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“It has always seemed to me that I have a three hundred and fifty thousandth part of the George Cross.” Len Austin (1)
Watch British Pathe Newsreel of the presentation of the George Cross to Malta in 1942: CLICK HERE
DOCKYARD FOREMAN’S PERFECT VIEW
“One day the news arrived that Malta had been awarded the George Cross and on the [day] that the Cross was presented in the Palace Square, Saunders and I went across to Valletta which we found to be crowded. The chance of seeing very much was small. We noticed that a few people were on the Palace roof and Saunders suggested that we should endeavour to get up there.
‘Have you got your Dockyard pass?’ he asked me, and on my affirmative said, ‘Have it ready, follow me and do as I do’. Into the Palace we went, Saunders whipped out his pass and just as quickly put it away; I followed suit. The entry saluted and we mounted the stairs, only to repeat the Pass performance at the top. As a result we had a glorious bird’s eye view. Audacity had paid, and as we both were respectably dressed for a change, we got away with it…
It has always seemed to me that I have a three hundred and fifty thousandth part of the George Cross.”
AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 APRIL TO DAWN 16 APRIL 1942
Weather Wind cold, north easterly; 100% medium cloud – poor visibility. Gale force winds develop.
0631-0654 hrs Two Messerschmitts carry out a patrol to the south of the Island.
0710-0750 hrs Three ME 109s carry out a patrol to the north of Grand Harbour.
1020-1034 hrs One ME 109 carries out a patrol to the south east of the Island.
1046-1058 hrs Two ME 109s are observed to the north of the Island.
1247-1344 hrs Eight ME 109s approach from the north and drop a stick of bombs near Ta Silch. One Beaufort is shot down in the sea off Delimara. Hurricanes search the coast for survivors.
1315 hrs Two ME 109s drop bombs in the vicinity of Fish Ponds.
1526-1607 hrs Six aircraft approach from the north but do not cross the Island.
Bad weather prevents further operations during the day by enemy aircraft.
Night No activity enemy a/c due to bad weather.
Military casualties Ordinary Seaman Dennis Gill, HMS Cleopatra.
Civilian casualties Qormi Giuseppe Felice, age 2.
OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 15 APRIL 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals Two Wellingtons, three Hudsons, two Beauforts, three Blenheims from Gibraltar. Departures Four Beaufighters, one Beaufort, one Beaufighter to Sidi Barrani; six Wellingtons, two Hudsons to 108 MU.
TA QALI No scrambles and few air raids. Extensive amounts of equipment salvaged. Airman, salvaged stores and equipment installed in Messina House. Erected own latrines and ablutions owing to failure of AMWD to provide Maltese labourers to work on the aerodrome. Cooks and AOHs working very late. Aerodrome serviceable and extensive repairs proceeding.
1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT All Companies still busy salvaging. B Company still in a very bad mess and likely to be so for some time.
1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY Work on aerodromes continued.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 8; dealt with 7 (3 x 500kg, 3 x 250kg, 1 x 50kg).
KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT Four unexploded bombs are reported on Mellieha Camp.
(1) Extract from Autobiography of Leonard (Len) Austin, Foreman of Malta Dockyard, August 1939 – March 1943
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