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16 January 1942: Food for a Fortress Under Siege

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  • Attack without warning kills civilian

    Short S.30 'C' Class Empire Flying Boat, G-AFKZ "Cathay", of BOAC (IWM Air Ministry Second World War Official Collection)

    Short S.30 ‘C’ Class Empire Flying Boat (C) IWM CH14013

  • Flying boat visits Malta
  • Malta’s defenders fight off the enemy
  • Army working parties for Luqa increased to 350
  • One letter card home per week allowed

GOVERNOR LISTS SUPPLY NEEDS FOR MALTA’S DEFENDERS

From: Governor and C in C Malta                                                 To:  C in C Middle East

Copy: War Office

Demand for June as follows.  This and future demands being divided into two parts.  Part one…represents the requirements of the whole Fortress.  Items in part two are S. and T. demands only.

Part 1.  In tons: flour 3400; wheat 4500; benzine 500; kerosene 1100; edible oil 130; food for livestock 2800; lard 47; butter 14; cheese 55; coffee 55; rice 55; soap 160; tea 33; margarine 121; salmon 72; sardines 18; preserved meat 358; grated cheese 64; tinned milk 182; sugar 641; herrings 47 (in boxes).  Matches 836000.

Part 2.  In tons: biscuits 40; M and V rations 323; sausages tinned 88; chocolate 22; salt 18; dried fruit 14; yeast 1; custard powder 4; cocoa 3; grease G.S. 1; oatmeal 21; tinned vegetables 21; tinned C bacon 51; jams 37; tinned fruit 38; tobacco 2; rice cones 1; pickles 7; straw paillasse 39; acid cal. phos. 1; tinned potatoes 27 (in pounds); pepper 824; curry powder 940; mustard 824; baking powder 705.

In number: cigarettes 8167000.  In gallons: vinegar 595; oil (M. 120) 50; oil (M. 160) 1120 (1150); oil (C. 600) 500; hypoid (90) 50; sauces 940.

Hospital requirements.  In pounds:  fruit jelly 2000; ham 450; biscuit cream crackers 510; mixed peel 1110; fancy biscuits 468; honey 60; coffee 222; mixed spice 40; lunch tongue 120 (in tins).  Ovaltine 360 (in packets).  Mixed herbs 336 (in pints).  Ale (4700 stout) 840 (in bottles).  Lime juice 500.

Barrack requirements.  In gallons: methylated spirits 300; anti-mosquito spray 1000; heavy naptha 150 (in yards); wick flat half inch 60 (in pieces); wick SOH No 116A (rip stove) 20; wick SOH No 500 (for Valor heating stove No 525R) 20 (in pounds); nitr. cake 1120; anti-louse powder 1680.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 16 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Wind south west.  50% cloud.  Bright periods; visibility good.

0642-0742 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north and patrol south of the Island, apparently trying to intercept a flying boat.  The aircraft cross the south coast and drop bombs on Hal Far and Kirkop.  Heavy Ack Ack fire two immediate barrages; one Hurricane is airborne at 0739 hrs.

0844-0907; 0936-0943 hrs  Air raid alerts: raids do not materialise.

1000-1017 hrs  One JU 88 bomber approaches to within 15 miles of Grand Harbour but is driven off by Hurricanes.

1137-1200 hrs  Air raid alert: aircraft identified as being friendly.

1234-1238 hrs  An aircraft approaches the north east coast at 8000 feet; believed to be a returning Beaufighter.  Without any warning, the aircraft dives out of the sun and drops bombs on Senglea, killing one civilian and damaging buildings before being engaged by Hompesch second gun position.

Civilian casualty  Senglea Vincent Micallef (48).

1640 hrs  21 Hurricanes of 126, 242 and 249 Squadrons at Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept approaching hostile aircraft.

1700 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by approximately nine ME 109 fighters approach via Gozo and cross the coast near Dingli, where the Hurricanes intercept: Pilot Officer Anderson claims a hit on one JU 88.  Most enemy aircraft are driven off but two get through.

1718 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage the three bombers, claiming one hit.  W/Sgt H Lane is injured in the thigh and side by bomb splinters and taken to No 90 General Hospital.

One JU 88 dives down to 8000 feet and drops bombs on Luqa and to the east of Safi village – no damage is reported.

1744 hrs  Raiders passed.  All Hurricanes return safely.

Night 2043-2107; 2157-2205; 2350-0012; 0208-0227; 0316-0356; 0410-0750 hrs  During the whole of this period some eight aircraft approach from the north and carry out patrols around the Island.  Heavy Ack Ack fires nine barrages; no bombs are dropped on land.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: FRIDAY 16 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Cathay [flying boat] from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Blenheim to Helwan; one Cathay to Cairo.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Hurricane photo-reconnaissance (PR) Palermo Messina; one Beaufighter PR North African aerodromes; one Hurricane PR Sicilian aerodromes.  S/D Flight  one Wellington search Pantelleria-Maritimo, Cape Bon to Kuriat.  40 Squadron Two Wellingtons nuisance raid Tripoli.

TA QALI  Aerodrome serviceable.  No attacks on camp.  Operation order No 2 is issued for move of Squadrons to Luqa for 24 hour duty on 18.2.42.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  Adjutants’ conference at HQ.  It is proposed to introduce a system of letter cards from Malta East and West.  One letter card per week may be sent and it will take about 3 days.  This is a great improvement – the present mail situation being bad.  Commitment for Luqa working parties increased to 350 men daily (allocated 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers 150, 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment 100, 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regt 100).

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 16, 2022 in 1942, January 1942

 

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13 January 1942: 14 Air Raids – 9 Hours Under Fire

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“Weather, being low heavy rain-clouds, is favourable for dive-bombing.”  War Diary, 11TH Bn The Lancashire Fusiliers

  • 45 enemy fighters and bombers use cloud cover to launch 14 air raids in 19 hours
  • Civilian and military casualties
  • Heavy bombs on Luqa and Hal Far: Hurricane destroyed – Maryland and Blenheim shot down – 2 enemy fighters destroyed
  • Hal Far and Ta Qali runways still waterlogged

RE Bomb Disposal dig for UXB at bus station (NWMA Malta)

UNEXPLODED BOMB CLOSES MAIN BUS STATION FLORIANA

At 1340 hours this afternoon attackers dropped a stick of heavy bombs between Floriana and Valletta, leaving large craters scarring the formal gardens and avenues.

Civil defence officers find evidence of a possible unexploded bomb in the middle of the road at the heart of the main bus station outside Kingsgate (Porta Reale).  All bus movements into the area are brought to a halt and an urgent message is telephoned through to Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal.

Lt T W T Blackwell, RE arrives to confirm traces of a large unexploded bomb.  The area is sealed off until further notice and excavations begin.  It takes several hours and over 12 feet of digging before the bomb is – a 500 kg – can be defused and removed. (1)

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 13 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Weather: cold wind SW; bright periods, thundery showers.

0347-0510 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north, dropping bombs in the Mellieha and St Paul’s Bay areas, in Birzebbuga and in the sea off Ghar Hassan.  Heavy Ack Ack fire three immediate barrages.

0836-0913 hrs  One unidentified bomber and six plus fighters approach from the east.  The bomber crosses the coast over Kalafrana dropping bombs between Zeitun and Zabbar while the fighters remain over the sea.  Barrages are fired from Luqa and Harbour guns.  No Hurricanes are airborne.

0959-1030 hrs  One JU88 approaches from the west, crossing the coast near Dingli and dropping bombs between Sheleili Tower and Safi Strip, killing two Other Ranks and injuring six Other Ranks of A Company, 1st Bn The Hampshire Regiment. Four more bombs fall between Marsa and Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages; no Hurricanes are airborne.

1113 hrs Fifteen enemy aircraft – three JU 88s plus fighters – approach the Island from the north in three formations.  Both Heavy and Light Ack Ack guns engage, firing nine barrages.

1133 hrs   Three JU88s and fighters in three formations bomb the Hal Far and Safi areas. 

1200 hrs Four JU 88s and eight ME 109s attack Hal Far.  Two bombs are dropped on the aerodrome.  One Hurricane is a write-off, and two damaged.  No casualties.

1210 hrs  [Guns] Sandwich and Shoreham of 225th Light Ack Ack Battery engage one JU 88.

1239 hrs   All guns of 225th Light Ack Ack Battery engage at intervals ME109s at heights from 200ft to 600ft and at 3,500ft.  Sandwich claims one hit on a ME 109.  Ack Ack Light Machine Guns from Battalion HQ engage two ME 109s. FAS at Harrow position is rendered useless by enemy aircraft.

1245 hrs  One Maryland aircraft returning from a shipping search engages an ME 109 in a dogfight seven miles off the Malta coastline.  The pilot, Wing Commander John Dowland, GC, succeeds in shooting down the Messerschmitt, only to be shot down himself by two enemy fighters.  The Maryland crashes 40 feet from the coastline at Tigne, killing Wing Commander Dowland and Wireless Operator PO Robert Gridley. Observer PO Arnold Potter has managed to bail out and survives.  One of the Messerschmitts is also brought down, by Light Ack Ack fire.

1315-1418 hrs  Enemy formations totalling three JU 88s plus eleven fighters approach from the north.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage, firing six barrages and shooting down one ME 109. A 500kg bomb explodes just outside HQ of the 1st Bn The Cheshire Regiment, blowing out all the windows and damaging a wall.  No casualties, apart from a few minor cuts from broken glass sustained by orderly room staff.

1340 hrs A stick of bombs fall on the main highway between Valletta and Floriana, killing two and injuring eight.  Other bombs fall in Corradino and in the sea.  No Hurricanes are airborne.

1522 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by two ME 109s approach from the north; the ME 109s cross over the south east corner of the Island and skirt the south coast while the JU 88 crosses the coast near Madliena and drops bombs near Naxxar.  The Harbour and Luqa Barrages cause the bomber to recede.

1539-1554 hrs One JU88 approaches from the west and drops bombs on the Pembroke Ranges, causing casualties among a firing party.

1615-1652 hrs  Two JU 88 and four ME 109s approach from the north.  One JU 88 crosses the Island at 15000 feet, probably on reconnaissance.  A second JU 88 dives over Grand Harbour and drops bombs near Hal Far from 7500 feet.  No Hurricanes are airborne.

1733-1800 hrs  Three ME 109s approach from the west at 8000 feet and carry out a sweep round the Island – at times down to 500 feet above sea level.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.

1949-2012 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the south east, drops bombs in the sea off Delimara, out of range of the guns, and then recedes.

2032-2049 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north over St Georges [Bay].  Three barrages are fired.  Bombs are dropped in Kalafrana Bay.

2112-2133 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north over St Paul’s Bay, crossing over Ta Qali and receding over Gozo, dropping bombs in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack fires six barrages.

2211-2225 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north over Ricasoli, dropping bombs near Zabbar and the Palace which do not explode.  Heavy Ack Ack fires two immediate barrages.

2238-2254 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north west over Mellieha, crosses over Ta Qali and recedes north from Spinola.  Bombs fall near Zebbug.  Heavy Ack Ack fire three immediate barrages.

2312-0017 hrs  Five aircraft approach the Island during this period.  One raid fails to locate the Island and recedes.  Other raids cross the coast between Grand Harbour and Madliena, dropping bombs west of Birkirkara and in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack fires two jmmediate barrages.

Night  Seven air raids involving a total of 22 bombers damage houses.  Ack Ack engages several times.

Civilian casualties  Siggiewi Censu Farrugia, age 24; Wigi Schembri, age 3.

Military casualties  Wing Commander John Dowland, GC, Pilot, Royal Air Force, 69 Squadron; Pilot Officer Robert Gridley, Royal Air Force, 69 Squadron; Pilot Officer John Hilton, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR); Pilot Officer Roderick Huggins, Royal Air Force; Sergeant John Lait, Royal Air Force (VR).  Private John Brandreth, 1st Bn The Hampshire Regiment; Private Henry Chant, 1st Bn The Hampshire Regiment.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: TUESDAY 13 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals six Blenheims, one Mosquito from Gibraltar. Five Hudsons to LG224; two Blenheims to Helwan.

LUQA 69 Squadron  Two Marylands search for shipping.  40 Squadron  Three Wellingtons on bombing mission.

TA QALI  Two fighter Blenheims carried out patrols.  P/O Huggins and two crew of one machine failed to return – presumed shot down.  Six airmen attached 242 Squadron from Luqa and Kalafrana.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3; dealt with 1 (500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1) UXB Malta by S A M Hudson, History Press, 2010

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Posted by on January 13, 2022 in 1942, January 1942

 

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10 January 1942: Churchill Helps Malta’s Troops Write Home

 

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  • RAF Blenheim

    RAF Blenheim

    Fighter Blenheims to begin operations at Ta Qali

  • Bad weather prevents enemy raids and offensive operations from Luqa for a second night
  • Funeral of Anti-Aircraft Gunner at Pembroke Military Cemetery

RANDOLPH CHURCHILL TO HELP GOVERNOR IMPROVE TROOP POSTAL SERVICE

From: Governor & C in C Malta           To:  The War Office, copy C in C Middle East

Any scheme to improve unsatisfactory postal arrangements will be welcomed.  Doubtful whether 55 kilogrammes will suffice to take one card per man per week.  Estimate 70 kilogrammes required if all personnel take advantage of scheme.

In this connection please note that Mideast Air priorities committee have only guaranteed minimum of 50 kilogrammes per machine to include official mail as well as private.  This is quite inadequate.

Suggest that carriage of air letter cards should not be limited to BOAC machines but that advantage should be taken of space in any type of aircraft passing through so that real priority for letter cards can be ensured.  Scheme can not be put into operation until supply of letter cards has arrived.  Estimated weekly expenditure is twenty five thousand.  Please send initial supply by air as soon as possible.  As space is limiting factor installation of airgraph machinery here is again strongly advocated.  Major Randolph Churchill is bringing further details by hand shortly.  This telegram has been agreed by three services.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 10 JANUARY 1942

Weather Thundery showers, heavy at times; driving wind, cold.

0852-0900 hrs  Air raid warning; raid does not materialise.

1205-1207 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the south east and recedes without crossing the coast, dropping bombs in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack fires one barrage.

1412-1438 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the south east under cloud cover at 14,500 feet, dives to 7000 feet and drops bombs on Luqa before climbing away to the east.  One barrack block near the Officers’ Mess is slightly damaged but there are no casualties.  Heavy Ack Ack fires a barrage and Hurricanes are airborne but fail to intercept.

1500-1515 hrs  Air raid warning.  Raid does not materialise.

1605-1631 hrs  Two JU 88 approach the south coast, one from the west and one from the south east.  They drop bombs on Hal Far, Tal Papa and near Gudja searchlight station.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage and four Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.

1630-1709 hrs  Air raid warning; raid does not materialise.

1700-1713 hrs  Air raid warning; raid does not materialise.

2252-2333 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, dropping bombs in the sea off Leonardo.  Heavy Ack Ack fire three immediate barrages.

NIGHT  One raid only by a single aircraft which drops bombs in the sea.

OPERATIONS REPORTS 10 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Five Wellingtons, eight Blenheims from Gib. Departures  Six Blenheims, three Wellingtons to 108 MU.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland Tunisian coast patrol, one Maryland SF14 patrol, one Hurricane photo-reconnaissance Sicilian aerodromes.  21 Squadron  Three Blenheims despatched to attack merchant vessel off Kuriat.  Vessel not located.

TA QALI  Six air raid alarms during the day; gunfire; no bombs on camp.  Two fighter Blenheims arrived and Pilot Officer and Sergeants 242 Squadron at readiness for the first time.  No scrambles.

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Units of the Brigade found large working parties for work on dispersal areas for aircraft and improvement of runways at Ta Qali and Luqa.  This is to last some weeks.  Average number of men 400.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  50 Other Ranks (OR) to Luqa aerodrome, to prepare dispersal areas for aircraft and improve runways. Our party of 12 men attached to Luqa for assisting in preparing aircraft returned today and another 12 were sent.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Working party two Officers and 100 Other Ranks to Luqa to work on dispersal area edge of Safi Strip.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  1400 hrs  Gunner Goldsmith A G interred at Pembroke Military Cemetery, St Andrews, Malta.

8TH BN MANCHESTER REGIMENT About 100 men formed a fatigue party for moving clay from Ta Qali aerodrome.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1; not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

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Posted by on January 10, 2022 in 1942, January 1942, Uncategorized

 

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9 January 1942: Army Builds Runways for RAF

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WEATHER GROUNDS AIRCRAFT

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

WORKING PARTIES MOBILISED TO IMPROVE RAF LUQA

Central Infantry Brigade Order No 1

Safi Strip (NWMA)

Task  Dispersal of aircraft and improvement of runways for RAF.

Working Parties  These will be made up as follows: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 9 JANUARY 1942

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

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

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

Qalet Marku, Bahar-ic-Cahaq

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

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

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

OPERATIONS REPORTS: FRIDAY 9 JANUARY 1942

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Posted by on January 9, 2022 in 1942, January 1942

 

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5 January 1942: Malta’s Airfields Under Threat

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JU 87 dive-bomber

JU 87 dive-bomber

LARGE-SCALE LUFTWAFFE ATTACKS PLANNED

Intelligence from Cairo indicates that large scale dive-bombing attacks on Malta’s aerodromes are imminent. Large numbers of JU 87 (Stukas) have been moved from Germany and North Africa to Sicily. A shipping search spots one Italian Battleship, three cruisers and nine destroyers 200 miles east of Delimara. Army Infantry Brigades provide hundreds of men to maintain runways and dispersal areas at Luqa and Ta Qali, and keep Malta’s air forces flying. The prospect of an even greater escalation of enemy raids creates an urgent need for more ammunition for Malta’s anti-aircraft gunners.

URGENT TELEGRAM

From:  Governor & Commander in Chief Malta                  To:  The War Office, copy  Commander in Chief Middle East                                                  

Increased activity makes it desirable that all shipments to Malta should include proportion Ack Ack ammunition and spare barrels.  Request sufficient to replace expenditure from 1 Sept to date be dispatched first opportunity from Mideast.…  As a considerable number new AA barrels now dispersed in open at battery positions consider it essential that small reserve be held to replace new barrels damaged by hostile action.  Initial requirements have been included in this cable.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 5 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Cold and overcast; wind and driving rain for most of the day.  Wind E S E.

0326-0335 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea north of Salina Bay, without crossing the coast.

0420-0443 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops most bombs in the sea six miles north of Tigne without crossing the coast.  Some bombs on the Mellieha-Marfa Road, and on Siggiewi and Birkirkara causing casualties.

1110-1144 hrs  Approximately six plus aircraft approach from the north in two formations.  The first raid passes over Gozo, drops bombs and recedes.  The second raid comes in over Kalafrana crosses the Island and flies out over Grand Harbour.  Bombs land in Msida Creek and near Tal Qroqq.  Heavy Ack Ack fires barrages from Hal Far, Luqa and the Harbour but aircraft are hidden among the clouds.

1200 hrs  All flying from Ta Qali airfield is cancelled.  The ground is waterlogged due to the heavy rain.

1216-1240 hrs  Three plus aircraft approach from the north above the clouds, pass over Grand Harbour and drop to 3000 feet before heading out over Delimara.  Bombs land near Gudja searchlight position and in Zabbar. Heavy Ack Ack fires an immediate barrage at 10000 feet and the Harbour barrage fires at 6000 feet.

1251-1318 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north above the clouds, dropping bombs in the sea near Madliena and then recedes without crossing the coast.  Gunners initially identify the aircraft as a Maryland, and do not engage.

1425 hrs Storm conditions are declared and remain until 1845 hrs.

1452-1512 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north west above the clouds.  Heavy Ack Ack engage at 10000 feet, and the aircraft immediately drop their bombs in the sea.  No Hurricanes are airborne.

1659-1716 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and circles Gozo, dropping bombs near Mgarr, and then recedes.  No Hurricanes are airborne.

Night 5/6th Dense cloud, squallish winds and bad visibility prevent air raids.  Two attempts by single aircraft fail; raiders are forced by Malta’s Ack Ack guns to jettison their bombs in the sea.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara Helen Cachia, age 48; Anthony Cachia, 8.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: MONDAY 5 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals One Catalina, one Flamingo from Gibraltar.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF15 patrol; one Maryland special coast search Misrata.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF14 patrol.

TA QALI  Advance party of 242 Squadron reported to take up operations with this Station.  47 NCOs and Other Ranks reported from Luqa, were accommodated and taken on ration strength.

300 men of the Manchester Regt, Irish Fusiliers and Buffs reported as labour corps to complete dispersal roads, aprons and shelters etc.  Three officers and 28 airmen of Delivery Flight ceased attachment at this station and returned to Luqa.

ARMY HQ  Major-General D M W Beak, VC, DSO, MC arrives by Catalina from the UK to take up duties of General Officer Commanding, Malta, relieving Major-General Scobell.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  On this and following days the Brigade found daily working parties of 150 men (11th Lancs Fusiliers: 50; 2nd Royal West Kent, 70; 1st Cheshire, 30) for the task of preparing new dispersal areas for the RAF at Luqa.  Working hours 0900-1600 hrs.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 5.

 

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Posted by on January 5, 2022 in 1942, January 1942

 

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29 December 1941: Attacks On Airfields and Ships; Passengers Killed

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MALTA AIRCRAFT AND SHIPS DAMAGED; CIVILIAN AND MILITARY CASUALTIES 

AIR RAIDS 29 DECEMBER 1941

Luqa airfield under attack (NWMA Malta)

Luqa airfield under attack (NWMA Malta)

0947 hrs  Six JU 88 bombers and thirty fighters approach Malta in two waves.  One formation peels off to bomb destroyers lying off the east coast; no damage is reported. The second formation of seven ME 109s and two JU 88s crosses the coast and attacks Luqa airfield, damaging two Blenheim aircraft on the ground. Seven Hurricanes of 185 Squadron and four of 242 Squadron engage the enemy.  Four Hurricanes are damaged, the pilots unhurt.  One ME 109 is destroyed and one damaged.  Two Hurricanes of 242 Squadron collide and crash into the sea.  Pilot P/O Blanchard is reported missing.

One ME 109 machine-guns Hal Far aerodrome.  Heavy Ack Ack and Bofors are engaged and no damage is reported; no claims.

1103 hrs  All clear.

1209-1226 hrs; 1321-1335 hrs  Air raid alerts for enemy aircraft on reconnaissance.  Heavy Ack Ack fires immediate barrage.

1443 hrs  24 fighters and bombers approach from the north and attempt to bomb submarines off Delimara.  ME 109s launch a heavy machine-gun attack on submarines Urge and Upholder, and anti-submarine trawler Beryl.  Commanding Officer of Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN) is wounded and Beryl is rendered unfit for sea with minor damage and six wounded.

HMS Beryl

Bombs are also dropped in the Marsascala area despite a Heavy Ack Ack barrage.  Major G H W Wright is reported killed, and Lieutenant Colonel Wright, RA and two Other Ranks of the Dorset Regiment injured.  Eight Hurricanes of 185 Squadron engage with the enemy aircraft.  One ME109 is shot down and three others damaged.  One Hurricane crashes on landing; the pilot, Sgt Forth, is killed.

1550 hrs  All clear.

1612 hrs  Five ME 109s attack friendly [non-military] ships with machine-gun fire.  A Gozo passenger boat is hit in St George’s Bay and set on fire. (1)  A rescue launch sent to help the sinking boat is badly strafed.  Hurricanes engage the attackers, destroying two ME 109s. 

Twelve further enemy aircraft (including four ME 109 F’s) cross the coast.  JU88 bombers drop into a shallow dive to bomb Luqa.  Fifteen aircraft on the ground are written off.  Bombs are dropped in a quarry occupied by 2nd Battalion The Royal West Kent Regiment, damaging signals installations.  Heavy Ack Ack and Bofors gunners damage one JU 88.

1712 hrs  All clear.

2032 hrs  One enemy aircraft crosses the coast over St Julian’s.  The aircraft is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack barrage at 13,000 feet and jettisons bombs near Ta Qali.

2140-2210 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea.

2236 hrs  Air raid alarm. No engagement.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Merton Blanchard, Royal Canadian Air Force, 242 Squadron; Flight Sergeant Alfred Forth, Royal Air Force; Flight Lieutenant Sidney Brandt, Royal Air Force, 249 Squadron; Flight Sergeant Roy Lawson, Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve), 249 Squadron; Major G H W Wright, 74th Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Ghajnsielem, Gozo  Paul Azzopardi, age 52; Marcel Teuma, age 51; Felic Bigeni, age 32.  Luqa  Saviour Demicoli, age 15.  Siggiewi  Nicholas Schembri, age 50.  Hamrun Gaetan Scicluna, age 18.

Enemy casualties  Luftwaffe Pilot Leutnant Joachim Louis destroyed one Hurricane earlier today, before being wounded in a counter-attack by another.  Still able to fly, his aircraft was hit again, and severely damaged, crashing into the sea.  In the search operation to recover missing Hurricane pilots, Leutnant Louis was picked up and taken prisoner. 

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 29 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Three Albacores laid mines outside Zuara.

RAF LUQA  69 Squadron One Maryland SF 15 patrol.  Photo-reconnaissance (PR): one Maryland Sicilian aerodromes; one Maryland PR North African aerodromes, Tripoli & Zara; one Maryland PR Misrata, Sirte, Tamet, Zanzar and Tange. 18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 14 patrol; two Blenheims attacked transport Tripoli-Zuara.  107 Squadron One Blenheim SF 14 patrol; one Blenheim special search for two destroyers (Br); four Blenheims despatched to attack transport on road Homs-Misurata – two attacked.

RAF TA QALI  0808-1730 hrs  Six alerts; five scrambles – three interceptions.  One ME 109 shot down in sea and two probably shot down. 

(1) The vessel was the schooner Marie Georgette, skippered by Marcel Theuma, sailing from Malta to Gozo with passengers on board. Theuma managed to beach the vessel but it was attacked again and he was fatally wounded. Two other crewmen were killed.

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17 March 1942: 30 Civilians Killed by Heavy Bombs Across Malta

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  • Air raids back to full force

    Heinkel He 111

  • 79000 kg high explosive bombs dropped across Island
  • Indiscriminate night bombing hits civilian areas
  • 30 civilian casualties including two policemen
  • Heavier enemy fighter escorts – 40 protect a single raid
  • Heinkel III appears over Malta
  • Malta’s Ack Ack and fighters score hits on enemy aircraft
  • One Spitfire crashes
  • Aircraft destroyed on the ground

AIR RAIDS DAWN 17 MARCH TO DAWN 18 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind westerly.  70% cloud at 500 feet.

0700 hrs  Four Hurricanes of 605 Squadron, Hal Far, are scrambled to intercept five JU 88s with an escort of ME 109s.  F/L Stone and P/O Noble make a head on attack on one JU 88: results not observed.  P/O Beckett engages a ME 109: no visible results.

0715 hrs  Six Spitfires of 249 Squadron are airborne and locate an incoming formation of JU 88s and Messerschmitts.  The Spitfires split into pairs.  Sgt Brenman scores cannon strikes on one Messerchmitt which goes down.  He then fires at a second ME but sees no results.  F/Lt Heppell has a short squirt at one ME 109 and sees a puff of black smoke as it climbs away.

0737 hrs  Air raid alert.  Six JU 88s escorted by ME 109s drop bombs on Luqa and the Grand Harbour area.  Malta’s fighters are up and engage.

0800 hrs  Six JU 88s drop bombs on Luqa aerodrome.  One bowser and two Wellingtons are burned out.  Three out of service Wellingtons are further damaged; one is written off. One Spitfire and one Mosquito of the Photo-Reconnaissance Unit are damaged.  One previously unserviceable Beaufighter is badly damaged.

0840 hrs  Seven Hurricanes of 126 Squadron from Hal Far join the fight, spotting five JU 88s and ten Messerchmitts.  S/Lt Wells scores strikes on one Junkers and P/O McHan fires machine gun bullets into the same aircraft.  Sgt Hale attacks another JU and sees smoke pouring from the starboard engine, believed to be glycol.  F/Lt Kemp attacks a ME 109 and sees bits fall from the starboard wing: the ME goes down into cloud.  Sgt Mulloy attacks a JU 88 and sees strikes under the starboard wing root.  He also claims strikes on a 2nd Junkers, along the tail end of the fuselage.

1000 hrs  JU 88s escorted by ME 109s drop bombs on Luqa and the Safi strip, and on the submarine base.

1025 hrs  One JU 88 is engaged by 225 Light Ack Ack Battery at 4-6000 feet: no claims.

1030 hrs  Four Spitfires are airborne.  Sighting a large formation of Messerschmitt fighters, the Spitfires dive away.  F/Sgt Cormack does not pull out of his dive and his machine heads straight towards Filfla: cause unknown.

1045 hrs  Five JU 88s drop bombs on Luqa aerodrome.

1050 hrs  The remaining Spitfires land safely.

1115 hrs  All clear.

1200-1355 hrs  Bombs are dropped on the Safi strip and Luqa, and in the sea off Delimara.

1310 hrs  Four JU 88s drop bombs in the Zurrieq area and on Safi strip. One JU 88 is engaged by two gun positions of 225 LAA at 5-6000 feet: no claims.

1407 hrs  Four JU 88s and one Heinkel 111 escorted by fighters approach the Island  Four Hurricanes of 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled to intercept the enemy aircraft.  Sgt Steele and Sgt Broad engage one JU 88: no visible results.  The raiders drop bombs to the west of Luqa and Ta Qali.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1415 hrs  Three Hurricanes 126 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali and three Spitfires of 249 Squadron from Luqa.  They chase and damage the Heinkel.  A second wave of six JU 88s escorted by ME 109s drop twelve bombs on Ta Qali, damaging one Hurricane. Two civilians are killed, two are admitted to hospital and two have minor injuries.  Ack Ack engage and damage one JU 88.

1425 hrs  Two JU 88s drop bombs in the Mqabba area and near Loreto Church.

1445 hrs  The Spitfires and Hurricanes land safely.

1500 hrs  One Hurricane at Ta Qali is damaged by a delayed action bomb dropped at 1415 hrs.  One civilian is injured and taken to hospital.

1600 hrs  Five Hurricanes of 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled to intercept a formation of JU 88s.  Sgt Steele and Sgt Sutherland attack one JU, hitting the fuselage and engines.  Sgt Sutherland engages a ME 109, scoring hits between the engine and cockpit.

1619 hrs  A six-wave attack of bombers protected by a large fighter force.  The first wave of six JU 88 drops bombs on Sliema, Tigne and Marsaxmett Harbour.

One JU 88 drops bombs on Kirkop and Qrendi.

Three JU 88s drop bombs on Safi and to the north of Luqa.

One aircraft recedes from south to north at 18000 feet.

Six JU 88s drops bomb on the Qrendi strip and in the sea.

Six JU 88s drops bombs on Ta Qali, Luqa and Hal Far.   Malta’s fighters are up and damage one HE 111, one JU 88 and two ME 109s.  Light Ack Ack destroy one JU 88 and damage another.

1725 hrs  Three JU 88s drop bombs on the Safi strip. Three out of service Wellingtons are further damaged and written off.  Guns of 225 LAA Battery engage two JU 88s and one ME 109 at 4-5000 feet: no claims.

1830 hrs  Two Hurricanes 126 Squadron take off from Hal Far with five other Hurricanes of 185 Squadron to intercept an incoming formation.  The two Hurricanes of 126 chase a JU 88 which is last seen diving steeply into the sea.

1836 hrs  Four JU 88s drop bombs on the Safi strip and Misrah Blandun.

1840 hrs  Two Spitfires of 249 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa and patrol behind the Hurricanes.  Two ME 109s are spotted.  S/L Grant damages one with cannon shells and P/O Plagis attacks the other, observing pieces fall from the aircraft.

1842 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage two JU 88s at 3-4000 feet: three gun positions claim five hits in total.

1846 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage one JU 88 at 3-4000 feet.  All guns claim hits; two confirmed on the fuselage and starboard wing of one aircraft.  Gunners collect fallen fragments of fuselage and a rubber dinghy.  The plane recedes south apparently badly damaged.

1920 hrs  All clear.

2007 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, is barraged over Grand Harbour and drops its bomb load in the sea.

2044 hrs  Three aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs in the sea to the east of Mellieha.

2200 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs on Pembroke Ranges, on Naxxar and in the sea.

2235 hrs  One aircraft drops bombs in the Rabat area.

2332-0100 hrs  Seven aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs on the Rabat and Rocco areas, and in the sea.

0156 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs on St Georges and in the sea.

0340 hrs  Three aircraft drop bombs in the sea west of Gozo and another drops bombs to the south of Latnia.

0517 hrs   Seven aircraft approach the Island: one drops bombs near San Rocco fort, the remainder in the sea.

Military casualties  Flight Sergeant Ian Cormack Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 249 Squadron.  Gunner Carmel Darmanin, 1 Coast Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Alfred Calleja, age 35.  Hamrun  George Debono, age 43.  Lija  Charles Lanzon, age 36.  Paola  Giuseppe Delia, age 60; Joseph Delia, age 4; George Gauci, age 80.  Qormi  Carmelo Aquilina, age 77.  Rabat  Francis Mallia, Ena Mallia Pulvirenti, age 12; Salvu Portelli, age 37; Andrew Spiteri, age 11; Samuel Vassallo, age 25.  Siggiewi  Carmelo Baldacchino, age 44.  Sliema  Eddie Bartolo, age 38; Joseph Bartolo, age 38; Alfred Calapai, age 54; Antonio Fava, age 20; Paul Formosa, age 50; Giuseppa Micallef, age 54; Joseph Micallef, age 11; Joseph Mifsud, age 66; Albert Mifsud, age 14; Anthony Pisani, age 38; Carmela Sghendo, age 15; Francis Spiteri, age 14; Alfred Vella, age 45.  Valletta  Muriel Brocklebank, age 47.  Zebbug  Giuseppe Petroni, age 29.  Zejtun  Joseph Mercieca, age 45.  Zurrieq  Ursola Schembri, age 58.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 17 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  MLs 126 and 130 arrived from Gibraltar.  Five Albacores left to attack convoy sighted earlier but failed to find.  Three Swordfish attacked one merchant vessel of 2000 tons east of Tripoli.  One torpedo was dropped and left ship ablaze from stem to stern.  Two Swordfish and four Albacores sighted and attacked two merchant vessels and two destroyers in Lampedusa area.  Two torpedoes dropped and one hit on a 7000 ton merchant vessel is claimed.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Hudson, one Wellington from Gibraltar.  Departures  Four Spitfires to 108 MU.

HAL FAR  Five Albacores 828 Squadron dispatched to attack convoy – nothing sighted.  Three Swordfish 830 Squadron on shipping search.  They attacked one merchant vessel (position east Tripoli 25 miles, 10 miles from shore).  A hit was scored: merchant vessel left ablaze from stem to stern.  One Swordfish – S/L Shute, Mid. Hillery – missing.

LUQA  0712-1300 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron special search south and east of Malta for enemy shipping.  1534-1940 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron special search for enemy shipping.

TA QALI  Signal 0831 HQ:  Identity of 242 and 605 Squadrons cease to exist as such on Malta with effect from 15 March 1942.  Pilots being absorbed with existing fighter squadrons at Ta Qali and Hal Far.  Night operations: no interceptions.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  B Company on exercise Corrodino area; normal work for other Companies.  1400 hrs A Company cross-country run.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  St Patrick’s Day parade of Battalion at San Pawl Tat Targe.  Shamrock presented by GOC.  March to Naxxar for church parade and sermon by Rev Navin.  Dinner in evening attended by Brigadier L/Col Iggleden, L/Col Brittorous.  Men entertained by concert party.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 16-20 March 35 (average 7 per day).

 

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15 March 1942: Hell on Sunday – 1800kg Satan Bombs on Valletta

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MASSIVE BOMBS ON VALLETTA AS HEAVY RAIDS RETURN TO THE CAPITAL

German 1800kg ‘Satan’ Bomb (NWMA Malta)

Mass bombing returns to Malta today as the enemy responds to the recent success of Spitfires against their raiders.  The city of Valletta became a specific target for the first time this year.  The Luftwaffe chose the heaviest bomb carried by Junkers aircraft for their mission:  the two-ton ‘Satan’.  In five raids on the capital, German bombers dropped over 15000 kg of high explosive bombs on the streets, killing twelve civilians and one serviceman on leave.

Observers report that the number of aircraft in each raid has risen significantly.  Fighter escorts have increased in size, to outnumber the Island’s modest Spitfire force and overcome their recent success rate.

DOCKYARD APPRENTICE FINDS GIANT BOMB

“I was then a 16 years old Dockyard apprentice and Sunday was the only full day off from where I worked… It was a sunny morning and I was outside my home…A detachment of Infantry troops on a route march were coming down the road a short distance away. Suddenly everything erupted all at once. Wailing sirens, dispersing troops and heavy and intense gunfire. Like a second instinct we all dashed to take cover . As usual I was always one of the last to enter the shelter staying at the entrance to see what was going on.

Almost immediately, out of the din, the screaming crescendo of a diving plane filled our ears and, as the noise began to fade, suddenly a loud ”shuuuttle-sshee-shuuuttle ”- the unmistakable and sinister shuttling  noise of a falling bomb. I ducked inside the shelter as far as I was able waiting for the usual shattering explosion and the trembling of the ground under our feet.  But nothing happened.  Another five minutes or so went by and still nothing happened. It was becoming clear that a bomb had come down and had not exploded.

As soon as the noise of gunfire and diving planes had subsided and without waiting for the All Clear sirens, I emerged from the shelter and ran along Zabbar Road to where I thought the bomb had fallen, assuming, with good reason, that the bomb was aimed at the detachment of troops as they marched along the road…I spotted something embedded in the ground right in the middle of the road… a large bomb was clearly visible close to the surface and painted a bluish colour…

Gingerly, and apprehensively with my curiosity overcoming fear I moved nearer for a closer look. It was then that the stark and ominous reality suddenly dawned on me. For a fleeting moment, aghast and transported into a different dimension, I nearly froze rivetted to the spot. What was I doing here so close to this hellish object? Have I taken leave of my senses?  I could be blown to bits in a fraction of a second!

I retreated, hurriedly breaking into a run towards the shelter pointing behind me and shouting at the top of my voice ”Unexploded bomb; unexploded bomb’ and in Maltese,”Emm bomba ma splodiet’ to some of the men now cautiously emerging from the shelter… ”   Joseph V Stephens, 2012

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 MARCH TO DAWN 16 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind variable; cloudy at times – deteriorated during the day.

0713-0732 hrs  Two ME 109s approach the Island but do not cross the coast.

0818-0905 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by ten ME 109s approach from the north.  Two JU 88s drop 250kg and 500kg bombs on Ta Minsia and St Julians area.  One JU 88 recedes.

0932-1005 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by five ME 109s drops an 1800kg bomb to the west of Zabbar.

Four Hurricanes of 605 Squadron (all armed with machine guns) are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft.  P/O Noble engages a ME 109: strikes observed.  P/O Wigley attacks another ME 109: results not observed.

1020 hrs  Four JU 88s escorted by 24 fighters approach the Island.  One JU 88 drops an 1800kg bomb on Valletta.  The other three drop 250kg and 500kg bombs on Valletta and Qrendi strip.  Malta’s fighters are airborne and engage.

1045 hrs  Three Hurricanes of 242 Squadron are scrambled.  Sgt Boyd attacks a JU 88 twice but sees no results.  C Coy, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report a stick of bombs in area: three men are slightly hurt.

1100 hrs  A bomb explodes in Francis Street, Valletta: suspect delayed-action.

1130 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa.  They are attacked by three ME 109s.  F/L Heppell sees cannon strikes on the fuselage of one ME which is then lost in cloud.  All Spitfires return safely to Luqa.

1135 hrs  All clear.  Three Hurricanes 242 Squadron return to Ta Qali.

1205-1255 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by fifteen ME 109s drop 250kg and 500kg bombs near Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and damage one engine of a JU 88.

1220 hrs  Three JU 88s drop 500kg bombs from below cloud level between headquarters of 8t Bn Kings Own Royal Regiment (Ta Qandia quarries) and C Company at Ta Hasluk.  Kings Own Malta Regiment report a stick of bombs near Wied Babu.

1319-1438 hrs  Four JU 88s escorted by nine ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Zabbar, Latnia and Rinella.  Four Spitfires engage.

1421 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by ME 109s approaches from the north.  Seven Hurricanes and three Spitfires are airborne but do not engage.  The JU 88 drops a 1800kg bomb on Valletta.

1515 hrs  A bomb explodes in Ursula Street, Valletta; suspect delayed-action.

1517 hrs  Three JU 88s and two ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Zabbar and Zonqor areas.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

Four Hurricanes of 185 Squadron at Hal Far take off to intercept incoming enemy aircraft.

1538 hrs  Three JU 88s accompanied by 25 ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Hal Far and in the sea.  The Hurricanes attack a JU 88: hits are observed on the tail and fuselage.

1545 hrs  Bombs area Della Grazia – Rinella-Maria Tas Silch.

1555 hrs  All clear.

1619-1657 hrs  Seven unidentified aircraft approach above the clouds.  Heavy Ack Ack engage with two barrages.

1715 hrs  W/C Satchell leads four Hurricanes from Ta Qali which join up with four from Hal Far; one returns early.  W/C Satchell attacks a JU 88: strikes are observed on the wing.  The same aircraft is fired on by two other Hurricanes.  W/C Satchell becomes separated from the formation and has a dog fight with a Messerschmitt.  He shoots off the tail of the enemy aircraft: claims destroyed.

1732-1820 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by ME 109s drop bombs on Hal Far. Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage; no claims.

1931-2045 hrs  Two aircraft drop bombs on Gozo and in the sea.  Ack Ack engage.

2122-2140 hrs  One aircraft drops bombs in the sea.  Ack Ack do not engage.

2354-0018 hrs  One aircraft approaches and recedes when still 15 miles north of the Island.

0028-0058 hrs  Three aircraft approach; bombs are dropped to the north of Zabbar and in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

Military casualties  Private Dominic Mifsud, King’s Own Malta Regiment, died whilst on leave in Valletta. Leading Aircraftsman Stanley Leavesley, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Salvu Borg, age 20.  Sliema  Polly Cannataci, age 26.  St Julians  Christopher Butler, age 21 months, (son of Capt Butler, 2nd Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment).  Valletta  Giovanna Attard, age 56; Joseph Bellizzi, age 66; Dominica Borg Bellizzi, age 39; Michelina Busuttil, age 60; Vincent Busuttil, age 30; Anthony Formosa, age 37; Girlamo Fsadni, age 77; Marianna Mayman, age 34; Harold Miles, age 38; Mary Mifsud, age 57; Michael Vella, age 74; Melita Vella, age 35.  Zabbar  Emmanuele Bongailas, age 28; Giuseppe Lia, age 12.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 15 MARCH 1942

LUQA  0745-0920 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out part of SF 5 patrol.

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  One Man D Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment slightly injured by bombs in area of Qrendi strip.  Two men E Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment Paola sustained slight injuries during a bombing raid.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

 

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9 March 1942: Germany boasts “Malta under a hail of bombs day and night”

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94 ENEMY AIRCRAFT DROP BOMBS ON MALTA

German radio today broadcast the claim: “the Island Fortress of Malta is under a hail of bombs by day and night” as raids continue round the clock.  Luqa received another pounding today with damage to aircraft and runways but the enemy did not escape without losses. Malta’s fighters went on the counter attack, destroying at least three aircraft and damaging ten.  The Island’s anti-aircraft guns also claimed at least one aircraft destroyed and two damaged.

German bombs marked “Iron Greetings for Malta” (NWMA Malta)

LUFTWAFFE BOMBS DURING DAYLIGHT 9 MARCH 1942

  • 1000kg ‘Herman’              19
  • 500kg                              67
  • 250kg                              58
  • 50kg                              163

TOTAL                                307    Weight: 75150 kg

WARNING TO INFANTRY: DO NOT REMOVE BOMB FRAGMENTS

“Fragments of exploded bombs and tail fins often provide important evidence.  Cases have recently occurred where this evidence has been denied to the Bomb Disposal Officer because the pieces have been taken away as souvenirs.  It is the duty of all ranks to report immediately any fragments of exploded bombs and to report anyone seen taking away such pieces.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 9 MARCH TO DAWN 10 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind south west; cloudy.

0750 hrs  Seven Hurricanes are scrambled from Ta Qali.  Wing Commander Rabagliati leads 242 Squadron to escort Blenheims leaving the Island,

0825 hrs  Five JU 88s drop twenty-two High Explosive bombs on theSafi strip.  Two aircraft are set on fire.

0845 hrs  One ME 109 with a yellow edge and red spinner is seen by 242 Squadron and attacked but it continues to shadow the Blenheim formation.

0858 hrs  Fourteen ME 109s and six JU 88s cross the coast and drop bombs on Luqa and Safi.

0918 hrs  Three JU 88s drop bombs on Safi, destroying one Wellington on the ground.  Three JU 88s drop bombs south west of Loreto Church and south west of Gudja village.  Three soldiers are wounded.

0925 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA Bty) engage three JU 88s at 3-5000 feet: 13 hits claimed.

0927 hrs  Three ME 109s drop bombs on the Safi strip.

0945 hrs Three JU 88s and eight ME 109s cross the coast and drop bombs on Hal Far.  L/Cpl Creek of C Company 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt receives a slight shrapnel wound.  Hurricanes destroy one JU 88 and one ME 109, damage two ME 109s and seven JU 88s.  Seven ME 109s and four JU 88s are also attacked.  One Hurricane pilot, Sgt Finlay, is slightly injured.

1000 hrs  Gunners of 225 (LAA Bty) engage three JU 88s engaged at 3-5000 feet; no claims.

1020 hrs  All clear.

1040 hrs  Eight Hurricanes from are scrambled from Ta Qali and intercept an incoming raid of three JU 88s and nine ME 109s.

1055 hrs  JU 88s drop bombs between Gudja and Luqa and one bomb in near HQ of 4th Bn Hampshire Regiment.

1120 hrs  The Hurricanes engage the enemy aircraft at a point 20 miles east of Delimara and attack.  One JU 88 is damaged and Wing Commander Rabagliati destroys one ME 109.

1221 hrs  Twelve JU 88s attack Luqa, dropping heavy High Explosive bombs and causing craters on the Safi strip.

1227 hrs  Bombs are dropped at south end of Safi strip: four fires are seen in the dispersal area.

1255-1315 hrs  Four JU 88s drop bombs on the Safi strip.  Four Wellingtons are damaged; three burned out.

1324 hrs  Bombs dropped on Safi strip.

1405 hrs  Three JU 88s drop bombs north of Safi strip.  One 1000kg bomb lands to the south west of Gudja.

1408 hrs  Guns of 225 (LAA Bty) engage two JU 88s at 6-8000 feet: no claim.

1500 hrs  Six Hurricanes of 126 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali.

1515 hrs  225 LAA Bty engage six JU 88s at 4000 feet and one ME 109 at 100 feet.  Fifteen hits are claimed: five of the JU 88s claimed as damaged.

1520 hrs  Six JU 88s with fighter escort drop two 1000kg bombs each on Safi strip.  One Maryland is set on fire.

1520 hrs  Hurricanes of 126 Squadron intercept three JU 88s and six ME 109s off the Island of Filfla, as the enemy are going away from Hal Far.  F/O West damages two JUs.  P/O Hallett destroys one ME 109.  F/O Anderson causes an explosion in a JU and leaves it descending steeply: later confirmed destroyed.  S/L Norris damages a JU causing the engine to emit black smoke.  American P/O Howard Coffin is attacked by an ME and is forced to crash land close to a searchlight position near Gudja, suffering some head injuries: he survives.

1551 hrs  All clear.

1615 hrs  Enemy aircraft come in four waves, each wave dropping bombs onSafi and Luqa.  The first wave is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack.  One JU 88 is destroyed and crashes on Hal Far; one ME 109 is damaged.  An unexploded bomb is reported at Bir-id-Deheb: traffic is diverted and the RE Bomb Disposal squad informed.

1712 hrs  Three JU 88s at 5000 feet are engaged by Ack Ack fire: no claims.

1740 hrs  Five JU 88s diving on Hal Far are engaged by 225 LAA Bty. Two guns obtain a direct hit on one JU 88 which catches fire and crashes into the ground.  Two enemy airmen bale out and are taken prisoner by RAF personnel.  Two of the remaining aircraft are claimed as damaged.

1840 hrs  Three JU 88s drop bombs on the Ta Liebru area and from 469195 to 468202.  225 LAA Bty engage the JU 88s at 4-5000 feet: four hits claimed on each plane.

1842 hrs  All Clear.

1940-2020 hrs  One enemy aircraft crosses theIsland from north to south: believed to be a rescue plane.

Night 9/10th  Continuous air raid throughout the night: bombs in many areas.  Heavy Ack Ack and searchlights are active but night fighters do not engage.

2037-0615 hrs  Nineteen aircraft approach the Island from the north and drop 200 High Explosive bombs on Luqa, Grand Harbour, Qrendi, Wardia, Ghain Tuffieha, Delimara, St Thomas’ Bay, Latnia and in the sea at Kalafrana.  Searchlights operational and Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0200 hrs  Bombs are dropped near Ta Sinia Tower.

0250 hrs  One bomb lands in Kirkop area.

0335 hrs  Four bombs are dropped in the Mqabba area.

0615 hrs  Bombs land near Fort Ta Silch.

0626 hrs  A delayed action bomb explodes on Safi strip.

0800 hrs  A delayed action bomb explodes on Safi strip.

Military casualties  Sergeant Ronald McGregor Herman, Royal Australian Air Force; Private William Jones, 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Qormi  Dolores Agius, age 6; Concetta Briffa, age 53; George Ellul, age 17.

Enemy casualties  Oberleutnant Gerhard Becker, 6/KG 77, pilot of a JU 88 bomber shot down by Anti Aircraft fire early evening; also Unteroffizier Anton Schweiger, Air Gunner, who baled out into the sea but died; Unteroffizier Arnulf Thiemann, Observer was found unconscious and taken to hospital but did not recover; Unteroffiziere Walter Kunzi, Wireless Operator baled out and was found unconscious but survived, and was taken prisoner.  Leutnant Herbert Muller, 1/KG 54, Pilot of a JU 88 bomber, plus crew Obergefreiter Heinrich Meier, Obergefreiter Kurt Schrey and Obergefreiter Erich Wulf.

HMS Porpoise

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 9 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Porpoise arrived from Alexandria with passengers and petrol.  2000 hrs Cleopatra, Penelope and Kingston sailed to intercept enemy convoy.  Three Swordfish and three Albacores attacked an 8000 ton merchant vessel, escorted by three destroyers, in the vicinity of Pantelleria.  Two torpedoes were dropped and the merchant vessel was probably hit.  One Albacore crashed on landing.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance unit.  Departures  Three Blenheims, one Wellington to 108 MU; one Beaufighter to Marsa Matruh.

LUQA  1030-1435 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carries out a special search.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT Several alerts during the day; little damage to buildings.  Bombs on Luqa: Private Jones, C Company, killed, and Private Smithson, D Company, seriously injured.  Gas masks worn 1000-1100 hrs.  30 Other Ranks C & D Coys fired on Parachute Range at Marsa.  6 Platoon A Company night firing on Pembroke Range.

2ND BN THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  L/Cpl Creek, C Company, slightly injured by shrapnel at Hal Far.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  CO carried out reconnaissance of the Victoria Lines.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT During the night bombs are dropped 300 yards north of Battalion HQ.  No damage.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Almost continuous dogfights and Ack Ack.  Luqa working party sustained minor casualties.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  Outcome of raids resulted in slight damage to equipment at one gun position, C Troop HQ is damaged, one caravan badly damaged and one billet rendered unsafe.  One unexploded 500kg bomb is discovered 20 yards from a gun position which is evacuated after removal of the gun barrel, auto-loader etc to a place of safety.  The UXB is reported to the RE Bomb Disposal Section.  The BD Officer deals with the bomb and declares the area safe by 1100 hrs next morning.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

(1) UXB Malta – Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal 1940-44, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010/2012

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

 

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4 March 1942: Dog Fights in 20 Hour Bombing Spree

Malta – World War 2.  CLICK HERE if this is your first visit to maltagc70.com

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  • Bombing almost continuous for 20 hours from 10 am
  • 28000 kg of bombs dropped on Malta
  • Italian bomber joins Luftwaffe formation
  • Five planes damaged on airfields
  • Hits scored on 16 enemy aircraft

AUCHINLECK GIVEN COMMAND OF MALTA: DOBBIE WILL REPORT TO MIDDLE EAST

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

Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck

Situation in your command has been very much in minds of the COS lately and we have discussed it in Committee several times in last few days.  We have been carefully considering every possible means to assist you in your difficulties, and have impressed on Auchinleck that defence of Malta is part and parcel of operations in his theatre and particularly in Cyrenaica.

2.  Under present system there is inevitable tendency to regard Malta and Cyrenaica as separate problems to be co-ordinated in London.  We have therefore decided that military garrison of Malta should be put under Auchinleck as Naval and RAF garrisons are under command of C in C Mediterranean and AOC-in-C Middle East respectively.  The three Commanders in Chief and Middle East Defence Committee will thus have joint responsibility for Malta as integral part of whole Middle East theatre, and you as Governor will have your hands strengthened by gaining direct access to Minister of State in Cairo as well as to HMG at home.

3.  We want to make it clear to you beyond all doubt that nothing could be further from our minds than lack of confidence in you.  We are all deeply conscious of magnificent fight you have put up and of inspiration which your leadership has given to Malta garrison and colony.  The more reason to strengthen your hands by every possible means now that you have entered such difficult and testing period.

4.  Apart form this change in organisation which is being communicated to Cs-in-C Middle East you will shortly hear in a COS telegram of various schemes for relieving your deficiencies in supplies and personnel.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 4 MARCH TO DAWN 5 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind north west; slight.  30% medium cumulus/cirro cloud.

0745 hrs  Two ME 109s on patrol near the south and south east coast.

1010-1040 hrs  Ten ME 109s patrol the Island.  One JU 88 with an escort of two ME 109s carries out reconnaissance from 22000 feet: engaged by barrage.

1059-1208 hrs  ME 109s continue to patrol.  Four ME 109s drop bombs on Luqa from 12000 feet, causing craters on the aerodrome.

1224-1330 hrs  Five JU 88s accompanied by ME 109s drop bombs on Safi Strip, setting three Wellingtons on fire: two are destroyed and four more Wellingtons are damaged.  The Officers’ Mess of 37 Squadron is also damaged.  One ME 109 crashes near F range at Pembroke.  The pilot, Unteroffizier Benedikt Wegmann, has already baled out into the sea.  He swims ashore, where he is captured by B Company of 11th Bn Lancashire Regt.  225 Light Ack Ack Battery claim three hits on one JU 88.

1346-1404 hrs  Two ME 109s approach the Island and patrol.  Six Hurricanes are airborne: no interceptions.

1415 hrs  Five ME 109s drop bombs on Luqa from 11000 feet.  Five JU 88s dive-bomb Luqa.

1420 hrs  Seven Hurricanes of 242 Squadron at Ta Qali under S/L Wells join eight Hurricanes of 605 Squadron scrambled from Hal Far to intercept the enemy aircraft as they return from the raid.

F/Sgt Fletcher (605) scores a hit on the rear gun turret of one JU 88, and P/O Noble hits another JU 88 twice, on the tail plane fuselage and the port engine, setting it on fire, before both pilots’ Hurricanes suffer damage (pilots unhurt).  Sgt Gardiner (242) hits the same JU 88.

Fiat BR20 “Cigogna” (stork)

Sgt Wilson hits one ME 109 on the fuselage and wing.  P/O Omerod hits the underside of another ME 109, another on the wing roots and engine cowling, and then hits an Italian aircraft – later identified as a BR 20 bomber – on the tail.   F/Lt Kee and P/O Kidson (242) score cannon strikes on another JU 88 before P/O Kidson dives on a ME 109, damaging its tail and claiming a ‘probably destroyed’.  One JU 88 ditches in the sea to the north of the Island and an ME 109 is shot down by Anti-Aircraft fire.

1515 hrs  All Clear.

1612-1803 hrs  Three JU 88s accompanied by seven ME 109s approach from the north and drop bombs on Luqa and the Safi strip.  Two Marylands are damaged.  Two billets are demolished and the sergeants’ sleeping quarters damaged.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage, damaging one JU 88.  Malta’s fighters are airborne; no engagement.

1902-0239 hrs  21 aircraft approach singly, dropping bombs on Gozo, Ta Silch, Hal Far, Luqa, Lapsi, Qrendi, Hagiar Qim, Zeitun, between Nigret and Bubaqra, Wardia, Ta Qali, Salvator and in the sea.  Cpl Refalo of 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment is killed and L/Cpl Aquilina injured.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and searchlights expose eight targets.  Ta Qali Hurricane pilot Sgt Wood engages a JU 88 over the centre of the Island, as it fires at a searchlight.  Sgt Wood closes in and lets loose a 20 second burst of cannon-fire.  The JU 88 bursts into flames and crashes on land to the south west of Dingli.

0247-0632 hrs  Four aircraft drop bombs on Ta Qali and Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0649 hrs  One aircraft comes to within 30 miles of Malta and then recedes.

Military casualties  Corporal Joseph Refalo, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Attard  Joseph Dingli, age 15; Tessie Dingli, age 4; Valentine Dingli, age 1.  Birkirkara  Michael Gauci, age 40.  Gozo (Zebbug)  Louis Vella, age 22.

Enemy casualties  Crew of JU 88 bomber of 2/KG 66 shot down night of 4/5t March 1942:  Unteroffizier Albert Degenhardt, 2/KG 66 (pilot); Unteroffizier Friedrich Engelmann/Engelbert, 2/KG 66 (observer); Unteroffizier Herman Gessele (wireless operator); Unteroffizier Werner Rehschutz (air gunner).

OPERATIONS REPORTS: WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Unbeaten returned from patrol off Kuriat, having hit a northbound tanker, believed sunk.  Unique sailed for Gibraltar and United Kingdom.  An Albacore sent on shipping search south and west of Malta sighted nothing.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Four Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  Five Wellingtons to 108 MU; one Catalina to Gibraltar and Lisbon; one Sunderland to Aboukir.

HAL FAR  One Albacore on search for enemy shipping Lampedusa-Zuara areas: nothing sighted.

LUQA  0930-1145 hrs  One Beaufighter 69 Squadron on photo-reconnaissance (PR) Sicilian aerodromes.  1010-1353 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron PR Lampedusa Harbour and SF 2 patrol.  2107-0503 hrs  One Wellington 38 Squadron carried out a shipping search with torpedoes; no attack made.  2128-0508 hrs  Three Wellingtons 37 Squadron attacked shipping in Tripoli Harbour.

TA QALI  Commanding Officer commenced investigations of landing Wellington against orders.

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  ‘A’ Company moved to Safi strip in relief of C Company which moved to Gudja Camp.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Five bombs drop in D Company’s area during the night.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

 

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Posted by on March 4, 2017 in 1942, March 1942

 

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