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11 December 1941: Malta Attacks Starve Rommel’s Africa Korps

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GERMAN SUPPLIES ALL BUT EXHAUSTED

Military intelligence suggests that Rommel’s Africa Korps have all but exhausted their fuel stocks and other essentials required to maintain their desert campaign.  Malta’s air forces today increased their efforts to prevent enemy convoys from supplying the German forces.  Successful bombing raids have been carried out on harbours and shipping in Sicily and Greece.  Allied bombing of road transport has severely depleted the few supplies which have managed to reach the North African coast.

The search by reconnaissance aircraft from Malta continues across all possible convoy routes for surface shipping and submarines attempting supply runs across the Mediterranean.

GERMAN ATTACKERS IDENTIFIED

Sightings of German aircraft have been confirmed in raids on Malta today. Reports show that the enemy is targeting searchlights and gun positions protecting the airfields.  This strategy shows signs of preparation for a heavier attack on the Island’s air forces, all of whom have been placed on alert.  Attackers were valiantly fought off by the Island’s gunners but two airfield ground crew were killed in the raids.

Lockheed Hudson

DELIVERY AIRCRAFT LOST

Four pilots of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve reported lost today have been named as Flight Sergeant Kenneth Brown (aged 23), Sergeants Andrew Dick, 29 and Nevil Leaver, 25, and John Pinsent, aged 25.  The pilots were members of a detachment of 233 Squadron posted to Gibraltar just days ago.

They were flying Lockheed Hudson aircraft en route to Malta but failed to arrive at their destination.  The Hudsons were destined to supplement the Island’s anti-submarine and reconnaissance force.

GOVERNOR SEEKS TO STRENGTHEN CIVIL DEFENCE

Malta’s Governor & Commander in Chief has written today to the War Office requesting approval to increase civil defence personnel, as follows:

Camp Commandant responsible for defence of Castille area of Valetta six posts.  Defence of Command S.M. eight posts.  Supervision of Grand Harbour nine watching posts.  Also musters and organises and commands mobile reserve comprised of leave etc. personnel caught in Valetta by surprise attack.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 11 DECEMBER TO DAWN 12 DECEMBER 1941

0943-1018 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

1910-2009 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Four enemy aircraft approached – only one crossing coast.  Heavy Ack Ack fired two immediate barrages.

2130-2330 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Four enemy aircraft approached, only two crossing coast.  Heavy Ack Ack fired two immediate barrages.  Bombs near Mgarr and in sea.  Kalafrana searchlight machine-gunned – low-flying aircraft engaged by light machine gun and Bofors.  Target illuminated for a few seconds. 

Military casualties  Sgt John S Pinsent, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), 233 Squadron; Sgt Nevil Leaver, RAFVR, 233 Squadron; Sgt Andrew C Dick, RAFVR, 233 Squadron, Flt Sgt Kenneth C Brown, RAFVR, 233 Squadron; AC2 Roderick Macdonald, Royal Air Force; Private Ronald Coles, 2nd Battalion The Devonshire Regiment.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 11 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Four Swordfish carried out search for shipping in vicinity of Messina, but sighted nothing.  Albacores bombed Castel Benito aerodrome.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  4 Wellingtons from Gibraltar plus 1 Clare.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF 9 patrol; one Maryland SF 6 patrol.  Photo-reconnaissance  One Maryland Navarino and Patras and one Maryland Messina area; one Maryland to North African aerodromes.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 1 patrol; one Blenheim SF 2B patrol; three Blenheims attacked shipping in Argostoli Harbour.  One Blenheim attacked shipping in Catania Harbour at dawn, along with one Blenheim of 107 Squadron.  107 Squadron  Three Blenheims despatched to attack Argostoli but leader had engine trouble; formation returned to base without attacking.  40 Squadron  Thirteen Wellingtons attacked shipping at Patras.  104 Squadron  Six Wellingtons attacked shipping at Patras.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special shipping search.

TA QALI  1910 hrs Air raid alarm: four aircraft – no Hurricanes airborne – gunfire.  2130 hrs  Air raid alarms 2130 and 2331 hrs.  No fighters airborne.  Bombs dropped and Ack Ack barrages.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2.

 

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Posted by on December 11, 2021 in 1941, December 1941

 

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10 December 1941: Luftwaffe Attack Targets Across Malta

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STRIKES ON STRATEGIC POINTS ACROSS ISLAND

Map of Malta – click here

Ten enemy aircraft attacked Malta tonight, targeting strategic positions across the Island.  Bombs have been reported on airfields at Kalafrana and Hal Far, as well as in the Safi and Gudia areas close to Luqa.

Specific attacks were aimed at defensive gun positions on the Victoria Lines, at Wardia and between Madliena and Naxxar.  Aircraft were seen to swoop low and machine-gun their targets from low altitude.

Kalafrana (NWMA Malta)

Damage has been limited, according to reports.  The searchlight sound locator at Ghar Hassan received a direct hit but was not severely damaged.  The equipment is still in position and ready to detect incoming enemy raiders, who must now be expected at any hour of the day or night.

After two relatively quiet days, the raiders’ tactics leave little doubt that Malta needs to be prepared for more Luftwaffe attacks.   This is the second severe air raid since evidence was detected of the German air force’s return to Sicily (see report Saturday 6 December).

AIR RAIDS DAWN 10 DECEMBER TO DAWN 11 DECEMBER 1941

0630-0735 hrs Air raid alarm.

1608-1622 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two Macchi 200’s carried out recce of Island.

1933 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Three enemy aircraft approached from north but did not cross coast.  Bombs in sea.

2225-0655 hrs  Air raids. 

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 10 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Neptune and Force K returned with nil result, enemy having turned back.

AIR HQ  Arrivals 1 Catalina from Aboukir. Departures  4 Blenheim for 108 MU.

HAL FAR  Night 9th-10th seven Swordfish 830 Squadron and five Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack two cruisers sighted by a Wellington.  Target not located and all aircraft returned to base.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF 9 patrol; one Maryland SF 6 patrol; photo-reconnaissance Lampedusa Harbour.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 11 patrol; 1 Blenheim attacked two merchant vessels in Trapani Harbour with two Blenheims 107 Squadron.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 11 patrol.  104 Squadron  Eight Wellingtons attacked targets at Benghazi.  One Wellington S/D Flight special shipping search. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; dealt with 1 (German 50kg).

 

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Posted by on December 10, 2021 in 1941, December 1941

 

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9 December 1941: Axis Convoy Turns Back at Sight of Malta Aircraft

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RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS DETER ENEMY

Alberico da Barbiano

An emergency convoy carrying urgent supplies for Rommel’s Afrika Korps turned about tonight at the sight of reconnaissance aircraft from Malta.  The light cruiser Alberto da Giussano and her sister ship Alberico da Barbiano, loaded with fuel desperately needed by Axis forces in North Africa, set out from Palermo under cover of darkness to attempt the run to Libya. 

The ships were chosen for the mission due to their speed and had no proper fuel tanks fitted for storage.  The decks of both vessels were crammed with metal containers filled with the highly-inflammable fluid.

A short time into the crossing, Allied Swordfish and Albacore aircraft were spotted in the vicinity, searching for the Italian convoy.  Their presence revealed, the mission’s commanders decided to return to port rather than run the risk of attack. 

In so doing, the ships escaped detection by aircraft from Hal Far who were out to discover their location for a Malta strike force sent to destroy them.

Reconnaissance flights from Malta are now patrolling every possible port of embarkation for Axis convoys destined for North Africa, as well as carrying out frequent bombing attacks on fuel dumps on both sides of the Mediterranean.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 9 DECEMBER TO DAWN 10 DECEMBER 1941

0112-1045 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft crossed Island from north to south and dropped bombs 200 yards from Civil Hospital, Guardamangia. 

1035-1112 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 9 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Neptune, Aurora, Penelope, Jaguar and Kandahar sailed to intercept enemy forces at 1830 hrs.  Seven Swordfish and five Albacores searched for two enemy cruisers but failed to locate.

AIR HQ  Departures  3 Wellingtons, 1 Beaufighter, for 108 MU.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland [patrol] Navarino-Patras; one Maryland [patrol] Palermo-Trapani; one Maryland SF 9 patrol; one Maryland SF 6 patrol. 18 Squadron  One Blenheim central Ionian Sea; one Blenheim Kerkennah-Pantelleria patrol.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 11 patrol. 104 Squadron Seven Wellingtons attacked fuel stores depot west of Fort Curgi, Tripoli.  Two Wellingtons attacked storage buildings near Castillo, Tripoli.  40 Squadron Twelve Wellingtons attacked fuel depot near Fort Curgi, Tripoli.  One Wellington S/D Flight on shipping search Maritino-Pantelleria-Kelibia.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1; dealt with 2 (German 50kg).

 

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Posted by on December 9, 2021 in 1941, December 1941, Uncategorized

 

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7 December 1941: Malta Under 11 Hour Night Alert

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AIR RAIDS 7 DECEMBER TO 8 DECEMBER 1941

0127 hrs Air raid alarm sounded after bombs dropped in sea south of Ghar Lapsi.  Two further raids approached and took over intruder patrols, attempting to shoot up returning Wellingtons [from last night’s attack on the Royal Harbour at Naples]. 

Ghar Lapsi (NWMA Malta)

A low level bombing and machine gun attack was made on Ghar Lapsi searchlight station, bombs dropped one mile south of Siggiewi.  No damage or casualties.  Ack Ack barraged twice, Bofors and Light Machine Guns engaged several low flying aircraft.

Rumours are circulating that Italian Regia Aeronautica pilots are flying German aircraft on missions over Malta.

0657 hrs All-clear sounds.  The Island has been on constant alert since 1959 hrs yesterday.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 7 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Three Swordfish left to attack one merchant vessel west of Malta, but failed to locate target.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Beaufighters, two Wellingtons, one Halifax from Gibraltar.

HAL FAR  Four Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack Castel Benito Aerodrome.  One dropped bombs on Mellaha.  Bombs dropped on south side of Mellaha aerodrome causing large column of black smoke.  At Castel Benito dispersal areas were attacked and eight medium and one large fire started.  Opposition intense but inaccurate.  All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  S/D Flight  One Wellington shipping search. 69 Squadron One Maryland on anti-submarine patrol; one Maryland special search Ionian sea; one Maryland SF 12 patrol.  Photo-Reconnaissance  One Maryland Argostoli and Navarino harbours; one Maryland Tripoli Harbour.  PR Unit 2: one over Catania and Gela; another over Tripoli Harbour and Castel Benito.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim special search Kerkanna area for merchant vessel; one Blenheim 18 Squadron SF 2B patrol.  Five Blenheims despatched to attack convoy (failed to locate).  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 11 patrol; five Blenheims despatched to attack convoy (failed to locate).  104 Squadron  Six Wellingtons attacked Castel Benito aerodrome.  Two Wellingtons attacked Tripoli.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3.

 

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Posted by on December 7, 2021 in 1941, December 1941, Uncategorized

 

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29 November 1941: Air Crew Missing After Libya Strike

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ALBACORE FAILS TO RETURN TO HAL FAR

Albacore

Albacore

One Albacore has been reported missing after an air strike on a Libyan target last night by 828 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, based at Hal Far.  Five Albacores carried out the successful night raid on the Italian Regia Aeronautica base at Castel Benito near Tripoli.  Despite fierce enemy opposition, bombs were dropped among dispersal areas, destroying at least one aircraft and starting fires across the airfield.  The pilot of the missing Albacore has been named as S/Lt Walshe; his observer is S/Lt Lewis.

SECOND NAVY STRIKE FORCE FOR MALTA

Allied intelligence has discovered that Rommel’s fuel stocks are fast running out.  Seeing a real opportunity to cut off his supplies entirely, the Admiralty in London decides on an all out offensive against Axis convoys in the Mediterranean.  Malta is now to be at the spearhead of that attack. 

HMS Ajax

Already the base for Force “K”, Grand Harbour now sees the arrival of a second Strike Force “B” – including Ajax, Neptune, Kimberley and Kingston – carrying with them from Alexandria welcome supplies for Malta.  The Island is now equipped with four cruisers and four destroyers.

As if on cue, Axis supply ships set out from various Italian ports heading for Libya, closely observed by Malta’s reconnaissance pilots.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 29 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 30 NOVEMBER 1941

1057-1106 hrs Air raid alarm.  One recce Macchi crossed at great height.

1710-1728 hrs Air raid alarm.  Two recce Macchi’s crossed at great height.

1937-1939 hrs Air raid.

Military casualty  Sergeant George Tolcher, 1st Battalion The Hampshire Regiment.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 29 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Force “B” arrives, consisting of HMS Ajax flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H B T Rawlings Commanding Seventh Cruiser Squadron, with Neptune, Kingston and Kimberley.  Force “K” arrives.

AIR HQ  Two Wellesleys headed in from Heliolopolis, one crashed in the sea; the crew was saved.

LUQA  0800-1127 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron special search.  0815-1140 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron SF 10 patrol.  0905-1030 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron photo-reconnaissance Tripoli.  Returned owing to bad weather.  Two Blenheims 18 Squadron SF 11 patrol.  Six Blenheims 107 Squadron attacked shipping in Navarino Harbour.  One Wellington S/D Flight special shipping search.  Ten Wellingtons 104 Squadron attacked administrative buildings at Benghazi. 

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Posted by on November 29, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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27 November 1941: A Letter from Home

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HMS Utmost

HMS Utmost

A LETTER FROM HOME

After a day of intensive activity at Luqa, Corporal Jack Turner can at last have a few minutes to himself.  After weeks of waiting, he has received a letter from his home on the Isle of Man.  Ever conscious of security and the censor, Jack’s father knows he cannot tell or ask his son about the war. Still, contact with loved ones and simple reassurance that all is well are precious to those separated by thousands of miles.  

Stamped: airgraph service not available to Malta, forwarded by Air Mail: Upton, Nov 4th 1941

Dear Jack

I received your letter this morning, and am glad to know you are safe and well.  Your telegram arrived last Monday week and I replied by wire last Wednesday.  Pleased to know you had a good trip out, it must have been an exciting time.  Have written to [Mrs K] and sent the money for the Insurance and will forward it to her every 4 weeks.  I will also write and give her your message.  Will be writing to Betty in a day or two when I will forward your letter on to her.  We are all well at home and each of us send our love to you.  The weather has been on the cold side, but of course we can expect that now.  There is no fresh news to tell you, only let me have a letter when you can.  Cheerio and all the best.

Love Father. (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 27 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 28 NOVEMBER 1941

0049-0129 hrs  Air raid alert.  Two enemy aircraft came in from north and crossed the coast between Grand Harbour and Madalena.  Ack Ack barraged on three occasions claiming one enemy aircraft destroyed. 

1106-1125 hrs  Air raid alert.  Recce raid by two enemy fighter aircraft.  Heavy Ack Ack barraged at 24,000 feet.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 27 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Utmost returned from patrol off Del Armi, having sunk Trieste (2)Sokol returned from patrol of Navarino having got two hits on a convoy after they left harbour.  Five Albacores attacked Castel Benito aerodrome.

HAL FAR  Night 27/28th Nov Five Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack Castel Benito aerodrome. Two small fires were started – one on the eastern side and one on the western side of the aerodrome.  Weather 8/10 to 10/10 cloud over target.  All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  18 Squadron  Four Blenheims attacked walled enclosure 11000 yards east south east of Mellaha aerodrome. Two Blenheims on SF11 patrol.  One Blenheim search for merchant vessels.  107 Squadron  Five Blenheims despatched to attack merchant vessels in Argostoli Harbour. Did not find target.  One Wellington S/D Flight on special shipping search.  Twelve Wellingtons 40 Squadron and nine Wellingtons 104 Squadron attacked Royal Arsenal at Naples.  

 (1)  With thanks to Ivor Ramsden of the MANX AVIATION AND MILITARY MUSEUM – a collection of militaria, civil and wartime aviation dedicated to the memory of those from the Isle of Man who served in a military capacity on the Island or overseas. 

(2) HM Submarine Utmost severely damaged Trieste, but did not sink her.  The hit on Trieste and a light cruiser by an a/c torpedo did cause the Italian navy to return the supply convoy to Italy.

 

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Posted by on November 27, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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24 November 1941: Invasion Force Heads for Malta

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KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT TRAIN TO REPEL INVADERS

The Kings Own Malta Regiment are carrying out manoeuvres today as part of Command Exercise “Victoria”.

1345 hrs  An urgent ‘message’ is received from Headquarters. Malta is now on real red alert, action “ASIA”.  Fifteen enemy warships have been reported 40 miles west of Gozo, on course for Malta.  All officers and men are recalled from leave, and all the Island’s defences are fully manned.  The Regiment is now at war stations. 

1615 hrs  The order comes to earmark men for loading arms.  Sixteen Other Ranks from 3rd Battalion are deployed at Ta Kandia and ten at St Edwards College, plus others at Pawla ordered to provide loaders as above. One platoon from Pawla is ordered to report to HQ.  

1647 hrs  Italian aircraft attack Malta.  Ten minutes later nine Hurricanes sent to investigate the possible convoy return to base, having been unable to locate the warships.  Despite the lack of a confirmed sighting, the Island’s defenders remain at the ready well into the evening.

2100 hrs A report is received from a RAF speed launch engaged on rescue operations that it has sighted ten small craft, identified “E” boats [German motor torpedo boat] about five miles north east of Delimara, on bearing 040.  All headquarters are informed.  Recce aircraft are sent out but nothing further was seen of the craft.

2127 hrs  The alert level is reduced and the Regiment is ordered to stand to. 

2319 hrs  The beach defences are finally stood down.  The Island will remain in a state of readiness for another twelve hours.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 25 NOVEMBER 1941

No air raids.

Military casualties  Flight Sergeant Harold Batchelor, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), 69 Squadron; AC1 Thomas McCann, BEM, Royal Air Force, Sergeant David McKell, Royal Australian Air Force; Sergeant John Hutt, RAFVR, 69 Squadron.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 24 NOVEMBER 1941

LUQA  One Blenheim 18 Squadron and one Blenheim 107 Squadron SF11 patrol.  18 Squadron  Five Blenheims search for M/V (merchant vessel). No sightings made. 107 Squadron  Six Blenheims attacked MT on roads east and west of Sirte. Eight Wellingtons 104 Squadron and six Wellingtons 40 Squadron attacked Bengazi. Sgt Parker failed to return.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 5 (Thermos).

 

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Posted by on November 24, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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23 November 1941: Malta Force Destroys Axis Fuel Supply

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FORCE “K” OUTFOXES ROMMEL’S CONVOY

Rommel fights on in North Africa knowing he is perilously close to running out of supplies, especially fuel.  Desperate to get deliveries into Libya, the Axis try a new tactic, operating a series of small convoys in the hope that Allied naval and air forces will be too stretched to attack all of them. 

HMS Penelope

One such convoy is spotted early this evening by a patrolling aircraft.  Within hours of returning to Grand Harbour, Force “K” is back at sea, sailing under cover of thunderstorms towards its prey. 

The Royal Navy’s radio operators successfully jam Axis signals which could warn the convoy of the attackers’ approach. 

By the time the presence of Force “K” is spotted by the Luftwaffe, it is too late.  Despite being hit by shells, Penelope manages to attack two abandoned Italian freighters, igniting cans of precious petrol piled high on their decks. (1)

BOMB DISPOSAL FOR MALTA: WAR OFFICE CONFIRMS ALLOCATION

From: The War Office                                      To: Governor and C in C Malta.

First. Establishment applicable to Malta now III/20B/2 summarised Lieutenant one, Sgt one, L/Sgt one, Cpls three, L/Cpls (Sapper) two, L/Cpl (driver IC) one, Sappers nine, drivers IC five, att. cook one, total all ranks 24 (half 48). Second. Trades of above group A-D fitter one, Group E Pioneers RE seven, engine hand IC one, Pioneers RE for duty as Batman one, Sanitary one, Timbermen four. Third. Equipment table G1098-104 (repeat 104).

AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 24 NOVEMBER 1941

1022 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

1202 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One Macchi approached from north, skirted Grand Harbour area and receded north.

1240 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Caused by return of Maryland.

1708 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi 200’s.

1904 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Four enemy aircraft approached Island, only one crossing coast over Mellieha Ridge.  Two bombs fell in Mellieha Bay and one on land nearby.

Military casualty  Sergeant Walter Shearsby, Royal Air Force.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 23 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Force “K” sailed by Admiralty orders to intercept enemy convoy.

HAL FAR  Night 22/23rd Nov. Six Albacores 828 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched to lay mines outside Tripoli Harbour. Mines were laid a few miles to the west of Tripoli.  All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  One Blenheim 107 Squadron and one Blenheim 18 Squadron SF11 patrol. Five Blenheims 107 Squadron attacked landing ground west of B Bu Giarada. One Wellington S/D Flight special shipping search. Five Wellingtons 104 Squadron attacked Benina aerodrome.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1.

(1)  The steamers German Maritza and Procida were lost with all hands; although the crews probably disembarked, the weather made rescue impossible. The Italian escort vessels did not manage any hits on Force K. Crusader Project 

 

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Posted by on November 23, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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20 November 1941: Kings Own Malta Regiment Open Fire

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GUNNERS ALERT DESPITE NO AIR RAID WARNING

Coastal defenders of the 3rd Battalion, Kings Own Malta Regiment opened fire this morning on two Italian aircraft as they attempted to cross the southern coast on a reconnaissance raid over the Island.  The gunners were taken by surprise as no air raid alarm had been heard to warn them of the incoming aircraft.

The Martin Model 167 Maryland

The Martin Model 167 Maryland

FORCED LANDING

A Maryland aircraft force, thought to have been on a reconnaissance mission, landed on Ta Qali aerodrome today after an encounter with enemy aircraft. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 21 NOVEMBER 1941

0559 hrs Air raid alarm.  Four enemy aircraft approached Island singly from north, only one crossing coast near St. Paul’s Bay.  Ack Ack fired barrage.  Bombs in sea.

0943 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi 200’s.  Ack Ack fired two barrages.

1606 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi 200’s.

2019 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two enemy aircraft approached Island but did not cross coast.  Bombs in sea off Madalena.

2222 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached Island from north and crossed coast St George’s area.  Bombs dropped Pembroke “C” Range.  No damage.

0157 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft came in from north and dropped bombs in sea five miles north of Naxxar.

Military casualties   2/Lt Norman Owen, 11 Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 20 NOVEMBER 1941

HMS Ursula

ROYAL NAVY  Ursula returned from patrol off Misurata, having unsuccessfully attacked a small convoy.  Six Swordfish laid mines outside Tripoli Harbour and at same time three Albacores created diversion with bombs and three other Albacores laid mines.

HAL FAR  Night five Swordfish, 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched to lay mines outside Tripoli Harbour.  The operation was successfully carried out and all aircraft safely returned to base.

LUQA  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF11 Patrol.  Three Blenheims special search for missing aircraft.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF11 Patrol.  Six Blenheims attacked convoy. 104 Squadron  Five Wellingtons nuisance raid Naples.  Three Wellingtons nuisance raid Brindisi. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 6; dealt with (1 x 70kg incendiary; 1 x 43kg incendiary; 3 x Thermos).

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Posted by on November 20, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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19 November 1941: Malta Attack A Costly Enterprise

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MANXMAN IS MISSING

Six Blenheims from 18 Squadron based at Luqa have carried out a bold attack on an Italian convoy attempting to run supplies to Tripoli.  This time Malta’s losses were heavy:   Flight Sergeant Chester Newsome and Sergeant Harold Macaulay of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Sergeant Roland Walker, Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve, all flying with 18 Squadron were shot down. 

Sergeant Harold Hanson from the Isle of Man has been reported missing, along with Sergeant John Woolman and Sergeant William Buck.  All three were members of the Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve flying with 18 Squadron RAF. (1)  An immediate search mission from 18 Squadron has been sent out to look for the missing pilots.

Mosta

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 20 NOVEMBER 1941

0229 hrs One enemy aircraft approached Island from north.  Incendiaries dropped near Mosta at 0245 hrs.  No alarm sounded for this raid.

0545-0646 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Eight enemy aircraft plotted from Sicily, only three crossing coast.  Bombs dropped on land near Anchor Bay and TKM searchlights.  No casualties.

1147-1213 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi’s.

1902-2007 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Five enemy aircraft crossed coast, two of which were barraged twice by Ack Ack.  One aircraft illuminated by searchlights for 6½ minutes.  Small High Explosives and incendiaries dropped Madalena and Naxxar area.

2132-2148 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached from south west of Island.  Barraged by Ack Ack three times.  Bombs in sea and near Attard.

2203-2230 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached Island from west.  Small High Explosives and incendiaries near Rabat.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 19 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Osiris arrived having hit a ship off Candia.  Force “K” returned to harbour at 0700 hrs.

LUQA  One Blenheim 18 Squadron (Sgt Davies) and one Blenheim 107 Squadron SF11 Patrol.  18 Squadron  Six Blenheims attacked convoy. 40 Squadron  One Wellington attacked Messina.  Four Wellingtons attacked Tripoli.  Four Wellingtons attacked Brindisi. 104 Squadron  Five Wellingtons nuisance raid Naples. Three Wellingtons attacked Benghazi. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 4; dealt with 2 (2kg incendiary).

(1)  Thanks to Ivor Ramsden of the MANX AVIATION AND MILITARY MUSEUM for information about Sgt Harold Leslie Hanson, RAFVR, formerly of Peel.  The museum is a collection of militaria, civil and wartime aviation dedicated to the memory of those from the Isle of Man who served in a military capacity on the Island or overseas. 

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Posted by on November 19, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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