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4 February 1942: Five Hour Air Raid

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  • Five hour raid; nine killed
  • Heavy bombing on Ta Qali: buildings and runway damaged, Headquarters evacuated
  • Three Hurricanes missing
  • Wellingtons attack motor transport south of Tripoli 
  • Blenheims attack Palermo: direct hit on train

    Bomb damage at Chateau Bertrand, Ta Qali

RED FLAG UP NEARLY ALL DA

A diary of life in Valletta, 4 February 1942

“For weeks now we have had them prowling round all night and nearly all day. The day raids cease at dusk, and there is a half an hour’s interval; then Wailing Willie goes again. Sometimes he announces ‘Raider Past’ once or twice in the night; but within a short time the enemy comes again. He appears to go round and round the island, just out of reach of the guns, dropping a bomb here and there; occasionally diving on some post through the clouds – for the very cloudy weather lately has helped him. When he approaches our end of the island our own particular barrage bursts out for a moment or two, and then ceases. We doze through it!

Nature cannot go on keeping on the alert. Sometime something drops fairly near; but we have been lucky. At the moment he definitely has command of the air, for the Messerschmitt which he uses here is definitely faster than our Hurricanes. Even his Junkers when they have discharged their load are only very slightly slower, and cannot be caught if they get any start.

It is very difficult to get anything done in the day. We now have a system by which a large red flag is hoisted when bombers are about. The shops and market immediately shut, and people keep one eye on the nearest shelter, go and sit in the Club, or stand at the door of a shelter till the guns open. This flag is up nearly all day! Many brave or rash people ignore it; some because they must. But many have paid the penalty with their lives.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 4 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 5 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Bright periods; 80% cover, low thundery clouds.

0920-0937 hrs  Two plus aircraft approach from the north, pass the Island to the east, turn and recede north without crossing the coast.

1131-1634 hrs  For the first three hours of the raid, single aircraft patrol to the south east and south of the Island.  One bomber drops bombs in the Salina area.

1225 hrs  Six aircraft of 249 and 126 Squadrons, Ta Qali are airborne: intercept JU 88 bombers south of Kalafrana.  F/Lt Davis scores strikes on both engines of a bomber, closing to 50 yards, silencing the rear gunner.  P/O Tedford gets in good bursts at 250 yards from astern.  S/Ldr Beazley attacks from above and astern.  The JU 88 is claimed as damaged.  All aircraft return safely to Ta Qali.

1350 hrs  Six Hurricanes of 249, 242 and 126 Squadrons, Ta Qali, intercept JU 88s over Kalafrana.  F/Lt Carpenter fires all his ammunition from 200 yards: no return fire.

1500 hours  A raid consisting of three plots of six aircraft and three plots of three aircraft approaches from the north.  Bombs are dropped in the Ta Qali area, and near San Biagio church.  The enemy attack Ta Qali camp with large bombs, presumed to be mines.  Headquarters and Billet of Section, Equipment and Parachute Section, Malta Night Fighter Unit, 242 Squadron Offices and A/Cs offices are badly damaged and rendered unusable.  Evacuation of HQ and other buildings is ordered.  The aerodrome surface is badly cratered and made partly unserviceable.  Casualties.

ME 109 fighters then patrol south of the Island, engage Malta’s fighters and machine-gun a high-speed launch.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1806-1817 hrs  Five ME 109s approach from the north, complete a circuit of the Island and then recede north.  They do not come within range of the guns.

1820 hrs  Eleven Hurricanes of 249, 126 and 242 Squadrons, Ta Qali, are airborne to engage the enemy.  Three pilots are reported missing: P/O Hulbert and Sgt MacDowell of 249 Squadron and P/O Main of 126 Squadron.  Searches are made without result: they are presumed shot by enemy aircraft.

2020-2114 hrs  Four aircraft approach from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and bombs are dropped in the sea.

2200 hrs  One aircraft approaches and drops bombs in the sea south of the Island.

2214-2229 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, turns at 15 miles from the Island and recedes north.

2255-0011 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the Bingemma area.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0135-0510 hrs  Four aircraft approach from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and bombs are dropped in the sea.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer John Hulbert, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR); Leading Aircraftsman Thomas Griffith, Royal Air Force (VR); Aircraftsman Gerald King, Royal Air Force (VR), Corporal Theodore Nielsen, Royal Air Force.  Lance Bombardier Albert Beard, 225 Battery, 74th  Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Mosta Joseph Buhagiar, age 50, Francis Chetcuti, age 29, Elian Tonna, age 51, Joseph Tonna, age 31; Naxxar  Bartholomew Buhagiar, age 80; St Paul’s Bay  Grazio Galea, age 42.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: WEDNESDAY 4 FEBRUARY 1942

HAL FAR  Night 3/4th Three Albacores 828 Squadron despatched on search for single merchant vessel off Kuriat.  Nothing was sighted and all aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Messina Harbour; one Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland SF6 patrol (modified); one Maryland special search Sfax.  21 Squadron  Six Blenheims sent to attack Palermo Harbour; [scored a direct hit on a train identified by daytime photo-reconnaissance mission].  Wing Commander William Selkirk, RAF, P/O Workman and Sgt Ibbetson failed to return.  40 Squadron  2341-0324 hrs  Wellingtons attacked motor transport at Tripoli.  S/D Flight One Wellington special search.

TA QALI  Headquarters evacuated [following air raid today] and all equipment salvaged.  Lessons to be learned.  Had bomb been a little closer almost entire HQ equipment and personnel would have been wiped out.  HQ should be underground to save equipment, and above all dislocation of communications and organisation and if possible should be right off the target area.  Shortage of equipment renders it essential that all adequate safeguards be taken.  Typewriters and office machinery were saved from damage through being placed under tables when air raid took place.  Casualties.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT   ’A’ Company held [training exercise] at Tal Balal.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Unexploded bomb C Company area.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party 120 strong.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  Gunner A H Beard died in hospital.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER  Heavy raid on Ta Qali.  Private Jones was injured when the truck in which he was sitting was very badly damaged by a bomb.

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 4, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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3 February 1942: Air Raid Shelters Overcrowded

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BUSY SHELTERS CANNOT MEET DEMAND

“When an air raid alarm is given, huge crowds of people can be seen heading for [the shelter at 111 Kingsway, Valletta]…large enough to hold at least 150 people, whilst in a raid this place is sheltering approximately 300 people with more than 50 persons outside the passage hoping to get in.” (1)

Shelter in South St, Valletta (NWMA)

With raids now often continuous throughout the night, air raid shelters are becoming congested with chairs and bedding brought in for comfort and rest.  Anticipating a night of raids, people begin to rush to shelters straight after supper and spaces are often over-subscribed.  Lt Gen Dobbie reports that the Government has decided to appoint wardens to manage the situation:

“Shelters have come into their own again as the main topic of public interest, and this has led to motion in the Council for investigation of methods of improving shelter accommodation by Select Committee consisting of certain elected members.  This Committee is now sitting.

Main problem is the earliest extension of accommodation so as to provide room for sleeping, drainage and lighting for shelters.  All these matters are being dealt with by the Government as you will see from despatch now on its way.  Public are being kept fully informed of the measures taken.

Need for shelter wardens is also urgent, but so far it has proved impossible to obtain more than a small number of volunteers.  Am very doubtful whether payment of low wages, which is all that would be justified, would attract the right people, and as I am sure the most satisfactory solution would be to induce persons who could exercise some authority in the shelters to come forward voluntarily, I am arranging further strong appeal to be made.  If this fails we shall probably have to resort to pay and I will address you further.”

Read more about air raid shelters – see Malta at War (r)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 3 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 4 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Gale force wind and rain all morning; bright periods afternoon, weather moderating.   Aerodromes at Hal Far and Ta Qali flooded.

0837-0852 hrs  Two aircraft fly from north to south passing 25 miles east of the Island, then recede south east.

0941-1212 hrs  Six aircraft approach singly from the north and south east, and patrol an area fifteen miles south east of the Island.  One JU 88 bomber crosses the coast at about 3000 feet and drops bombs near Kalafrana, between defence posts of 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment.  Light Ack Ack guns engage.  Another aircraft approaches Marsascala, is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack and jettisons bombs in the sea.

1409 hrs Kings Own Malta Regiment reports a mine spotted about 400 yards out of Zurrieq towards W Bassasa.

1627-1824 hrs  Ten JU 88 bombers and four ME 109 fighters come in singly, dropping bombs on Gozo, then on Hal Far.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage; Light Ack Ack damages one JU 88 which recedes with smoke pouring from a port engine.

1650 hrs  Bombs are dropped on the Safi landing strip and Tal Liebru area.

1745 hrs  Four Hurricanes are airborne from Ta Qali, intercepting JU 88s over Hal Far.  P/O McNamara attacks one JU 88 at 250-300 yards, scoring strikes, then attacks another JU 88 in stern, scoring strikes and using up all his ammunition.  Three other Hurricanes attack the same machines from 200-400 yards: all score strikes and damage the JU 88s.

1820 hrs  All clear: all Malta aircraft return safely.

Night  Weather deteriorates.

0610-0749 hrs  Four bombers approach the Island singly and drop bombs on Grand Harbour and Kalafrana areas.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: 3 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Five Beaufighters, one Clare from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Clare to Cairo.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland SF15 patrol; one Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance (PR) Messina; one Beaufighter PR Taranto.  21 Squadron  Six Blenheims despatched to attack shipping Palermo.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

TA QALI   249 Squadron stood down.  126 Squadron on readiness with 242 Squadron.  Night weather deteriorating – no intruder raids from Ta Qali.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT A’ Coy were to hold a training exercise but it was cancelled owing to rain.

2ND BN ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Mine exploded on rocks 30 yards from C Company post SB1.  No damage to post or personnel.

KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  1st Bn attended Northern Infantry Brigade lecture on Ack Ack problem in Malta.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party 120 strong.  Several plots during the day.  Bombs fell at Ta Xbiex, damaging C Company windows.

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

(1) When Malta Stood Alone, Joseph Micallef, Interprint 1981

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Posted by on February 3, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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30 January 1942: RAF Fight On Through Fire and Storm

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  • Enemy use cloud cover to attack Hal Far five times in four hours.
  • Ta Qali and Hal Far waterlogged: operations restricted to Luqa aerodrome.
  • Successful Wellington attacks on shipping at sea.

MALTA AIR FORCES OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS REPORT JANUARY 1942

Castel Vetrano aerodrome 1942

Squadrons covered the Italian convoy routes almost daily through January.  PRU Hurricanes and Beaufighters of 69 Squadron carried out frequent photographic reconnaissance of Sicily and North Africa.  Marylands destroyed one ME 109 and probably one ME 110.  Our losses were one Maryland and one PRU Hurricane.

Wellingtons of 40 Squadron carried out 26 operations, dropping 152 tons of bombs.  Tripoli was attacked fifteen times causing large fires, destroying buildings and damaging ships in harbour, as well as one 13000 ton liner, three merchant vessels, and possibly a cruiser.  There were four attacks on Catania and one each on Castel Vetrano (14 aircraft destroyed and 3 damaged), on Comiso and on Naples, damaging the railway station and an airframe factory.

Blenheims of 18, 21 and 107 Squadrons carried out seven operations against shipping, hitting one merchant vessel, and on transport and buildings around Homs, Zeiten and Misrata.  Blenheims also played a prominent part in the successful raid on Castel Vetrano.  During these operations four Blenheims were lost.  One ME 109 was probably destroyed.

Swordfish of 830 Squadron carried out 12 operations against shipping, 54 aircraft taking part.  One merchant vessel of 12000 tons was sunk, one destroyer, one 8000 ton tanker and four merchant vessels [of 2000-8000 tons] were hit.  From these operations one Swordfish is missing.

Twenty three Albacores took part in mine-laying operations as well as attacking shipping.  One merchant vessel 5000 tons was hit amidships; another of 4000 tons was left stationary and listing to port.  Three aircraft are missing.

Hurricanes of the Malta Night Fighter Unit began intruder raids over Sicilian aerodromes, with 17 sorties so far.  Two JU 88s were destroyed and a third damaged at Comiso, where a twin-engined bi-plane was also shot down in flames.  Four Hurricanes carried out a daylight raid on Comiso aerodrome, starting two good fires.

AIR RAIDS DAWN FRIDAY 30 TO DAWN SATURDAY 31 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Wind south west, strong and very cold.  50% cloud.  Bright periods; heavy showers.

0911-0934 hrs  One JU 88 bomber approaches the Island via Gozo and drops bombs in Kalafrana Bay and Ghaxaq areas.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  During the raid a number of ME 109 fighters patrol north and south of the Island.

1112-1135 hrs  Two JU 88s approach the Island: one crosses the coast over Hal Far and recedes without dropping bombs.  The other JU 88 is joined by another bomber which approaches from the north.  Both cross the coast, dropping bombs in the Hal Far area from a height of 15000 feet.  Ten Hurricanes are airborne: no engagement with the enemy.  Heavy Ack Ack did not engage.

1143 hrs  One JU 88 from the previous raid approaches again, dropping bombs on the shore near Leonardo before receding north.  Eight Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage; Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1219-1229 hrs  Two JU 88s attack Hal Far, dropping four bombs just off the aerodrome.  Windows are blown out in Officers’ Mess.  No casualties.

1304-1340 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and crosses the Island from Mellieha to Ghain Tuffieha.  It then goes away to the south and re-approaches, crossing the Island from Dingli to Grand Harbour, dropping bombs on Qrendi Strip.  Heavy Ack Ack fire six barrages.  Six Hurricanes are airborne but are called in due to bad weather.

1428-1515 hrs  Two enemy aircraft follow a returning Maryland to within 25 miles of the coast and then recede.

1542-1743 hrs  Two JU 88s escorted by eight fighters patrol around the Island.  One JU 88 crosses the coast and drops bombs in the Dockyard area.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1923-2007 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, crosses the coast near Kalafrana and is met by a Heavy Ack Ack barrage.  The aircraft drops bombs in the Benghaisa area.

2305-0010 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north east, drops bombs on the Kalafrana Bay and Hal Far areas, then continues a nuisance patrol at 5000 feet.

0043-0216 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the south of the Island, between Kalafrana and Hal Far.

0238-0314 hrs  One aircraft approaches the Island from the north east, passes the Island 18 miles to the east, turns and recedes north.

0348-0410 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north east and attacks the Harbour, dropping bombs in the Dockyard and Zabbar areas.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage.

0528-0622 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, drops bombs in the Marsa area, recedes and makes three more attempts to cross the coast but each time is turned away by Heavy Ack Ack barrage.

Civilian casualties  Qrendi  Joseph Aquilina, age 38; Mary Rose Aquilina, age 34.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: FRIDAY 30 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ Arrivals  Five Blenheims from Gibraltar; one Catalina from Cairo; one Wellington from Burg el Arab. Departures  one Blenheim to LG 224; one Hurricane to Mersa Matruh.

HAL FAR  Night 30/31st Four Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack one merchant vessel of 8000 tons and one destroyer.  Three torpedoes released at merchant vessel which stopped and appeared to be listing to port when last aircraft left. All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland special search.  156 Squadron  Two Wellingtons shipping sweep Tripoli-Sirte-Misrata; five Wellingtons attacked motor transport park Benito Gate, Tripoli.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

TA QALI  Aerodrome unserviceable later in the day: no intruder operations..  Two Sections of 249 Squadron attached to Luqa for operations.  Concert at Mosta: Raffians “Babes in the Wood”.

1st BN DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  Bombs between RA7 and RA6.  No military damage or casualties.

8TH BN KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT MALTA  Bombs in D Company’s area during early morning.  Slight damage to civilian property.

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

 

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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

 

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27 January 1942: Raiders Attack Disembarking Troops

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  • Durham Light Infantry disembark in Grand Harbour

    Durham Light Infantry disembark in Grand Harbour

    Convoy bombed on Grand Harbour

  • Malta’s airmen train for ‘intruder raids’ of Axis airfields
  • Luftwaffe fighters surprise aircraft during training exercise
  • Malta’s two field ambulances not enough, says Commander
  • From:   Governor & C in C Malta                                                 To:  The War Office

    Request addition one S/Sgt (Clerk) 2 Sgts. And 5 Cpls (nursing orderlies for general duty) to…each of Nos 15 and 161 Field Ambulances RAMC while units serving in Malta.  Consider these increases essential: garrison very large for only two field ambulances, and general hospitals function telescoped into field ambulance organisation due to…necessity retention patient in dressing stations, of which there are twelve. 

    AIR RAIDS TUESDAY 27 JANUARY 1942

    Weather  Wind south west.  30% cloud; fine.  Warmer rain at night.

    0910 hrs  A convoy consisting of Force K and Breconshire arrives in Grand Harbour having passed through enemy minefields without incident.   The Breconshire is weighed down with supplies, and the convoy brings military reinforcements: 600 men of the 1st Durham Light Infantry.

    1010 hrs  Two aircraft scrambled; one at 1020 hrs; one at 1030 hrs.  No contact.

    1017-1041 hrs  Three unidentified aircraft pass northwards off the east coast.

    1100 hrs  Disembarkation of troops from convoy begins.

    1147 hrs  Five JU 88 bombers with fighter escort of twelve ME 109s approach Grand Harbour from the south at low altitude, aiming to attack the convoy.   Bombs fall near No 5 Gun Mounting Shop, the Naval Canteen Garden and south of St John’s Bastion.  Bombs on Cospicua cause civilian damage but no casualties.  Meanwhile three ME 109s carry out a patrol north east of the Island.  Heavy Ack Ack and Light Ack Ack guns are engaged.

    1730 hrs  As Hurricanes from Ta Qali take to the air for test exercises for planned intruder raids of Sicily, three of the aircraft are surprised by enemy fighters.   P/O Mackie is shot down and fatally injured.  One enemy plane is engaged by aerodrome defence posts of 8th Bn The Manchester Regt with small arms fire: some of the posts claim hits.  The plane is seen flying over Ghain Tuffieha with one wheel down and smoking.

    2017-2032 hrs  One enemy aircraft approaches from the north.  Heavy Ack Ack fire one barrage.  Bombs are dropped in the Rinella area and in the sea.

    2232 hrs  One JU 88 attacks Hal Far.  Three bombs strike, causing blast damage to windows in the Officers’ Mess.  No casualties.

    0112-0139 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north: barrage is held off as the aircraft is believed possibly friendly.  It crosses the coast and machine-guns a searchlight position in the Grand Harbour area.

    0309-0325 hrs  One bomber approaches from the north and drops incendiary bombs on Sliema and Hal Far, and High Explosive bombs in Cospicua.  Heavy Ack Ack fire four barrages.

    0445-0500 hrs  One bomber approaches the Island from the north at 240 mph and drops bombs in the sea off Delimara.  Heavy Ack Ack guns engage.

    Military casualties  Pilot Officer Alexander Mackie, Royal Air Force, died 29 January 1942.

    OPERATIONS REPORTS: TUESDAY 27 JANUARY 1942

    ROYAL NAVY  Breconshire arrives Malta escorted by Force K.  Kingston enters dry dock in Malta.

    AIR HQ  Arrivals  Three Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Beaufighter to LG 224; one Fulmar to Martula; two Wellingtons to LG 224.

    LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance (PR) Sicilian aerodromes; one Maryland SF6 patrol; one Maryland SF15 patrol; one Hurricane PR Pantelleria.  21 Squadron  Five Blenheims attacked one merchant vessel and one escort vessel.  156 Squadron  Six Wellingtons attacked shipping Tripoli.

    TA QALI  Training of airmen in defence commenced.  1925-2110 hrs  P/O Mills patrolled Comiso; no results.  1924-2145 hrs  Sgt Wood patrolled Catania: experienced heavy Ack Ack and went to Comiso where he shot down a possible JU 88 from 50 yards range.  Enemy aircraft fell to the ground in flames.  2150-0010 hrs  P/O Robertson patrols Catania and Germini: heavy Ack Ack; no result.  2230-0100 hrs  S/Ldr Westmacott patrolled Comiso: saw no activity; heavy Ack Ack.  2325-0210 hrs F/O Winton patrolled Catania and Comiso: no results; heavy Ack Ack.  0045-0250 hrs  F/Lt Stores: Comiso – no activity on aerodrome (heavy Ack Ack).  He fired at a beacon – red and green flares – and received a bullet hole in the tail.  0015-0300 hrs  P/O Grant Catania: saw twin-engined biplane south of Augusta: shot down in flames from 50 yards astern: it dived straight in the sea.

    CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE (CIB)  1st Bn Durham Light Infantry less one Company arrived from MidEast and placed under command CIB.  Floriana Detachment of Malta Tanks moved to area Verdala Palace, thus completing concentration of the amalgamated unit.

    1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT One fairly big air raid during the morning: one large bomb fell a few yards from B Company HQ.  No damage or casualties.

    1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Entered harbour and disembarked 1100-1200 hrs.  One air raid during disembarkation. Proceeded to camp at Verdala.  Now under command of Central Infantry Brigade: role to fill the gap in the defence of the high ground around Boschetto.  Accommodated in area Verdala Palace – Boschetto – Inquisitor’s Palace with HQ at Boschetto.

    KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  2nd Battalion to be trained by 8 Manch in weapons and duties for manning posts north of Victoria Lines and south of Baida Ridge, from 21 February 1942.  Bn HQ will move to Wardia Bay area.

    8TH BN KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT   ‘A’ Company were relieved on Gebel Ciantar by 1st Bn The Durham Light Infantry.  This Bn had been engaged for some time previously in erecting camps, etc. in preparation for the arrival of the [new] Bn.  New location of ‘A’ Company is Ta Chircippu near Siggiewi.

    11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  0600 hrs  Physical Training for all ranks before breakfast. 

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

     

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    Posted by on January 27, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

     

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    20 January 1942: Bomb on Dockyard Buries Nine

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    BOMB INTENDED TO HIT CONVOY SHIP

    62 bombers and fighters carry out in five raids; their targets Hal Far, the Dockyard and the convoy ships in Grand Harbour.  At 1430 hrs a heavy bomb aimed at the ship Rowallan Castle demolishes the clothing store at Marina Pinto, burying nine people under debris.  Royal Engineers (RE) rescue parties dig through the night in an attempt to recover survivors.  Only one civilian is found alive.

    Bomb damage GOC’s residence Pieta (NWMA Malta)

    ARMY COMMANDER’S LUCKY ESCAPE

    An unexploded bomb falling on the residence in Pieta of the Army General Officer Commanding (GOC), Major-General D M W Beak split the house in two, leaving the GOC stranded on the top floor with no means of escape.  No-one was hurt.

    The RE Bomb Disposal Officer attended immediately, and neutralised the 500kg bomb’s fuze.  However, air raids and the building’s precarious state prevented the immediate removal of the bomb which was placed under guard.  (1)

    AIR RAIDS 20 JANUARY 1942

    Weather   Wind west.  100% low cloud.  Thundery showers.

    0628-0753 hrs  Three aircraft approach from the north.  One bomber patrols south east of the Island.  The other two drop bombs in Mellieha and Qawra Tower areas.  Guns do not engage.

    0850-0908 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

    0928-1004 hrs  Two JU 88 bombers with fighter escort approach from the north.  One JU 88 crosses over Grand Harbour on reconnaissance, followed by a second JU 88 which dives down to drop bombs over the Dockyard.  Four bombs land in the Dockyard School and Verdala Barracks area.  Heavy Ack Ack fire height control; no Hurricanes are airborne.

    0955 hrs  225 Light Ack Ack Battery engages one JU 88 at 5000 feet, claiming one hit.

    1134-1253 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by ten ME 109s approach from north.  One JU 88 crosses over Delimara and drops bombs in Marsaxlokk Bay and near Zejtun.  The ME 109s remain off the east coast at 5000 feet.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage.

    1405 hrs  Eight aircraft are scrambled from Ta Qali.

    1410-1503 hrs Three JU 88s escorted by twenty ME109s come in from the north and drop bombs on Marino Pinto, Ospizio, Guardamangia, Gzira and Tal Qroqq, on the Dockyard, and Floriana, Tal Qroqq and Birkirkara.  Heavy Ack Ack engages and Hurricanes chase one JU 88, without results.

    1534-1730 hrs  Enemy aircraft come in from the north and drop bombs in the north of the Island.  Three aircraft are scrambled from Ta Qali.

    1947-2137 hrs  Seven aircraft approach the Island from the north, two turning back thirty miles out.  The rest do not cross the coast but orbit to the east apparently unable to find the Island.  One aircraft is barraged as it approaches from the east.

    2045-0230 hrs  Enemy aircraft drop bombs on the Safi strip and the Grand Harbour area.

    2153-0230 hrs  Six aircraft approach the Island, three only crossing the coast.  Two are turned away by barrages.  Bombs are dropped near a military defence post, severing an overhead electric cable, as well as west of Hal Far and west of Gzira.  No military damage is reported.

    Military casualties  L/Cpl Reginald Carter, 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment; Private Thomas Hall, Royal Army Ordnance Corps; Gunner Philip Sammut, Royal Malta Artillery; WO1 Alfred Newman, Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

    Civilian casualties  Floriana Carmelo Grima, age 37; Hamrun Carmelo Brincat, age 54, Wigi Micallef, age 55; Lija Luigi Fenech, age 47; Mosta Edwige Vincenti, age 37; Sliema Attilio Mamo, age 45.

    OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 20 JANUARY 1942

    AIR HQ  Arrivals One Clare from Cairo; two Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures One Clare to Lisbon; two Wellingtons to LG 224.

    LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland SF15 patrol; one Maryland SF 16 patrol; one Maryland SF6 patrol. 21 Squadron  Two Blenheims attacked barracks west of Homs. 40 Squadron  Three Wellingtons nuisance raid on Tripoli. S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

    TA QALI  Aircraft returned [to base] from operating at Luqa.

    1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT A & D Companies fired their pistol course during the morning.  The Battalion is providing a guard and a working party on the GOC’s house which was hit by a bomb.  Luckily the bomb failed to explode but the house received extensive damage.

    FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 4; dealt with 1(500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries. 

    (1) UXB Malta, SAM Hudson, History Press 2010/2012

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    Posted by on January 20, 2017 in 1942, January 1942, Uncategorized

     

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    19 January 1942: Over 70 Attackers in 3 Hours as Convoy Arrives

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    MOSTA CASUALTIES

    72 enemy aircraft attacked Malta today as an incoming convoy approached bringing essential supplies to the Island.  A massive attempted raid on the convoy at 1230 hrs was driven off by Malta’s Hurricane squadrons, airborne to protect the vessels.  Less than an hour later, raiders returned for a heavy bombing raid on the Hurricane base at Ta Qali, causing heavy casualties in the town of Mosta.  All ships arrive safely in Grand Harbour.

    CONVOY DOCKS SAFELY DESPITE RAIDS

    Clan Ferguson

    Ajax, Clan Ferguson and City of Calcutta steamed into Grand Harbour this afternoon, bringing reinforcements and 30000 tons of supplies for Malta. (1)  The convoy left Alexandria on 16 January in two groups, with the aim of dividing the attention of the enemy, before merging yesterday for the final run to Malta.  The Island’s Royal Navy Force K set out to relieve the protection vessels and cover the convoy’s approach, supported by RAF Hurricane aircraft.

    AIR RAIDS 19 JANUARY 1942

    Weather  Wind south west.  80% low clouds.  Bright periods with thundery showers.

    Dawn  An enemy submarine is sighted five miles ahead of the incoming convoy, off the Island of Filfla; two Albacores go to attack but are shot down by an ME109 (the crew is rescued).

    0831-0856 hrs  One JU88 bomber and three ME109 fighters pass near the incoming convoy of six destroyers and three merchant ships, to the south of the Island.  Hurricanes are up covering the convoy: no engagements.

    0911-0939 hrs  One aircraft approaches Gozo from the north and recedes.  Hurricanes are up but do not engage.

    1227 hrs  20 JU 88s with fighter escort attempt to attack the incoming convoy, which is protected by Hurricanes.

    1300 hrs Hurricane SU 174 crash lands at Luqa, damaged by enemy fire: the pilot is uninjured.

    1315 hrs  JU 88s attack Ta Qali, dropping nine bombs on the aerodrome and leaving four craters on the aerodrome surface.  Two direct hits on a rock shelter cause part of the roof to cave in.  A dispersal hut of 249 Squadron is damaged, one Hurricane, one Blenheim damaged.  Another Blenheim is damaged by fire.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage.

    Bombs are also dropped on Hal Far and on Mosta, where at least thirteen civilians and three airmen are killed.  Three more people are seriously wounded; fifteen slightly injured and in shock. One RAF billet at 122 Eucharistic Road is destroyed, another at 9 Tower Street is damaged.  Two motor buses and one lorry are damaged.

    1447 hrs  Raiders passed.  The convoy enters Grand Harbour undamaged.

    1517-1546 hrs  One JU 88 crosses the Island from south to north over Grand Harbour.  Heavy Ack Ack engages; fighters are airborne but do not engage.

    1717-1811 hrs  42 aircraft (JU 88s and escorting ME 109s)  approach from the north.  Five ME 109s dive down to 400 feet and attack Swordfish aircraft on Hal Far airfield, damaging one.  225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage the ME 109s, damaging one.  The JU 88s cross over Kalafrana and drop bombs in a Wied [river valley] near Hal Far, and 200 yards off the coast.  There is no attack on the convoy in Grand Harbour.

    2022-2048 hrs  Raid does not materialise.

    2114-0144 hrs  Three aircraft approach during this period and carry out patrols around the Island, dropping bombs in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack fire two barrages but operations are modified due to take-off and landing of friendly aircraft.

    0206-0303 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north and patrol round the Island, crossing the coast before receding.  Heavy Ack Ack fire three immediate barrages.  Bombs are dropped near Mellieha, Ta Silch and Hal Far.  One airman is killed at Kalafrana.  Heavy Ack Ack operations are modified due to take-off and landing of friendly aircraft.

    Military casualties  LAC Harold Greenacre, RAF, 249 Squadron; LAC James Sim, RAF; Cpl John Small, RAF, 249 Squadron; Private John Spiteri, 3rd Bn, Kings Own Malta Regiment; Gunner Samuel Vickers, 10th HAA Regiment.

    Civilian casualties  Mosta Luigi Barbara, age 60, Ines Bugeja, age 4, Joe Bugeja, age 7, Karmnu Buguja, age 5, Karmnu Bugeja, age 58, Mariana Bugeja, age 43, John Caruana, age 7, Francesca Riolo, age 71, Sunta Riolo, age 30, John Spiteri, age 23, Orazju Schembri, age 19, Evangelista Vella, age 34, John Vincenti, age 45; Lija John Fenech, age 27.

    Enemy casualties  Alfred Beier; Kurt Krause; Waldemar Nikolay; Sebastian Pietschnig.

    OPERATIONS REPORTS: MONDAY 19 JANUARY 1942

    AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Swordfish from 235 Wing.

    HAL FAR Two Albacores 828 Squadron carried out anti-submarine patrol.  One Albacore was shot down into the sea by enemy fighters (ME 109s).  The crew, S/Lt Howson and ALA Hedgman were rescued; both were wounded.

    LUQA  69 Squadron One Maryland Cairo 5 patrol; one Maryland Cairo 4a patrol; one Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance North African aerodromes.  21 Squadron  Two Blenheims attacked Catania aerodrome.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

    TA QALI  Squadrons operating from Luqa, attached there for the day.  Four Hurricane bombers 249 Squadron proceeded Comiso and attacked target from 15000 feet.  Fires started: no opposition.  All aircraft returned by 0810 hrs.

    CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  X Squadron, 6th Bn Royal Tank Regiment (OC Major Longworth, RTR) arrived in Malta and was placed forthwith under CIB for admin.  They are accommodated in the area of Verdala Palace.  From today to end of January the CIB will provide working parties of 400 men for extension of dispersal areas at Luqa: allocated 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers 170, 1st Bn Cheshire Regt 130, 2nd Bn Royal West Kents 100.

    1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  B & C Companies carried out the firing of the pistol course today.  Training is becoming more difficult daily.  We are now providing 130 men daily for working parties on Luqa aerodrome.  In addition today we have to find 20 men for unloading of a convoy of three ships.  This will probably last ten days.

    2ND BN DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT 150-200 men engaged in building 2000 yards runway at Hal Far until further orders.

    FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 5; dealt with 6 (4 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg, 1 x Thermos) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

    (1)  “This convoy brought in 20 Bofors 40mm AA guns together with 21 officers and 412 OR of 65th LAA Regiment. 8 A9 and A13 Cruiser tanks were also unloaded, to be manned by 85 officers and men of A Squadron, 6th Royal Tank Regiment. The ships also brought the first 4000-lb aircraft bombs to arrive in Malta for the RAF’s Wellingtons, 18 being unloaded. ”  Robert Dimech

    “My great Uncle died on that day – he was a member of the 65th LAA regiment – the family story is that he went down on a ship in Malta but we have no further information and this looks like a good candidate.”  Roger Bradbury

     

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    Posted by on January 19, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

     

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    14 January 1942: World Record 17 Air Raid Alerts in 24 Hours

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    • Malta experiences a record number of raids, with 17 air raid alerts in a 24 hour period
    • 61 aircraft involved in daylight raids
    • German aircraft using flares to illuminate night bombing targets
    • RAF fighters still unable to take off from Hal Far and Ta Qali

    Blackburn Skua Aircraft

    AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 14 JANUARY 1942

    Weather  Warmer with little wind (southerly); bright periods.

    0251-0335 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Aircraft identified as friendly.

    0703-0807 hrs  Nine plus aircraft approach from the north in three raids.  Heavy Ack Ack fire immediate barrage. The aircraft are believed to be searching for a friendly destroyer to the south of the Island.

    0814-0834 hrs  One JU 88 bomber approaches from the south and bombs HM ships south east of Delimara.  A Hurricane engages the enemy without result.

    0916-0925 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the west, crossing the coast near Dingli.  Heavy Ack Ack engages.  Bombs are dropped near Bingemma and a stick of five is dropped 400 yards south east of Gomerino.  One Hurricane is airborne but does not engage.

    0954-1132 hrs  Two JU 88s and four groups of three or more ME 109 fighters carry out a patrol round the Island.  ME 109s at heights from 9000 feet down to 500 feet; they are believed to be attempting to intercept Malta’s reconnaissance aircraft.  Guns do not engage, as aircraft are out of range.  One Hurricane airborne until 1007 hrs.

    1210-1215 hrs  Air raid alert. Raid does not materialise.

    1245-1345 hrs  Three JU 88s and escorting ME 109s approach from the north as two raids.  Bombs are dropped near Benghaisa Point, including one on a gun position, damaging three buildings and injuring one man.  Heavy Ack Ack engages; no Hurricanes airborne.

    1459-1608 hrs  Four JU 88s and escorting fighters approach from the north in four raids.  Bombs are dropped on Grand Harbour, Luqa, Hal Far and Kalafrana.

    1511 hrs  Three JU 88s and nine ME 109s cross over Kalafrana.  The JU 88s drop bombs on Hal Far, setting fire to two Skuas and one Swordfish, destroying all three.  A second Swordfish and five Hurricanes are slightly damaged.  Four soldiers of a working party filling in craters on the aerodrome are badly wounded; another five are slightly injured.  Four ME 109s circle overhead at 4000 feet, engaged by Heavy Ack Ack fires and Bofors guns.

    1621 hrs  Air raid warning.  Bombs are dropped in Marsaxlokk Bay and on Safi landing strip.  No damage or casualties.

    1629-1659 hrs  Three JU 88s with escorting ME109s cross the coast to the east of the Island and drop bombs between Hal Far and Safi.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages.

    1933-1943 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid did not materialise.

    2021-2119 hrs  Eight aircraft approach from the north in quick succession; only one crosses the coast.  Bombs are dropped in the sea off Tigne, St George’s Bay and Ricasoli.  Flares are used off Zonkor Point.  Heavy Ack Ack fires five immediate barrages.  There are indications that the enemy is laying mines.

    2305-0105 hrs  Three aircraft approach from the north and patrol round the Island, dropping bombs in the sea off Salina Bay and Zonkor Point.  Guns did not engage.

    Night   25 bombers take part in six raids, using flares ineffectually – the first time flares have been used over Malta for many months – but in spite of illuminating Grand Harbour most of the bombs dropped out to sea.

    Military casualties  Pilot Officer Kenneth Coakley, 402852, Royal New Zealand Air Force, 21 Squadron; Flight Lieutenant Harold Dukes-Smith, Royal Air Force (RAF) Volunteer Reserve (VR), 21 Squadron; Sergeant Donald Groves, RAF VR, 21 Squadron; Flight Sergeant Anthony Hussey, RAF;   Sergeant Douglas McLaren, RAF VR, 211 Squadron; Sergeant Alfred Wratten, RAF VR, 21 Squadron; Gunner Thomas Lodge, 26th Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery.

    OPERATIONS REPORTS: WEDNESDAY 14 JANUARY 1942

    AIR HQ  Departures  Four Blenheims, one Hudson, one Wellington to LG224; one Catalina to Gibraltar.

    HAL FAR  One Albacore 828 Squadron and five Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched on shipping search north west of Pantelleria.  No sightings.

    LUQA   69 Squadron  One Maryland photo-reconnaissance(PR)  North African aerodromes; one Hurricane PR Pantelleria Harbour and aerodrome; one Maryland special search Pantelleria-Cape Bon-Kerkennah-Malta.  21 Squadron  1145 hrs Four Blenheims C/v sweep Linosa, Kerkennah, Tripoli.  The Blenheims located and attacked a German motor vessel and its Italian destroyer escort off the coast of Tunisia.  During a low-level attack on the enemy vessels, Blenheim Z7342 piloted by Fl/Lt Harold Dukes-Smith hit the mast of the German ship and plunged into the sea, killing the entire crew including Flight Sergeant Anthony Hussey and Sergeant Alfred Wratten.  40 Squadron  One Wellington Tripoli nuisance raid.

    FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 10; dealt with 2 (500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

     

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    Posted by on January 14, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

     

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