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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

HOMES BOMBED IN SLIEMA: HEADMISTRESS KILLED

“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)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 6 FEBRUARY 1942

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.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: THURSDAY 5 FEBRUARY 1942

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, 2017 in 1942, February 1942, Uncategorized

 

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9 January 1942: Army Builds Runways for RAF

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WEATHER GROUNDS AIRCRAFT

  • Gale force winds and heavy cloud prevent significant enemy raids and hamper operations from Malta’s air bases. 
  • A heavy swell this evening grounds the Catalina carrying General Scobell and family away from Malta. 
  • Hurricanes make a difficult landing returning from a mission in darkness.

WORKING PARTIES MOBILISED TO IMPROVE RAF LUQA

Central Infantry Brigade Order No 1

Safi Strip (NWMA)

Task  Dispersal of aircraft and improvement of runways for RAF.

Working Parties  These will be made up as follows: 

  • 2nd Bn The Royal West Kent Regiment – 100 men
  • 1st Bn The Chesire Regiment – 50 men
  • 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers – 100 men

Transport  All parties will have one lorry per 20 men available for work on the site…Units will be responsible for their own traffic regulation.

Tools  Shovels and picks will be [issued] on site.  2 Devon are returning 150 shovels.

Rations  Haversack rations for midday meal will be carried. It is hoped to arrange distribution of hot tea.

Dress  Denims, steel helmets.  NO respirators, NO rifles.  Anti-aircraft Light Machine Guns will, however, be taken in accordance with this HQ Signal 0.921 of today’s date…

Further demands on an increased scale are likely to be made.  The maximum commitment of this Brigade will be 500 men.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 9 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Cold – squally, heavy cloud; wind fresh, force five to gale force; Thundery showers.

0942-1009 hrs  One aircraft on shipping reconnaissance round the Island, 10-20 miles from the coast.

1800 hrs Nine Hurricanes scrambled at Ta Qali: air raid alarm; no contacts.  Planes got down in darkness with difficulty under personal direction of the C O.

Qalet Marku, Bahar-ic-Cahaq

1821-1904 hrs  Fourteen plus aircraft (bombers and fighter escort) approach from the north in four formations.  One raid crosses the coast near Kalafrana and drops bombs west of Hal Far aerodrome and near Ta Silg [radar station].  The second and third raids drop bombs in the Wied at rear of Sans Souci and in the sea off Zonkor Point.   The fourth raid crosses the coast near St Paul’s Bay, dropping bombs in the sea near Madliena and Torri Qalet Marku.  Six hurricanes are airborne; Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages.

1904-2025 hrs  Air raid warning. Raid does not materialise.

2015 hrs  Air raid warning.  One aircraft crosses the coast.  Ack Ack engages and aircraft recedes.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: FRIDAY 9 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals five Marylands, one Beaufighter from Middle East; three Blenheims, two Hurricanes from El Adem.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Tripoli (F/O Warburton), one Maryland shipping search; one Maryland SF14 patrol.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF2b patrol.

TA QALI   242 Squadron under S/Ldr Wells with seven Officers and seven Sergeant Pilots attached this station for operations from Hal Far.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Companies are re-firing the Tommy Gun and Anti Tank Rifle.  The day was free from air raids: a surprising change.  At dusk 14 aircraft were over and dropped bombs but damage was negligeable.  The night was quiet.  We were to have held a “Close Valletta” exercise between 0100 hrs and 0545 hrs.  This was started but owing to bad weather and to resultant darkness preventing use of tanks it was postponed.

1st BN DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  1815 hrs Four bombs in field in front of D3.  Two rifles and one water tank damaged.  Four bombs in Ta Ingrau area bearing 270 degrees from Tas Sienja Tower.  One stick of bombs between RA7 and SA1.  One stick of bombs in Latnia area.  No military damage or casualties.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 7; dealt with 2 (1 x 50kg, 1 x Thermos) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

 

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7 January 1942: Storms Over Malta

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AIRFIELDS WATERLOGGED

Wellington bombers

Wellington bombers

Bad weather has forced Malta’s Air Officer Commanding to send two squadrons of Wellington aircraft to the Middle East, until hard standings can be constructed in waterlogged dispersal areas.  The conditions have so far prevented the Lufwaffe from carrying out their planned dive-bombing attacks on the airfields.

The cloudy weather is also preventing the searchlights operating in tandem with the Island’s Night Fighter Squadron against enemy raiders.  Instead, the Squadron’s aircraft are fitted for offensive operations against enemy aerodromes.

AMMUNITION ON ITS WAY

From:  The War Office                              To: Governor & C in C Malta

Reptd:  C in C Middle East                                            

Reference your telegram of 30 December: 20 million half 40 millions SAA are being sent to you from Middle East.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 7 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Fair; wind SW.  Heavy rain in the morning, clearing later.

0912-0937 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north above the clouds, circles Grand Harbour and drops bombs in the Dockyard area and in Zabbar.  Heavy Ack Ack fires the Harbour barrage.

1019-1111 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north, patrols several miles north of Grand Harbour and recedes without crossing the coast.

1138-1153 hrs  Air raid alarm; raid does not materialise.

1705 hrs  A plot of three JU 88s and twelve ME 109s bombs Ta Qali and Luqa: no damage.  One JU 88 is damaged by Ack Ack.  The enemy fire machine guns at searchlights.

1720-1749 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by twelve ME 109 approach from the west, dropping bombs on Ta Qali and Luqa , and on Dingli village, where two houses are demolished, with one casualty.  Four bombs drop on the RAF camp at Ta Qali near barrack huts and dispersal areas.  One barrack hut is damaged.  Some RAF casualties; no damage to aircraft reported.  No Hurricanes airborne.  Heavy Ack Ack engaged: one JU 88 is hit and left smoking badly but is not seen to come down.

1825-1855 hrs  Four aircraft approach from the north east and cross the coast over Kalafrana, dropping bombs on Marsaxlokk, Hal Far, Luqa and Gudja.  One JU 88 is engaged by three guns of 225th Light Ack Ack Bty firing 34 rounds 40mm.  Another gun engaged a separate JU 88 at the same time with total of six rounds 40mm.

1952-2102 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north east and patrols east of the Island.  On approaching Kalafrana he flies into a barrage, recedes and resumes his patrol off-shore.  No bombs are reported.

2135-2145 hrs  One aircraft approaches Gozo and recedes without crossing the coast.

2315-0039 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north east and patrol south east of the Island.  One aircraft crosses the coast and drops bombs near Ta Qali and two sticks of bombs north of Rabat.  Heavy Ack Ack open fire.

Night  Five alerts during hours of darkness lasting most of the night.  Bombs are dropped between Ta Qali and Qrendi, and on Kalafrana.  Ack Ack fire is heard over Grand Harbour and machine-gunning towards Gozo.

Civilian casualties  Dingli  Anthony Pace, age 75.

Military casualties  Sergeant Sydney Baker, Royal Air Force, 18 Squadron; Sergeant Robert Hillman, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 18 Squadron; Sergeant Derek Phillips, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 18 Squadron; AC1 William Fullbrook, RAF Volunteer Reserve (VR); AC1 George Horn, RAF VR; AC2 George Maltby, RAF VR; AC1 Jeremiah Ryan, RAF VR; AC1 William Watson, RAF VR; L/Bdr Edward Brown, 7th Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: WEDNESDAY 7 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Fourteen Hudsons, three Wellingtons from Gibraltar. Departures Five Hudsons, one Beaufighter to 108 MU.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Tripoli Harbour; one Maryland SF 15 patrol reversed. 107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF14 patrol. 18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF14 patrol.

TA QALI  Aerodrome unserviceable: no flying.

1st BATTALION CHESHIRE REGIMENT  At ‘stand-to’ a total of 22 Vickers machine guns and 27 light machine guns in the battalion were manned for Ack Ack defence of Luqa aerodroma, and the normal 22 guns had been thickened up to 90 in some depth.  The dive-bombing attack did not materialise.  Five enemy aircraft came over and dropped bombs through the clouds.  Some fell in the dockyard but the last of the stick fell on the sports store of D Company, in which there were four men.  Miraculously no-one was killed: one man is fit for duty and three are in hospital.  Their injuries are not yet known.  1615 hrs The new GOC Major General D M W Beak, VC, DSO, MC visited Battalion HQ.

1st BATTALION DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  0714 hrs 56 Light Machine Guns mounted for Ack Ack at ‘stand to’.  “B” Company consisting of nine LMG detachments and Company and platoon HQs in position in area Bir Miftuh church.

11TH BATTALION LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  0815 hrs  All troops of this unit reported in position as per Operations Order.  No attack developed as yet.   Working parties at Luqa again not utilised.

8TH BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT  New General Officer Commanding (GOC) visited Battalion area.  Message from Brigade cancels the anti-aircraft precautions ordered yesterday, except on aerodromes.  One unexploded mine located; Post GT3 evacuated.

2ND BATTALION ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  0730 hrs  Battalion mounted all available Light Machine Guns for protection of Luqa aerodrome. D Company Mqabba; C Company Luqa; E Company Poorhouse; HQ and B Company Marsa area.  Guns manned all day. 1600 hrs GOC Major General Beak visited Battalion HQ. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1.

 

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Posted by on January 7, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

 

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6 January 1942: Attacks to Neutralise Airfields To Begin Tomorrow

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TROOPS STAND READY TO DEFEND AIRFIELD POSITIONS

Infantry Brigade Operation Order 6 January 1942

British 3.7 inch (LAA) gun, London

British 3.7 inch (LAA) gun, London

Reliable information indicates that Germans may attempt neutralization of Malta aerodromes by heavy dive-bombing attacks beginning 7 Jan 42.  Necessary AA arrangements are being made which involve moving additional troops and Light Anti-aircraft guns into position to reinforce those already defending the airfields.

The intention is to provide maximum defence of aerodromes from ‘stand to’ throughout daylight on 7 Jan 42, both round the airfields themselves and in depth beyond the perimeters.  Positions have been ordered not to ‘stand down’ until further orders are received from Headquarters.

A wet and stormy night prevented enemy air raids, and the move of troops was carried out unmolested.  Malta’s troops are armed and ready.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 6 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Cold, overcast; low clouds, rain most of the day.

1053-1110 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Aircraft identified as friendly.

1210-1225 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north east above the clouds.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and aircraft drops bombs in St Thomas’ Bay area: three in the sea and one on the cliff ege.  No Hurricanes airborne.

1255-1305 hrs  Air raid alarm; raid did not materialise.

1430-1445 hrs  One aircraft approaches to within six miles of Grand Harbour, drops bombs in the sea and recedes.

1546 hrs  Air raid.  Four bombs are dropped in the waters of Marsaxlokk Bay between defence post BZ1 and Delimara.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: TUESDAY 6 JANUARY 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Breconshire sailed from Malta escorted by four destroyers: Lance, Lively, Jaguar and Havock

AIR HQ  Arrivals One Beaufighter, six Blenheims from Gibraltar.

HAL FAR  Night 6/7th Four Swordfish 830 Squadron sent to attack convoy of two merchant vessels and two destroyers.  One merchant vessel of 4-5000 tons definitely hit amidships.  All aircraft returned safely.  Three Albacores sent to attack two merchant vessels and two destroyers.  One of the merchant vessels was attacked and hit.  The ship stopped.  Opposition usual light and heavy Ack Ack.  All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland special search Gulf of Hammamet;  one Maryland SF10b patrol.  107 Squadron One Blenheim SF14 patrol.  Night 6/7th  S/D Flight one Wellington shipping search.  40 Squadron patrol.

TA QALI  Aerodrome unserviceable; no flying.  One air raid alarm.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  1030 hrs  New General Officer Commanding (Major General D M W Beak, VC, DSO, MC, visited Brigade and met officers.  Operation Order No 1 was issued in connection with strengthening anti-aircraft (Ack Ack) defences of Luqa aerodrome.

Bren Light Machine Gun

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  The Light Machine Gun (LMG) Ack Ack defence of all aerodromes and strips in the Bde area was considerably strengthened.  LMGs mounted were: Brens 133, Twin Lewis 17, Single Lewis 10.

1st BATTALION CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Orders were to man as many light machine guns and Vickers machine guns for anti-aircraft as possible.  Company commanders to recce and select positions at dawn.

1st BATTALION DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  Brigade Commander ordered Reserve Company to move to area Safi strip to supplement Anti-aircraft defences and as many LMGs as possible mounted for Ack Ack by remaining companies.

1ST BATTALION HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  The Battalion took precautions and ‘stood to’ all Anti-aircraft Light Machine Gun posts while the defence of Safi strip was thickened with extra Ack Ack LMG from the Battalion and from the Dorsets.

11TH BATTALION LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Operation Order No 1 from Central Infantry Brigade issued ref move of troops for intensification of anti-aircraft protection of Luqa aerodromes.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  Orders received for reinforcing Hal Far anti-aircraft defence with an additional 9 guns:  59th Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA Bty) RA: 5 guns; 182nd LAA Bty RA: 2 guns; 186th LAA Bty RA: 2 guns.  Reconnaissance completed 2030 hrs.  Guns ready for action by dawn 7th inst.

8TH BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT  All LMG in the Battalion are to be mounted for anti-aircraft duty.  Approximately 50 men from Aerodrome Companies at Ta Qali filled in bomb holes on runways and dispersal areas.

2ND BATTALION ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Working party cancelled at Luqa due to wet weather.  Instructions were issued that Light Anti-Aircraft batteries and certain light machine guns would move to strengthen the Ack Ack defences of Luqa.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 6.

 

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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in 1942, January 1942, Uncategorized

 

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23 March 1941: Newly Arrived Convoy Bombed in Grand Harbour

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SS Perthshire was set on fire

SS Perthshire was set on fire

SUPPLY SHIPS DAMAGED

Four freighters of convoy MW6 arrived safely at Malta today guided through the eastern Mediterranean under the Royal Navy operation MC 9. Three merchant ships City of Manchester, Clan Ferguson and Perthshire sailed from Haifa on Wednesday last escorted by destroyers Griffin and Hotspur. City of Lincoln also embarked from Alexandria escorted by the destroyer Greyhound. The ships made a successful rendezvous north of Alexandria and sailed close to western Crete which provided fighter cover.

The convoy was covered by the main Mediterranean Fleet, including battleships Barham, Valiant and Warspite, the carrier Formidable and nine destroyers sailed from Alexandria to cover the convoy which they came upon at noon on Friday, just as enemy aircraft were approaching for attack; no damage was caused.

By 1600 hrs six more cruisers and three more destroyers joined the escort, followed by three more cruisers and a destroyer later that evening. With this heavy protection the convoy approached Malta, which then detached last night under cover of darkness to complete the final leg of its journey to Grand Harbour with a small detachment as protection.  Having negotiated the approach to harbor through a channel cleared of mines, all vessels docked safely just after 0700 hrs this morning.

Within an hour an enemy JU 88 bomber with fighter protection flew over Grand Harbour on reconnaissance. The ships’ presence was reported back to enemy HQ and later this morning a 30 strong attack was launched on the convoy.  Malta’s gunners were ready and a heavy barrage, along with a 12 strong Hurricane fighter force, drove the raiders off before they could press home their attack.  Later this afternoon the raiders were back – their strength increased to 45 – and they launched a fierce dive-bombing attack on the warships and merchant vessels.  One bomb hit the bridge of City of Lincoln; SS Perthshire was hit by an incendiary bomb and set on fire. The cruiser Bonaventure and the destroyer Griffin were both damaged by bomb splinters.

Fourteen Hurricanes were scrambled and destroyed or damaged twelve JU 87s. Hurricane pilot Sgt Frederick Robertson, DFM, had a lucky escape when his aircraft was attacked by a JU 87; the fuel tank was hit, setting his plane on fire but he managed to bale out and landed safely. His aircraft crashed near Rabat.

FOOTBALL MATCH GOES AHEAD DURING AIR RAID

The Army Cup Final was in progress this afternoon when the air raid alert sounded.  The match between the Royal Engineers and 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment was well underway as enemy raiders approached the Island and the decision was taken to continue the game, unless the raid developed directly overhead.  Players struggled to concentrate as the bombers roared over Grand Harbour but the game carried on.  The Royal Engineers won the match by 3 goals to nil.

TROOPS MOVING TO GOZO

Infantry troops are in the process of moving to Gozo to provide defence for the Island in the light of the anticipated enemy invasion. The troop movements have been organised under the guise of a major exercise.  The code name ‘Picnic’ will be used to refer to troops in Gozo.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 MARCH TO DAWN 24 MARCH 1941

Weather  Fine.

0700 hrs  A convoy of four merchant vessels with escort arrives in Malta.

0750-0825 hrs Air raid alert for a formation of enemy fighters accompanying one JU 88 bomber which flies over Grand Harbour at 24000 feet, evidently on reconnaissance. Ten Hurricanes are scrambled and anti-aircraft guns engage; no claims.

1150-1220 hrs Air raid alert for a formation of 15 ME 109 fighters escorting 15 JU 87 Stukas which dive-bomb the newly-arrived convoy in Grand Harbour. The harbour barrage is put up: some JU 87s dive through the barrage but others release their bombs from above it.  One bomber is observed having difficulty coming out of its dive; it flies out over the coast and is later reported crashing out to sea.  12 Hurricanes are scrambled and take to the air in two formations.  One formation engages the JU 87s and are then attacked by ME 109s.  The bombing raid is not fully pressed home and the JU 87s turn away to sea immediately, with the ME 109s in close attendance.  Most of the bombs fall on land in the area of Corradino Civil Prison and to the east of the target; several people are reported injured.  The shelter of Rear HQ 1st Bn Dorset Regiment is hit by a heavy bomb; no casualties.  No ships are hit.  Ack Ack guns claim one enemy raider destroyed and two damaged.

1540-1620 hrs  Air raid alert for a force of 25 JU 87 Stukas and 20 ME 109 fighters which approach the Island and carry out a dive-bombing attack, dropping 500kg and 1000kg bombs on warships and merchant ships in Grand Harbour. Several land on the Dockyard area, damaging buildings.  One bomb in the grounds of Bighi Hospital causes a camouflet crater, another explodes on a boundary wall; a third fails to explode and is recovered from an officer’s garden.  There is some damage to merchant ships: the bridge of City of Lincoln is demolished by a direct hit.  One incendiary bomb lands in the hold of SS Perthshire; the fire is put out by a scratch firefighting crew collected by Captain K J Body, Staff Captain ‘Q’ and Commander Price, RN.  Some of the cargo is destroyed.  No warships are hit; there is some splinter damage to Bonaventure and Griffin A sergeant of 4th Bn The Buffs who was manning a Bofors gun position is killed, apparently by a delayed action bomb.  Thirteen enemy aircraft are shot down. 

Fourteen Hurricanes are scrambled in two formations, destroying nine JU 87s plus one probable and two damaged. One Hurricane is shot down; the pilot bales out and is rescued.  Anti-aircraft guns destroy four JU 87s and damage four.

Military casualties  Marine James Beazley, Royal Marines, HMS St.Angelo; Stoker 2nd Class Victor Campbell, HMS Bonaventure.

Civilian casualties Dingli  Joseph Zahra, age 27.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 23 MARCH 1941

ROYAL NAVY Convoy MW6 and escort arrived at dawn using the searched channel north of Hurd Bank. The escort left at dusk to proceed to Alexandria.  The convoy was apparently not sighted at sea, but enemy reconnaissance aircraft which came over the Island as they were berthing did locate them.  Severe dive-bombing attacks on Grand Harbour followed which damaged City of Lincoln and Perthshire and caused slight splinter damage to Bonaventure and Griffin.  

AIR HQ Departures 2 Sunderlands. Sunderland patrol of Ionian Sea.  Maryland reconnaissance northern Ionian Sea. 69 Squadron Sea patrol east to Corfu.  

KALAFRANA Two Sunderlands left for the Middle East with passengers and freight.

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE Troops continue move to Gozo for an exercise.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Royal Engineers won Army Cup Final defeating 1st Bn Dorset Regt by 3 goals to nil – the sappers are only team to win 3 seasons running. The game continued during a spectacular dive bombing attack on Grand Harbour. Bomb Disposal UXB reported 5; dealt with 1 (50kg).

 

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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in 1941, March 1941

 

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15 February 1941: Malta on Alert for More Parachute Mines

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Lookouts to be posted along the waterfront

Lookouts to be posted along the waterfront

A CHAIN OF LOOKOUTS WILL KEEP WATCH FOR ENEMY MINES

New measures are announced today following the dropping of parachute mines offshore in the Grand Harbour area last night. In clear moonlight, German aircraft laid the first mines in the entrances to Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour, causing the harbours to be temporarily closed.  Three mines exploded on land causing casualties and much damage to houses.

A series of lookouts manned by military personnel is being set up to report the location of any mines dropped into the sea during air raids. The Grand Harbour area will be divided as follows:  Ricasoli sector (two lookouts), Valletta shore (two), Tigne (two), Sliema Point, coastline west of Sliema, Dragonara Point, coastline west of Dragonara (one each).

Reports giving the bearing and approximate distance of mines dropped into the sea will be rendered immediately at the conclusion of a raid. Lookouts will not attempt to make reports during a raid as this would interrupt their watch, nor will they report bombs or mines bursting on land as this will only distract their attention from the main task.

GUARDS ON ENEMY AIRCRAFT

Following concerns about safety and security, military personnel are to mount a guard on crashed enemy aircraft. Orders have been issued that when an enemy aircraft crashes in the sector of a battalion or in the sea surrounding that sector, the company command in whose area the crash occurs will at once report the location and details to battalion HQ.  The battalion will also provide a guard to prevent anyone approaching within 25 yards of the machine, pending instructions from their HQ.

These measures are seen as essential, both as a safety precaution in case of unexploded bombs and to prevent looting by souvenir hunters. The guard will be maintained until it is ordered to be relieved by headquarters.  Battalions are also reminded that unauthorised service personnel are forbidden to touch or interfere with any crashed enemy aircraft, or any small component thereof.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 16 FEBRUARY 1941

Weather   Fine and clear.

0926-1030 hrs  Air raid alert for 20-25 ME 109 fighters approaching the Island, apparently on reconnaissance. Observers report that most are painted black and white but some are painted all white and some have yellow markings.  Eight Malta fighters are scrambled and damage three raiders; Ack Ack fire damages one.  One Hurricane is damaged and rendered temporarily unserviceable; the pilot is unhurt.

1331-1414 hrs  Air raid alert for ten enemy aircraft which approach and circle the Island at 34000 feet. Hurricanes are scrambled; no interceptions.

0015-0140 hrs  Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft approaching the Island. Bombs are dropped on Sliema and on Marsa, injuring one civilian; one bomb fails to explode.

Military casualties  Private John Lancelot Wellman, 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment.

Enemy casualties  Leutnant Wilhelm Gretz, 7/LG 1, pilot of Junkers JU 88 bomber shot down.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 15 FEBRUARY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm sank one merchant vessel heading for Libya.  

AIR HQ  Night bombing operations by Wellingtons of 148 Squadron and Swordfish of 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm.

1st Bn DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  Private J L Wellman died at General Hospital Imtarfa from a fractured skull as a result of enemy bombing on 13 Febuary 1941.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 2.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  C Company took over Corradino from 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment. 

 

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Posted by on February 15, 2016 in 1941, February 1941

 

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7 July 1940: Six Children and Mother Killed in Raid

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PANIC IN KALKARA – BOMBS KILL SIX CHILDREN UNDER TEN

Panic struck the streets of Kalkara this morning when enemy raiders dropped bombs across the community, destroying several houses in St Rocco and Capuchin Streets.  Eight civilians were killed in the raid and another eight wounded.  Seven of the dead were from a single family: Melania Borg was killed along with her six children, all under ten years of age. 

Armoury, Vittoriosa

Armoury, Vittoriosa

The suddenness and ferocity of the attack shocked the harbour community causing residents to stampede in sheer panic.  Police Sergeant Bujega acted swiftly to calm the situation and set out to find immediate shelter for the stricken community.  Helped by the team at Cottonera ARP centre he forced open the door of the Armoury at Vittoriosa, which they cleared for the homeless.  Once cleaned and made fully ready, the Armoury is expected to accommodate up to 150 refugees from Kalkara.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 7 JULY TO DAWN 8 JULY 1940

Weather  Cloudy and hot. 

0800-0840 hrs  Air raid alert.  Enemy aircraft are reported in the vicinity of Malta but do not cross the coast or drop any bombs. 

0917-0935 hrs  Air raid alert for five enemy bombers which cross the coast and drop bombs Benghaisa, then the Dockyard.  Twelve bombs are dropped in the area of Tarxien and Zeitun, severely wounding one officer.  Eight civilians are killed and eight wounded in Kalkara; one civilian is killed in Zeitun.  One Hurricane pilot picks off an enemy bomber at the edge of the formation and attacks with machine gun fire. He is heard on his radio: “Am just giving the right hand bomber a basin full…going down, going down.”  The enemy aircraft is observed falling into the sea south of Filfla.

1000hrs  Private A House of the Dorsetshire Regiment is accidentally shot and killed at Zabbar.

1315 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

1835 hrs  Air raid alerts.  Enemy aircraft approach the Island.  Malta fighters are scrambled; the enemy raiders turn back, without crossing the coast or dropping bombs. 

Military casualties  Private Arthur House, 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment                     

Civilian casualties  Kalkara  Melania Borg, age 42; Maggie Borg, age 10; George Borg, age 5; Josephine Borg, age 4; Cettina Borg, age 3; Vincent Borg, age 2; Irene Borg, age 8 months.  L Gibbons.  Qormi  Amante Abela, age 30.  Tarxien  Joseph Garcia, age 14.   

Enemy casualties  Tenente Pellegrino Zagnoli, 233a Squadriglia, 59o Gruppo, 41o Stormo, pilot of S79 bomber, shot down; Franco Mora, 233a Squadriglia, 59o Gruppo, 41o Stormo, crewman of S79 bomber, shot down and missing.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 7 JULY 1940

ROYAL NAVY  The Mediterranean Fleet, less Ramillies and the 3rd Cruiser Squadron, left Alexandria today to carry out operation MA5, the objective to cover the passage of fast and slow convoys from Malta to Alexandria with evacuees and fleet stores.  The aim is to reach cover position east of Cape Passero on Tuesday.  Destroyers will proceed with Jervis and Diamond to escort convoys.

AIR HQ  0400 hrs  Anti-submarine and search patrol by flare-dropping Swordfish: nothing to report. 

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Bomb Disposal UXB  All unexploded HE bombs and fragments were collected at Marino Pinto, handed over to the Navy, taken out to sea in a minesweeper and dumped at sea.  Dealt with 2 incendiary Zurrieq.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Message received for a working party to stand by for loading stores on board ship tomorrow.

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Posted by on July 7, 2015 in 1940, July 1940

 

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