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23 March 1942: Malta Convoy Under 9 Hour Attack – Only 2 Ships Reach Harbour

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CONVOY FIGHTS ITS WAY INTO GRAND HARBOUR

SS Talabot (Times of Malta)

Having changed course frequently in an attempt to avoid detection by the enemy, Convoy MW 10 was unable to reach Grand Harbour under cover of darkness this morning as planned.  Approaching the Island in broad daylight, the convoy of four freighters – Breconshire, Clan Campbell, Pampas and Talabot – and their protective force headed for Malta.  From dawn onwards they were under constant air attack by a determined Luftwaffe.  Malta’s fighters put up a strong resistance against a total enemy force of 62 JU 88 bombers and 25 ME 109 fighters.

Only Pampas and Talabot made it safely into Grand Harbour; Clan Campbell was sunk and Breconshire disabled by Luftwaffe attacks.  Chiefs of Staff have reluctantly concluded that until Malta’s air space is safe no further convoys can be planned.  Without essential supplies, the Island will be unable to feed or defend itself.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 MARCH TO DAWN 24 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind south and squally; 100% low cloud – visibility poor.

0514-1423 hrs  62 JU 88s with an escort of 25 ME 109s attack the convoy as it approaches Malta and within Grand Harbour.

Hurricanes and Spitfires are airborne almost continuously from dawn until dusk, carrying out 42 sorties.  F/Lt Lawrence and Sgt Broad 185 Squadron destroy a Heinkel He111.  Sgt Horricks and Sgt Eastman 185 Squadron probably destroy a JU 88.  S/Ldr Mortimer-Rose, Sgt Eastman, P/O Wigley, F/Sgt Fletcher 185 Squadron and two pilots of 249 Squadron damage four JU 88s.  Sgt Ellis, P/O Noble and P/O Beckett score hits on two other JU 88s.  Many others are hit and forced to jettison their bombs.  Two JU 88s are damaged by Anti-Aircraft fire and others by HM ships.

PM  There is continuous Ack Ack fire out to sea but owing to bad visibility enemy planes are not visible.

0815 hrs  Talabot comes within sight of land, welcomed by two Hurricane fighters sent out to meet her.  Within half a mile of harbour she is attacked by a ME 109 but undamaged.

0915 hrs  Talabot enters Grand Harbour followed by Pampas, surviving another Messerschmitt attack in which four gunners are wounded.  Word has spread of the convoy’s arrival and cheering Maltese crowd the bastions to welcome the two freighters, with destroyers Kingston and Havock – both damaged yesterday en route to Malta – as they cruise into harbour.

HMS Breconshire

0920 hrs   Breconshire is in sight of Delimara Point when she is attacked by ME 109s with bombs and machine-gunfire.

0936 hrs  A JU 88 aims a bomb at Breconshire which explodes under the ship, stopping her engines.

1000 hrs  Another JU 88 aims bombs at Breconshire, causing further damage.  In the heavy swell, the ship begins to drift.

1020 hrs  Still 20 miles from Malta, the slower merchant vessel Clan Campbell is severely damaged by a dive-bombing attack.

1100 hrs  Clan Campbell sinks with the loss of her Captain and five hands.  The destroyer Legion is badly damaged.

1200 hrs  Efforts to bring Breconshire into port have to be abandoned: the weather is too rough for towing or disembarkation.  The ship, passengers and crew have to sit at anchor off Zonkor Point awaiting a tow.  One gun and crew of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery is transferred to Zonkor Point to provide protective cover.

Night 23/24th  Weather and visibility bad: no enemy action.

Military casualties  Sub-Lieutenant Basil Rivers, Mentioned in Despatches, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, HMS St.Angelo; Ordinary Seaman Norman McLeod, HMS Beaufort; Petty Officer John Blue, HMS Carlisle; Able Seaman J Hulme, HMS Havock; Able Seaman Arthur Adaway, HMS Kingston; Sub-Lieutenant John Carter, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, HMS Kingston; Able Seaman John Jordan, HMS Kingston; Leading Stoker Joseph Strange, HMS Kingston; Able Seaman George Querstret, HMS Kingston.  Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Cherry, Royal Artillery, attached to Malta Territorial Force; Gunner William Griffiths, 4th Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Civilian casualties   Kalkara  Agostino Mintoff, age 16.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 23 MARCH 1942

HAL FAR  Eight Hurricanes 185 Squadron from Hal Far are airborne on convoy patrol.  Fifteen pilots patrol in pairs from dawn to dusk.  PM  One Albacore despatched on shipping search: nothing sighted.  Owing to bad weather the aircraft landed in the sea.  Pilot Lt Head is saved but two others, S/L Rivers and L/A Tuttle are lost.

LUQA  No operations.

TA QALI  Orderly room established in St Edward’s College with accounts and Guard Room.  No operations: runway only is serviceable.  Salvage work proceeding.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  Convoy arrives from Mid East bringing reinforcements:  11th  Lancs Fusiliers one Officer; 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regt, five Officers; 1st Bn Durham Light Infantry eight Officers, 92 Other Ranks.

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Convoy brings Officer reinforcements for Brigade as follows:  4 Buffs eight; 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers ten; 8th Bn Manchester Regt five.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT 1000 hrs  Gas masks worn for one hour.  1400 hrs  All Companies did weekly cross country run.  Heavy cloud during the day.

2ND BN THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Seven Officers joint the Battalion from the convoy.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  0400 hrs  Duty Officer warned that ‘A’ Company was arriving by convoy early in the morning.  By 1200 hrs two Officers and 40 Other Ranks had joined the Battalion in camp.  The remainder of the Company were on board Breconshire which had stopped ten miles out to sea owing to engine trouble.  The seven Other Ranks killed in the air raid on 21st March were buried in the Imtarfa Hospital Cemetery.

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  Seven Officers arrived in Malta and were taken on strength.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  One gun and personnel are transferred to Zonkor Point to protect shipping.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 23.

 

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Posted by on March 23, 2017 in 1942, March 1942

 

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18 March 1942: Three Hour Battle Over Malta – Blow by Blow Account

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  • 12 raids in 16½ hours
  • Aerodromes main target
  • Gozo passenger boat machine-gunned
  • Fighters prowl Malta’s coasts

‘Buck’ McNair (Canadian Aces)(1)

MALTA ADOPTS BATTLE OF BRITAIN TACTICS

“The Malta pilots quickly adapted Battle of Britain tactics to their situation under the tutelage of SL Turner. What Spitfires that could get airborne would try to attack the escorts first while the Hurricanes would come in just behind them and try to get at the bombers. This didn’t often work out, due to the overabundance of 109s in the air. However, on March 18 Buck damaged a Bf-109, and the next day he shot one down in flames.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 MARCH TO DAWN 19 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind south west; no cloud.

0727-0845 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by sixteen ME 109s drops bombs in the sea west of Anchor Bay, on land near Torri L’Abjad and near Miziep Pumping Station.  Four ME 109s peel off and machine-gun Marfa Beach, firing on the Gozo ferry boat disembarking at Marfa Jetty and injuring three passengers. ME 109s go on to carry out low-flying patrols around the coast.

0855-1216 hrs  Six ME 109s circle the Island, three patrol off the south east coast and three ME 109s patrol off Delimara.  Four ME 109s patrol to the south of the Island and two in the north.  Malta’s fighters engage.

1230-1308 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are  airborne to escort a Maryland south.  While still trying to locate it they see two of the patrolling ME 109s, five miles south of Delimara.  They attack: W/Cdr Turner damages one; P/O McNair damages one.

1326-1400 hrs  ME 109s patrol off the coast and to the north of the Island.

1430 hrs  Five Hurricanes 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept an incoming formation of one JU 88 and twelve ME 109s.

1447 hrs  The Hurricanes attack and together damage a JU 88.  P/O Lester is shot up by a ME 109 and wounded.

1645 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron, four Hurricanes 126 Squadron and seven 185 Squadron are airborne to intercept 24 JU 88 bombers in a series of formations, each with fighter escort.

1650 hrs  The four Spitfires are jumped by four ME 109s. One ME shoots down P/O Fox who bales out over the sea.  F/Lt McQueen attacks the ME and sees that go down into the sea.  P/O Sergeant attacks another ME, observing large pieces falling off.  P/O Lee attacks a JU 88, seeing strikes on the fuselage and black smoke from the port engine.

The Hurricanes close to within sight of the attacks.  F/Sgt Fletcher and F/Lt Stone see hits on the same JU 88 attacked by P/O Lee.

1711 hrs  Air raid on Hal Far.  Five JU 88s drop fifteen high explosive (HE) bombs, including three 1000kg.  Eight fall on the airfield.

1715 hrs  225 Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA) engage three JU 88s: one hit claimed.

1717 hrs  Three JU 88s drop 14 HE bombs including three 1000kg on Safi strip, and on Hal Far, damaging one Albacore, demolishing a hangar and leaving craters on the aerodrome.

1725 hrs  One gun of 225 LAA engages a JU 88: no claim. 

1725 hrs  One 1000kg bomb falls on Bubaqra village, damaging headquarters of A Company, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regt and injuring the storeman.  An unexploded 500kg bomb is discovered 50 yards away.  B Company reports one fighter in the sea near Filfla.

1730 hrs  One gun of 225 LAA engages one JU 88: no claim.

1735 hrs  Guns of 225 LAA engage one JU 88: two guns claim one hit each.  One of the gun positions is hit:  billets are damaged and rendered unserviceable.  Personnel have to be accommodated temporarily in tents.

1735 hrs  Three JU 88s drop bombs on Misrah Blandun area.

1755 hrs  Four bombs explode between the headquarters of B and D Companies, 3 Bn Kings Own Malta Regt (KOMR).  One 1000kg bomb is reported near RAF posts at Ghar Lapsi.  An unexploded bomb is reported at position 424193.

1755 hrs  Fighter aircraft return to Ta Qali but Sgt Mulloy and P/O Lester are reported missing.

1810 hrs  Three Spitfires 249 Squadron airborne to escort the High Speed Launch in a search for P/O Lester.

1830 hrs  Seven JU 88s raid Ta Qali, dropping 45 high explosive bombs.  24 hit target, setting fire to and destroying two Hurricanes, one bowser and one tractor.  Bombs fall on the runway and the aerodrome is unserviceable for a short time.  One Hurricane and one Spitfire are slightly damaged.  LAC Parker is admitted to No 90 General Hospital with severe shock.

Several bombs fall around the camp of 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regt and on Qrendi strip.  One bomb explodes close to the HQ building. The guard commander is affected by bomb blast and taken to hospital suffering from concussion.

1845 hrs  Four JU 88s drop HE bombs on Luqa airfield.

1900 hrs  P/O Sergeant 249 Squadron attacks a ME 109 with several bursts: the aircraft dives steeply towards the sea, emitting white smoke.

1909 hrs  Raiders passed.

1955 hrs  An observer of 3rd Bn KOMR at Ghar Lapsi sights a bomber in the sea West of Filfla, one fighter south east of Filfla and another fighter south of Filfla.

P/O Lester is rescued by the High Speed Launch.

2235-2300 hrs  One enemy aircraft crosses the coast near St George’s and drops bombs on Birkirkara and Tal Qroqq.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2355-0127 hrs  Eight single aircraft approach from the north.  Four cross the coast and bomb searchlight positions at Tal Balal and Mellieha, and in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack engage; one night fighter is airborne.

Military casualties  Flight Sergeant Arthur Delehaunt, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR), 69 Squadron; Sergeant William Anderson, Royal Australian Air Force; Pilot Officer Harold Fox, Royal Air Force VR, 249 Squadron; Sergeant Robert Grimley, Royal Australian Air Force; Sergeant George Mulloy, Royal Air Force VR, 126 Squadron; Sergeant Graham Parker, Royal Australian Air Force.

Civilian casualties  St Paul’s Bay  Carmela Muscat, age 72; Francis Muscat, age 14.

Enemy casualties  Leutnant Kurt Lauinger, III/JG 53, Pilot of Messerschmitt Bf 109, shot down, picked up from the sea and taken prisoner.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Two Swordfish and two Albacores on shipping search without result.  One Swordfish crashed on landing; crew unhurt.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Three Blenheims from Gibraltar.

HAL FAR  AM  Two Swordfish and four Albacores of 828 and 830 Squadron on shipping search.  Two merchant vessels and two destroyers sighted 180 degrees Lampedusa 45 miles, course north, 15 knots.  One hit scored.

LUQA  0825-1256 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron special search for shipping: relocation of convoy and traffic moving east from Tripoli.  1434 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron despatched on reconnaissance of Marittimo-Kerkennah.  Sgt Parker fails to return.  One Maryland on reconnaissance Marittimo-Kerkennah failed to return: believed shot down by enemy fighters off Filfla.  Crew: Sgts Parker, Delehaunt, Grimley and Anderson airborne 1434 hrs.

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  One man A Company Kings Own Malta Regiment slightly injured by [1000kg bomb] in Bubaqra village; one Other Rank slightly injured by bomb blast.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Working party two Officers and 100 Other Ranks at Luqa.  1400 hrs  30 Other Ranks final parachute practice on Marsa Range. 

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

(1) Profile of Robert Wendell ‘Buck’ McNair from Canadian Aces (Miles Constable)

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Posted by on March 18, 2017 in 1942, March 1942

 

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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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15 March 1942: Hell on Sunday – 1800kg Satan Bombs on Valletta

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MASSIVE BOMBS ON VALLETTA AS HEAVY RAIDS RETURN TO THE CAPITAL

German 1800kg ‘Satan’ Bomb (NWMA Malta)

Mass bombing returns to Malta today as the enemy responds to the recent success of Spitfires against their raiders.  The city of Valletta became a specific target for the first time this year.  The Luftwaffe chose the heaviest bomb carried by Junkers aircraft for their mission:  the two-ton ‘Satan’.  In five raids on the capital, German bombers dropped over 15000 kg of high explosive bombs on the streets, killing twelve civilians and one serviceman on leave.

Observers report that the number of aircraft in each raid has risen significantly.  Fighter escorts have increased in size, to outnumber the Island’s modest Spitfire force and overcome their recent success rate.

DOCKYARD APPRENTICE FINDS GIANT BOMB

“I was then a 16 years old Dockyard apprentice and Sunday was the only full day off from where I worked… It was a sunny morning and I was outside my home…A detachment of Infantry troops on a route march were coming down the road a short distance away. Suddenly everything erupted all at once. Wailing sirens, dispersing troops and heavy and intense gunfire. Like a second instinct we all dashed to take cover . As usual I was always one of the last to enter the shelter staying at the entrance to see what was going on.

Almost immediately, out of the din, the screaming crescendo of a diving plane filled our ears and, as the noise began to fade, suddenly a loud ”shuuuttle-sshee-shuuuttle ”- the unmistakable and sinister shuttling  noise of a falling bomb. I ducked inside the shelter as far as I was able waiting for the usual shattering explosion and the trembling of the ground under our feet.  But nothing happened.  Another five minutes or so went by and still nothing happened. It was becoming clear that a bomb had come down and had not exploded.

As soon as the noise of gunfire and diving planes had subsided and without waiting for the All Clear sirens, I emerged from the shelter and ran along Zabbar Road to where I thought the bomb had fallen, assuming, with good reason, that the bomb was aimed at the detachment of troops as they marched along the road…I spotted something embedded in the ground right in the middle of the road… a large bomb was clearly visible close to the surface and painted a bluish colour…

Gingerly, and apprehensively with my curiosity overcoming fear I moved nearer for a closer look. It was then that the stark and ominous reality suddenly dawned on me. For a fleeting moment, aghast and transported into a different dimension, I nearly froze rivetted to the spot. What was I doing here so close to this hellish object? Have I taken leave of my senses?  I could be blown to bits in a fraction of a second!

I retreated, hurriedly breaking into a run towards the shelter pointing behind me and shouting at the top of my voice ”Unexploded bomb; unexploded bomb’ and in Maltese,”Emm bomba ma splodiet’ to some of the men now cautiously emerging from the shelter… ”   Joseph V Stephens, 2012

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 MARCH TO DAWN 16 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind variable; cloudy at times – deteriorated during the day.

0713-0732 hrs  Two ME 109s approach the Island but do not cross the coast.

0818-0905 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by ten ME 109s approach from the north.  Two JU 88s drop 250kg and 500kg bombs on Ta Minsia and St Julians area.  One JU 88 recedes.

0932-1005 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by five ME 109s drops an 1800kg bomb to the west of Zabbar.

Four Hurricanes of 605 Squadron (all armed with machine guns) are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft.  P/O Noble engages a ME 109: strikes observed.  P/O Wigley attacks another ME 109: results not observed.

1020 hrs  Four JU 88s escorted by 24 fighters approach the Island.  One JU 88 drops an 1800kg bomb on Valletta.  The other three drop 250kg and 500kg bombs on Valletta and Qrendi strip.  Malta’s fighters are airborne and engage.

1045 hrs  Three Hurricanes of 242 Squadron are scrambled.  Sgt Boyd attacks a JU 88 twice but sees no results.  C Coy, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report a stick of bombs in area: three men are slightly hurt.

1100 hrs  A bomb explodes in Francis Street, Valletta: suspect delayed-action.

1130 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa.  They are attacked by three ME 109s.  F/L Heppell sees cannon strikes on the fuselage of one ME which is then lost in cloud.  All Spitfires return safely to Luqa.

1135 hrs  All clear.  Three Hurricanes 242 Squadron return to Ta Qali.

1205-1255 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by fifteen ME 109s drop 250kg and 500kg bombs near Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and damage one engine of a JU 88.

1220 hrs  Three JU 88s drop 500kg bombs from below cloud level between headquarters of 8t Bn Kings Own Royal Regiment (Ta Qandia quarries) and C Company at Ta Hasluk.  Kings Own Malta Regiment report a stick of bombs near Wied Babu.

1319-1438 hrs  Four JU 88s escorted by nine ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Zabbar, Latnia and Rinella.  Four Spitfires engage.

1421 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by ME 109s approaches from the north.  Seven Hurricanes and three Spitfires are airborne but do not engage.  The JU 88 drops a 1800kg bomb on Valletta.

1515 hrs  A bomb explodes in Ursula Street, Valletta; suspect delayed-action.

1517 hrs  Three JU 88s and two ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Zabbar and Zonqor areas.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

Four Hurricanes of 185 Squadron at Hal Far take off to intercept incoming enemy aircraft.

1538 hrs  Three JU 88s accompanied by 25 ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Hal Far and in the sea.  The Hurricanes attack a JU 88: hits are observed on the tail and fuselage.

1545 hrs  Bombs area Della Grazia – Rinella-Maria Tas Silch.

1555 hrs  All clear.

1619-1657 hrs  Seven unidentified aircraft approach above the clouds.  Heavy Ack Ack engage with two barrages.

1715 hrs  W/C Satchell leads four Hurricanes from Ta Qali which join up with four from Hal Far; one returns early.  W/C Satchell attacks a JU 88: strikes are observed on the wing.  The same aircraft is fired on by two other Hurricanes.  W/C Satchell becomes separated from the formation and has a dog fight with a Messerschmitt.  He shoots off the tail of the enemy aircraft: claims destroyed.

1732-1820 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by ME 109s drop bombs on Hal Far. Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage; no claims.

1931-2045 hrs  Two aircraft drop bombs on Gozo and in the sea.  Ack Ack engage.

2122-2140 hrs  One aircraft drops bombs in the sea.  Ack Ack do not engage.

2354-0018 hrs  One aircraft approaches and recedes when still 15 miles north of the Island.

0028-0058 hrs  Three aircraft approach; bombs are dropped to the north of Zabbar and in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

Military casualties  Private Dominic Mifsud, King’s Own Malta Regiment, died whilst on leave in Valletta. Leading Aircraftsman Stanley Leavesley, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Salvu Borg, age 20.  Sliema  Polly Cannataci, age 26.  St Julians  Christopher Butler, age 21 months, (son of Capt Butler, 2nd Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment).  Valletta  Giovanna Attard, age 56; Joseph Bellizzi, age 66; Dominica Borg Bellizzi, age 39; Michelina Busuttil, age 60; Vincent Busuttil, age 30; Anthony Formosa, age 37; Girlamo Fsadni, age 77; Marianna Mayman, age 34; Harold Miles, age 38; Mary Mifsud, age 57; Michael Vella, age 74; Melita Vella, age 35.  Zabbar  Emmanuele Bongailas, age 28; Giuseppe Lia, age 12.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 15 MARCH 1942

LUQA  0745-0920 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out part of SF 5 patrol.

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  One Man D Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment slightly injured by bombs in area of Qrendi strip.  Two men E Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment Paola sustained slight injuries during a bombing raid.

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

 

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25 January 1942: “A Bad Day” for Ta Qali

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Hal Far Under Attack (NWMA Malta)

Hal Far Under Attack (NWMA Malta)

  • 69 enemy aircraft attack Hal Far
  • Five Hurricanes and one Swordfish destroyed
  • One pilot killed
  • Five Hurricanes and one Fulmar damaged
  • Hal Far aerodrome heavily cratered
  • No enemy losses 

GOVERNOR PRAISES MALTESE RESPONSE TO RAIDS

In his report to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief Lt General Dobbie recognises the role of the Maltese in sustaining the Island during increased enemy action:  “Civil Defence Services have operated well and Demolition Squads and Air Raid Precautions have given general satisfaction.  Public also are bearing up well, although continuous raids are naturally subjecting them to strain.”

AIR RAIDS SUNDAY 25 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Wind south south-west.  70% cloud; fine.

0817 hrs  One aircraft patrols the Island.

0827-0841 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, skirts the Island to the north west and patrols 20 miles south, then recedes north east.

1025 hrs  Fifteen Hurricanes are scrambled from Ta Qali and Hal Far to meet an incoming plot of four JU 88 bombers escorted by twelve ME 109 fighters.  Three Hurricanes return with mechanical trouble.

1030 hrs The remaining Hurricanes are jumped by ME 109s.  F/Lt Kee shoots all his ammunition into an ME 109 and chases it 20 miles north: no claim.  Sgt Alpe of 126 Squadron and P/O M Jones are shot up and ‘belly-land’ at Ta Qali: they receive minor injuries only.  P/Os Anderson, Blackburn and Sluggett all bale out and the latter two are taken to Imtarfa Hospital with injuries.  P/O Russell (126 Squadron) is missing, believed killed.  Heavy Ack Ack engages the bombers.

1053 hrs  The four JU 88s attack Hal Far leaving twenty craters on the aerodrome.  One Swordfish is burnt out and three damaged; one Fulmar and one Hurricane slightly damaged.  Casualties nil; superficial damage to buildings.

1115 hrs  Raiders passed.

1143-1220 hrs  Five aircraft, reported to be ME 109s, patrol to the east of the Island.  Two ME 109s attack HMS Abingdon which opens fire on them.  No Hurricanes are airborne; heavy Ack Ack guns do not engage.

1413-1507 hrs  Three JU 88s with eighteen ME 109s as escort approach the Island and drop bombs on Hal Far causing another seven craters and destroying one aircraft and damaging another; no casualties.  Two ME 109s attack HMS Abingdon which suffers casualties.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer John Russell, Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve), 126 Squadron.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: SUNDAY 25 JANUARY 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Glengyle and Rowallan Castle departed after dark, escorted by Force K: cruiser Penelope and destroyers Lance, Lively, Legion, Maori and Zulu to rendezvous with a convoy out of Alexandria.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Blenheims from El Adem.

HAL FAR  AM Seven Hurricanes (four of 185 Squadron and three of 605 Squadron) intercepted four JU 88s and twelve ME 109s.  One JU 88 was damaged.  One Hurricane crashed (pilot F/Lt Thompson injured) and two Hurricanes were damaged.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance (PR) Tripoli Harbour; one Hurricane PR Sicilian aerodromes and south west Sicily; one Maryland Cairo 1 patrol; one Maryland Cairo 2 patrol.

TA QALI  Church parade held: AOC attended.  Six Sergeants attached to this station from Luqa for fighter Blenheims.  Intruder raids: two flights made – aerodrome found in darkness.  Further operations suspended.  Total casualties:  seven Hurricanes, one pilot missing, three injured. No enemy claims.  A bad day.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Working party at Luqa aerodrome; now one officer and 140 Other Ranks daily.  This is liable to continue until some time in March.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Working party at Luqa.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY 1400 hrs Gunner J Dowling interred at Military Cemetery, Imtarfa.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER  The Battalion played the Lancs Fusiliers at soccer at the Empire Stadium.  The Battalion lost 5 goals to 2.

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

 

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24 January 1942: 132 Bombing Raids Since Christmas

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421 MALTA CIVILIANS KILLED SINCE JUNE 1940

FROM:  Governor (Lt Gen Sir W Dobbie)              TO:  Secretary of State for the Colonies

Most important event of the month was the arrival of convoy of three ships totalling 21000 tons on 19th January.  This was most welcome after nearly four months without convoys and has greatly encouraged us all.  I will report further when unloading is completed, but the convoy brought valuable replenishments of wheat, coal, kerosene, and other commodities.

465 buildings damaged or destroyed this month

Raids have greatly increased in frequency during the past month.  There were 150 alerts during the day and 103 at night.  These included 68 raids by day and 64 by night during which bombs were dropped.  91 persons were killed (41 men, 18 women, and 32 children) and 99 seriously injured (47 men, 22 women and 30 children).  430 houses and 35 other premises were demolished or badly damaged.  Worst incidents were at Gzira on the night of 1-2nd January when 27 people were killed and 9 seriously injured, and at Mosta during daytime on 19th January when 16 people were killed and 11 seriously injured.  In neither case were people in the shelters.

The total number of casualties since the beginning of the war with Italy is now 421 killed, 396 seriously injured.  5106 houses, etc., have been demolished or badly damaged…(to be continued)

ARMY CHIEF ISSUES ORDERS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING

The GOC has issued instructions that more fitness training will be carried out.  Already started with physical training for all ranks daily before breakfast, a full fitness training will begin from next week.

The program includes one four mile cross country run weekly; one cross-country run weekly (starting with 1/4 mile and working up to 1 mile); one route march every fortnight during which 15 minutes will be marched and the next five minutes run, alternately throughout.  Lastly bicycle reconnaissance tours will be carried out so that units may learn all areas of the Island.  These will work up to 30 mile cycle marches.

AIR RAIDS SATURDAY 24 JANUARY 1942

Weather   Wind south west.  30% clouds; fine.

0904-1052 hrs  Two JU 88s escorted by nine ME109s approach from the north and drop ten bombs on Hal Far badly cratering the aerodrome, damaging one Swordfish and one Hurricane, a Bofors gun, and one billet and predictor of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery.

0950 hrs  225 LAA Battery engages the JU 88s, claiming one hit.  Malta fighters are up and engage one JU 88.  Heavy Ack Ack engages until our fighters give “Tally Ho”.  Enemy fighters are too low to effect Ack Ack engagement.  One JU 88 follows the raid on reconnaissance at 25000 feet.

1010 hrs  Seven aircraft of 249 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali.  S/Ldr Beazley and P/O Tedford attack six JU 88s and twelve ME 109s; they are forced on the defensive by ME 109s and see no results of their attack on JU 88s.  P/O Tedford attacks a ME 109, with no result.

1102-1144 hrs  Eighteen plus aircraft approach from the north.  Enemy fighters patrol south of the Island, while nine JU 88s escorted by fighters cross the coast to the north west.  They drop bombs on Luqa, damaging several aircraft, including specially-equipped Wellington bombers, and starting a fire.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  L/Cpl G Spiteri of D Company 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment, on duty at Luqa aerodrome, is killed by shrapnel wounds to the abdomen.

1314-1320 hrs  Two aircraft approach the island and are identified as friendly.

1325 hrs  Fifteen aircraft of 126, 242, and 249 Squadrons are scrambled at Ta Qali.  P/O Moon of 249 Squadron joins with 185 Squadron from Hal Far to attack a JU 88, causing damage to the engine.  The enemy raid ultimately fades.   P/O Moon is hit in the glycol tank and manages to land with his engine off, at Luqa airfield.

1333-1412 hrs  Twelve plus unidentified aircraft approach from the north but recede without crossing the coast.  Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.

1419-1441 hrs  Two JU 88 escorted by three ME 109s approach from the south and drop bombs in the sea, south of the Island.  Hurricanes are up and engage a JU 88, claiming probable damage.

2226-2248 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea to the south east of the Island, before receding north.

2325-2347 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, skirts the Island to the north and north-west and crosses the coast in the Qrendi area, dropping bombs near Hal Far.

0013-0136 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea off St Thomas’ Bay, before receding north.  Heavy Ack Ack do not engage because a friendly aircraft is taking off.

0150-0212 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack fire one barrage and bombs are dropped in the sea before the aircraft recede north.

Civilian casualty  Mqabba John Mary Briffa, age 54.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: SATURDAY 24 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ Arrivals  One Albacore from Berka; one Catalina from Aboukir. Departures  One Hudson, one Catalina to Gibraltar; one Hudson to LG 224.

HAL FAR  Eight hurricanes 185 Squadron engaged a formation of two JU 88s and four ME 109s.  Both JU 88s and one ME 109 were damaged.  One Hurricane slightly damaged but pilot unhurt.  Night 24/25th Three Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched to attack one merchant vessel, seen earlier by an Albacore.  The Swordfish failed to locate the ship.  All aircraft returned safely.

TA QALI  Aerodrome serviceable.  One airman attached to Kalafrana for Police Course.  1920-0150 hrs   Intruder raids over Sicily commenced by 1435 Night Fighter Unit, with raids over Catania, Cerbini and Comiso.  S/Ldr Westmacott patrolled Catania for 1hr 20 mins – no activity on aerodrome but heavy Ack Ack.  F/Lt Palmer patrolled Comiso for half an hour, finding all lights on.  He saw JU 88 taking off at 2030 hrs and fired a three-second burst at 600 feet.  A bomber disintegrated in mid-air.  He fired at another on the ground and gave a two-second burst at 4-500 yards but saw no results owing to intense Ack Ack.  No searchlights [active].  F/Lt Stones, F/O MIlls and F/Sgt Fowler found nothing on patrol: weather deteriorating.

1st BN DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT 1600 hrs  Funeral of Private F Smith at St Andrews Cemetery.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 4; dealt with 3 (1 x 250kg, 2 x 50kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

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2 January 1942: First Ever Rocket Bombs Used on Malta

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RE BOMB DISPOSAL SQUAD FACES UNKNOWN BOMB

Insignia of Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal

The small slip of paper delivered to Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal early this morning was covered in hastily scribbled notes.  It was also marked ‘Priority’ – requiring immediate action.  The UXB Report suggested unusual traces of one or possibly two unexploded bombs in one position, possibly connected to the ‘fireball’ seen skimming over the roof of the NCOs’ Mess last night.

The Bomb Disposal Officer was puzzled by what he found at the site.  Two holes were so close together it seemed a bomb had entered one hole and passed out through the other.  From their size, the bomb was at least a 500kg.  It could explode at any moment; he had to find it.

The Bomb Disposal squad started digging gently into the ground, so as not to disturb the bomb and detonate it as they worked.  Gradually an array of debris emerged: strips of tail fin in a strange blue alloy, sections of piping and metal plating unlike any part of a bomb they had seen before.  Then an NCO sent to search the area reported a 500kg bomb on the surface nearby: it looked unusual.

The Bomb Disposal Officer was facing the first known example of a new and highly-developed type of bomb, seemingly rocket-propelled.  The War Office needed full details.  A controlled explosion was not an option.  Somehow he must make it safe and transport it intact back to the workshop… (1)

AMMUNITION EMERGENCY

From: The War Office                     To:  Governor & Commander in Chief Gibraltar, copy to: Governor & Commander in Chief Malta            

Request that you will make maximum possible use of any opportunities offered by Navy of sending from Gibraltar stocks small consignments of urgently needed ammunition to Malta.  Malta to inform Gibraltar, repeated Troopers, types of ammunition required.  Troopers will replenish Gibraltar stocks earliest opportunity.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 1 JANUARY 1942

0035-0120 hrs  Alarm.  No engagement.

Fort Mosta (NWMA Malta)

0157-0415 hrs  Alarm. Two enemy aircraft approach the Island from N singly, carrying out a nuisance patrol round Island.  1 enemy aircraft crosses the coast dropping small bombs near Musta Fort.

1117-1135 hrs  Alarm. No engagement.

1527-1612 hrs  Alarm. Three JU 88s escorted by twelve ME 109s pass over Gozo. One JU 88 crosses the coast at Ghain Tuffieha, descending from 17,800 feet to carry out a shallow dive-bombing attack on Luqa aerodrome and Safi Strip. Heavy Ack Ack engaged damaging one JU 88. Bofors engaged at the bottom of the dive. One JU88 and one ME 109 damaged by Hurricanes.

Heavy Ack Ack fires S and I geographical barrages and engaged by height control. Sandwich and Sidmouth guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage one JU 88 at 6-7000 feet with 11 rounds of 40mm.  Bofors guns engage the JU 88 at the bottom of its dive.  21 Hurricanes engaged.

Heavy Ack Ack damages one JU 88 by height control.  One JU 88 and one ME 109 damaged by Hurricanes.  The only aircraft hit on the ground is one Wellington already “written off”.  The D F Station near Safi is damaged.

“Received a surprise this morning when the Wing Com told us we were moving further east probably Egypt. What a rush to get ready… As a final treat we were dive bombed in the afternoon by three Ju99’s who came down to 2000 feet. The bombs fell about 400 yards from us and sent another of 40 Sqdn’s planes up in smoke. Hurricanes chased them off.

Take off was at 2 am. We had a heavy load with 14 men in each plane plus kit and overload tanks which were empty. The Jerrys bombed us at take off but didn’t score any hits. We were third off and the old wreck took off well considering the load. Our last look at Malta showed a long stick of bombs exploding near the drome.” (2)

1930-2134 hrs  Alarm. The Policy order is issued: fighters up, guns engage up to 6,000 feet.  Searchlights expose.  Eight enemy aircraft approach from the west, height 18-21,000 feet.  Two crossed south coast and dropped 30 bombs in Qrendi area.  The remainder drop bombs out to sea.  No illuminations.

2240-2304 hrs  Alarm.  Policy order issued: guns engage, searchlights expose.  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs on Wardia Ridge.  Heavy Ack Ack fire two immediate barrages at 13,600 feet and 9,000 feet.  Aircraft turn as soon as the first barrage is fired.  No illuminations.

2245-2316 hrs  Air raid.

2320-0506 hrs  Alarm. Policy order changes to fighters up, guns engage up to 6,000 feet and searchlights expose at 0137 for short period.  Intruder Phases I, II and III in operation.

Several enemy aircraft cross the coast and drop bombs on Safi (killing one CR of 1st Bn Hampshire Regiment), Birkirkara (12 bombs – civilian casualties), Hamrun, Luqa, Hagiar Qim, Qrendi Strip, Gudia, Kalafrana, Zebbug Heavy Ack Ack gun position (no casualties), Ta Qali and Jesuits Hill.  Two Wellingtons are destroyed at Luqa.  Average height of aircraft 11/12000 feet.  Heavy Ack Ack fired nine immediate barrages, several of which cause aircraft to turn off course.  Searchlights make one illumination of 30 seconds.  Hurricanes do not engage.

Civilian casualties:  in Mosta Carmel Mifsud, age 55, Carmel Muscat, age 58.  In Zeitun Carmelo Bonnici, age 50, remains of an unidentified corpse probably Giuseppe Debono, age 65.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 2 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals one Hudson, eight Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures: six Wellingtons, one Whitley for Kabrit; one Beaufort, one Wellington for 108 MU.

HAL FAR  Ten Hurricanes, 185 Squadron, scrambled to attack four JU 88s and a number of ME 109s.  One JU 88 was damaged by Hurricanes K and R.  Hurricane J engaged and damaged one ME 109.  Our casualties one Hurricane damaged, pilot Sgt Sutherland slightly wounded.  Night 2/3rd January Two Albacores despatched to attack merchant vessel of 6000 tons and one destroyer.  Results not observed owing to intense and accurate opposition.

LUQA  107 Squadron  one Blenheim attacked tanker off Misrata.  18 Squadron one Blenheim SF patrol; four Blenheims despatched to attack merchant vessel off Kerkennah.  One only attacked.  S/D Flight  one Wellington special search Melita, Tripoli, Zuara.  40 Squadron: Two Wellingtons nuisance raid Tripoli; 104 Squadron 3 Wellingtons nuisance raid Naples.

TA QALI  Warm in morning but wind strong – cloudy – fine periods – cold later in day.  0810 hrs One Hudson arrived from Gibraltar (Delivery Flight).  Aerodrome surface wet and soggy.  Advance party of Delivery Flight arrived; officers arranged.  Squadron Leader Pascall in charge.  P/O Gudgeon Adjutant.  One Enquiries Officer and three airmen arrived from Luqa.  Five aircraft scrambled.  Several air raids during day – no bombs on aerodrome.  PM Several air raids, no damage to drome.  Heavy gunfire. 

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

(1) Full story in UXB Malta, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010

(2) Extract from “A Flyer’s Diary”, Joe White, WWII (from Air Shared Magazine)  

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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in 1942, January 1942, Uncategorized

 

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