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2 August 1941: Stranded Battalions Make It to Malta

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Farndale is forced back to Grand Harbour

Farndale is forced back to Grand Harbour


A small convoy arrived at Malta this morning carrying reinforcements and stores. The cruisers Hermione and Arethusa with the cruiser-minelayer Manxman, and two destroyers brought Army and Air Force reinforcements who originally embarked for Malta as part of ‘Operation Substance’ last month.  They were left behind at Gibraltar when the personnel transport Leinster grounded as she left harbor on 21 July.

The Style convoy sailed from Gibraltar on Thursday last and navigated the western Mediterranean without incident. However, at dawn this morning as the ships passed to the south west of Sicily, the cruiser Hermione spotted a submarine close to the convoy.  Caught unawares, the Italian submarine Tembien was rammed and sunk by the cruiser.

The troops delivered today included forces of 186 Light Anti-Aircraft Battery Royal Artillery and 8th Battalion King’s Own Royal Rifles as well as individual reinforcements for other units, making a total of 54 officers and 970 other ranks. 

The convoy escort departed at 1630 hours this afternoon. However, the destroyer HMS Farndale developed defects and was forced to return to Grand Harbour.


Weather  Sunny and hot.

1000 hrs  Convoy arrives in Grand Harbour.

1744-1816 hrs  Air raid alert for a formation of 15 enemy aircraft sighted 40 miles to the north of Malta. 21 Hurricanes are scrambled; the raiders approach to a point 22 miles from the Island and turn back before they can be engaged.

2308-2330 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

2337-0032 hrs  Air raid alert for two unidentified enemy aircraft which approach the Island singly from the north east. No Hurricanes are scrambled.  Heavy anti-aircraft guns engage and force the raiders to drop their bombs in the sea, the first near St Elmo breakwater and the second raider in the sea off Tigne Point.  Both then turn away and recede north east. 

0101-0214 hrs Air raid alert for three unidentified enemy aircraft which approach the Island singly from the north east. The first turns back before reaching the coast.  The second crosses the coast in north west of St George’s and is engaged by heavy anti-aircraft guns but flies on to drop bombs on the Gzira area, east of Gudja and in the sea off Kalafrana.  The third does not approach the coast but drops flares in the sea and recedes northwards.


ROYAL NAVY  ‘Operation Style’ successfully completed.  Farndale returned with defects.

AIR HQ  Arrivals 1 Sunderland. Beaufighters and Hurricanes provided fighter escort for incoming Naval units. 69 Squadron 5 Marylands on patrols between Sicily and South Sardinia; one Maryland F/O Drew photo-reconnaissance Taranto, Messina, Brindisi, Valona and Reggio Calabria.  Maryland patrols Tripoli and Comiso. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Anti-submarine patrols ahead of Naval units leaving Malta; no incidents. 143 Squadron 2 Beaufighters attacked Rizzo Aerodrome; damaged and destroyed aircraft.  2 Beaufighters sent to attack Pantellaria aerodrome unable to reach target.

HAL FAR One Swordfish patrolled Ionian Sea. 105 Squadron 3 Blenheims sent to attack barracks and aerodrome at Misurata destroyed buildings. 

KALAFRANA  A draft of 100 men arrived at the Station from the UK.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  In event of invasion, 24 Fortress Company RE is responsible for Hospital, Church and Ball Alley Posts.

1st Bn HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion in Gozo.

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  D Company commenced formation with Coy Headquarters at Ta Mehrla. The role of the Company will be the defence of Qrendi strip.


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Posted by on August 2, 2016 in 1941, August 1941


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