Tag Archives: 203 Squadron

14 April 1942: Round the Clock Bombing – One Raid lasts 13 1/2 Hours

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)


1-14 APRIL 1942:  Enemy bombers 2391; Bombs 2,779,800 kg (2736 tons); Casualties 340

Bristol Beaufort


Early this afternoon a Special Beaufort aircraft landing at Malta after operations in the Middle East was attacked on the ground by Messerschmitt fighters.  The pilot was killed and the crew injured. 

Three more Beaufort aircraft of 39 Squadron heading in to Malta from ops. in the Middle East were shot down in the sea south of the Island, as well as two others lost during the same operation.  Other Beauforts later landed successfully under the protection of Spitfires and Hurricanes.  Six airmen are reported killed.

A Maryland aircraft returning from shadowing operations with ME 203 Squadron has been reported missing.  The aircraft left Barrani at 0700 hrs this morning and should have landed in Malta at 1315 hrs.  However, nothing has since been heard of the Maryland, either from the Middle East or Malta.  The last message from the aircraft was received at 0945 hrs GMT.


Weather  Wind cold, north easterly; 50% medium cloud.

0620-1020 hrs  ME 109 fighters patrol round the coast of the Island.

1020 hrs  25 JU 87s bomb  Grand Harbour area while four ME 109s drop bombs at both ends of Hal Far aerodrome and machine-gunning the airfield.

1032 hrs  16 JU 88s follow this plot in and drop bombs on Hal Far and the dispersal area, causing craters on the aerodrome.  One Hurricane is severely damaged and one slightly damaged.One ME 109 is shot down in the sea off Delimara; one Messerschmitt crashes 800 yards from a defence post of B Company, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt. The pilot is killed and identified from papers as Karl Henry Krahl of Breslau.

1035 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA) engage four JU 88s and one ME 109: two guns claim total four hits on two JU 88s and one ME 109.

1045 hrs  Twelve JU 88s attack Ta Qali: six of them drop 24 bombs on Ta Qali runway.

1050 hrs  Three Spitfires 249 Squadron are escorting a Maryland in to Malta when they are alerted to an approaching enemy formation.  They attack a number of ME 109s: P/O Kelly damages one before he is shot down into the sea: he is later rescued.

1140 hrs  Guns of 225 LAA Bty engage two ME 109s: no claims.

1150-1425 hrs  ME 109s keep up a continuous patrol off the coast while a delivery flight of Beauforts head towards Malta.  Spitfires and Hurricanes are airborne, to act as escort for the incoming aircraft.

1300 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled to escort another Maryland returning from patrol.  They sight Messerschmitt fighters:  F/L McQueen part-destroys one and damages another; P/O Sergeant part-destroys one.  Three Hurricanes 185 Squadron engage three ME 109s:  F/Sgt Fletcher and Sgt Lee each damage one.

1355 hrs  A Beaufort returning from operations in theMiddle East has just landed at Luqa when it is strafed by ME 109s, killing the pilot and wounding four members of the crew.

1428 hrs  24 JU 87s dive on Grand Harbour, dropping bombs in the Dockyard, Zabbar and St Paul’s Bastion areas, while five JU 88s drop bombs on Luqa.  Four ME 109s drop bombs on Hal Far near the Windsock area.

1435 hrs  Guns of 225 LAA Bty engage two JU 88s: three hits claimed.

1440 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Misrah Blandun.

1545 hrs  More Beauforts from theMiddle East come in to land, under the protection of two Spitfires and two Hurricanes.

ME 109s continue to patrol round the coast of the Island.

1800 hrs  Three returning Beauforts are shot down into the sea.  One is sighted by 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment.  L/Cpl Sciberras of B Company and another man put to sea in a boat and brings in two survivors.

1805 hrs  24 JU 87s attack the Grand Harbour area.

1830 hrs  Eight JU 88s dive-bomb Luqa airfield, cratering the runway and damaging equipment.  The camp warning system is put out of use.  Bombs are dropped near Bir id Deheb and Ghaxaq encampments of 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt.

1830 hrs  Four JU 88s drop fifteen bombs on Ta Qali, including at least one delayed-action bomb.  Craters adjacent to and at the end of the runway make the aerodrome unserviceable for night flying.

1838 hrs  Bombs are dropped on the Mellieha Camp of the Kings Own Malta Regiment, including several delayed-action.

1840 hrs  Guns of 225 LAA Bty engage numerous JU 88s: 7 hits claimed.

1952 hrs  All clear.

2042-2130 hrs  Air raid warning for one aircraft which does not cross the coast.  Minutes later another alert is sounded for an aircraft approaching from the west: identified as friendly.

Night to 0540 hrs Continuous night raids by single German and Italian aircraft. Bombs are widespread and indiscriminate. Weather deteriorating.

2052-2135 hrs  One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagement.

2250 hrs  Bombs are dropped betweenSelmunPalace and Torri Ghain Hadid.  One does not explode.

0124 hrs  Two single aircraft come in singly from the north and drop bombs in the sea to the north of the Island.  Meanwhile several Malta-based aircraft come in to land.

0219 hrs; 0337 hrs; 0445 hrs  Bombs are dropped on theSafi strip.

0220 hrs; 0250hrs; 0354 hrs  Bombs, including some delayed-action, are dropped on Mellieha Camp of Kings Own Malta Regiment and in the sea nearby.

Military casualties  Skipper William Orchard, Royal Navy Reserve, HMS St.Angelo; Flight Lieutenant Robert Beveridge, Pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR), 39 Squadron; Flight-Sergeant Stanley Howroyd, Pilot, Royal Air Force VR, 22 Squadron;  Sergeant Thomas Keegan, Royal Air Force VR, 47 Squadron; Warrant Officer Joseph Lee, Observer, Royal Air Force, 22 Squadron; Sergeant Alexander Miller, Royal Air Force VR, 39 Squadron; Flying Officer Robert Seddon, Royal Air Force VR, 39 Squadron; Bombardier Eric Blunt, 7th Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Enemy casualties  Hauptmann Karl-Heinz Krahl, Pilot of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 shot down by gunfire at Hal Far whilst making a low level attack on the airfield.


AIR HQ  Arrivals  Three Beauforts, four Beaufighters landed Malta from Ops ME.  Departures  One Hudson toGibraltar, one Hudson to Gambut, one Spitfire PRU, oneWellington, twoHudsons to 108 MU.

HAL FAR  Night 14/15th  One Swordfish and two Albacores despatched to attack enemy convoy: nothing sighted.

LUQA  Four JU 88s drop bombs on Luqa aerodrome.  0959-1320 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron on search for enemy shipping. Sighted convoy and chased by numbers of enemy aircraft: no combat.  2045-0555 hrs  OneWellington on Special Search.  Reports enemy convoy.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Bombs near Four Platoon at Rinella: wireless mast hit.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Work on aerodromes continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 11; dealt with 6 (1 x 1000kg;  2 x 250kg, 3 x 50kg).

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  31 sailors attached to the Battalion.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Lt T Miller attached from 8th Bn Manchester Regt was injured in the shoulder by shrapnel from an Ack Ack shell.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Hal Far working party continued: bombed and machine-gun.  1100 hrs  Our own Ack Ack light machine-guns with others engage and shoot down a ME 109.  GOC congratulates the Battalion.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of  use contact

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 14, 2022 in 1942, April 1942


Tags: , , , , , ,

19 December 1941: Loss of Navy Ships “Due to Rashness”

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)


A source close to the Governor today disclosed that questions have been raised over the tactics of the Commander of HMS Neptune, appointed to lead yesterday’s operation on the approaches to Tripoli:

HMS Kandahar

“…the Governor and I lunched on board. The Admiral told me that HMS Ajax has a gamé leg – in other words a damaged shaft which cannot be mended here. The thing must come out from England, which means 4 or 5 months out of action. I said, ‘Will they not transfer you to Neptune?’ To which he replied softly, ‘There is no Neptune.’

Three nights before, the whole force bar Ajax had gone out and run on to a minefield. HMS Neptune sank with almost all hands, HMS Kandahar also (…150 saved). HMS Aurora was damaged, and HMS Penelope (though I do not know how badly).

Such are the vicissitudes of Naval war: one day a powerful force capable of making it extremely hot for enemy shipping; next day a very different thing. When we see ships go out, we always wonder whether they will come back.

The Captain of Upholder has been given the VC. His boat has done marvellously. Since writing this I have been told what I had heard whispered earlier, that the loss of those ships was due to rashness. K Force were very happy in their work with complete confidence in their Senior Officer, Captain Nicoll. They then found themselves under Rory O’Connor of Neptune.

A convoy was being searched for, and it was felt that they had missed it, and should turn back. The SO insisted on pushing on at a terrific speed, so much so the Engineer-Commander of one ship refused to do the speed (it being more than his horse-power) unless his Captain gave him orders in writing. Some ship signalled: ‘Could we not do one knot less?’. Then they found themselves in the minefield. This is only Force K’s view of course.” (1)


From the War Diary of Vice-Admiral Malta:

“Today signals were received from Kandahar stating that she was still afloat, and she was also sighted by reconnaissance aircraft.  At nightfall Jaguar was despatched to endeavour to rescue survivors and, if conditions were favourable, tow Kandahar back to Malta.  In spite of the assistance of a special Wellington it was not until 0400hrs that Jaguar found and went alongside Kandahar, bow to bow.

By this time the sea had become very rough and after a very few moments it was apparent that this method of rescuing survivors must be abandoned.  Jaguar then lay off from Kandahar and the crew of the latter swam across.  Kandahar was then sunk by torpedo and Jaguar returned to Malta with eight officers and 157 ratings of her ship’s company including the Captain, Commander W G A Robson, DSO.” 

Maltese casualties from HMS Kandahar were L/Ck (O) Joseph Azzopardi, PO Std Joseph Bertuello, L/Std Andrew Schembri, Malta Port Division.


0259-0432 hrs  Air raid alarm. Enemy aircraft on intruder patrols.

0837-1717 hrs  Five air raid alarms were sounded for 22 enemy aircraft approaching the Island.  No bombs were dropped.  Hurricanes intercepted on two occasions, damaging two enemy aircraft.  One Hurricane was lost.  Ack Ack engaged raiders during one alert.

2150 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two enemy aircraft approached from north and patrolled south of Island before crossing coast.  Incendiary bombs dropped north west of Kalafrana and in Mqabba.  Heavy Ack Ack engaged by immediate and height control barrage.

Military casualties  Sergeant Cedric Tyson Brown, Royal Australian Air Force; Sergeant Alfred McLevy, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 203 Squadron; Pilot Officer Edward Elmer Steele,  Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve; Flying Officer Arthur Thomas Read, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 203 Squadron.

Enemy casualties  Leutnant Wilhelm Brauns, pilot of JU 88 bomber, shot down and taken prisoner; Obergefreiter Erwin Hesse, Air Gunner of JU 88 bomber, shot down and taken prisoner; Gefreiter Johannes Matuschka, Wireless Operator of JU 88 bomber, shot down and died.


ROYAL NAVY  Utmost returned from patrol in Gulf of Taranto, having obtained a hit on a Garibaldi class merchant vessel.  Aurora, Penelope, Havock, Lance, Lively arrived.  Penelope and Aurora both damaged by mines.  Neptune sunk 30′ off Tripoli and Kandahar sinking.  Jaguar sailed to rescue survivors.

HAL FAR  Night 18/19th  828 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Six Albacores despatched to attack convoy of six destroyers and three merchant vessels approaching Tripoli harbour.  Two hits claimed on 2000 ton merchant vessel.  One Albacore failed to return: the missing crew Lt Greenwood, pilot, and Lt Commander Langmore, observer.  830 Squadron  Five Swordfish despatched to continue attack on the convoy previously attacked by the Albacores.  The convoy was not sighted.  One Swordfish crashed on landing.  Crew unhurt.

LUQA  69 Squadron  Three Marylands special search.  Photo-reconnaissance unit 2 Tripoli.  18 Squadron  Two Blenheims special search; three Blenheims despatched to attack convoy off Tripoli.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim special search; three Blenheims despatched to attack convoy off Tripoli.  S/D Flight   One Wellington search to locate Kandahar.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  High Explosive bombs dropped on Luqa and Safi during raid lasting throughout the night.  Some damage to Signals installations.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 1 (50kg).

(1) Extract from diary of Rev Reginald M Nicholls, Chancellor of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta.  Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact

1 Comment

Posted by on December 19, 2021 in 1941, December 1941, Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , ,