Tag Archives: 2nd Bn Devonshire Regiment

13 February 1941: New German Force Heads to North Africa via Med

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Rommel in North Africa

Rommel in North Africa


A major new German military force is set to cross the Mediterranean to North Africa, according to intelligence sources. Their commander, Major General Erwin Rommel is reported to have already landed in Libya.  Following his success in the invasion of France in 1940,  Rommel has been given the task by Chancellor Hitler to take on the British in North Africa, following heavy Italian defeats in the region. 

Observers and reconnaissance have recently made several reports of military forces amassing in Italy and Sicily, as well as extensive merchant and naval shipping movements through the Mediterranean to Libya. Malta bombers are expected to play a key role in impeding the successful transfer of resources to the North Africa campaign.


German bombers are reinforced with armour-plating, according to Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief. Reporting the discovery in a telegram to the War Office today, Lt Gen Dobbie has recommended that the Army should be issued with A/P SAA .303 ammunition.  If the issue is approved, the Island would need an initial delivery of one million rounds, rising to five million rounds in time for the forthcoming increase to the Garrison recently authorised by London.


The Island was persistently but ineffectively raided by enemy aircraft, which included German bombers and probably fighters. Forty-five bombers maintained a prolonged attack on the night of 8th/9th, during which our Hurricanes destroyed two JU 88s and damaged a third; relatively unimportant damage was sustained at Luqa and Hal Far, though civilian property suffered considerably.  On the 12th, two intercepting Hurricanes were lost, but one pilot was rescued from the sea.  ME 109s have been reported over Malta, but have not been in action.

Our aircraft reconnoitred Tunis and the coast and sea routes from Italy to Tripoli and Benghazi. On the night of 11th/12th the aerodromes at Comiso and Catania in Sicily were attacked with over five tons of bombs by Wellingtons from Malta.  At least four enemy aircraft were destroyed at Catania and large fires were started at both aerodromes. 

Enemy transport activity on a considerable scale has been maintained between Sicily, Tripoli and Sardinia.


Weather  Fine and clear.

1508-1522 hrs  Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber accompanied by six ME 109 fighters which approach the Island from the north on reconnaissance at 22000 feet. Hurricane fighters are scrambled but on sight of them the ME 109s turn away and fly off.  Anti-aircraft guns open fire, hitting the JU 88 which is last seen losing height with smoke pouring from one engine.  No bombs are dropped on the Island.

1915-1932 hrs; 1942-2001 hrs; 2200-2235 hrs; 2331-2325 hrs; 2340-0040 hrs  Air raid alerts for a series of nuisance raids over the Island. Hurricane fighters are airborne in turn throughout.  In the first raid bombs are dropped between Mosta and Naxxar.  In the second, from Rinella to Della Grazia and one enemy bomber is damaged by a Hurricane.  In the third, raiders cross the coast over Dingli; bombs are dropped to the west of Ta Qali aerodrome; three fall on B block of Imtarfa Hospital, killing three patients, seriously wounding six and slightly wounding another six.  The third attack approaches from the south and drops bombs in the sea off Fort Leonardo.  In the fourth, bombs are dropped on the Grand Harbour area.  Searchlights pick up a single bomber heading away over the north coast.  During the raids bombs are also dropped on Pembroke and on Luqa aerodrome, seriously damaging one Wellington and slightly damaging one Whitley.

Military casualties  Private Lawrence Duckworth, 8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment; Private Robert McGill, King’s Own Malta Regiment; Private James Frederick Scott, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment.


ROYAL NAVY  Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm attacked and believed sank a merchant convoy heading for Libya.

AIR HQ Arrivals 2 Sunderlands. Sunderland patrolled western Ionian Sea.  69 Squadron  Maryland photoreconnaissance Comiso and Gela aerodromes: Comiso eight JU 88s of which one burned out, 11 HE 111s, one SM 79, plus 16 unidentified fighters; Gela seven bombers, nine fighters unidentified but with dark camouflage.   

KALAFRANA  One Sunderland arrived from Middle East en route for UK. One Sunderland 230 Squadron arrived from Middle East with passengers.

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Maryland photoreconnaissance Gela and Comiso.

1st Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Battle practices on Ghain Tuffieha ranges.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Private L Duckworth was killed by a bomb on an air raid shelter at Imtarfa Hospital.


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Posted by on February 13, 2021 in 1941, February 1941


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14 November 1940: Malta Early Warning Systems Improved

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RDF equipment Mark 1

RDF equipment Mark 1

The system which provides essential early warning of enemy formations approaching Malta is undergoing significant improvement. RDF equipment detects incoming aircraft from some distance, enabling the RAF to scramble the Island’s defending fighter force to catch approaching raiders unawares and attack or deter them well before they reach the coast.  The information also supports the sounding of air raid alerts across Malta, giving troops and civilians time to get to shelter before bombers arrive.

There has been a RDF system in Malta since 1939, when stations were set up on Dingli Cliff. Three more sites are now planned and a centre to filter information is being set up in the cellar of a house in Scots Street, Valletta. New equipment has now arrived which can detect shipping and low-flying aircraft, along with experienced service personnel from the Home Front to man the updated systems. RDF Stations identify the approximate number of approaching aircraft (both Allied and Axis) as well as their height.  The details are passed on by telephone to the filter room and from there to all relevant points.


Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

Military casualties  Private Arthur Phillips, 2nd Battalion The Devonshire Regiment.


AIR HQ  Departures 1 Sunderland.

KALAFRANA  One Sunderland on patrol over Ionian Sea then posted to Middle East to rejoin 230 Squadron.

TA QALI  S/Ldr Balen OC 261 Squadron posted to RAF Station Luqa.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Approx 10000 rounds ammunition issued direct from ship to Royal Artillery towards 100% reserve.

(1) Radio Direction Finder equipment became known as RADAR

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Posted by on November 14, 2020 in 1940, November 1940


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8 October 1940: Military Chiefs Discuss Possible Invasion of Malta

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Malta Governor & Commander in Chief Lt Gen Dobbie

Malta Governor & Commander in Chief Lt Gen Dobbie

In the first of two telegrams, Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief wrote today to the Chief of Imperial General Staff at the War Office with his views on the prospects for Malta in the face of an invasion from the sea:

I cannot visualise a full dress attack on Malta unless the enemy are confident of being able to prevent the Mediterranean Fleet from intervening for a sufficient period to enable them to gain control of the Island. After consulting the Vice Admiral Malta I imagine that seven days is the maximum period the enemy could hope to have free from interference…  This limit would probably rule out a deliberate step by step attack and would necessitate a maximum effort at all possible places simultaneously, carried through with the utmost determination; German stiffening might give the necessary vigour.

The local naval forces likely to be available within the next few months are only a few submarines, and even these are uncertain. Motor Torpedo Boats would be extremely useful against sea-borne attack but cannot materialise for a long time, so I am not counting on them. It follows that the Navy here will not be able to do much to interfere with sea-borne attack. The Air Force available at present could not count on preventing the enemy from gaining air superiority if he made determined efforts to do so. The four fighter squadrons asked for, and which might have prevented such a result, cannot I understand come for some time. We must therefore face the fact that the enemy would have local air superiority, except in so far as our Ack Ack guns might interfere; this of course is a serious handicap. But the RAF reconnaissance aircraft should be able to give us warning of concentrations of shipping in Sicily, thus reducing the chance of a complete surprise.

I assume the enemy will have ample resources of men and material and that in order to gain a quick decision he will attack on a very wide front. Further, that he will use self-propelled armoured landing craft and will do the journey from Sicily at night, attacking at or before dawn. I assume also that these craft will carry some medium or light tanks and possibly flame-throwers, the latter to deal with beach posts. That the attack would be supported by fire from warships and intense air attack. From the foregoing consideration the following conclusions emerge:

  • (a) We must stop as many of the landing craft as possible from reaching the beach. To do this we need guns, since small arms fire is useless against their armour.
  • (b) In an attack of such intensity and so widely dispersed, the enemy may well get a footing at a number of points. Immediate counter-attacks will be essential and these must be assisted by the greatest possible supporting gun or mortar fire, to give them the best chance for success.
  • (c) Deliberate counter-attacks supported by strong artillery fire may be necessary in more than one area at once. These attacks must be made by forces strong enough to ensure success…

If we have to meet a full dress attack in the circumstances I have envisaged, we require the following additional troops and equipment: three battalions complete with mortars, one field battery, two anti-tank troops Royal Artillery, one or two sections of Field Company Royal Engineers or equivalent, 50 Lyon lights and 10 beach defence lights and 60 x 2” mortars, plus 100 anti-tank rifles, besides other weapons already asked for.

I suggest that these troops if sent here should be regarded as a reserve available to be sent elsewhere in the Near East should the naval situation change so that a full scale attack on Malta is deemed unlikely. But meanwhile some such force is needed if the fleet is to be freed from undue preoccupation with the safety of Malta.


Weather  Fine.

1935-2020 hrs  Air raid alert for four enemy bombers which approach Delimara from the east at 14000 feet and drop bombs in the sea off Delimara, Wied Znuber and two miles off Grand Harbour. Two turn back before crossing the coast. The remaining two are illuminated and held by searchlights, then engaged by one Malta Hurricane fighter. One Italian bomber is brought down in flames into the sea off Delimara. Another is so badly damaged that it is unlikely to return to base; it is last seen by the Hurricane pilot and coastal observers flying at 1000 feet with one engine on fire. Two men are seen baling out towards the sea. The Hurricane lands safely. Searchlight crews are praised by the Air Officer Commanding for exceptionally good work.    

Military casualties  Private Ronald Frost, 2nd Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment

Enemy casualties  Tenente Adolfo Ferrari, 257a Squadriglia, 108o Gruppo, 36o Stormo, pilot of a Savoia SM79 bomber shot down.


HMS Aba (1)

HMS Aba (1)

ROYAL NAVY  0655-1024 hrs  Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched on patrol; nothing sighted. Hospital ship Aba arrived and departed: discharged three, embarked 52.  

AIR HQ  0345-0845 hrs  Glenn Martin 431 Flight reconnaissanace of Ionian sea, Taranto Harbour and Brindisi; nil report.

KALAFRANA  Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. 1230-1605 hrs Glenn Martin 431 Flight on reconnaissance; nothing to report. 0345-1515 hrs Sunderland 228 Squadron and 0403-1532 hrs Sunderland 230 Squadron reconnaissanace of Ionian sea, Taranto Harbour and Brindisi; nil report.

2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT 1200 hrs  CSM W Fry and five Other Ranks embarked as invalids on board a hospital ship at Malta for passage to UK.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT   Four discharged men left for UK.


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Posted by on October 8, 2020 in 1940, October 1940


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21 January 1942: Army CO Tells Officers to Toughen Up

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Extract from diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta

“…While we were there three Merchant Captains arrived, and we were glad of their company. One arrived late one night having had great difficulty in getting there. As he left his ship a stick of bombs dropped alongside in the harbour. Mrs. G. put him to bed and kept him there for two days. They had come from Alexandria and had been thoroughly bombed on the journey. He was very shaken…

HMS Aurora

While walking one day near Boschetto House I saw a raid. This is only the second that I have been able to see. Three bombers came from the direction of [Cospicua] dropped bombs on either Luqa or Hal Far (I could not be sure which) and then fled – but not as you might expect out to sea and so soon out of range of our batteries – right across the island in a circle to the northward of where we were, approaching closer to us as they flew. They were being chased by the barrage – instead of running into it – and they got away.” (1)


This afternoon the Island’s new Army General Officer Commanding (GOC), Major-General D M W Beak, will give the first of a series of three lectures to all Officers in the Malta Command.  The GOC, who arrived in Malta two weeks ago, will stress the importance of and need for improvement in “leadership, endurance, discipline and the offensive spirit”. He is also to announce that Physical Training and cross-country runs are to be instituted for all ranks.  The presentation will include a lecture on “War Neuroses” by Captain Johnson, RAMC.


Weather  Weather:  Wind south west.  Cold.  Bright periods.  Wet periods.

0630-0753 hrs Bombs near Salina Salt Pans.

0842-0900 hrs  Air raid alert.  Turns out to be friendly aircraft.

0935-0959 hrs  Twelve plus aircraft approach the Island from the north and are engaged by Heavy Ack Ack positions and HMS Aurora to the north of Grand Harbour.  No bombs are dropped: believed to be a reconnaissance mission.

1030-1105 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by [twelve] ME109s drop bombs in the sea off Kalafrana and at Hal Far, near a working party of  2nd Battalion The Devonshire Regiment working on a 2000 yard extension to the runway.  The stick of bombs falls through the middle of the dispersed working party, killing Private F G Wingett, E Company.  Corporal Jeffery, Privates Lang and Blackman are slightly injured.  One elephant shelter a petrol dump and cycle repair shop of C Company are hit.  Three Hurricane aircraft are also damaged in the Hal Far dispersal area.  Bombs are dropped in the sea near Dingli as well as two on land near Benghaisa.  The enemy are engaged by Heavy Ack Ack gun positions.

1045 hrs  1st Battalion, Kings Own Malta Regiment find a dead body in the sea; presumed to be an Italian seaman.  Barrels in the sea off Ghajn Znuber Tower are found to be Italian and contain petrol.

1410-1507 hrs  Two JU 88 bombers come in over Delimara, are barraged and jettison their bombs in the sea.  One JU 88 flies in over Grand Harbour, descends to 10000 feet and drops bombs near Safi, and between Misrah Blandun and Bubaqra, before retiring south, and then turning north east.  Three ME109 fighters patrol eight miles off the east coast at a height of fifty feet.  Four bombs are dropped on Hal Far with no damage or casualties.  Heavy Ack Ack is fired at various heights.  Hits are claimed by fighters on four bombers and four fighters but this has not yet been confirmed.

1611-1637 hrs  One JU 88, escorted by five ME 109s, attacks out of the sun, dropping bombs on Hal Far.  Anti-aircraft guns of 225 LAA Battery engage as the aircraft recedes.

1901-2030 hrs  One enemy aircraft approaches the Island from the north east, orbits at 5000 feet south of the Island, climbs to 11000 feet and drops bombs in the sea south east of Kalafrana.  Anti-aircraft artillery does not engage.

Night  Bad weather restricts offensive operations from Malta, and only one enemy raider approaches the coast dropping its bombs in the sea.

Military casualties  Private Frederick Wingett, 2nd Battalion The Devonshire Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Mosta Maria Bugeja, age 9.


AIR HQ Arrivals one Cathay from Cairo.  Departures one Wellington to LG 224.

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Hurricane photo-reconnaissance (PR) Tunis and Bizerta; one Maryland SF6 patrol; one Beaufighter PR Palermo, Messina and Taranto; one Maryland SF 16 patrol.  40 Squadron  Two Wellingtons nuisance raid Sicilian aerodromes.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

TA QALI  Bad patches on aerodrome.  Our fighters still only able to operate from Luqa.  Funeral of three airmen killed on 19 January.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  X Squadron, 6 Royal Tank Regiment amalgamated with Malta Tank Troop as “Malta Tanks” with effect from this date; the whole remaining under CIB for administration.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER  B Company supplies working party for unloading convoy which arrived yesterday.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 6; dealt with 1 (50kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1)  Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

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Posted by on January 21, 2017 in 1942, January 1942


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12 January 1942: Round the Clock Raids Sap Morale

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“No other place of such a few square miles of land has taken such a battering as Malta in the last 5 weeks, says the British United Press correspondent on the Island.  He adds that during that time there have been 93 day and 120 night alerts, some of the night raids lasting nine hours…”  (1)

The Poor House, Luqa, Mess Hall & Barracks (NWMA Malta)


Conditions over Malta have caused the enemy to revise their tactics.  Instead of mass raids by large formations, the Axis have embarked on a round the clock campaign of attacks by individual aircraft.  The tactic leaves the Island’s occupants under air raid alert for hours at a time.  Constant ‘nuisance raids’ during the night are forcing civilians to remain in shelters for up to eight hours at a time, and depriving the military of much-needed sleep.


The final detachment of Blenheims from 107 Squadron RAF leaves Malta today after five months on the Island, during which they have successfully attacked Axis targets in Italy, Sicily and North Africa.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 12 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Cold wind from the west; showers, heavy at times.  Bright periods between showers.

0230-0330 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

0911-0932 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the south west, crosses the south coast and drops bombs near Luqa.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not intercept due to weather conditions.

1017-1039 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north.  No Hurricanes are airborne.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage and the raider turns towards Luqa, dropping bombs in the Pumping Station Wied il Kebir, near the Experimental Farm at Marsa.  An unexploded bomb is also reported near the Poorhouse searchlight position.  Royal Engineers attend to deal with UXB Report No 1451 immediately: the bomb is a 250kg SC. 

1050-1106 hrs  Air raid alert.

1218-1237 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north west, crosses the south coast and drops bombs on Luqa, damaging one Wellington aircraft and leaving a number of craters along the runway.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages.  Two Hurricanes give chase but weather prevents contact.

1308-1334 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north west, crosses the coast over Tigne and drops bombs in the Zebbug area.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages; no Hurricanes airborne.

1435-1456 hrs  One unidentified aircraft crosses the south coast and drops bombs near Verdala Palace.  Heavy Ack Ack fire one barrage.

1604-1734 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by six ME 109s carry out four raids.  One JU 88 approaches from the west and drops bombs in the sea while being chased by Hurricanes.  One JU 88 approaches from the west and drops bombs in the sea off Ghain Tuffieha: Hurricanes engage the aircraft without result.  The third JU 88 escorted by six ME 109s crosses the coast over St Paul’s Bay, presumably on reconnaissance as no bombs are reported.  The fourth raid recedes without crossing the coast.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages.

2102-2133 hrs  One aircraft crosses the Island from south to north, dropping bombs in the sea off Ghar Lapsi.  Guns do not engage.

2220-0318 hrs  Six aircraft approach from the north singly during this period, each aircraft remaining in the vicinity of the Island for a considerable time.  Bombs are reported in the areas of Safi Strip, Zabbar, Gozo (near Rabat), in the sea off Tigne and in Kalafrana Bay.  Heavy Ack Ack fire 13 immediate barrages.


AIR HQ  Arrivals  six Hudsons, two Blenheims from Gib. Departures  five Blenheims to Helwan; five Blenheims, one Beaufighter to 108 MU; one Clare to Cairo.

HAL FAR  Night 12/13th  Four Swordfish despatched on shipping search.  Nothing sighted.

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Maryland SF16 patrol.  40 Squadron  One Wellington attacked aerodrome at Catania; three Wellingtons despatched to attack shipping in Tripoli Harbour.

TA QALI  Two fighter Blenheims carried out operations: saw nothing.  Aerodrome unserviceable for fighters.  Army exercise cancelled. Raids during the night: no damage.  Seven airmen ceased attachment Hal Far.

2ND BN DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Private A Bennett commended for action when schooner Marie Georgette was attacked by enemy aircraft.  Malta Fortress Order No 34 of 21/1/42.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  0930 hrs  Working party continues at Luqa.  Several raids in area: no casualties.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  1030 hrs  Six guns engage three JU 88s at 5-6000 feet, firing a total of 30 rounds of 40mm.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 5; dealt with 3 (2 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1) The Argus, Melbourne, Monday 12 January 1942

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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in 1942, January 1942, Uncategorized


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1 January 1942: 25 Civilians Killed in ‘Fireball’ Attack

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“The paper said we have had 99 air raids in the last twelve days. I can believe it.” (1)

At one minute before midnight tonight a fireball with a tail of flame is seen descending towards the military barracks at Floriana, just outside the walls of Valletta.  It skims the roof of a Mess building and crashes into the road 30 yards away, exploding with a massive roar.  Observers report seeing a single enemy aircraft drop from 10000 feet into a steep dive, releasing his bomb load at about 2,000 feet.

The Canteen at Corradino (NWMA Malta)

Within minutes, two more flaming missiles strike the heart of the Dockyard and explode.  One scores a direct hit on a Naval Canteen in Corradino, burying stores and injuring one Army officer.  A fourth is observed heading for Floriana again; it descends with a swishing sound, but this time it hits the ground with a thud.

The next ball of flame swoops down towards a residential area of Gzira, crashing into houses, and explodes, killing 25 civilians.  Reports soon come in of an unusual bomb with a burning tail which has exploded in Marsascala Bay.

The military authorities are baffled and concerned: this is clearly a powerful weapon, like nothing they have come across before.  However, reports of an unexploded bomb in Floriana may provide the answer.  The Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officers have been called to deal with this as yet unknown UXB.  (to be continued 2 January)


Weather  Cold and showers.

0203-0300 hrs  Air raid alarm. One enemy aircraft drops bombs on Luqa.

0326-0600 hrs  Alarm three enemy aircraft patrol the Island trying to intercept returning Wellingtons. Eventually they cross the coast dropping bombs on Ta Qali.  Heavy Ack Ack engaged. Searchlights: one illumination of 30 seconds.

0935-1015 hrs  Alarm.  Reconnaissance raid by 1 JU88 with Messerschmitt escort.

1123-1215 hrs  Alarm. Three JU 88s escorted by fourteen ME 109s make a shallow dive-bombing attack on Ta Qali aerodrome and Qrendi landing strip.  No damage.  Heavy Ack Ack fire several barrages.

1442-1535 hrs  Alarm.  Four ME109s carry out a shipping sweep round the Island.  Heavy Ack Ack engaged.

1547-1635 hrs  Alarm.  Fifteen enemy fighters in two formations carry out a shipping sweep round the Island, down to 50 feet above sea level.  Heavy Ack Ack engaged.

2024-2213 hrs  Alarm. One enemy aircraft patrols south of the Island crossing the south east coast four times. High Explosive and incendiary bombs are dropped on Hal Far aerodrome and Safi landing strip.  One short illumination by searchlights.

2230 hrs  Report of E-boats off Zonkor Point and south of Filfla. Beach posts stood to.  Nothing materialises however.

2305-0117 hrs  Alarm. Royal Artillery reports a fighter up, and orders guns to engage up to 6000 feet.  Searchlights are exposed.  Twelve enemy aircraft approach from the north. The first patrols south of Island.

2346 hrs  Intruder Phase III is put into operation owing to returning Wellingtons.

2359 hrs  Phase I reinstated.  Ten aircraft approach Grand Harbour, each aircraft about five miles apart at 10-12000 feet; they dive to 2-3000 feet to release bombs on the Dockyard, with one direct hit on the Naval Canteen at Corrodino (one slight casualty), as well as Floriana, Marsascala Bay, and at Gzira, where there are civilian casualties.

0035 hrs Royal Artillery HQ orders ‘Guns Engage’.  A fighter was sent south of the Island.  Heavy Ack Ack fire four immediate barrages of 10-13000 feet, which have a marked deterrent effect on the enemy.  Bofors engage the low-flying aircraft.  Three illuminations (two for ½ minute and one for 1½ minutes).  The Hurricane does not engage the enemy.

Military casualties  Private Charles Row, 2nd Battalion, The Devonshire Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Gzira Joseph. Abdilla, age 32; Josephine Azzopardi, age 30; George Debono, age 32; Saviour Debono, age 24; John Filletti, age 34; Mary Filletti, age 22; Stella Micallef, age 13; Violet Micallef, age 13; Albert Mifsud, age 10; Alfred Mifsud, age 2; Blanche Mifsud, age 14; Joseph Mifsud, age 13; Mary Mifsud, age 36; Tancred Mifsud, age 15; Winnie Mifsud, age 4; Giorgia Schembri, age 56; Carmela Spiteri, age 10; Benedetta Spiteri, age 15; Alfred Spiteri, age 7 months; Emanuel Spiteri, age 2; Domenic Spiteri, age 10; Domenic Spiteri, age 50; Josephine Spiteri, age 5; Mary Spiteri, age 12; Vincenza Spiteri, age 3.  Plus 14 injured.


AIR HQ  Departures  4 Hudson, 1 Wellington, 1 Beaufort.

HAL FAR    Four Hudson aircraft (Delivery Flight) left for Middle East AM.  22 Airmen attached from Luqa for Delivery Flight duties.  No operations during the day.  Night 1/2nd Three Albacores, 828 Squadron, despatched on minelaying operations outside Zuara Harbour.  One Albacore failed to return. Missing crew S/Lt Pettit (pilot) and S/Lt Capes (observer).

LUQA  69 Squadron One Maryland SF6 patrol.  18 Squadron One Blenheim SF14 patrol.  Three Blenheims Attacked shipping and motor transport Homs and Buerat.  107 Squadron One Blenheim attacked motor transport Homs-Ras el Hallab.  S/D Flight one Wellington special search; 40 Squadron: one Wellington Tripoli nuisance raid.

TA QALI  Four Hudson aircraft (Delivery Flight) left for Middle East AM.  22 Airmen attached from Luqa for Delivery Flight duties.  No operations during the day.  12 noon  Seven bombs on aerodrome near Pottery and Chateau Bertrant.  Blackout and windows damaged.  Two unexploded bombs located.  One of Kings Own Malta Regiment sustained chest injuries.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  The New Year started off with more air raids; the all clear was not given until 0600 hrs. Normal work and training continued during the day.  B Coy carried on with its gas work; A and D Companies continued building posts for the MVDF.

During the night low bombing raids were carried out against the harbour.  Bombs fell very close to HQ Coy and A Coy, and a direct hit was scored on B Coy Officers’ Mess and lay stores in the dockyard.  2/Lt Gerwin was lacerated about the head and face and was taken to hospital.  Much of the officers’ private kit and the Coy stores will be lost, though a certain amount may be salvaged.

8th Bn KINGS OWN ROYAL LANCASTER REGIMENT  Five alerts during day.  During early morning six bombs were dropped 320 yards east of Tal Providence.  Slight damage to walls and civilian property.  Battalion HQ was moved to Ta Kandia quarries in furtherance of a plan to disperse the troops as much as possible.

(1) Extract from “A Flyer’s Diary”,  Joe White, WWII (from Air Shared Magazine)

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Posted by on January 1, 2017 in 1942, January 1942, Uncategorized


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30 December 1941: 90 Enemy Aircraft in Single Daylight Raid

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Grand Harbour

Grand Harbour


Over 90 enemy aircraft attack Malta just before noon today, unleashing High Explosive bombs on key strategic targets across the Island.  Anti-aircraft gunners fire off barrages and Hurricanes are scrambled to drive off the attackers, damaging five bombers.  The Dockyard, Luqa and Ta Qali airfields, and coastal defences at Delimara and St Paul’s Bay are all bombed. Reports indicate that Italian Macchi fighters were among the formations of Luftwaffe aircraft.

“Out to the strip today to see if we had any planes left. Shrapnel and rocks everywhere and a crater 24 feet deep and 100 feet across near the bomb dump. Lucky it rained last night and cooled off the bombs. “Q” has about four holes in her and needs a new tail plane which is the third out here. “H’ is burned out and “P” riddled badly. The rest holed but will be OK in a few days. Five escaped. 40 Sqn had a bad time though. Seven of their planes completely wiped out and just piles of junk. Three are serviceable for tonight’s ops. Most of their squadron is wiped out tho.

As we were returning for lunch there, Ju88 jumped out of the clouds and bombed us again wiping out another 40 Sqn plane. They were only at about 3000′ and were jumped by six Hurricanes. Later heard two shot down. Plenty of dog fighting most of the afternoon high up tho as the machine gun and cannons fire was very faint. About two pm we saw two sticks of bombs over Rabat way go off. The rest of the island must have got a bashing too. Kalafrana machine-gunned by ME 109s. About 5 pm the Grand Harbour was bombed again while we were at tea. These Jerrys must have plenty of fighter escorts. They are based at Catavia but we can’t very well bomb it as they report underground hangars.” (1)


0032-0114 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft crosses the coast and drops bombs near Hamrun.  Heavy Ack Ack engage; no claims.

0358-0430 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approaches from the north and passes over Grand Harbour.  Heavy Ack Ack fire three immediate barrages causing the enemy aircraft to change course on each occasion.  Bombs are dropped on Corrodino area, with a direct hit on a latrine, injuring dockyard workmen who had taken shelter there instead of their designated refuge.  Bombs near San Pietru Heavy Ack Ack Bofors gun position damage a billet.  Three are killed, four injured.

0947-1053 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Reconaissance raid by four JU 88s escorted by 12 ME 109s.  Heavy Ack Ack engaged.

Macchi C200

1148-1254 hrs  Air raid alarm.  90 enemy aircraft consisting of JU 88s, ME 109s and Macchi 200s approach from the north.  Bombs are dropped on the Dockyard, Luqa and [San] Rocco area, Delimara Heavy Ack Ack gun position (causing two casualties) St Paul’s Bay and Ta Qali, which is also machine gunned.

Heavy Ack Ack, Bofors and light machine guns engage low flying aircraft, probably destroying one JU 88.  Naval Ack Ack guns from HMS Abingdon also open fire, damaging one JU 88.  Hurricanes engage the enemy, destroying two JU 88s, plus one JU 88 ‘probably destroyed’ and a fourth damaged.

1332-1343 hrs  Air raid alarm: caused by return of friendly aircraft.

1453-1516 hrs  Air raid alarm for a reconnaissance raid by one JU 88 and four fighters.  Heavy Ack Ack engage; no claims.

1640-1740 hrs  Air raid alarm: three JU 88s escorted by 21 fighters approach from the north.  Two JU 88s carry out a shallow dive attack over Luqa, dropping bombs to the east of the airfield.  The third JU 88 bombs Grand Harbour.  A stick of bombs in Dockyard Creek damages buildings near Sheer Bastion and sinks the Vittoriosa ferry pontoon. A direct hit on Benghaisa Quarry causes the RAF Oxygen Plant to explode causing several casualties, including airmen coming off duty at a Wireless Transmitting Station and personnel of Kings Own Malta Regiment .

Heavy and Light Ack Ack Bofors engage the enemy, damaging one JU 88 bomber.

1748-1752 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Caused by friendly aircraft.

1821-1840 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Three JU 88s cross the coast and dropped bombs across Marsaxlokk Bay, Kalafrana and Hal Far.  Searchlights illuminate all three enemy aircraft: Heavy Ack Ack fires one barrage.  Bofors and searchlight light machine guns engage low flying aircraft in Kalafrana area.

2045-0415 hrs  Air raid alarm.  20 enemy aircraft carry out intruder tactics and patrolling south of Island.  A continual stream of attacks hit the Hal Far area, with bombs on the aerodrome and Birzebbuga.  Searchlights make one illumination and Heavy Ack Ack fires five immediate barrages.

Military casualties  Sergeant Hugh Campbell, Gunners Rowland Boyington and Herbert Gaskin, 32nd LAA Regiment, Royal Artillery; AC 1 Joseph Pirotta, Royal Air Force.

Civilian casualties  Marsascala  Lawrence Cachia, age 24.  Sannat, Gozo  Joseph Muscat, age 35.

Enemy casualties  Oberleutnant George Lust, pilot of JU 88 bomber.


HAL FAR  Night 29/30th  Four Albacores 828 Squadron despatched on a minelaying operation outside Zuara harbour.  Opposition four light Ack Ack guns fairly accurate.  All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF 6 patrol.  Photo-Reconnaissance (PR)  one Maryland PR Palermo; one Maryland PR Tripoli, Psida, Zuara.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 14 patrol – P/O Wyatt failed to return; one Blenheim attacked Tripoli-Zuara road; two Blenheims attacked Homs-Tripoli road.  104 Squadron  Four Wellingtons attacked buildings Misrata.  107 Squadron One Blenheim SF 14 patrol; two Blenheims attacked motor transport Zuara-Psida; one Blenheim attacked Tripoli-Zuara road.  40 Squadron  Three Wellingtons attacked buildings in Misrata.

TA QALI  0950-1750 hrs  Six alerts; two scrambles.  Two JU88s destroyed, one probable and one damaged.  Three damaged by anti-aircraft.  No night fighters airborne.

2nd BATTALION THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT 1640-1740 hrs  About 25 to 30 small craters 200 yards from Marnisi (E Company) caused by High Explosives.  No damage or casualties.  One heavy bomb was dropped near slipway at Marsaxlokk.  1821-1840 hrs  Bombs dropped near Tank Bridge on road to Post R29 (C Company).  More bombs dropped near L37 and RAF emergency hospital, and on R Post Road.  2045-0415 hrs  Bombs near R33 and HF7 (D Company), Windsock Area (C Company) and off pier at Kalafrana near CI (B Company).  No casualties.  Some bombs also fell near Birzebuggia Church (B Company).

(1) From “A Flyer’s Diary”, Joe White, WWII (Air Shared Magazine)

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Posted by on December 30, 2016 in 1941, December 1941


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21 December 1941: 87 Enemy Sorties Against Malta in 24 Hours

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Italian Macchi Aircraft

The enemy launched 87 air sorties against Malta today,  including three daylight bombing raids.  Italian aircraft were seen in formation alongside Luftwaffe fighters and bombers in an audacious mid-day attack on Grand Harbour and other targets along the north coast of the Island.  On a day when the Catholic Maltese attend Mass, the many casualties include three civilians dead and twenty-five injured.


0855-0957 hrs  Air raid alarm for one JU 88 escorted by 17 fighters which crossed the coast and dropped one bomb on the cookhouse of a searchlight position at Corrodino; no casualties.  Hurricanes engaged the raiders without results.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack guns also engaged, claiming two hits on a JU 88.

Tigne Barracks (NWMA Malta)

1123-1210 hrs  Air raid alarm for 30 enemy aircraft composed of five JU 88s, ME 109s and Macchi fighters which crossed the Island and dropped bombs on the Dockyard, Corrodino and Senglea areas, also near Mellieha searchlight position.  B Block, Tigne Barracks was hit, killing three Army personnel.  Civilian property sustained slight damage: three civilians were killed and 25 injured.

A number of anti-personnel grenades were dropped in the Manoel area.  Hurricanes engaged enemy aircraft: one Macchi was destroyed, one probably destroyed, one ME 109 damaged.  Two Hurricanes were lost, the pilot of one is safe.  Ack Ack engaged; no claims.

1305-1315 hrs  Air raid alarm for a reconnaissance raid by three enemy aircraft.

1512-1548 hrs  Air raid alarm.  27 enemy aircraft in several formations approached the Grand Harbour and Gozo areas.  Ack Ack engaged; no claims.

1706-1732 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft thought to be on reconnaissance dropped one bomb in the sea off Grand Harbour.

2040-0630 hrs  Four alerts were sounded for eight enemy aircraft, five of which crossed the coast.  Bombs and incendiaries were dropped on the Ta Qali, Rabat, Imtarfa areas, and in the sea.  Mines are reported to have been dropped six miles south east of Dingli, four miles south of Kalafrana and south of Filfla.  Ack Ack engaged during one alert; no claims.

Military casualties  Gunners Frank Anthony, Frank Coupe and William James, all 4th Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery; Flight Sergeant Brian Hayes, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 185 Squadron.

Civilian casualties  Hamrun Carmel Cassar, age 8; Cospicua Saviour Cutajar, age 25; Zabbar Joseph Galea, age 20 and Anthony Psaila, age 16. 


ROYAL NAVY  Olympus arrived with petrol and stores from Gibraltar.

AIR HQ  Arrivals 13 Beaufighters from Gibraltar.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland search for merchant vessel off C Pappos; one Maryland SF 6 patrol.  Photo-reconnaissance (PR) Unit 2  One Maryland Tauorga-Buerat; one PR Tripoli & Castel Benito; one PR Comiso, Gerbini.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 1 patrol; three Blenheims shipping search in Gulf of Sirte.  107 Squadron Three Blenheims and 104 Squadron nine Wellingtons despatched to attack Castel Benito aerodrome.  Four aircraft attacked Tripoli.  40 Squadron  Three Wellingtons attacked Castel Benito aerodrome.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  High explosive bombs dropped in various parts of area (especially in Dockyard area, Marsa, Luqa) during daylight attacks of considerable duration.  No military damage or casualties.

2nd BATTALION THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  One Hurricane crashed near Ghar Dalam (A Company HQ).  Pilot baled out uninjured was conveyed to Luqa by Captain M Holdsworth.

3rd BATTALION KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  E Company reports three bombs 400 yards east towards No 1 Dock.  One on St Clements Bastion.  A Company reports trouble with water mains.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 2 (containers of incendiaries).


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Posted by on December 21, 2016 in 1941, December 1941


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30 September 1941: Submarines Sink 49 Axis Ships in 3 Months

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RAF raid on German ammunition dump in Libyan desert August 1941

RAF raid on German ammunition dump in Libyan desert August 1941


Between June and the end of September, submarines have sunk a total of 49 enemy ships – an overall 150,000 tons – in the Mediterranean. Added to the losses inflicted by the RAF this represented a high proportion of Axis shipping bound for Libya.

12 patrols were carried out during the month by submarines of 10th Flotilla.  In addition, Triumph proceeded to a successful patrol in the Adriatic, Perseus to an area off Kefalonia, and Otus and Osiris direct to Alexandria.

Unbeaten carried out a spirited bombardment of a tunnel which caused consternation to the local home guard, and Upright sank a destroyer of the Generale class.  The most successful operation was against a fast convoy east of Tripoli, during which Upholder scored one hit on each of Oceania and Neptunia in a night attack and after reloading returned to sink one of them with two torpedoes at dawn.  The other ship’s fate is unknown.  The Vulcania of the same convoy was intercepted by Ursula which scored one hit on the ship causing it to list slightly and reduce speed.

No bombs were reported as having fallen on the Dockyard or other Naval establishments. No unexploded bombs were dealt with by the Royal Navy during the month. 


During the month sweeps over enemy territory by Malta fighters, some equipped to carry 40lb bombs, were added to the strategy.

Marylands and photoreconnaissance Hurricanes of 69 Squadron have covered the Italian convoy routes daily as well as making frequent reconnaissances of Sicilian and southern Calabrian ports and aerodromes, and of Tripoli. Naples has also been visited.  The excellent photographs, visual and sighting reports obtained have indirectly been responsible for the increased pressure of offensive effort from Malta during the month.

Offensive Operations:  Wellingtons of 38 Squadron carried out 26 operations during September, with an average of eight aircraft on each sortie. Over 233 tons of bombs have been dropped on Tripoli during 17 raids, causing considerable damage to harbour installations and the town. Palermo has been attacked five times, Messina twice, Benhazi and Kuriat once each.

Blenheims of 105 and 107 Squadrons carried out 31 operations, 20 of these directed against enemy shipping. Considerable damage was done to the chemical works and harbour installations at Crotone, factories at Licata, transport centres at Homs, barracks at Misurata and a power station at Porto Empedocle.  Five sweeps have been made along the Tripoli-Benghazi road during which petrol tankers and other transport vehicles have been bombed and machine-gunned.

Hurricanes (equipped with cannon) of 249 Squadron attacked the railway station at Pozallo, while those of 185 Squadron have carried out three bombing raids on Comiso aerodrome. On one of these raids a Hurricane was lost but the pilot was subsequently rescued. 

Swordfish of 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm carried out 16 operations, 13 of these against enemy shipping, and have sunk two motor vessels and one destroyer, as well as damaging others. Mines have been laid on two occasions in Tripoli Harbour and once at Palermo.  As a result of torpedo attacks two merchant ships are claimed sunk, one destroyer and three merchantmen probably sunk, seven damaged and a further five probably damaged. 

Beaufighters of 272 Squadron were attached to this command during ‘Operation Halberd’ and were used to attack Sardinian and Sicilian aerodromes. Searches were also made south of Sicily for torpedo boats.

On 14 nights Fulmars have operated over aerodromes in southern Sicily, dropping small bombs and machine-gunning aircraft on the ground. One Fulmar force-landed in the sea; the crew were rescued.

Defensive Action: 126 Squadron carried out 31 scrambles during the month, 249 Squadron 22 and 185 Squadron 66. The Malta Night Fighter Unit had 22 scrambles and shot down two enemy aircraft.  Eleven enemy aircraft were confirmed destroyed, plus one probable and five damaged, against the loss of two Hurricanes.

Enemy Activity: There have been nine day alerts and 20 night alerts during the month. None of these raids was heavy and bombs have only been dropped at night.  Damage has been negligible and confined to civilian property. 


Malta fighters were attacked tonight by five enemy aircraft as they helped search for one of their own Hurricane pilots reported missing after a raid. Eleven Hurricanes of 185 Squadron had earlier attacked Comiso aerodrome but as they returned to their base at Hal Far they learned that one of their pilots, P/O Donald Lintern, was missing.  Five Hurricanes took off again to escort a Fulmar which was sent to search for the missing pilot.  As they circled the area to the north of Gozo, enemy aircraft approached and attacked the Malta fighters.  In the ensuing dogfight one of the enemy fighters was shot down.  P/O Lintern was not been found and the search was eventually called off.


Weather  Fine and fresh.

No air raids.

Military casualties  Sergeant Robert L Kitch, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), 200 Squadron; Pilot Officer Donald W Lintern, RAFVR, 185 Squadron.


AIR HQ Arrivals 4 Wellington. Departures 6 Beaufighter, 4 Blenheim fighter. Fleet Air Arm One Fulmar on offensive patrol over Gerbini and Catania aerodromes dropped high explosive bombs on Gerbini dispersal area. 38 Squadron 9 Wellingtons attacked a motor transport depot in Tripoli. 69 Squadron Photoreconnaissance eastern and southern Sicily, east Calabrian coast and Tripoli.  Patrol of east Sicilian coast and shipping search off Tripoli area. 107 Squadron 4 Blenheims attacked shipping and motor transport near Misurata and Beurat.  1 Blenheim attacked a schooner.  1 Blenheim on search for shipping north of Crotone. 

HAL FAR  185 Squadron 11 Hurricanes attacked Comiso aerodrome, 5 carrying bombs and 6 acting as fighter escort. High explosive bombs and incendiaries were dropped on buildings and a dispersal area.  The aircraft of P/O Lintern failed to return. 

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Mobile machine-gun company carried out an exercise to the north west of Rabat.

2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Strengths 33 officers, 870 other ranks.

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Strengths 21 officers, 443 other ranks.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Strengths 18 officers, 708 other ranks. Recruits joined in September: 77.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strengths 18 officers, 8 WO1, 214 other ranks.


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Posted by on September 30, 2016 in 1941, September 1941


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16 September 1941: Malta Swordfish Lost on Clandestine Mission

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Swordfish missing after raid

Swordfish missing after raid


A Malta-based Swordfish aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm is believed to have crashed today while undertaking a secret mission to North Africa. Pilot Lt C B Lamb, with S/Lt J E Robertson took off in the early hours of this morning.  Their passenger is believed to have been a secret agent who they were to land in the Vichy French territory of Tunisia.  A message has been received to indicate that they survived the crash but it is believed they are currently being held for interrogation.

Lt Lamb previously served as a Swordfish pilot aboard HMS Illustrious. He was among the first wave of aircraft when the successful attack was launched on the Italian fleet at Taranto in November 1940.


Posthumous military awards were announced today for two Malta airmen who were killed as a result of their aircraft crashing on return from a mission over Sicily on 10 August.

London Gazette, 16 September 1941: The King has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

Distinguished Flying Medal: Sergeant Campbell Clark, 69 Squadron (deceased), Sergeant Richard Saxby Mutimer, 69 Squadron (deceased)

Sergeants Clark and Mutimer have displayed a high standard of ability throughout the 40 operational missions in which they have participated as wireless operator-air gunner and air observer respectively. Sergeant Clark showed great keenness to engage the enemy, using his guns with damaging effect, while Sergeant Mutimer always willingly co-operated with his pilot when the opportunity for offensive action occurred. They have damaged or destroyed three Italian flying boats and, in one machine gun attack on an enemy aerodrome, destroyed one enemy aircraft and damaged several.


Weather  Cool and overcast.

No air raids.

Military casualties  Aircraftsman James Bond, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.


ROYAL NAVY  Ursula, Unbeaten, Upholder and Upright proceeded for interception of a fast convoy to east of Tripoli. Triumph sailed for special service and patrol in the Adriatic.

AIR HQ  Arrivals 1 Sunderland. 38 Squadron 7 Wellingtons attacked Tripoli. 69 Squadron Photoreconnaissance Crotone, Augusta, Catania and Syracuse. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 7 Swordfish laid 6 mines in the entrance to Tripoli harbour.

2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Main body of the Battalion moved to Gozo for a month’s training and left a small rear party in Malta. Battalion headquarters in the Citadel, Rabat; A Company at Xewkija, B Company at Nadur, C Company at Gharb, D Company at Rabat, E Company at Xghajra.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 2 (2kg incendiary)

1st Bn HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  D Company and B Company take over Hal Far from 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Battalion left Gozo and returned to Malta aboard Royal Lady. A and E Companies went to Ta Qali with two mortar detachments and one section of carriers.  Bn HQ Signals and Carriers at Ta Saliba, 2 Platoon valley posts, C Coy St Paul’s Bay, B Coy Victoria Lines, D Coy Strickland House, HQ Coy less detached details Ghain Tuffieha Camp. 


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Posted by on September 16, 2016 in 1941, September 1941


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