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7 September 1941: Malta Troops Mark National Day of Prayer

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Barrakka Church

Barracca Church

PRAYER SERVICES HELD IN GUN POSITIONS AS WELL AS CHURCHES

Servicemen across Malta attended churches today as the Island observed a Day of National Prayer and Thanksgiving. The special day has been instigated by command of His Majesty King George VI to mark the first Sunday after two years of war. 

Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief issued orders that all servicemen should have the opportunity to be included in the prayers. For troops on duty at defensive positions such as anti-aircraft guns, this meant a specially convened prayer service by their military chaplain.  Roman Catholic troops were given every possible opportunity to attend their local church, where a Catholic chaplain could not attend at their location.

FARMERS’ PROPERTY DAMAGED

Military authorities have been receiving complaints from farmers about serious damage to the rubble walls surrounding their fields, and also of wholesale theft of fruit by military personnel. Such offences are causing great annoyance to farmers who are dependent on their produce for their livelihood.  Troops have been reminded today that there is no excuse whatsoever for wanton destruction or theft. Commanders will take steps to ensure that any man found guilty of such behaviour will be severely dealt with.

Other complaints have also been received from landowners that civilians are entering fields which are occupied by the military. The civil police have no jurisdiction in the matter, other than in exceptional circumstances.  Troops have been reminded that it is their responsibility to prevent trespass by civilians.  However, it is also essential that owners and tenants be allowed free access.  Where any dispute arises, troops can arrange for the unit compensation officer to assist them in settling the matter.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 7 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 8 SEPTEMBER 1941

Weather  Fine and warm.

No air raids.

Military casualties  Private Kenneth G Piper, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 1941

AIR HQ  Departures 3 Blenheim. Reconnaissance of western Ionian Sea by 1 Maryland, 1 Beaufort and 1 Hurricane. 69 Squadron   2 patrols east Tunisian coast. 38 Squadron 9 Wellingtons attacked Palermo Harbour in three waves caused a series of explosions. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 4 Swordfish attacked shipping off Augusta. 

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  A church parade at Barracca Church: the first we have had since the Italians started bombing us in Matruh.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS A party of 24 Fortress Company 2 Section working at Cala Mistra is transferred for to reinforce sappers working on aerodrome obstacles at Luqa. The remainder of the Section is working on camouflage for aeroplanes at Cala Mistra. 

 

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Posted by on September 7, 2021 in 1941, September 1941

 

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5 September 1940: First German Dive Bombers Over Malta

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STUKAS IDENTIFIED IN DIVE BOMBING RAIDS ON AIRFIELDS

JU 87 Stuka dive-bomber

JU 87 Stuka dive-bomber

Anti-aircraft gunners taking aim against enemy raiders today were surprised to see a very different type of aircraft in the skies over Malta. The black sharp-nosed monoplanes diving towards them with a high-pitched roar carried a Swastika on their tail.

The aircraft circled Grand Harbour, Luqa and Hal Far at around 20000 feet. They then separated into pairs and dropped to 15000 feet before swooping down in a steep dive to 600 feet over Marsaxlokk and Kalafrana to release their bombs. The angle of dive was almost vertical and in one case the aircraft was seen to spiral as if out of control. Then at 200 feet the raiders machine gunned defenders on the ground. They then flew east at 500 feet then rejoined the fighter formation before returning northwards.

The raid was countered by a massive barrage of anti-aircraft fire supported by small arms fire from the ground. Ground troops including C Coy 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt reported hitting and damaging two aircraft and the RAF claimed two more.

The enemy aircraft were later confirmed as German Junkers 87, with a black cross on the fuselage and a swastika on the tail but no marking on the wings, Remarkably this first dive-bombing raid on Malta did not result in any casualties.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 6 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather Fine.

1018-1046 hrs Air raid alert for two enemy formations totalling eight bombers and 17 fighters which approach from the north and fly over the Island, circling Grand Harbour, Luqa and Hal Far. The two formations are split and two fighters moving northwards over Ta Qali are attacked by a single Hurricane. All anti-aircraft gun positions open fire on raiders at 19-22000 feet. No bombs are dropped on the area.

1757-1818 hrs Air raid alert for six enemy aircraft which are identified as German JU 87B dive-bombers carrying a Swastika on the tail. They approach at 17000 feet, separate into pairs and dive to 6-800 feet to drop bombs on Marsaxlokk area. A bomber machine-guns the camp of 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment. Ack Ack guns, including Lewis guns at Delimara, open fire on low flying raiders. Four JU 87s are also reported swooping over Kalafrana in two pairs from the direction of Birzebbugia; two bombs are dropped with no damage. One small bomb and one 750lb bomb are dropped in a field near an airfield gate. The large bomb is suspected to be a delayed-action type and is reported to the RAOC.

All the airfield’s machine guns open fire and some claim to have scored hits. The RAF also report two enemy planes shot down by small arms fire but this is not confirmed. One incendiary bomb lands near Fort Benghaisa and another in Birzebbugia village. One unexploded bomb reported near Kalafrana seaplane base is believed to be a 500kg delayed action bomb. It is destroyed by the RAOC. Malta fighters are scrambled. Three enemy aircraft are chased north and then eastwards. One enemy CR42 is confirmed brought down six miles north of Grand Harbour; the pilot is reported to have baled out. Two bombers are reported hit and damaged, believed unlikely to return to base.

2115 hrs A look-out post at Mellieha reports the sound of motor engines to the east.

2147 hrs Qawra Tower reports the faint sound of engines out to sea. Moving green lights are also reported but thought to be shooting stars.

2309 & 2333 hrs Further reports of the sound of a Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB) or an aircraft.

2352 hrs A defence post reports a boat off Dragonara Point signalling towards the shore. A subsequent sighting reports a signal of a dot and two dashes (the letter W). The boat is reported as three miles off shore. Coastal guns at St Julians are manned.

0009 hrs A boat believed to be an MTB is picked up by a searchlight beam from Fort Campbell and logged as two miles due north of Ghallis Tower. Guns at Campbell open fire. Searchlights at Campbell, St George’s, Tigne and Grand Harbour are illuminated until 0025 hrs.

Enemy casualties Tenente Nicola Dell’Olio, pilot, 201a Squadriglia, 92nd Gruppo, 39th Stormo.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 1940

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT Seven recruits enlisted.

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Posted by on September 5, 2020 in 1940, September 1940

 

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