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A greater fighter force in the air over Malta is succeeding in driving off Italian raiders. For the second time in a week, eight fighters were scrambled to meet the enemy. At the first warning of an approaching attack this morning the six Hurricanes and two Gladiators took to the air. As four of the eight Italian Macchi 200 fighters turned over the coast near Ghar Dalam to head for the airfields, they were intercepted by four Hurricanes and engaged in a fierce dog fight, severely damaging an enemy aircraft. No bombs were dropped or damage done on the Island during the raid. Last Sunday the same number of Malta fighters intercepted an approaching formations with the result that the raiders turned back for Sicily without making any attack.
Rev Reginald Nicholls, Chancellor of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta, wrote in his diary:
“the Italian air attacks, which started off in great style, and for the first month were most distinctly unpleasant, have almost died away. About every five days we have a warning, and we go to our shelter in the Crypt, or wherever we may happen to be. We hear planes, but no guns; and after half an hour or so the ‘All Clear’ is sounded, and we hear that enemy planes approached but were driven off. Last Sunday the siren sounded just as Mattins ended, and we were not released for over an hour. But I was told afterwards that it was an exercise! However, I am not certain.
Today (Sunday), we had a warning at 10 o’clock, which lasted 25 minutes; and we had a happy service after. We were told that an enemy plane had been brought down, but shall not know for certain till tomorrow. I often wonder when they will strike at Malta; and whether it will be made by Germans; or whether they may try a tip-and-run bombardment from the sea.” (1)
AIR RAIDS DAWN 27 OCTOBER TO DAWN 28 OCTOBER 1940
0958-1025 hrs Air raid alert for eight Italian Macchi 200 aircraft which fly from the north to the south of the Island at 18-20000 feet before crossing the coast. Six Hurricanes and two Gladiators are scrambled. The Hurricanes engage four of the raiders over Ghar Dalam. One enemy aircraft is believed brought down but not confirmed. One Hurricane’s tail is damaged but it lands safely. The raiders turn away with no bombs dropped.
1100 hrs A enemy formation of three enemy aircraft approaches from the north to within 30 miles of the Island then turns away, possibly searching for one of the aircraft force-landed during the previous raid.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 27 OCTOBER 1940
AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland, 2 Blenheims. Departures 2 Sunderland. Reconnaissance of Ionian Sea for enemy surface forays by Blenheim attached 431 Flight, Swordfish 830 Squadron FAA and Glenn Martin 431 Flight; nil reports by all aircraft. French Latecoere seaplane reconnaissance Malta to 20 miles north of Lampedusa to 40 miles west of Tripoli to 40 miles west of Lampedusa to Malta; nil report.
KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. Sunderland 230 Squadron reconnaissance Alexandria to Doro Channel to Kea to Kithera to Malta; reported a convoy of three merchant vessels, two destroyers and one cruiser identified as British. One Sunderland left for Middle East and one arrived from Middle East. One Sunderland RAAF left for UK with 3 passengers and mail. French Latecoere on 5 hours patrol.
8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT Mail and parcels arrived.
(1) Extract from diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St.Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta. Courtesy of website: Malta Family History
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