Tag Archives: 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers

1 May 1942: 110 Enemy Aircraft Destroyed by Malta Guns

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Valleta from Kingsgate (Porta Reale) 1 May 1942


The Palace, Malta, 1/5/42 

“Dear Beckett, My best congratulations to the [Ack Ack] Gunners for reaching their century last month.  A very fine show – of which all concerned may be proud.  What about a double century this month?  There is an extra day in it, Yours ever, W G S Dobbie


Luftwaffe bombers carried out a series of individual bombing raids overnight across the Island but mainly concentrated on Luqa aerodrome.  The enemy is evidently targeting Army working parties now operating at night on repairs and the construction of pens to shelter fighter aircraft.

A high percentage of delayed action bombs have been used in the raids.  The intention has clearly been to disrupt the construction effort, as work has to be suspended during attacks and afterwards, until all delayed-action bombs have been rendered safe.


Weather  Wind westerly; 80% high cloud.

0627 hrs; 0722 hrs; 0955 hrs; 1324 hrs; 1408 hrs; 1551 hrs  Alerts are sounded for a total of 22 ME 109s on patrol; only two cross the coast.  Two Spitfires are airborne to intercept; they destroy one ME 109 and damage two others.

1615 hrs  A delayed action bomb explodes near the cook house of 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment: no casualties.

1618 hrs  Five Cant 1007 Bs escorted by ME 109s and Macchi 202s approach the Island.  Malta’s fighters are airborne, destroying one ME 109 is destroyed by fighters.  One Spitfire is shot down in combat injuring the pilot, Flt Sgt Jack Rae, who survives.

1650 hrs  The five Cant bombers drop 40 1000kg bombs on Luqa and surrounding areas, including Giacomo and Ta Salib cross-tracks.

1728 hrs  One ME 109 is destroyed by Ack Ack light machine gun fire from 4th Bn Hampshire Regt B Company and D Company (16 Platoon).  The aircraft crashes in Kalafrana Bay.

1800 hrs  Bombs dropped on Hal Far.

1829 hrs  All clear.

Night  A continuous series of air raids by 30 single JU 88 bombers over the Island, using many delayed-action bombs.  Bombs are dropped on Luqa, Hal Far, Grand Harbour, Ta Qali, Rabat, Birzebbuga, Attard, Jebel Ghauzara, San Biagio, Mosta and in the sea.  Several houses are destroyed.  Searchlights effect six illuminations and fighters engage the enemy but no claims made.  Heavy Ack Ack also engage.

Four Hurricanes from Hal Far are scrambled three times during the night to intercept enemy raiders.  Sgt Yarra engages a JU 88 twelve miles north east of Grand Harbour and gets home a long burst of machine gun fire.  Operations report that the plot fades 37 miles north.

2004 hrs; 0030 hrs  Two unidentified aircraft (JU 88s) carry out shallow dive-bombing attacks on Luqa aerodrome, dropping several delayed-action bombs.  One Beaufighter of Malta Night Fighter Unit is burned out.

2155 hrs  One aircraft drops bombs in Wied has Saptan.

2216 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Hal Far.

0004 hrs  Bombs are dropped on the Safi strip.

0101 hrs  Bombs are dropped near Gudja Camp, Loreto Church and San Nicola Church.

0444 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Hal Far and in Wied has Saptan.

0505-0512 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Luqa and Hal Far.  An unexploded delayed-action bomb is reported at Luqa.  One Hurricane is damaged and one soldier injured at Hal Far.

Military casualties  Gunner Thomas Brodie, 32 Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery; Lance Corporal Victor Torpiano, 3rd Battalion, King’s Own Malta Regiment.

Civilian casualties  NIL


ROYAL NAVY  ML 126 carried out anti E Boat patrol.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Five Wellingtons, one Sunderland from Gibraltar; one Hudson from Gambut.  Departures  Three Wellingtons, three Hudsons, one Beaufort to 108 MU.  Aircraft casualties  One Hudson crashed on landing: crew uninjured.  One Spitfire crashed after combat: pilot injured.

HAL FAR  Four Hurricanes came to readiness for night flying.

LUQA  No operations during daylight.  2055-0335 hrs  One Wellington S/D Flight to locate and strike on enemy convoy.  Two merchant vessels and one destroyer sighted but then lost as special equipment deteriorated in effeciency.  No attack made.

TA QALI  All sleeping out passes are cancelled.  Reduced scale of rations came into force.

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Exercise “Stand to” received from Command: the exercise lasted 72 hours.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Companies busy on administration and interior economy.  D Company 1 Officer  40 Other Ranks salvaging at Ospizio Ordnance Depot. Exercise “Stand to” received from Fortress HQ.  2040 hrs  Bn reported in position.  No information about the exercise received as yet.

2ND BN THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  1800 hrs Bn receives “Exercise Stand To” from Brigade, the exercise to last for 72 hours.  Forward Bn HQ was manned and Companies tightened up their defence schemes etc and laid mines, except on main roads.

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

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 4; dealt with 2 (1 x 1800kg, 1 x 250kg).

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Reduction in scale of ration issues in full force: effect felt.  1800 hrs  This unit mans Observation Post Tal Minsia.  1815 hrs  Exercise “Stand to” given.  Possibility of genuine alarm.  2000 hrs  Luqa working parties continued.  Steady bombing of Luqa working parties overnight by single planes: no casualties.  0500 hrs  Exercise “Stand to” down.

2ND BN THE ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  1730 hrs  Warning order Exercise “Stand to” in force from 1800 hrs.  D Coy moved to Ta Kandia.  Luqa day and night working parties continue.  Stand to daily at 0514 hrs and 1945 hrs.

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Posted by on May 1, 2022 in 1942, May 1942


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10 February 1942: Bomb Attack on Refugee Village Kills 16

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  • Nine raids under cover of darkness
  • Enemy now using flares to illuminate targets
  • Civilian casualties in Birkirkara, Qormi and Xaghra, Gozo

    Flares illuminate bomb targets (NWMA, Malta)


Ten minutes after sunset today a German bomber unleashed its entire load of eight bombs on the community of Qormi.  Thirty houses were destroyed.  Sixteen civilians were killed and another twenty-six injured.  Servicemen from 8th Bn The Lancashire Fusiliers based nearby helped rescue  survivors.

The “bakers’ village” – bread-making centre for Malta – had grown in population with evacuees fleeing from Cottonera in the Three Cities at the height of bomb attacks on the Dockyard a year ago.  Qormi was thought to be far enough from enemy targets while still accessible for dockyard employees to reach their place of work.

As well as mourning the dead, many survivors will now be forced back on the road to seek safe shelter further afield.


Weather  100% cloud.  Wind southerly; cooler.

1103-1210 hrs  Two JU 88 bombers escorted by three ME 109s approach the Island form the north.  One JU 88 jettisons his bombs and recedes north in cloud.  The other comes in over Gozo and down the west coast of the Island, then moves away.  He is later picked up west of Gozo going north, turns back and drops bombs on Gozo before receding north north-east.  Hurricanes are airborne; no interceptions.  Heavy Ack Ack do not engage.

1514-1645 hrs  One JU 88 and 25 plus ME 109s approach from the north and drop bombs on Ta Qali and in the sea: off Tigne and off Ras il Fenek.  One barrack block is damaged at Ta Qali but the aerodrome is serviceable  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  Malta’s fighters are airborne but do not engage.

1748-1826 hrs  Three JU 88s and six plus ME 109s approach from the north and drop a stick of eight bombs on Qormi, demolishing 30 houses, killing 16 civilians and injuring another 26.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2006-2032 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs on the Tal Qroqq, Birkirkara, Floriana and Grand Harbour areas.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2140-2200 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs and flares on Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2212-2230 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, crosses the coast but drops no bombs.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2332-0020 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea and near Qrendi strip.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0045-0132 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the Grand Harbour area.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0203-0229 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs and flares in the Ta Qali area.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0316-0343 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the Ta Qali airea.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0355-0427 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea ten miles north of Grand Harbour.  Guns do not engage.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Paul Pace, age 48.  Qormi  Liza Aquilina, age 50; Giorgia Borg, age 43; John Briffa, age 33; Salvino Cassar, age 7; Anthony Ciappara, age 12; Saviour Gatt, age 47; George Grech, age 34; Emanuel Giordimaina, age 11; Joseph Giordimaina, age 8; Mary Giordimaina, age 5; Anna Muscat, age 15; John Portelli, age 34; Carmelo Saliba, age 55; Emanuel Sammut, age 7; Maria Sammut, age 6, Spiro Vella, age 20.  Gozo (Xaghra)  Carmelo Attard, age 72; Marianna Attard, age 70.


AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Albacores from El Adem; eight Beaufighters and two Beauforts from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Hurricane to Sidi Barani; one Wellington to Kabrit.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Sicilian aerodromes; one Maryland search Maritimo-Cagliari; two Marylands search Cagliari-Maritimo; one Hurricane photo-reconnaissance Pantelleria.  21 Squadron  Four Blenheims shipping sweep Kerkennah-Djerba.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search Kerkennah area.

TA QALI  Funeral of P/O Stewart.  No night flying: weather deteriorated.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  Brigade [training exercise] attended by Senior Officers of four Infantry Battalions and Royal Artillery representatives.

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Six observation posts established in Brigade area giving observation over the whole area.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  B, C and D Companies fired Bren guns on Pembroke range.  Three carriers handed over to 1st Bn Durham Light Infantry.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Battalion established new Observation Posts in sector.  Bomb in A Company area; no casualties – a house destroyed.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Bombs between C Company and Qrendi strip during the night.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Funeral of Fusilier Hopwood.  1746 hrs  Stick of eight bombs fell on this unit’s area at Qormi.  D Company assisted in the rescue work.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 9; dealt with 2 (1 x 50kg; 1 x 500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.


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Posted by on February 10, 2022 in 1942, February 1942


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8 February 1942: German Fighter-bombers A New Threat

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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.


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.


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.


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, 2022 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


“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)


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.


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, 2022 in 1942, February 1942, Uncategorized


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3 February 1942: Air Raid Shelters Overcrowded

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“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)


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.


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, 2022 in 1942, February 1942


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10 January 1942: Churchill Helps Malta’s Troops Write Home


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  • RAF Blenheim

    RAF Blenheim

    Fighter Blenheims to begin operations at Ta Qali

  • Bad weather prevents enemy raids and offensive operations from Luqa for a second night
  • Funeral of Anti-Aircraft Gunner at Pembroke Military Cemetery


From: Governor & C in C Malta           To:  The War Office, copy C in C Middle East

Any scheme to improve unsatisfactory postal arrangements will be welcomed.  Doubtful whether 55 kilogrammes will suffice to take one card per man per week.  Estimate 70 kilogrammes required if all personnel take advantage of scheme.

In this connection please note that Mideast Air priorities committee have only guaranteed minimum of 50 kilogrammes per machine to include official mail as well as private.  This is quite inadequate.

Suggest that carriage of air letter cards should not be limited to BOAC machines but that advantage should be taken of space in any type of aircraft passing through so that real priority for letter cards can be ensured.  Scheme can not be put into operation until supply of letter cards has arrived.  Estimated weekly expenditure is twenty five thousand.  Please send initial supply by air as soon as possible.  As space is limiting factor installation of airgraph machinery here is again strongly advocated.  Major Randolph Churchill is bringing further details by hand shortly.  This telegram has been agreed by three services.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 10 JANUARY 1942

Weather Thundery showers, heavy at times; driving wind, cold.

0852-0900 hrs  Air raid warning; raid does not materialise.

1205-1207 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the south east and recedes without crossing the coast, dropping bombs in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack fires one barrage.

1412-1438 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the south east under cloud cover at 14,500 feet, dives to 7000 feet and drops bombs on Luqa before climbing away to the east.  One barrack block near the Officers’ Mess is slightly damaged but there are no casualties.  Heavy Ack Ack fires a barrage and Hurricanes are airborne but fail to intercept.

1500-1515 hrs  Air raid warning.  Raid does not materialise.

1605-1631 hrs  Two JU 88 approach the south coast, one from the west and one from the south east.  They drop bombs on Hal Far, Tal Papa and near Gudja searchlight station.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage and four Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.

1630-1709 hrs  Air raid warning; raid does not materialise.

1700-1713 hrs  Air raid warning; raid does not materialise.

2252-2333 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, dropping bombs in the sea off Leonardo.  Heavy Ack Ack fire three immediate barrages.

NIGHT  One raid only by a single aircraft which drops bombs in the sea.


AIR HQ  Arrivals  Five Wellingtons, eight Blenheims from Gib. Departures  Six Blenheims, three Wellingtons to 108 MU.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland Tunisian coast patrol, one Maryland SF14 patrol, one Hurricane photo-reconnaissance Sicilian aerodromes.  21 Squadron  Three Blenheims despatched to attack merchant vessel off Kuriat.  Vessel not located.

TA QALI  Six air raid alarms during the day; gunfire; no bombs on camp.  Two fighter Blenheims arrived and Pilot Officer and Sergeants 242 Squadron at readiness for the first time.  No scrambles.

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Units of the Brigade found large working parties for work on dispersal areas for aircraft and improvement of runways at Ta Qali and Luqa.  This is to last some weeks.  Average number of men 400.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  50 Other Ranks (OR) to Luqa aerodrome, to prepare dispersal areas for aircraft and improve runways. Our party of 12 men attached to Luqa for assisting in preparing aircraft returned today and another 12 were sent.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Working party two Officers and 100 Other Ranks to Luqa to work on dispersal area edge of Safi Strip.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  1400 hrs  Gunner Goldsmith A G interred at Pembroke Military Cemetery, St Andrews, Malta.

8TH BN MANCHESTER REGIMENT About 100 men formed a fatigue party for moving clay from Ta Qali aerodrome.

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


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Posted by on January 10, 2022 in 1942, January 1942, Uncategorized


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10 September 1941: Malta Pilots Receive Military Honours

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Awards have been announced today for three pilots for their service while based in Malta.  F/O Warburton has been given a second military honour in recognition of his service as a reconnaissance pilot. The official announcement came today of a Bar to add to the Distinguished Flying Cross he was awarded in January.

London Gazette, 9 September 1941: The King has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

F/O Adrian Warburton

F/O Adrian Warburton

Flying Officer Adrian Warburton DFC, No 69 Squadron

“This officer is a most determined and skilful pilot and has carried out 125 operational missions. Flying Officer Warburton has never failed to complete the missions he has undertaken and, in the actions fought, he has destroyed at least three hostile aircraft in combat and another three on the ground.”

Flying Officer Roger Drew, No 69 Squadron

“In July 1941, this officer carried out an attack on the aerodrome at Zuara. Aircraft on the ground were machine-gunned, one being destroyed and others damaged.  Flying Officer Drew has also been responsible for the destruction of three Italian flying boats.  He has completed 120 operational flights, including a number of reconnaissances, and throughout he has displayed skill and enthusiasm.”

Pilot Officer Jack Buckley, 105 Squadron

“In August 1941, this officer attacked a 9000 ton merchant ship off Lampedusa. Destroyers, torpedo boats and a large number of lighters were removing a cargo of motor transport at the time but Pilot Officer Buckley attacked through a curtain of fire and, although wounded during the run-in, scored hits setting the ship on fire.  Subsequent reconnaissance revealed that a 700 ton sloop was also sunk as a result of the attack.”


A new type of Italian high explosive bomb has come to light in Malta. Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officer Lt G Carroll first encountered the bomb when he was called out to Dingli by one of his NCOs. 

“His squad had revealed the first of two small bombs, six feet under the narrow strip of fertile farmland overlooking the sea, below the Island’s radar station. The NCO did not recognise the bomb. Lt Carroll climbed down the ladder to take a look: from its size he estimated it at 50kg, but from its markings it was Italian – and certainly not one he had seen before.  The NCO had reported that the bomb’s base fuze was broken – so with any luck it might be harmless.  But if the central part of the fuze was still in place, it could be in a highly-sensitive condition.  Lt Carroll’s worst fears were confirmed: any attempt to take out this fuze could detonate the bomb.  Better to set a charge himself and have a controlled explosion.  He looked up: no luck.  They were too close to the radar station, especially if the second bomb went up as well.  What if that one could be got out of the way first?

Lt Carroll walked across to take a look: the lads were making good progress and the bomb was already exposed. He climbed six feet down the ladder into the shaft and squatted down beside the bomb: another damaged fuze.  Now he had two bombs that were too unstable to move.  Nor could they be exploded this close to the radar station.  He had just one more option – but it meant putting himself at risk.  The entire base plate would have to be unscrewed from each bomb.  It was possible, but it had to be done without disturbing the broken fuze.  And twice. 

He gave the order for the men to retreat. This was a job for the Bomb Disposal Officer alone.  As soon as his Sergeant signalled that they were out of range, Lt Carroll began to unscrew the base plate of the first bomb, taking care to avoid touching the vulnerable fuze. Grasping it firmly, he gently eased it away from the carcass and climbed the ladder with his prize.  Soon the second base plate was off and Lt Carroll could afford to relax.  However, there was the matter of yet another unknown bomb to consider.  He ordered the parts of both bombs to be carried back to Lintorn Barracks.  He had a report to write.” (1)


Weather  Fine and warm.

No air raids.

Civilian casualties  Rabat  Emmanuel Bartoli, age 55; Carmel Borg, age 61.


AIR HQ  38 Squadron 8 Wellingtons attacked power station, train and ferries at Messina. 69 Squadron Reconnaissance Tripoli, plus special search and patrol.  

TA QALI  4 officers and 9 sergeants left for Luqa by Hurricane to proceed to the Middle East.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  1900-0730 hrs Brigade Exercise: an ‘attack’ was made on the Battalion sector. Carriers and mobile platoons did excellent work and the whole area was well covered by fie from our static posts.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 3 (2 x 50kg; 1 x 12kg anti-personnel)

11th Bn LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  The Battalion participated in a Brigade exercise, attacking the defended positions on the Cottonera Lines held by 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment.

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


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


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1 August 1941: 80 Houses Destroyed, 39 Killed in July

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  • No of air raid alerts 72 (including 53 night raids)
  • Days without air raid alerts 7
  • Total time under alert 52 hours 18 mins
  • Average length of alert 53.5 mins
  • Enemy aircraft casualties: destroyed 21; probably destroyed 5; damaged 9
  • Malta aircraft losses 3 (including two pilots)
  • Civilians killed by enemy action to date 316
  • Civilians seriously injured to date 265


The Governor & C in C reports on conditions for civilians in Malta to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London:

During July there were 38 raids, two of them by day. 39 persons were killed (21 men, eight women and ten children) and 20 injured (eight men, eight women and four children).  80 houses were destroyed or seriously damaged.

By far the most important event in July was the arrival of the convoy; the successful unloading of which is now nearing completion. The effect of seeing so many ships in the harbour on the spirits of the population has of course been admirable.

Loaves now include 20-30% potato

Loaves now include 20-30% potato

During July a scheme for mixing up to 20%, but not more than 30%, of potatoes in bread was brought into effect, the object being to save imported wheat and to ensure a satisfactory market to farmers, thereby encouraging them to plant potatoes in future. The scheme was made compulsory as from 1st August.  Considerable difficulty was experienced in persuading the more conservative bakers to come into line, but they have all now done so.

Plans have been completed for rationing edible oil, margarine and lard and this will be done as from the middle of August. Butter will not be rationed, as our stocks are very satisfactory and it is eaten only by a very small proportion of the population.  Consumption is extremely low.

Shelter work has now been started in Gozo and 75 shelters are now being constructed there. No miners from the regiment are employed as it has been possible to obtain the whole force needed of 174 miners in Gozo.


A Blenheim aircraft of 82 Squadron has been reported missing tonight after it was shot down during a raid tonight on enemy shipping in the southern Mediterranean. F/Lt A B Broadley’s Blenheim was the lead aircraft of three sent to attack Axis ships off the island of Lampedusa.  The Blenheims scored direct hits on the ships but faced heavy defensive fire, during which F/Lt Broadley’s bomber was hit and forced to land in the sea half a mile offshore.  The air gunner of a second Blenheim was injured.

The other two members of the missing Blenheim crew have been named as Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Sgt V Marsh and Observer Pilot Officer A S Ramsay. All three arrived in Malta less than a month ago.


Weather  Sunny and hot.

No air raids.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Alistair S Ramsay, Observer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 105 Squadron.                        


AIR HQ Departures 1 Blenheim. 69 Squadron Five reconnaissance flights, including one by five Marylands, covering Sicily, Tripoli, Lampedusa, Marittimo and Cape Carbonara.  One Swordfish Fleet Air Arm patrolled Ionian Sea. 105 Squadron 6 Blenheims sent to attack convoy failed to locate after a search. 82 Squadron 3 Blenheim successful attack on shipping in Lampedusa.  One Blenheim was hit by anti-aircraft fire and force-landed in the sea ½ mile from shore. The air gunner of another is was injured.      

1st Bn HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion in Gozo.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strength of detachment 27 officers, 189 other ranks.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Battalion hands over defence posts in St Julians Bay, St Andrews Barracks area and Pembroke Ranges to 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers.


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Posted by on August 1, 2021 in August 1941


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24 July 1941: Malta Convoy Enters Grand Harbour to Loud Cheers

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MV Sydney Star (1)

MV Sydney Star (1)

Civilians and servicemen lined the bastions of Grand Harbour this afternoon to welcome the ships of Malta’s largest supply convoy of the war to date. Melbourne Star, Sydney Star, City of Pretoria, Deucalion, Durham and Port Chalmers arrived with their escorting warships after an eventful night in the Mediterranean.

Having survived an air attack which sank one destroyer of their escort and damaged a second, the convoy ships progressed undisturbed until they were 150 miles from Malta. In the early hours of this morning monitors detected the sound of engines: the convoy had run into an eight-strong Italian E-boat patrol.  The convoy ships attacked the E-boats which immediately took evasive action.  In the confusion that followed, three E-boats were damaged but several convoy ships were also hit by friendly fire. Sydney Star was hit by a torpedo and was soon listing badly.

As the merchant ship slowed, the Master gave the order to abandon ship and 484 troops of 32nd Light Ack Ack Regiment went to the lifeboats. While the destroyer Nestor stood by to pick up survivors, the Sydney Star’s Master, Captain Horn, decided to stay on board with a skeleton crew to nurse the stricken ship slowly towards Malta. 

At daybreak she was spotted by two Italian SM 79 bombers which approached and circled the merchantman and Nestor.  With no trained gunners on board, Captain Horn asked for volunteers to man the Bofors guns.  Their erratic fire and the evasive action of both vessels was enough to deter the attackers who turned away. 

An hour later another air attack was driven off by fire from the destroyer Nestor.  However, the alert had been raised; fighters from Malta were scrambled to defend the ships and the light cruiser Hermione also arrived to assist.  But by then the Regia Aeronautica was ready for a co-ordinated attack: five SM 79s and three dive bombers launched a determined attack. Hermione and Nestor’s guns put up an effective barrage while two Beaufighters from Malta attacked the dive-bombers.

By 10.00am Sydney Star was within sight of Malta when a formation of SM 79 torpedo bombers swooped down on the Navy ships while another formation bombed the merchantman.  They were followed by a third formation, of JU 87 Stuka dive-bombers.  While Beaufighters again counter-attacked and her crew fired round after round at the attackers, torpedo and bomb near-misses and shrapnel caused more damage to Sydney Star.  Captain Horn had to get into Malta quickly but his ship might capsize in the attempt.  He took a calculated risk and two hours later they were entering Grand Harbour.  He later received a message:  “The Royal Navy offer you their congratulations on a very fine piece of seamanship.” (2)


During the attacks on the convoy, 12 enemy aircraft were destroyed, two more were probably destroyed and two were damaged. Malta losses were six aircraft, of which four crews were rescued. 

According to military intelligence, one of the pilots shot down by Hurricanes today was Italian Air General Fedrighi. He was flying in one of six JU 87 Stuka dive-bombers which attacked the convoy just after ten this morning.  His aircraft was chased towards Sicily and shot down by Beaufighters patrolling over the convoy.  General Fedrighi was in command of the Italian Mediterranean airfields.

Among the Axis vessels which attacked the convoy, one enemy E-boat was sunk and another probably damaged, and a U-boat whose torpedoes narrowly missed Renown was attacked and possibly sunk by the destroyer Nestor.


Weather  Sunny and hot.

1015 hrs  Six JU 87 Stuka bombers attack a British convoy approaching Malta. Beaufighters are on patrol over the convoy; one chases the raiders half way to Sicily and shoots down one JU 87 in flames and another which crashes into the sea.

1400 hrs  A convoy enters Grand Harbour.

1739-1754 hrs  Air raid alert for two enemy aircraft heading towards Malta; they turn back before reaching the Island.

2154-2230 hrs  Air raid alert for three enemy aircraft which approach the Island singly. The first heads towards Gozo and circles south west of the Island before dropping bombs in the sea west of Mellieha.  The second crosses the coast near St Julians and drops bombs near Luqa.  The third crosses over St Paul’s Bay and recedes south east of Ghain Tuffieha, passes to the south of Filfla, turns and crosses the coast again and drops bombs near Nigret.  Hurricane fighters are scrambled.  Searchlights illuminate one raider but the Hurricanes are unable to close in time.

0015-0050 hrs  Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft approaching the coast. Searchlights illuminate the raider and a Hurricane engages the raider, firing short machine-gun bursts; no results are seen.  The raider drops bombs in the sea and turns away. 

Military casualties  Fusilier John Millar, 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers


ROYAL NAVY Operation Substance arrived safely, less Leinster, who had run ashore at Gibraltar.  Sydney Star torpedoed, but arrived safely, drawing 40 feet forward.  Farndale remained behind with condenser trouble.  Captain Wright, Royal Navy, sailed for United Kingdom.  830 Squadron maintained continuous anti-submarine patrol over Operation Substance from daylight.  1 of 4 Swordfish on anti-submarine patrol force landed in the sea due to engine failure and was lost; the crew were rescued.  HM Submarine Upright attacked a floating dock which was proceeding in tow around Cape Spartivento to the westward.

AIR HQ  Departures 1 Wellington. 69 Squadron Maryland reconnaissance Taranto, Trapani, Palermo, Messina.  2 Fulmars patrolling Pantelleria to Sicily covering the convoy.  6 Marylands patrol Marettimo Island to Cape Carbonara from dawn to 1630 hrs covering convoy.  9 Beaufighters escorting British convoy from the west to Malta.

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Central Infantry Brigade formed out of 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment, 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment and 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers.

4th Bn THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT REGIMENT)  30 Maltese recruits posted to Battalion for training.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  The Battalion provided reception duties for HQ and 2 Companies of 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers.  They were moved into their billets by 1700 hrs. 

1st Bn DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  60 other ranks arrived as reinforcements from UK.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  No 173 Tunnelling Coy (7 officers, 223 O.Rs) arrived and attached to Fortress Royal Engineers; billeted in Msida Bastion quarters.

11th Bn LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  5 officers, 160 other rans billeted at Gharghur Schools in the sector of 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers.

MALTA SIGNALS COMPANY  62 other ranks disembarked ex UK.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  61 other ranks disembarked ex UK.


(2)  Red Duster, White Ensign, Ian Cameron, Futura Publications 1975

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


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