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27 October 1940: Extra Malta Fighters Drive Off Italian Raiders

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Hurricanes fly in to MaltaEXTRA NUMBERS IN THE AIR GAIN THE UPPER HAND

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

Weather  Fine.

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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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

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26 October 1940: Hoarding and Fuel Shortages Affect Life in Malta

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Buses run for only a few hours a day

Buses run for only a few hours a day

COINS AND FUEL IN SHORT SUPPLY

Rev Reginald Nicholls, Chancellor of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta, observes the shortages emerging in Malta in his diary for October 1940:

“We are much bothered by the hoarding of silver. It is almost impossible to obtain change for half-a-crown. The Government issued an Ordinance making hoarding illegal; but it had little or no effect. Now, another Ordinance has just been issued giving authority to the Police to search houses. But I doubt whether anything will be done…It was said in the Council of Government last week that unemployment is now at its lowest for many years; but the Maltese will oppose any suggestion of Taxation – even self imposed – to the death. There is a lot of money about, and there are many rich people. There is also much real poverty…

We are apparently very short of petrol. For months petrol was not rationed then, soon after Italy came in, private cars were forbidden, but a good many exceptions allowed. Then suddenly all private cars were withdrawn from the roads including taxis and hired cars, and the buses allowed to run during only a few hours of the day. As at least half the population is now living in the country towns and villages, transport is a great problem; and further restrictions are threatened. I should have thought that during those early months the Government might have built storage tanks; but one must not judge without knowing the facts. I am inclined to attribute the sudden panic to Germany’s seizure of Romania. It is even possible that some tankers were just about to start from Galatz for Egypt and Malta and have been held up.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 26 OCTOBER TO DAWN 27 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine with fresh north westerly breeze.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 26 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Skua Fleet Air Arm reconnaissance of area between Malta and Tripoli; nil report.

AIR HQ Reconnaissance of north eastern and southern Ionian Sea for enemy surface forays by Blenheim attached 431 Flight, Sunderland 228 Squadron and Glenn Martin 431 Flight; nil reports by all aircraft.

KALAFRANA  Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons.

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  2 platoons posted to form D Company. 18 recruits from depot posted to B Company.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT A mine was reported by J2 floating towards the defence post. It proved impossible to beach and the post was evacuated overnight.

(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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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

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24 October 1940: Anti-Italian Feeling Grows in Malta

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Kingsway or Strada Reale

Kingsway or Strada Reale

ITALIAN PILOT ATTACKED IN VALLETTA

Anti-Italian feeling is growing among some groups of Maltese civilians. Increasing numbers of letters are being sent to newspapers seeking the eradication of Italian language and cultural symbols from Maltese life. One correspondent commented: “Whenever we hear the siren, there are only Italian planes, directed by Italian pilots, dropping Italian bombs…are we going to leave the Italian language on our walls? Are we to continue to write our address in Italian?…Is the Italian language to be continued to flow in our Secondary Schools? Street names are already being changed from Italian to English in response to demand. However, while the Government has sounded a note of caution, some views published in the press have enflamed anti-Italian feelings.

A minority of individuals have taken the matter into their own hands, accusing others of being Italian sympathisers. And only days ago an angry crowd gathered around an Italian pilot prisoner of war who had been taken to Valletta for some shopping. According to one report: “There was a great commotion in Strada Reale and it was only through the great tact of the Police that something very distasteful did not happen…It took the Police a long time to dissuade the crowd not to tear him to pieces.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 OCTOBER TO DAWN 25 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

1131-1230 hrs Air raid alert for a formation of enemy aircraft approaching from the north. The come within ten to fifteen miles east of Valletta and circle. Six Hurricanes and two Gladiators are scrambled and the raiders turn away.

Military casualties  Gunner Emmanuel Callus, Royal Malta Artillery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 24 OCTOBER

ROYAL NAVY Clearance sweep continued by Oropesa; four mines swept up in position 141 degrees Delimara 12.3 miles. Reconnaissance Swordfish and Skua Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Skua reported on landing seeing French 10000 ton liner coming out of the straits of Messina.

AIR HQ  Aircraft casualties One Swordfish. Reconnaissance of Ionian Sea for enemy surface forays by Blenheim attached 431 Flight, Swordfish 830 Squadron FAA and Sunderland 228 Squadron; Glenn Martin 431 Flight; nil reports by all aircraft.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 Squadrons. Sunderland 230 Squadron reconnaissance are Malta-Tripoli-Jerba Island; reported on landing seeing one Italian destroyer and one merchant vessel in convoy. Operational base for Sunderlands transferred to St Paul’s Bay owing to sea conditions at Kalafrana.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT Ack Ack firing practice: the target was towed by aircraft. 10 hits were registered.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Petrol bombs tried out and proved successful. Tar used instead of oil, giving more sustained burning. Work began to prepare 500 to issue to Infantry Battalions.

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

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Posted by on October 24, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

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21 October 1940: Enemy Losses Over Malta Total 45

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Italian SM 79

Italian SM 79

AIRCRAFT LOSSES FIFTEEN TO ONE IN FAVOUR OF MALTA

The Information Office has released details of the number of enemy losses over Malta since the declaration of war by Italy. A total of 25 enemy aircraft have been destroyed. Another 20 have been severely damaged and therefore probably unable to reach their bases. Malta losses to date have been three fighters and two pilots. The figures follow recent propaganda announcements by Rome radio in which exaggerated and false claims have been made regarding aircraft shot down in Malta and damage on the ground.

TWO HELD ON SUSPICION OF IRA ACTIVITY IN MALTA

Two servicemen of 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers are facing discharge from the service. The two fusiliers are suspected to have engaged in IRA activities while serving in Malta. Governor and C in C has applied to the War Office for authority to apply the sanction which he sees as essential to the security of the fortress. One of the men is at present serving two years imprisonment for involuntary homicide; the other is currently interned in Malta pending discharge and repatriation.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 21 OCTOBER TO DAWN 22 OCTOBER 1940

Weather   Cloudy with poor visibility and thunderstorms; scirocco in the morning and fresher after an afternoon shower.

0841-0912 hrs Air raid alert for eight enemy aircraft which cross the coast over Delimara at 20000 feet heading for Hal Far. Three Hurricanes are scrambled and engage, along with Ack Ack guns: the raiders are driven off, turning south east then north. No bombs are dropped.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 21 OCTOBER 1940

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland. Reconnaissance of Ionian Sea for enemy surface forays by Blenheim attached 431 Flight, Swordfish 830 Squadron and Sunderland 228 Squadron; nil reports by all aircraft. Reconnaissance Glenn Martin 431 Flight; nil report.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. Sunderland 230 Squadron reconnaissance area Malta-Tripoli-Jerba Island; nil report. One Sunderland 10 Squadron RAAF arrived from Middle East en route for UK.

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Posted by on October 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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16 October 1940: Reinforcement of Malta Urgent, Says Churchill

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CABINET AGREES PRIME MINISTER’S PLANS

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (IWM MH26392)

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (IWM MH26392)

Following representations from Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the War Cabinet in London today agreed that the reinforcement of Malta is a matter of urgency. One infantry battalion should be sent to Malta from Egypt as part of the next fleet operation, and two more battalions as requested by Lt Gen Dobbie should be sent at the earliest opportunity.

In addition, tanks and field artillery plus necessary personnel and stores will be sent from UK leaving on or about 1st November.  These reinforcements would bring the total anti-aircraft provision at Malta to 70 heavy and 34 light Ack Ack guns.

The fighters and reconnaissance aircraft proposed by Air HQ on Thursday will form part of the reinforcing operations. The twelve Hurricanes will be flown into Malta off HMS Argus, and six Glenn Martin reconnaissance aircraft will fly direct to the Island.

The Prime Minister has also proposed that, once the defences of Malta have been strengthened, light forces of the Mediterranean Fleet should be based there, and that visits of increasing length should be paid by heavy ships to Malta, though the extent of these activities will depend on the results of experience in the early stages.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 16 OCTOBER TO DAWN 17 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

0915-0930 hrs  Air raid alert triggered by the arrival of Blenheim aircraft.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 16 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY 1136-1357 hrs Fleet Air Arm Skua on reconnaissance of east Sicilian ports reported one destroyer and two or three coastal boats at Messina, one large merchantman and 20 seaplanes at Augusta but nothing at Catania or Syracuse. 1250 hrs He reported one destroyer and three merchant ships at sea but strike force was called off when a second search failed to locate them. On return he spotted a Cant Z501 leaving the site of a patch of oil 60 miles east of Malta where destroyers were sunk on 12 October. The Swordfish attacked and probably damaged the Cant.  

AIR HQ Arrivals 2 Blenheim, 1 Sunderland. 1110-1500 hrs Glenn Martin 431 Flight on patrol; nil report.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. One Sunderland arrived from Middle East. 1013 hrs One Sunderland 230 Squadron on patrol asked to search for Swordfish of 830 Squadron FAA which had force landed due to engine failure while on patrol. 1205 hrs Sunderland picked up the three crew from their dinghy.

LUQA  Two Blenheims arrived.

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Posted by on October 16, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

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15 October 1940: Escape to Malta – French Aircrew Defect

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PILOT HAD NEVER FLOWN AIRCRAFT BEFORE

Loire 130 (1)

Loire 130 (1)

A French Loire aircraft with a crew of three arrived at Kalfrana today from Bizerta seeking to serve with the Royal Air Force. The Catapult seaplane left base at 0430 hrs this morning along with a second Loire 130. The two aircraft had been destined to join the French battleship Richelieu at Dakar. The second plane has so far failed to arrive at Malta. Swordfish were sent out morning and afternoon to search but no trace of it has been found.

The French air crew have been named as 2nd Maitre Serjeant George Blaize, pilot, 2nd Maitre Serjeant Raoul Gatien, mechanic and 2nd Maitre Serjeant Henri Romanetti, naval airman. Under interrogation the crew stated that they do not belong to the same squadron. They had meant to come to Malta on 18th September in two Glenn Martins with a crew of five in each but engine trouble prevented them from starting.

Both the Loire 130 they came in and the missing aircraft belong to the battleship Richelieu. The planes were among a flight made ready this morning to fly to Morocco to join the ship. However, having long ago agreed to come over to the Axis, the crew took this opportunity to take over the aircraft and make their escape.

French battleship Richelieu

French battleship Richelieu

Romanetti was ground crew on duty guarding the aircraft but instead of sounding the alarm at their actions, he went aboard with the flight crew. They believe their departure was undetected by ground crew as the flying boats were due to set off this morning anyway. However the crews who had been due to fly these aircraft may have thought differently.

This is the first time Maitre Serjeant Blaize has flown a Loire 130. Despite this they had a very good flight, although his landing was described as ‘a bit shaky’. However, Gatien is the normal mechanic for this machine. They ran into thick cloud near Pantelleria and lost sight of the other Loire 130; they suspect it missed Malta and may have landed in the sea. The other pilot had also not flown a Loire before – though he did have a proper wireless operator with him.

Under interrogation the crew gave information on the other aircraft currently at Bizerta, Karouba and Sidi Hammet. They expressed the opinion that Algiers and Tunis are both awaiting a lead from Morocco before they move to join De Gaulle.

The three appeared very fit and cheerful and were quite willing to set out straight away to look for their missing comrades. All three want to join the RAF at once and fight using their Loire 130 aircraft, which is a reconnaissance type with a safe endurance of about five hours, or possibly six. It is in perfect condition, having done only 35 hours since new; and it is fully armed. Maitre Serjeant Romanetti was carrying with him one of the pamphlets dropped on Bizerta by the Latecoere serving at Malta. Maitre Serjeant Blaize has asked for news of his brother Pierre, who flew a Morane 406 to Gibraltar on July 1st , also with the aim of joining the RAF.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 OCTOBER TO DAWN 16 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

0640 hrs  An aircraft is reported approaching Malta from the west. Three Hurricanes are scrambled and shadow the plane until it lands down at Kalafrana. The aircraft is identified as a French Loire 130.

Enemy casualties  Sergente Maggiore Giuseppe Granzoto, 257a Squadriglia, 108o Gruppo, 36o Stormo: his body was washed ashore and buried in Pembroke Military Cemetery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 15 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY 0715 hrs Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm (FAA) reported a large flying boat circling round a hospital ship. On his return he saw a clear track 20-30 miles east of Malta and dropped one bomb where the track ended, seven miles east of the Island; no results seen. A second Swordfish 830 Squadron FAA sighted the hospital ship and a packing case and drum.   A Sunderland 230 Squadron en route to Alexandria reported having led an Italian hospital ship to some floats.

0822-1020 hrs; 1109-1250 hrs; 1421-1620 hrs Three Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm searching for missing Loire 130 aircraft; no trace.

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 French Loire. Departures 1 Sunderland.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. 1000 hrs One Sunderland 228 Squadron already out on reconnaissance was requested to locate and shadow submarine Regent which was possibly proceeding on the surface and unable to dive; submarine not located. One French Loire arrived from Bizerta for service with RAF.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT Company commanders are to impress on their men the great value the Germans attach to the undermining of morale. This is carried out by ‘frightfulness’ which, more often than not, means concentrated noise caused by such ingenious devices as whistling bombs, etc.

(1) http://www.aviastar.org/air/france/loire_130.php

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Posted by on October 15, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

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14 October 1940: Malta Defends Its Beaches

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INFANTRY TO ATTACK VESSELS ON SIGHT

Defence post 1A

Orders were issued today to infantry battalions for the operation of beach defence posts. All beach guns are now under the tactical command of commanding officers of infantry sectors in which they are positioned. According to the operating instructions, the maximum range for beach guns to open fire is 5000 yards by day and 1800 yards by night.

Infantrymen manning beach guns are instructed that, in daylight, they should open fire if ordered by their infantry command; or on their own initiative on any vessel considered hostile or on any submarine not notified as friendly or any MTB not showing the appropriate signal unless already notified as friendly. By night and in low visibility they should illuminate any vessel within 1800 years by Lyon Light and follow the procedure as above. In all cases of firing on own initiative, commanding officers will be informed immediately of such actions and reasons for them.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 14 OCTOBER TO DAWN 15 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 14 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm reconnaissance of Ionian Sea bounded by Malta to Cape Clonne to Corfu. Large oil patch reported at 69 miles off Cape Passaro.   Greek merchant ship Tassia also sighted.  

AIR HQ Departures 3 Sunderlands. Glenn Martin 431 Flight reported thee destroyers ten miles east of Syracuse, then one small destroyer and two minesweepers and later two merchang vessels. 0735 hrs Glenn Martin reports a hospital ship.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. Two Sunderlands left for Middle East, one repaired after damage sustained by enemy action on 27 July.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT 19 Platoon E Company has re-organised as the tank-hunting platoon.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Work began unloading ammunition from the convoy.

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Posted by on October 14, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

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13 October 1940: Italy Must Fall and Malta is Key

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MALTA MUST BE STRENGTHENED

Sec of State Anthony Eden (r), Palestine, October 1940 (c) IWM E802

Sec of State Anthony Eden (r), Palestine, October 1940 (c) IWM E802

The War Cabinet in London has been told that the fall of Italy must be a priority and that Malta is key to this strategy. The recommendation came in a memorandum from the First Lord of the Admiralty:

“I feel that what we must aim at is to knock Italy out of the Axis as soon as possible and at the same time avoid, if we can, the full entry of France into the Axis. If we are to achieve the first of these, it is vital that we should strengthen Malta, reinforce the Eastern Mediterranean Fleet and the forces under the command of the General Officer Commanding Middle East. The bulk of our efforts must be applied in this direction, until at any rate we have carried out our special operation for putting through reinforcements through the Mediterranean to Malta and the Middle East.”

SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR VISITS MALTA

The British Secretary of State for War, Rt Hon Anthony Eden, paid a brief visit to Malta today en route to the Middle East. The Governor and Commander in Chief was alerted to the visit by a top secret telegram from the war office on Friday.  

The Secretary of State arrived by RAAF Sunderland flying boat from the UK. He landed at Kalafrana in the hours of darkness. A strong wind and heavy swell made the setting of flare paths impossible. Gun postitions and launches sent out into Marsaxlokk Bay used their searchlights to guide the Sunderland to a safe landing.  

The weather conditions enforced a longer stay in Malta, so after meeting with Lt Gen Dobbie and Naval and military commanders, the Secretary of State toured the Island, visiting as many infantry units as possible in the few hours available. He is expected to leave for the Middle East early tomorrow.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 13 OCTOBER TO DAWN 14 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 13 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Reconnaissance operations by Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm squadrons of Ionian Sea from Malta to Taranto to Corfu and return.  

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland A. 0700 hrs  Reconnaissance by Glen Martin 431 Flight signalled one destroyer and one merchant vessel in Ionian Sea. On landing reported 15 large warships and eight cruisers plus various small craft in Taranto outer harbour and three destroyers and six cruisers plus small craft in the inner harbour. In the Gulf of Taranto he spotted one destroyer and one merchant vessel. 0750 hrs Glenn Martin attacked by an enemy BR20 which was quickly outmanoeuvred and fired at, probably damaged. Reconnaissance continued but the Glenn Martin was again attacked by a P32 from below. He returned fire, severely damaging the P32 and probably killing the rear gunner. Meanwhile the Glenn Martin’s rear gunner engaged another fast twin-engined aircraft attacking from behind – no hits claimed. The rear gunner then reported five or six RO43 or 44s climbing to attack. The Glenn Martin pilot took evasive action and continued his reconnaissance.  

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. 1131-1700 hrs French Latecoere on patrol reported an Italian hospital ship at sea 1235 hrs. Sunderland A arrived from UK with important passengers. 1235 hrs A Sunderland flying boat picked up 12-15 Italian Naval airmen whose aircraft had been shot down by a Fulmar; they were based at Tobruk.

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Posted by on October 13, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

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12 October 1940: New Bomb Disposal Organisation for Malta

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GOVERNOR PLANS TWO BOMB DISPOSAL SECTIONS

Bomb Disposal Section: Home Front

Bomb Disposal Section: Home Front

Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief has decided that the Island needs to increase its bomb disposal organisation to deal with the increasing number of unexploded bombs. He wrote to the War Office today with a proposal to form two bomb disposal ‘sections’.

Hundreds of sections have been created on the Home Front since May 1940, when bomb disposal became the responsibility of the Royal Engineers. The standard structure for a section on the Home Front is one Lieutenant to deal with the unexploded bombs, with 15 other ranks for digging and lifting bombs, and a sergeant to oversee them.

Since the first bombing raids in June, bomb disposal in Malta has been carried out by the Inspecting Ordnance Officer Capt R L Jephson Jones, RAOC, and Lt W M Eastman, RAOC, assisted in digging and lifting tasks by other ranks of the Royal Engineers. So far they have dealt with 57 high explosives and 24 incendiaries as well as clearing unexploded anti-aircraft shells.

RESCUED ITALIAN AIRMEN TALK

Three Italian airmen were interrogated today after being rescued at sea by a Sunderland flying boat on patrol from Kalafrana. Sunderland pilot F/Lt McCall picked up the three airmen at 1235 hrs from a collapsible rubber dinghy after their Cant 501 aircraft had been shot down by Fleet Air Arm Fulmar fighter from HMS Illustrious. The prisoners stated that two of their crew had been killed in the Fulmar attack. All three were taken for interrogation.

Cant Z501

Cant Z501

Under interrogation Sottotenente Anthony Panigliuglo, Observer, gave his unit as 145 Squadron dependent on Libyan Command. Under questioning he said: “I have to do a certain period of reconnaissance on aircraft…I was the observer and we were reconnoitring the Mediterranean on a Cant Z501…We left Tobruk today at dawn. We proceeded to Tripoli for refuelling and we were patrolling alone near Malta at about 1125…we were 60 miles east of Malta when we were attacked by a low winged single engine monoplane, evidently a fighter…which caused us to land in the sea…

There were five of us in the aircraft. The first pilot was badly wounded and disappeared when we got into the sea and the engineer on board was first wounded in the leg, then in the stomach, and died as soon as we reached the water. We blew up the collapsible dinghy and were picked up two hours afterwards. A Sunderland then appeared on our route and we think we were only recognised through our having put up a red neckerchief on an oar. We could not get alongside the Sunderland but they finally threw a line and pulled us on board. The dinghy was leading…The dead personnel are Cpl Armando Dima and 2nd Lt de Giglio.”

The other survivors were identified as Sergente Maggiore Firmino Donizotti and Primo Aviere Vittorio Pazut.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 12 OCTOBER TO DAWN 13 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Overcast.

0620-0640 hrs  Air raid alert for enemy aircraft approaching the Island. Three Hurricanes are scrambled and the raiders turn back while still 12 miles away, with no interceptions.

0800 hrs  Convoy arrives in Grand Harbour.

1008-1013 hrs  Air raid alert; no raid materialises.

Enemy casualties Sottotenente De Giglio, shot down and died; Primo Aviere Armando Dima, shot down and died; Sergente Maggiore Firmino Donizotti, shot down and taken prisoner; Sottotenente Antonio Fanigiulo, shot down and taken prisoner; Primo Aviere Vittorio Pazut, shot down and taken prisoner; all of 145a Squadriglia, Libyan Command.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 12 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  0635 hrs Six Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm (FAA) despatched to attack two destroyers reported by Sunderland reconnaissance in the early hours. They reported a large patch of oil about three miles long as well as units of the Mediterranean Fleet, returning to base at 0920 hrs. 1150-1545 hrs Nine Swordfish 830 Squadron FAA despatched to attack three cruisers and three destroyers reported by Sunderland; no interception and all Swordfish returned.

AIR HQ  0906-1725 hrs Sunderland 230 Squadron on reconnaissance sighted the Malta convoy which radioed that it had been attacked by a submarine but had driven it off with gunfire. At 1235 hrs he saw the wreck of a Cant Z501 and three men in a collapsible dinghy, and picked them up. 1200-1545 hrs Glenn Martin 431 Flight reported six destroyers at sea, plus a 2000 ton merchant vessel off the Straits of Messina and large streaks of oil 20 miles from Syracuse.    

KALAFRANA  Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. One Sunderland on naval co-operation patrol sighted units of the enemy fleet and led Fleet Air Arm striking force from HMS Illustrious in the attack. One Sunderland on patrol picked up three Italian prisoners shot down in the attack.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Mail arrived; two-three months old but very welcome.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  UK mail received.

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Posted by on October 12, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

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11 October 1940: Troopship Convoy Arrives in Malta

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CONVOY MF3 BRINGS SHIPS SAFELY TO HARBOUR

Clan Ferguson

Clan Ferguson

Four merchant ships steamed safely into Grand Harbour today at the end of a thousand mile journey from Alexandra. Termed by the Commander in Chief Mediterranean a ‘troopship convoy’, the ships Clan Ferguson, Clan Macauley, Lanarkshire and Memnon sailed from Alexandria on Tuesday, escorted by cruisers Calcutta and Coventry, and destroyers Stuart, Voyager, Waterhen and Wryneck.

The Meditteranean Fleet was already at sea ready to provide additional escort, including battleships Malaya, Ramillies, Valiant and Warspite, aircraft carriers Eagle and Illustrious, plus six cruisers and 17 destroyers. They were joined by the destroyer Mohawk which came out from Malta to join the Fleet. During the operation HMS Imperial struck a mine and was towed in to Grand Harbour. The unloading of the convoy is said to be proceeding well.

The convoy brought long-awaited mail for Malta’s troops.

l'Imtahleb

l’Imtahleb

L’IMTAHLEB A POSSIBLE TARGET

2nd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment has been placed on special alert for the protection of L’Imtahleb. The area is considered a likely parachutist landing area and a possible landing place for a small sabotage party. The Battalion has been ordered to maintain a security watch in the area order to prevent such incidents and to deter information passing into or out of the Island. One platoon has been allocated responsibility for the localising and immediate destruction of any landing, either sea or parachutist, in the area and for passing any relevant information back to HQ. Defence posts in the area will each be covered by one NCO and four other ranks, manned with single sentries from evening stand to, to morning stand down.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 11 OCTOBER TO DAWN 12 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Overcast with thundery showers.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 11 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY Operation MB6 successfully carried out. Imperial was mined en route but reached harbour and was docked. A danger area was immediately declared by Commander in Chief Mediterranean and taken on by QBB95. Stuart and Vendetta remained for refit. 0600-0735 hrs Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm dropped photographs of shipping in Taranto, Tripoli and Brindisi harbours on HMS Illustrious. Four Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Airm provided local patrol for the arrival of a convoy at Malta; nothing to report. The operation of bringing in the incoming convoy and despatching the outgoing convoy is proceeding satisfactorily.

AIR HQ 1205-1255 hrs Glen Martin 431 Flight set off for reconnaissance but returned due to bad weather. 0355-1038 hrs Reconnaissance by Sunderland 230 Squadron reported at 0508 hrs having sighted two destroyers, one of which was on fire and stationary.   He interrupted patrol to shadow the two ships while Swordfish were despatched to attack them. Another destroyer Vicenzo Gioberti class was observed proceeding at high speed. On his return the pilot reported three Fiume class cruisers and three destroyers accompanied by twelve fighters. 0500-0919 hrs Glenn Martin 431 Flight on reconnaissance signalled three destroyers at sea. In Taranto he reported a large fleet of naval ships and in Brindisi naval ships and seaplanes.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. 0310-1656 hrs Sunderland 230 Squadron on reconnaissance sighted four motor boats; attacked twice. Two bombs fell close; no apparent result. The motor boats made off at high speed on a southerly course and an empty raft was spotted off Zante. On the homeward flight an aircraft resembling an Albacore approached one Sunderland but made off.

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Posted by on October 11, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

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