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Tag Archives: 40 Squadron

6 December 1941: Night Bombing Over Malta

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LAST BATTLE FOR P/O HUTT

The fate of Pilot Officer D F Hutt of 40 Squadron, reported missing after last night’s attack on Naples, is explained by a returning Regia Aeronautica pilot:  

“During the night between 5th and 6th December 1941 twenty Wellingtons from 40 and 104 Squadrons attacked the Royal Arsenal at Naples. Maresciallo Patriarca from 356a Squadriglia, 21o Gruppo took off from Capodichino airfield to intercept the incoming bombers. At 21:35 he spotted Wellington R1066 of 40 Squadron, flown by Pilot Officer D F Hutt, and engaged it in a long fight, firing 408 rounds of 12.7 mm ammunition before he finally shot it down.  Two members of the Wellington crew baled out near the port, Hutt included, but four others were killed.  Patriarca landed at Capua almost out of fuel, and with the tail of his fighter damaged by return fire.” (1)

German Junkers JU 88

German Junkers JU 88

AIR RAIDS DAWN 6 DECEMBER TO DAWN 7 DECEMBER 1941

2308-0659 hrs 18-20 enemy aircraft approached the Island singly from east and south as intruder raids over aerodromes.  Bombs dropped on edge of Luqa, near Ta Qali, and Naxxar.  Bofors engaged low flying aircraft at approx 2,000 feet.  Heavy Ack Ack engaged illuminated targets by height control.  Searchlight operators identified two JU88s – Luftwaffe.

The RE Bomb Disposal Officer is called to Luqa on another high priority mission to defuze three unexploded bombs hampering air operations.  They are German.

2056 hrs  Air raid alarm.  14 enemy aircraft crossed coast, two only dropping bombs, one stick of six north of Rabat and others in sea.  The raids were of two kinds: (a) nuisance raids and (b) intruder raids – enemy aircraft following in our returning bombers.  Heavy Ack Ack barraged on one occasion only.  Searchlight operators identified two JU88s.

Military casualties  Gunner Thomas Hines, 26th Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 6 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Five Albacores attacked Castel Benito aerodrome with bombs and incendiaries.

AIR HQ  Arrivals 12 Wellingtons, 1 Whitley, 1 Cathay and 1 Halifax from Gibraltar; 2 Marylands from 201 Group.  Departures  Four Beaufighters for 108 MU.

LUQA  S/D Flight: one Wellington special shipping search.  69 Squadron Photo-reconnaissance over Catania and Gela, another over Tripoli and Castel Benito.   One Maryland SF 6 patrol; three Marylands special search, including one in Kefalonia area, a second in Zante area.  18 Squadron: one Blenheim SF 11 patrol.  Six Blenheims attacked barracks at Homs.  107 Squadron: one Blenheim SF 11 patrol.  40 Squadron: ten Wellingtons attacked Royal Arsenal at Naples.  

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 6; dealt with 3 (German 50kg). 

(1) Biplane Fighter Aces From the Second World War by Hakan Gustavsson.  Read more at http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se

 

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Posted by on December 6, 2021 in 1941, December 1941, Uncategorized

 

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5 December 1941: All Night Raids – Aircraft Believed German

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Breconshire

Breconshire

EYE-WITNESSES DESCRIBE LUFTWAFFE AIRCRAFT; UNEXPLODED BOMB IS GERMAN 50KG

German aircraft are believed to have been responsible for attacks on Malta overnight.  Air raids started at ten in the evening and the final all clear did not sound until 0530 hrs this morning.  20 minutes later another raid started, lasting for over an hour.  Reports have been coming in of bombs dropped on Luqa and Hal Far airfields.  Rumours are spreading that the attackers were not Italian, but German. 

First thing in the morning, the Bomb Disposal Officer is handed a Priority report of an unexploded bomb near an artillery battery at Targa Gap.  He heads straight for the location, up on the Victoria Lines.  The bomb is a 50kg: it is German. 

REINFORCEMENT REQUEST REFUSED

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

Regret NO increase in personnel can be allowed except by corresponding decrease elsewhere.  If you are prepared to do this cable details.

A DASH FOR OIL

The recent increase in Royal Navy forces operating from Malta has left the Island short of fuel.  As soon as darkness fell, the fast transport ship Breconshire sailed from Grand Harbour with an escort, to make a run for Alexandria to collect supplies.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 DECEMBER TO DAWN 6 DECEMBER 1941

2145-2229 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft dropped bombs in sea.

2201-0533 hours  Air raid alarm.  Bombs dropped Luqa, Hal Far, Ta Qali and other areas.

0550-0652 hrs  Air raid alarm.

Civilian casualties  Zurrieq  Anthony Farrugia, age 49; Zabbar  Clementa Pullicino, age 48.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 5 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Eddy detonated a “Red” mine in position 045 degrees St. Elmo 3/4′.  Breconshire, escorted by Kingston and Kimberley, sailed for Alexandria at 1700.  Ajax, Neptune and Lively sailed on operations at 2000.

Beaufighter

AIR HQ  From Gibraltar: 18 Blenheims, 7 Beaufighters, 3 Beauforts.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF1 patrol.  One Maryland SF 9 patrol; one Maryland SF 6 patrol.  18 Squadron  Two Blenheims SF 2B patrol.  Photo-reconnaissance Unit 2 on recce Comiso and Gela.  One Maryland on photo-reconnaissance Augusta and Crotone.  One Maryland photo-reconnaissance Lybian aerodromes.107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 11 patrol.

Two Beaufighters BF/Flight patrol over Pantelleria for protection of aircraft arriving from Gibraltar.  One Wellington S/D Flight special shipping search.  Ten Wellingtons 40 Squadron and ten Wellingtons 104 Squadron attacked Royal Arsenal at Naples. P/O Hutt [40 Squadron] failed to return.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; dealt with 1 (50kg high explosive).

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Posted by on December 5, 2021 in 1941, December 1941, Uncategorized

 

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28 November 1941: Luqa Leads the Attack

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AIR AND SEA HUNT FOR AXIS SHIPPING

69 Squadron are on the trail of the enemy.  At 0645 hrs this morning one Maryland takes off from Luqa, followed by a second five minutes later.  Their task is to search for shipping: the hunt is on again for Axis convoys attempting to supply Rommel’s North Africa campaign. 

RAF Maryland aircraft 1941

Within minutes, a third of their Maryland pilots takes to the air on SF 9B patrol.  His return at 1116 hrs triggers the air raid alarm, but spotters recognise the friendly aircraft before the Island’s gunners open fire.  In the afternoon, while Force “K” sails from Grand Harbour, another two Marylands are airborne; one to take over the SF 9B patrol and a second to cover SF 6.  They return to base soon after dark. 

Also on patrol are two Blenheims of 107 Squadron, operating in SF 2B, and one Wellington S/D Flight, also engaged in a shipping search. 

Meanwhile Luqa’s bombers are on the attack.  Six Blenheims, four from 18 Squadron and two from 107 Squadron, attack a tanker in the bay of Navarino.  Eleven Wellingtons from 40 Squadron launch a heavy raid on Benghazi.

TOTAL WAR

The Commanding Officer of 8th Battalion, the Manchester Regiment addresses his Officers, Warrant Officers and Sergeants.  He reminds them in no uncertain terms that the Battalion is engaged in a total war, pointing out the grave responsibilities which they all carry.  He orders all Officers and NCOs to ensure the men are ready, and fully trained in the correct techniques for seeking out the enemy, employing their weapons, and the use of covering fire. 

HARBOUR BOOM

There have been few enemy raids on Malta, and even fewer bombs dropped, in recent weeks  but the night rest of civilians is still being disturbed by explosions.

“We have a new horror…depth charges are let go in Sliema Harbour immediately below our drawing room window. At first it was very secret, but now we know in part. They are only small charges, 6 lbs I am told; but they shake the Cathedral to its foundations, the glasses rattle, and pieces of plaster fall down from the walls and ceilings.

These big detonations go on from nightfall almost every night, and continue at intervals of perhaps 15 or 20 minutes till dawn. We have not fathomed the exact reasons. Obviously they are a defence against attack by E-boats – but why have they only lately been in operation? Today we were given a possible explanation. It was said that at the Harbour attack [in July 1941 – see article, R], the boom was damaged, and also the listening apparatus; the latter may not yet have been replaced, perhaps owing to lack of parts. These depth charges may be a substitute.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 28 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 29 NOVEMBER 1941

1116 hrs  Air raid alarm; caused by return of Maryland.

1844-1858 hrs  Air raid.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 28 NOVEMBER 1941

AIR HQ  Six Beaufighters and one Sunderland arrive from Gibraltar.

(1)  Extract from diary of Rev Reginald M Nicholls, Chancellor of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta.  Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

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Posted by on November 28, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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27 November 1941: A Letter from Home

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HMS Utmost

HMS Utmost

A LETTER FROM HOME

After a day of intensive activity at Luqa, Corporal Jack Turner can at last have a few minutes to himself.  After weeks of waiting, he has received a letter from his home on the Isle of Man.  Ever conscious of security and the censor, Jack’s father knows he cannot tell or ask his son about the war. Still, contact with loved ones and simple reassurance that all is well are precious to those separated by thousands of miles.  

Stamped: airgraph service not available to Malta, forwarded by Air Mail: Upton, Nov 4th 1941

Dear Jack

I received your letter this morning, and am glad to know you are safe and well.  Your telegram arrived last Monday week and I replied by wire last Wednesday.  Pleased to know you had a good trip out, it must have been an exciting time.  Have written to [Mrs K] and sent the money for the Insurance and will forward it to her every 4 weeks.  I will also write and give her your message.  Will be writing to Betty in a day or two when I will forward your letter on to her.  We are all well at home and each of us send our love to you.  The weather has been on the cold side, but of course we can expect that now.  There is no fresh news to tell you, only let me have a letter when you can.  Cheerio and all the best.

Love Father. (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 27 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 28 NOVEMBER 1941

0049-0129 hrs  Air raid alert.  Two enemy aircraft came in from north and crossed the coast between Grand Harbour and Madalena.  Ack Ack barraged on three occasions claiming one enemy aircraft destroyed. 

1106-1125 hrs  Air raid alert.  Recce raid by two enemy fighter aircraft.  Heavy Ack Ack barraged at 24,000 feet.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 27 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Utmost returned from patrol off Del Armi, having sunk Trieste (2)Sokol returned from patrol of Navarino having got two hits on a convoy after they left harbour.  Five Albacores attacked Castel Benito aerodrome.

HAL FAR  Night 27/28th Nov Five Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack Castel Benito aerodrome. Two small fires were started – one on the eastern side and one on the western side of the aerodrome.  Weather 8/10 to 10/10 cloud over target.  All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  18 Squadron  Four Blenheims attacked walled enclosure 11000 yards east south east of Mellaha aerodrome. Two Blenheims on SF11 patrol.  One Blenheim search for merchant vessels.  107 Squadron  Five Blenheims despatched to attack merchant vessels in Argostoli Harbour. Did not find target.  One Wellington S/D Flight on special shipping search.  Twelve Wellingtons 40 Squadron and nine Wellingtons 104 Squadron attacked Royal Arsenal at Naples.  

 (1)  With thanks to Ivor Ramsden of the MANX AVIATION AND MILITARY MUSEUM – a collection of militaria, civil and wartime aviation dedicated to the memory of those from the Isle of Man who served in a military capacity on the Island or overseas. 

(2) HM Submarine Utmost severely damaged Trieste, but did not sink her.  The hit on Trieste and a light cruiser by an a/c torpedo did cause the Italian navy to return the supply convoy to Italy.

 

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Posted by on November 27, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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25 November 1941: Malta attacks target Rommel’s Supply Lines

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HMS BARHAM SUNK IN SEA BATTLE OVER AXIS CONVOY

Following attacks yesterday on Benghazi and the approaches to Sirte, ten more aircraft from Luqa flew south today to continue the offensive against the Afrika Korps in Libya.  Five Blenheims attacked motor transport on the road west of Misrata and five more struck another road convoy between Homs and Misrata, in an effort to cut supply lines to Rommel’s troops.  

HMS Barham

Meanwhile, another Axis convoy was spotted steaming towards Benghazi.  With Force “K” already engaged in the pursuit of the first, Force “B”, consisting of five cruisers and four destroyers, was despatched to tackle the second.  Admiral Cunningham took to sea in the flagship Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Barham and Valiant as well as eight destroyers. The fleet took up a strategic position, standing by to support the attacking Forces.   

HMS Barham magazines explode

At 1630 hours a violent shudder rocked the flagship.  Barham had been hit by torpedoes from a U-boat which managed to creep through the destroyer barrier undetected.  As the seconds ticked by, she keeled over.  A massive explosion ripped the ship apart and she disappeared beneath the waves.  Despite frantic rescue attempts which saved some, 841 men were lost.   

GOVERNOR DOBBIE REPORTS ON THE STATE OF THINGS IN MALTA

From Governor (Lt Gen Sir W Dobbie)         To: Secretary of State for the Colonies

(1) There were two air raids by day and twenty by night during the period 1st to 20th November.  Seven people were killed (six men and one woman) and four injured (two men and two women). Fifty-nine buildings were demolished or badly damaged. (2) Registration of labour for compulsory labour service has started. (3) It became necessary to effect economies on kerosene, and the winter ration, which is higher than the summer ration, has been reduced in the case of those who have electricity in their houses. A reduction had already been made for those who have gas.  In order to lessen the inconvenience caused by general tightness over control of kerosene, it has been decided to revert to summer time, and this was done on 2nd November.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 25 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 26 NOVEMBER 1941

1647 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

Military casualties  Sergeant Marc Chabot, Royal Canadian Air Force; Sergeant Denis Kelly, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR); Flight Sergeant Granville Stephens, RAFVR; Sergeant Harold Whitaker, RAFVR, all 40 Squadron.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 25 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Force “K” arrived, having sunk two tankers (CAT). Force “K” sailed again at 1800.

AIR HQ  Six Beaufighters heading in from Gibraltar. One is missing.

LUQA  One Wellington S/D Flight shipping search (bad weather). One Blenheim 18 Squadron and one Blenheim 107 Squadron SF10 patrol. One Blenheim SF11 patrol. Five Blenheims 18 Squadron attacked MT on road west of Misurata. Five Blenheims 107 Squadron attacked MT on road between Homs and Misurata. One Wellington S/D flight shipping search (very bad weather).

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1.

 

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Posted by on November 25, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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24 November 1941: Invasion Force Heads for Malta

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KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT TRAIN TO REPEL INVADERS

The Kings Own Malta Regiment are carrying out manoeuvres today as part of Command Exercise “Victoria”.

1345 hrs  An urgent ‘message’ is received from Headquarters. Malta is now on real red alert, action “ASIA”.  Fifteen enemy warships have been reported 40 miles west of Gozo, on course for Malta.  All officers and men are recalled from leave, and all the Island’s defences are fully manned.  The Regiment is now at war stations. 

1615 hrs  The order comes to earmark men for loading arms.  Sixteen Other Ranks from 3rd Battalion are deployed at Ta Kandia and ten at St Edwards College, plus others at Pawla ordered to provide loaders as above. One platoon from Pawla is ordered to report to HQ.  

1647 hrs  Italian aircraft attack Malta.  Ten minutes later nine Hurricanes sent to investigate the possible convoy return to base, having been unable to locate the warships.  Despite the lack of a confirmed sighting, the Island’s defenders remain at the ready well into the evening.

2100 hrs A report is received from a RAF speed launch engaged on rescue operations that it has sighted ten small craft, identified “E” boats [German motor torpedo boat] about five miles north east of Delimara, on bearing 040.  All headquarters are informed.  Recce aircraft are sent out but nothing further was seen of the craft.

2127 hrs  The alert level is reduced and the Regiment is ordered to stand to. 

2319 hrs  The beach defences are finally stood down.  The Island will remain in a state of readiness for another twelve hours.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 25 NOVEMBER 1941

No air raids.

Military casualties  Flight Sergeant Harold Batchelor, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), 69 Squadron; AC1 Thomas McCann, BEM, Royal Air Force, Sergeant David McKell, Royal Australian Air Force; Sergeant John Hutt, RAFVR, 69 Squadron.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 24 NOVEMBER 1941

LUQA  One Blenheim 18 Squadron and one Blenheim 107 Squadron SF11 patrol.  18 Squadron  Five Blenheims search for M/V (merchant vessel). No sightings made. 107 Squadron  Six Blenheims attacked MT on roads east and west of Sirte. Eight Wellingtons 104 Squadron and six Wellingtons 40 Squadron attacked Bengazi. Sgt Parker failed to return.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 5 (Thermos).

 

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Posted by on November 24, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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22 November 1941: Suspect Bomb Halts Governor’s Visit

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SUSPECT BOMB HALTS GOVERNOR’S SCHOOL VISIT

At 0730 hours St Aloysius College, Birkirkara Ing. Maurice Mifsud Bonnici lines up with his classmates ready for morning mass:

“In church a rumour continued to be passed around that a bomb fell in the college ground near the entrance of the shelter.  There were boys who like me said that they had seen it.  The news got round like forest fire and when the boys got out of church, they darted towards the spot.

By Jove there was the bomb!  There on a heap of rubble by the shelter entrance.  At a safe distance the boys could see a green cylindrical object, long about two spans, with a coiled wire placed along it.  It looked ominous and nobody dared to approach it further as children were repeatedly warned by their parents and the authorities against these strange objects that exploded when touched.

The bell rang and all the boys proceeded, in an orderly manner, to their respective classes.  After a short time a policeman appeared on the scene and mounted guard on this dangerous object.  In those dismal days, half of the college building was converted into an emergency hospital accommodating some 400 beds.  By mere coincidence the Governor, Sir William Dobbie decided to pay an unofficial visit to that hospital on the very day of the incident. The Rector, Fr Joseph Delia s.j. thought it fit to inform His Excellency about the bomb…

The Officer in charge of the Unit lifted the object and discovered that the contraption was nothing more than two empty tins of meat and vegetables preserve, joined together at their open ends, painted green with the Fascist Symbol, serial number and date,”gennaio…” in silver paint on one end and a coiled wire placed along its length terminating on a radio single-pin plug fixed to the other end, making the contraption look veritably ominous.  It was a fake anti-personnel bomb which I contrived solely with the boyish hope that we would be given a day off from school while the ‘danger’ lasted!”  (1)

ROYAL ENGINEERS BOMB DISPOSAL SECTION WEEKLY REPORT SATURDAY 22 NOVEMBER 1941

Total unexploded bombs (UXB) dealt with: 101

  • 70kg incendiary: San Pawl Tat Targa 1.
  • 43lb incendiary: Ras il Dawwara 1; Tal Handaq 2.
  • Thermos: Birkirkara 21; Floriana 2; Madalena 4.
  • 2kg incendiary: Island Bay 1; Mosta 66; Qormi 1; Zeitun 2.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 23 NOVEMBER 1941

0408 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Three unidentified bombers approached Island, only one crossing coast, dropping bombs (incendiary) near Ta Qali, causing no damage at aerodrome.  High Explosive bombs dropped near Dingli.

Fiat BR20 “Cigogna” (stork)

0625 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One SM79 and one BR20 [Italian bombers] crossed coast Mellieha Bay, passed over Island, travelled down west coast and re-crossed Island Dingli area.  Searchlights illuminated enemy aircraft near Grand Harbour for period of 2¼ minutes.  Heavy Ack Ack fired two barrages.

0950 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One recce aircraft approached Island.  No engagement.

1553 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Twenty Macchi’s approached from north but did not cross coast.  Hurricanes engaged eight miles north east of Gozo, with results as follows:- two Macchi’s destroyed, three probably destroyed, five damaged.  One Hurricane sustained very slight damage.

Savoia-Marchetti SM79 “Sparviero” (sparrowhawk)

1943 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft crossed coast Delimara.  Bombs on land near Ta Silch and in sea.

2048 hrs Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached from north, passed over Gozo and receded north.

2211 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 22 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Operation “Landmark” completed. Convoy and Force “K” arrived in harbour at 0700.  Six Albacores attacked Tripoli, two with bombs and four with mines.  The mines were dropped along the coast west of Tripoli, as aircraft failed to locate correct target.

HAL FAR  Night Four Swordfish 830 Squadron and four Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack convoy off Cape Spartivento.  One cruiser definitely hit and one merchant vessel of 7000 tons probably hit.  Other results not observed owing to bad visibility and strong opposition.  One Swordfish failed to return (crew: Pilot Lt O’Brien and observer S/Lt Griffith).

LUQA  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF11 patrol. 18 Squadron  Four Blenheims despatched to attack two M/Vs (merchant vessels) Gulf of Argostoli.  40 Squadron  Six Wellingtons attacked Berka satellite ‘drome near Benghazi.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 6; dealt with 3 (2 x Thermos; 1 x 2kg incendiary).

(1) Ing. Maurice Mifsud Bonnici, Naxxar, Malta 2007: extract from UXB Malta, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on November 22, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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19 November 1941: Malta Attack A Costly Enterprise

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MANXMAN IS MISSING

Six Blenheims from 18 Squadron based at Luqa have carried out a bold attack on an Italian convoy attempting to run supplies to Tripoli.  This time Malta’s losses were heavy:   Flight Sergeant Chester Newsome and Sergeant Harold Macaulay of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Sergeant Roland Walker, Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve, all flying with 18 Squadron were shot down. 

Sergeant Harold Hanson from the Isle of Man has been reported missing, along with Sergeant John Woolman and Sergeant William Buck.  All three were members of the Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve flying with 18 Squadron RAF. (1)  An immediate search mission from 18 Squadron has been sent out to look for the missing pilots.

Mosta

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 20 NOVEMBER 1941

0229 hrs One enemy aircraft approached Island from north.  Incendiaries dropped near Mosta at 0245 hrs.  No alarm sounded for this raid.

0545-0646 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Eight enemy aircraft plotted from Sicily, only three crossing coast.  Bombs dropped on land near Anchor Bay and TKM searchlights.  No casualties.

1147-1213 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi’s.

1902-2007 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Five enemy aircraft crossed coast, two of which were barraged twice by Ack Ack.  One aircraft illuminated by searchlights for 6½ minutes.  Small High Explosives and incendiaries dropped Madalena and Naxxar area.

2132-2148 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached from south west of Island.  Barraged by Ack Ack three times.  Bombs in sea and near Attard.

2203-2230 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached Island from west.  Small High Explosives and incendiaries near Rabat.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 19 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Osiris arrived having hit a ship off Candia.  Force “K” returned to harbour at 0700 hrs.

LUQA  One Blenheim 18 Squadron (Sgt Davies) and one Blenheim 107 Squadron SF11 Patrol.  18 Squadron  Six Blenheims attacked convoy. 40 Squadron  One Wellington attacked Messina.  Four Wellingtons attacked Tripoli.  Four Wellingtons attacked Brindisi. 104 Squadron  Five Wellingtons nuisance raid Naples. Three Wellingtons attacked Benghazi. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 4; dealt with 2 (2kg incendiary).

(1)  Thanks to Ivor Ramsden of the MANX AVIATION AND MILITARY MUSEUM for information about Sgt Harold Leslie Hanson, RAFVR, formerly of Peel.  The museum is a collection of militaria, civil and wartime aviation dedicated to the memory of those from the Isle of Man who served in a military capacity on the Island or overseas. 

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Posted by on November 19, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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18 November 1941: Kesselring Takes Command

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LUFTWAFFE MISSION TO ENSURE PROTECTION OF AXIS CONVOYS

Hitler has appointed Air Field Marshal Albert Kesselring as Luftwaffe Commander in Chief South.  His mission: to strengthen Axis air forces in the Mediterranean and ensure the protection of convoys supplying the war effort in North Africa. 

Italian Supreme Command seems unable to meet its overall responsibility for keeping open the Axis supply lines through the Mediterreanean.  Since the Luftwaffe left Sicily for the Russian front at the end of May 1941, British surface and submarine craft as well as air forces have successfully disrupted the transportation of Axis troops, supplies and fuel to Africa.  Improvised means of supply have failed and the supply service is on the point of collapse.  Kesselring transfers to Italy to take command of the situation, bringing his efficient Luftflotte 2 air force.    

A major air war is about to begin over the Mediterranean.  Malta is on the front line. 

DECOY TACTICS

HMS Perseus 1941

To divert attention from Operation Crusader in Egypt launched yesterday (see 17 November 1941), a convoy is heading out from Gibraltar, on the pretext of delivering supplies to Malta.  The Island’s Force “K” sailed this afternoon from Grand Harbour in broad daylight, to create a diversion by heading westwards as though to rendezvous with the incoming vessels. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 19 NOVEMBER 1941

1100 hrs   Two Macchi’s approach the Island at great height on a reconnaissance (recce) mission.  No air raid alert is sounded.  Only one of the aircraft crosses the coast.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 18 NOVEMBER

ROYAL NAVY   Submarine Perseus returned with defective hydroplane gear. Four swordfish laid mines in vicinity of Marsala Point, Sicily.

HAL FAR  Night  Five Albacores, 828 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched to lay mines off Marsala Point.  The operation was successfully carried out and all aircraft returned to base safely.

LUQA  107 Squadron  Two Blenheims SF11 Patrol. Six Blenheims 107 Squadron and four Blenheims 18 Squadron shipping search south Ionian Sea. 40 Squadron  Four Wellingtons nuisance raid Brindisi.  Three Wellingtons nuisance raid Tripoli.  Three Wellingtons nuisance raid Naples. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1; dealt with 1(Thermos).

 

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Posted by on November 18, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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14 November 1941: Malta Supply Convoy Sunk

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BRITISH MERCHANT SHIPS LOST EN ROUTE TO MALTA

Two merchant vessels travelling in unescorted convoy through the western Mediterranean have been destroyed by enemy action.  The ships were loaded with military stores and ammunition for Malta.  In the early hours of this morning, Empire Pelican was hit by Italian torpedoes and sank between Galita Island and Tunisia.  Empire Defender is believed to have met the same fate. 

German U-boats operating in W Med

The convoy attempt was the latest in a series of clandestine missions to run supply ships along the North African coast disguised as local tramp vessels. However, with German U boats also known to be operating in the Western Mediterranean, the operation of future such convoys from the British mainland is now in doubt.

GOVERNOR CONFIRMS ORDER FOR CIVILIAN COMMODITIES

Already concerned at food shortages and their effect on the civilian population, Lt Gen Dobbie is anxious to ensure that future supplies of these and other essentials are secure. 

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

“Presume demands submitted by civil government to Crown Agents for engineer stores, foodstuffs and medical supplies required for civil population have not been cancelled under terms of 12/1.  This would upset our whole system of supply.  Please pass copy to Colonial Office.”

AIR RAIDS DAWN 14 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 15 NOVEMBER 1941

No air raids.

Military casualties  Sergeant WO/AG William Eaton, Royal Air Force, 114 Squadron

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 14 NOVEMBER 1941

LUQA  0756-1212 hrs One Blenheim 107 Squadron SF11 patrol.  0800-1311 hrs  One Blenheim 18 Squadron on shipping search.  1350-1804 hrs  One Blenheim 18 Squadron SF11 patrol.  PM  One Wellington shipping search Taranto Bay and Straits of Otranto. Two Wellingtons of 104 Squadron nuisance raid on Brindisi. Twelve Wellingtons of 40 Squadron and seven Wellingtons of 104 Squadron attacked Catania.

TA QALI  Blenheim aircraft No L7887 force landed on the aerodrome.  Pilot Sgt Bank and observer Sgt Lowcock uninjured. Sgt WO/AG William Eaton, 114 Squadron, Royal Air Force killed by enemy action.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 1 (2kg incendiary).

 

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Posted by on November 14, 2021 in 1941, November 1941

 

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