Tripoli Harbour.

TA QALI  Six pilot officers left for roof-spotting at the Palace, pending posting to the Middle East.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  One Staff Sergeant died as a result of enemy action.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Bombs on Floriana near HQ Officers’ Mess: several windows broken.

1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  One Other Rank injured in an air raid.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Disposition of Battalion:  A Company (Coy) Ta Karceppu (5 Officers, 123 Ors); B Coy Ta Salvatur (6 Officers, 124 Ors); C Coy Tal Hasluk (5 Off 132 OR); D Coy Tal Providence (5 Off, 131 OR); HQ Coy Ta Salvatur (14 Off, 269 OR).  Chaplain and Medical Officer also attached.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party continues: 100 men.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

(1)  loriana in Wartime, Emmanual S Tonna, Malta 1969

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21 February 1942: Malta Needs Food, Fuel and Fighters to Survive

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  • Morale in the balance as heavy raids resume
  • Convoy losses and air attacks taking their toll
  • Civilian loss of life hits record levels
  • Food rations cut by half
  • Vital kerosene at half normal ration

TELEGRAM:  IMMEDIATE AND MOST SECRET 

From:  Governor (Lt Gen Sir W Dobbie)                           To:  Secretary of State for the Colonies, copy Commander in Chief Mediterranean

My telegram of 18th February to the War Office for the Chief of Staff.  I am anxious that the effect of the recent measures of restriction on the civilian side should be fully realised in London.  These measures are

  • (a)  Return to summer kerosene rations.
  • (b)  Prohibition of all bus traffic on Saturday and Sunday except for essential employees of the Government and the Services.
  • (c)  Curtailing of lengthy bus routes so that people will now have to walk considerable distances if necessary during raids to catch buses.
  • (d)  Further drastic reduction of already quite inadequate food rations.

(e)  Reduction of sugar rations to 21 ounces per half month.  It must be remembered that sugar is a more important article of diet in Malta than in England.

2.  As you know our consumption of all commodities was already restricted to the minimum level which I thought acceptable on a long term basis.  Some of the new cuts go below that level.  Civil consumption of kerosene – after bread the most important commodity for civil use in Malta – is now just above half its normal level.  Food consumption will be well under half normal.  Motor transport petrol on the civil side will be little more than a quarter what it was in July 1941 when strict control was started and even then it was far below peace-time level.

3.  You know our stock positions from my telegram under reference.  I feel that we have reached a critical point in the maintenance of Malta.  If the opportunity of the dark period in March is not taken to run in supplies, we shall have to wait until April when the lengthening days and possible intensification of the war may increase the risks at sea.  Our supply position will then be such that the loss of the whole, or even of a substantial part, of a convoy would create a most dangerous situation here.  The arrival in the meantime of small quantities of supplies by submarines or single ships would no doubt alleviate that situation to some extent but could not substantially change it.  Even if after April our position could be remedied before it became too late, it would not be easy to build up our stocks again to a safe level, and we should be faced with a further period of acute difficulty.

4.  Quite apart from the actual stock position the state of public morale is a most important factor.  The necessity for the recent measures of restriction will no doubt be accepted by the public but they cannot fail to have their effect on the morale, especially if they have to be kept in force for any length of time.  The spirit of the people throughout the heavier attacks of the recent weeks have been remarkably good, though loss of civilian life has been greater than during any other equal period.  Nevertheless there is some evidence of a beginning of despondency beneath the surface.  World events and particularly our set-back in Libya have their natural effect here but other causes nearer home operate more strongly.  The people have always drawn their greatest encouragement from the success in the air over their island and the arrival of convoys.  The consolation of the latter has not lain solely in securing food or other supplies.  It has also been a demonstration of our control of the surrounding seas.  The inferiority of our fighter aircraft to those of the enemy in performance has been a cause of marked depression.  Steps are being taken to reverse that situation but in the meantime the lowering effects of the present position are joined to those of the failure of the recent convoy and of the increased restrictions which that failure has made necessary.

5.  I have always maintained that this fortress stands on four legs:  the three services and the civil population.  If we are attacked, the duty of the latter will be to remain resolutely in their [homes] and I have no present reason to doubt that they would fail in that duty.  It must be remembered however that about a third of the garrison consists of Maltese troops who are naturally affected by the spirit of their families at home.  We have also to count, while preparing for attack, on some thousands of civilian workmen.  Inevitably there has already been some deterioration in the morale. That deterioration is not yet alarming and it is naturally important to prevent it from becoming so.

6.  For all these reasons I earnestly hope that an immediate decision will be taken to send us further supplies in adequate quantity by the quickest available means.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 21 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 22 FEBRUARY 1942

Daytime  Total of 50 ME 109s and JU 88s.  Bombs dropped on Kalafrana, Hal Far, Luqa, Ta Qali.  Enemy aircraft engaged by Heavy and Light Ack Ack and by Hurricanes.  One ME 109 destroyed and several JU 88 and other ME s damaged.  Extensive damage to service property and installations.  Casualties:  two soldiers wounded.

0756-0832 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by two ME 109s circles the Island and recedes.  One aircraft drops bombs in Kalafrana Bay.  Heavy Ack Ack engaged.

0856 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north.

0917 hrs  The JU 88 attacks Hal Far, dropping four bombs and causing superficial damage to buildings.  One Swordfish is burned out; one Naval Rating killed.  One RAF serviceman is seriously injured; four Army personnel and one Naval Rating injured.  Heavy Ack Ack and fighters engage.

0920 hrs  The JU 88 is engaged by guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery guns at 5500 feet; no damage claimed.

0938 hrs  All clear.

1023-1058 hrs  Four JU 88 escorted by ME 109s approach from the north.  One JU 88 carries out reconnaissance at high altitude, while the other three drop bombs on Hal Far, Safi and Luqa.  Five Wellingtons under repair are further damaged; two Hurricanes are damaged.  One petrol bowser and the duty pilot’s tent are destroyed; the duty pilot is wounded.  Heavy Ack Ack and Light Ack Ack engage.  Four Hurricanes fire all their ammunition from short range.  Many strikes are claimed on the engines, fuselage and tail of one JU 88: aircraft is believed unlikely to reach base.

1150-1235 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by fighters approach from the north and drop bombs on Luqa and the Safi landing strip.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  Two ME 109s carry out a low flying attack against a Sunderland in Kalafrana Bay.  They are engaged by Light Machine Guns of 1st Bn Dorset and 2nd Bn Devon Regiments.

1333-1412 hrs  Four JU 88s escorted by fighters approach from the north and drop bombs in the Safi – Gudja areas, damaging living quarters, a sound locator and searchlight position at Gudja.  Malta’s fighters up; no engagement.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1505-1521 hrs  Nine plus unidentified aircraft drop bombs in the sea 300 yards off Tigne from above the cloud.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrage.

1555-1605 hrs  Two plus aircraft approach the north of Gozo, split up and recede north.  Fighters are airborne but do not intercept.

1648-1720 hrs  Twelve plus aircraft approach in three groups.  Malta’s fighters are airborne and Heavy Ack Ack launch a barrage over Grand Harbour.  Bombs are dropped on Island Bay from above the cloud.

1800-1944 hrs  Twelve plus aircraft come in and drop bombs from above cloud, east of Grand Harbour. Ten plus ME 109s follow and patrol south east of the Island at 9000 feet.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1950-2016 hrs  A nuisance raid of aircraft believed to be aimed at the Libyan ferry service and a diversion near Gozo.  No aircraft cross the coast.

Night 21/22  Almost continuous raids.  Bombs in the sea and on land at Delimara, Mellieha, Ta Qali, Tarxien, Marfa Ridge, Ta Silch, Torri Qalet Marku, Wardia Ridge, Valletta and Gudia.  Hal Far aerodrome is cratered; one Albacore slightly damaged.  One Hurricane slightly damaged at Ta Qali.  No casualties.

2045-2135 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No aircraft crossed the coast: bombs are dropped in the sea south of Hal Far and 25 miles east of the Island.

2153-2250 hrs  One aircraft crosses the coast four times and is barraged five times.  Bombs are dropped in the sea off Tigne, Manoel Island, Hal Far and Benghaisa, and on land at Delimara.

2257-0043 hrs  One aircraft is barraged five times and drops bombs on land at Ta Qali, Mellieha, Valletta and in the sea near St Paul’s Bay, Comino, St Thomas’ Bay and Zonqor.  Many of the bombs are incendiaries; some are reported as unexploded (ie delayed-action bombs).

0024 hrs  One unexploded bomb is reported south of Tarxien (believed delayed-action).

0050-0527 hrs  Four aircraft operating singly and in succession carry out patrols and occasionally cross the coast.  One unexploded bomb is reported in French Creek (believed delayed-action); other bombs fall on Marfa Ridge (four), Hal Far (two), Ta Silch, the road house near Madliena, Torri Qalet Marku, Wardia Ridge, Ghallis Rocks and Gudia.  There are also bombs in the sea to the north of the Island.  Two low-flying ME 109s machine-gun an area in the vicinity of Wardia Battery.  Heavy Ack Ack fire five barrages.

0547-0604 hrs  One aircraft approaches Comino but does not cross the coast.

0639-0725 hrs  Four bombers operate individually in succession; only two cross the coast.  The first is barraged twice and drops bombs in the sea off Rocco.  The second, a JU 88, drops one bomb near Selmun Palace.

Military casualties  Lieutenant Frederick Bedford, HMS St.Angelo, Senior Observer, Fleet Air Arm, killed in action over St Paul’s Bay.

Civilian casualties  Mqabba  Anthony Ghigo (age 24).

OPERATIONS REPORTS: SATURDAY 21 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Sunderland, four Hudsons, one Flamingo from Gibraltar.  Departures  Three Wellingtons to Shallufa, three Wellingtons to LG 224; three Hudsons to LG 224.

HAL FAR Night 21/22nd  Four Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched on search for enemy shipping.  Area searched from Messina Straits on bearing 110 for 100 degrees.  Two Albacores 828 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched to attack 4000 ton tanker off Tripoli.  One torpedo hit the ship.  Both aircraft returned safely.  One Albacore 828 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched on search for enemy shipping crashed in the sea off St Paul’s Bay on the way out.  Lt Bedford (Observer) is missing.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland reconnaissance of Sicilian harbours; one Maryland photo-reconnaissance special task; one Maryland SF3 patrol.  21 Squadron  One Blenheim despatched to attack shipping at Palermo; no attack made.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  2nd Bn Irish Fusiliers mount guard at the Governor’s Palace, St Anton.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Rain ceased overnight.  Air raids resumed.  Luqa working party resumed.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

 

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14 February 1942: Bomb Disposal Officer’s Lucky Escape

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UNEXPLODED BOMB AT THE OPERA HOUSE

This morning Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officer Lt George Carroll received a call from the Police in Valletta: an unexploded bomb is located close opposite their station:

Opera House with balustrade to R (NWMA Malta)

“When you look at the front of the Opera House, to the right a building ran across the present Square, with a balustrade on the top of it, which was part of a walkway.  I was told that there was a bomb on the balustrade.

When I arrived, I saw that the bomb was hanging suspended over the street.  The balustrade had a ledge extending towards the square.  I edged along this parapet on my knees – knowing I could fall onto the pavement below.  When I reached the bomb I found it was one which I hadn’t seen before:  it was small, made of metal, and on the top it had a rocking cap.  The bomb was attached to a wire, which I had to carefully snip, so that I could deal with the fuze and then take the bomb away for examination.

I traced the wire back and found that stretched across streets and houses.  Then I realised that, while I was on the ledge delicately holding the bomb, someone anywhere in Valletta could have found the wire and pulled it out of curiosity, banging the bomb against the balustrade and exploding it in my hands.

I found out that the bomb had been sent up by the Navy.  To deal with Stukas, they invented a system whereby they sent into the air a pot of explosive with a rocking cap on top – the fuze mechanism – attached to a thousand feet of wire, with a parachute at the end.  It would probably be fired up by a mortar, to launch it vertically into the sky.  As it was fired into the air, the parachute would separate and as a Stuka hit the wire, the parachute would pull across the wing;   The pot would hit the wing and the rocking cap would set it off, destroying the wing and bringing the plane down…I could have been blown to smithereens!”

Realising that other such bombs could easily fall into less expert hands with fatal consequences, Lt Carroll promptly arranges for an Information Office to issue a warning to the public, which appears on the front page of the Times of Malta.  (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 14 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 15 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Wind south-westerly; light.  Clear sky.

0941-1040 hrs  A raid by one ME 109 fighter which drops two bombs on Ta Qali and machine-guns the rear of Chateau Bertrand.  Light Ack Ack engage.  A reconnaissance mission by one JU 88 escorted by two ME 109s is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack at height control.  Hurricanes are airborne; no engagement.

1051-1135 hrs  Two raids, each of three plus ME109s aircraft orbit an area north of Grand Harbour without approaching the coast.

1151-1354 hrs  Three ME 109s approach at 15000 feet and dive to 5000 feet to drop bombs on Ta Qali.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.  Bombs damage the Guard-room, Photo section and and equipment store: one administration building collapses and three lorries are destroyed.  AC1 Wilson sustains slight injuries.  Ten enemy aircraft patrol at 17000 feet, waiting for two Marylands returning from a convoy patrol.  Twelve Hurricanes are airborne and the two Marylands land safely.

1612-1753 hrs  Eight enemy fighters approach from the north.  Twelve Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.  No enemy aircraft cross the coast.

1950-2045 hrs  One enemy bomber approaches the Island from the north.  One anti-aircraft barrage is fired and bombs fall in the sea north east of Ricasoli.

0200-0737 hrs  Two air raid warnings last most of the night.  A series of eleven aircraft approach the Island in ten incursions.  17 barrages are fired.  Bombs are dropped in the sea and on land in the areas of Mosta, Corradino, French Creek, Zebbug, Mqabba and Madliena.

Military casualties  Leading Seaman Augustus Rendell, HM Whaler Swona, Royal Naval Patrol Service; Lance Sergeant Leonard Johnson, 32nd Light Ack Ack Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Mrs Alice Hiscock, St.Georges Barracks.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: SATURDAY 14 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Catalina, one Beaufort, two Beaufighters from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Catalina to Cairo; one Beaufort to LG 224.

HAL FAR  Night 14/15th  One Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched on shipping search.  Area covered: Malta-Lampedusa-Rerenna-Tripoli.  Nothing sighted.  Two Hurricanes of 605 Squadron based at Hal Far are scrambled from Ta Qali.  P/O Lowe is shot down in the sea and reported missing.  P/O Wigley fired at an ME 109 with no observed result.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland Just I patrol; one Maryland Just II patrol; one Maryland photo-reconnaissance Messina Harbour; one Maryland special search for friendly convoy.  252 Squadron  Four Beaufighters protection of friendly convoy.  21 Squadron  One Blenheim reconnaissance for enemy forces.  40 Squadron  Two Wellingtons attacked Gerbini aerodrome; six Wellingtons attacked Catania; three despatched to attack Comiso aerodrome; two aircraft also attacked Syracuse; one aircraft also attacked Augusta and one aircraft attacked Augusta only.  One aircraft jettisoned his bombs and returned early.  S/D Flight  One Wellington search around friendly convoy.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Regimental Dance Band plays at Manoel Theatre, Valletta.

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

(1)  UXB Malta, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010/2012

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9 February 1942: Convoy Delays Force Cut in Domestic Fuel

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  • Seven night raids
  • Fuel depot set on fire
  • Eight unexploded bombs jettisoned near Kalafrana

FUEL RATIONS CUT TO SUMMER LEVELS TODAY

Mosta (NWMA Malta)

Despite continuing exceptionally cold weather conditions in Malta, the Government has to make drastic cuts to rations of kerosene.  The fuel is used for heating and cooking in Malta – and is especially needed by civilians bombed out of their own homes.  Difficulties in running supply convoys from North Africa have made the cuts necessary.  As Lt Gen Dobbie reports to the Secretary of State for the Colonies:  “We are reverting to summer kerosene ration on 9th February instead of the beginning of April.  This is a measure which long term supply makes necessary.  It will cause temporary inconvenience.”

AIR RAIDS DAWN 9 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 10 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Early morning mist.  Wind south west.  Warmer later in day; clear sky.

1035 hrs  P/O Stuart of 249 Squadron, Ta Qali, crashes while making an air test and is killed.

1346-1401 hrs  Two ME 109 fighters approach from the north at 10000 feet, losing height until they reach Kalafrana at 50 feet, when they recede.  Guns do not engage.

1500-1534 hrs  One JU 88 bomber approaches from the north, skirts the Island to the east then crosses the coast near Kalafrana before receding north via Grand Harbour.  No bombs are dropped.  Malta’s fighters are airborne; no interceptions.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1600-1625 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by ME 109s approach from the north and drop bombs on Ta Qali, Mosta and Qrendi.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  Four civilians are killed in Mosta.  Bombs on Ta Qali camp cause considerable damage to a Photo Section and Sick Quarters, blackouts and a barrack block.  Three airmen and one member of Army medical staff are killed.  Three officers are badly injured.

1740-1808 hrs  Two plus ME 109s approach from the north, patrol at low altitude north of the Island, then recede.

1859-1918 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north east and drops bombs in Kalafrana Bay.  Searchlights illuminate the target; Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

2012-2046 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and bombs are dropped in the sea off St Thomas Bay.

2134-2327 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  Bombs are dropped in the sea off Grand Harbour, on land west of Kalafrana and in the Gharghur and Delimara areas.  RE Bomb Disposal receive a report of eight unexploded bombs near Kalafrana.

0037-0104 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  Bombs are dropped in the Bingemma and Baida areas.

0112-0132 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north; no bombs are dropped and guns do not engage.

0344-0351 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, turns to the north of Gozo and recedes.

0408-0445 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the Rabat and Ghar Lapsi areas.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0520-0610 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north and is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack.  The aircraft drops bombs in the Kalafrana and Birzebbuga areas.  A flare falls on the Shell Depot, Birzebugga, and ignites waste oil from fuel tanks, starting a fire.  A fire engine is called; by 0600 hrs the blaze is well under control; it is extinguished by 0645 hrs.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer James Stuart, 249 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR); Corporal Alfred Tapping, Royal Air Force (VR); Leading Aircraftsman Valentine Turner, Royal Air Force (VR); Private William Spinks, Medical Section, 8th Battalion The Manchester Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Mosta  Vincenzo Borg, age 55; Annetto Mifsud Ellul, A & CE, age 43; Marietta Pizzuto, age 50; Salvina Scerri, age 28; Qormi  Carmelo Bonnici, age 45; Francis Felice, age 56.  Siggiewi  Wistin Baldacchino, age 58.  Valletta  Spiro Cefai, age 43.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: 9 FEBRUARY 1942

LUQA  69 Squadron  Two Marylands SF6 patrol; one Maryland shipping search Beurat-Tripoli.

TA QALI  Three aircraft from Hal Far 185 and 605 Squadrons arrived for operations at Ta Qali.  Six airmen attached Kalafrana on police course.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT HQ and A Company fired Bren Guns on Pembroke Ranges.  Working party again sent to Marina Pinto; Luqa working party as usual.  CO held a conference in the afternoon to discuss the move of C and A Coys; to be completed by 1200 hrs 13 February.  B, C and D Companies held their weekly cross-country run.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER  After a moderately heavy raid on Ta Qali area Private W Spinks of the Medical Section was killed by enemy action.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 10; dealt with 1 (50kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

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