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1 August 1941: 80 Houses Destroyed, 39 Killed in July

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RAID SUMMARY JULY 1941

  • No of air raid alerts 72 (including 53 night raids)
  • Days without air raid alerts 7
  • Total time under alert 52 hours 18 mins
  • Average length of alert 53.5 mins
  • Enemy aircraft casualties: destroyed 21; probably destroyed 5; damaged 9
  • Malta aircraft losses 3 (including two pilots)
  • Civilians killed by enemy action to date 316
  • Civilians seriously injured to date 265

RAIDS, RATIONING AND SHELTERS

The Governor & C in C reports on conditions for civilians in Malta to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London:

During July there were 38 raids, two of them by day. 39 persons were killed (21 men, eight women and ten children) and 20 injured (eight men, eight women and four children).  80 houses were destroyed or seriously damaged.

By far the most important event in July was the arrival of the convoy; the successful unloading of which is now nearing completion. The effect of seeing so many ships in the harbour on the spirits of the population has of course been admirable.

Loaves now include 20-30% potato

Loaves now include 20-30% potato

During July a scheme for mixing up to 20%, but not more than 30%, of potatoes in bread was brought into effect, the object being to save imported wheat and to ensure a satisfactory market to farmers, thereby encouraging them to plant potatoes in future. The scheme was made compulsory as from 1st August.  Considerable difficulty was experienced in persuading the more conservative bakers to come into line, but they have all now done so.

Plans have been completed for rationing edible oil, margarine and lard and this will be done as from the middle of August. Butter will not be rationed, as our stocks are very satisfactory and it is eaten only by a very small proportion of the population.  Consumption is extremely low.

Shelter work has now been started in Gozo and 75 shelters are now being constructed there. No miners from the regiment are employed as it has been possible to obtain the whole force needed of 174 miners in Gozo.

MALTA BLENHEIM SHOT DOWN OFF LAMPEDUSA

A Blenheim aircraft of 82 Squadron has been reported missing tonight after it was shot down during a raid tonight on enemy shipping in the southern Mediterranean. F/Lt A B Broadley’s Blenheim was the lead aircraft of three sent to attack Axis ships off the island of Lampedusa.  The Blenheims scored direct hits on the ships but faced heavy defensive fire, during which F/Lt Broadley’s bomber was hit and forced to land in the sea half a mile offshore.  The air gunner of a second Blenheim was injured.

The other two members of the missing Blenheim crew have been named as Wireless Operator/Air Gunner Sgt V Marsh and Observer Pilot Officer A S Ramsay. All three arrived in Malta less than a month ago.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 1 AUGUST TO DAWN 2 AUGUST 1941

Weather  Sunny and hot.

No air raids.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Alistair S Ramsay, Observer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 105 Squadron.                        

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 1 AUGUST 1941

AIR HQ Departures 1 Blenheim. 69 Squadron Five reconnaissance flights, including one by five Marylands, covering Sicily, Tripoli, Lampedusa, Marittimo and Cape Carbonara.  One Swordfish Fleet Air Arm patrolled Ionian Sea. 105 Squadron 6 Blenheims sent to attack convoy failed to locate after a search. 82 Squadron 3 Blenheim successful attack on shipping in Lampedusa.  One Blenheim was hit by anti-aircraft fire and force-landed in the sea ½ mile from shore. The air gunner of another is was injured.      

1st Bn HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion in Gozo.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strength of detachment 27 officers, 189 other ranks.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Battalion hands over defence posts in St Julians Bay, St Andrews Barracks area and Pembroke Ranges to 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers.

 

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Posted by on August 1, 2016 in August 1941

 

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31 July 1941: Malta’s 800th Air Raid Alert Today

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AIR AND NAVAL CHIEFS REVIEW JULY OPERATIONS FROM MALTA

Fulmars have disrupted enemy night raids

Fulmars have disrupted enemy night raids

AIR HQ

The continued policy of the Command has been to intercept convoys en route between Italy and North Africa by day with the Blenheim detachments and by night with the shore-based Fleet Air Arm Swordfish. In addition, Wellingtons have concentrated on Tripoli port, causing considerable damage to the port facilities. 

82 Squadron carried out three attacks on military transport and barracks, and one attack on shipping. They were relieved by 110 Squadron on 4 July, and carried out successful attacks on shipping, harbours and key roads with the loss of six aircraft.  148 Squadron carried out 13 successful sorties during the month, chiefly on Tripoli.  Hurricanes of 46 and 185 Squadrons have made two successful attacks on seaplane moorings at Syracuse, at least three aircraft being burned out.

Beaufighters of 143, 252 and 272 Squadrons arrived towards the end of the month to cover a Naval operation. During their attachment they carried out two highly successful sorties against aerodromes in Sicily and Sardinia, destroying at least 38 aircraft and damaging many more.

Throughout the month Fulmars have patrolled over Catania by night and on one occasion shot down a bomber off Syracuse. Bombs were also dropped on aerodromes and towns.  The activities of these lone Fulmars has done much to harass the nocturnal operations of the Italians and on many nights prevented enemy bombers from operating.

The whole offensive has been possible through the reconnaissances of 69 (Maryland) Squadron, which was reinforced by three aircraft from Egypt. The Squadron aircraft have been equipped with bomb racks and although not employed on offensive work during the month they have released bombs over their objectives during reconnaissance.  They have also made two low-flying machine-gun attacks and at least two enemy aircraft were shot down during patrols.

249 Squadron carried out 29 day scrambles and 19 night scrambles. 46 Squadron, which was renamed 126 Squadron on 22 July, carried out 31 scrambles by day and 18 by night.  185 Squadron carried out 71 scrambles by day.

VICE-ADMIRAL MALTA

Malta submarines have carried out 13 patrols during the month. Four ships of approximate total of 16200 tons were claimed as sunk.  A further two ships of approximately 7500 total tonnage were probably sunk.  In addition, two hits each were obtained on a Condottieri “D” class cruiser and on a 500 foot floating dock.

830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm carried out three torpedo attacks on shipping. One hit was made on a tanker off Tripoli.  Two hits were made on a tanker off Lampedusa.  The total tonnage of these two ships is estimated at 10,000 tons.  One or both may have been sunk but of this there is no definite evidence.  In the third attack, a hit was obtained on the stern of a destroyer and a heavy explosion was observed in a ship of about 6000 tons.  This ship may have been sunk but the evidence is inconclusive.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 31 JULY TO DAWN 1 AUGUST 1941

Weather  Sunny and hot.

Day  Nine enemy aircraft come to within 25 miles of Grand Harbour and then turned back.  23 Hurricanes are scrambled but make no contact with the enemy.  S/Ldr Barton’s Hurricane’s engine fails and he has to make a forced landing but sustains no injuries. 

2200-2248 hrs  Air raid alert for a three enemy BR 20 bombers which approach singly from the north east and attack Grand Harbour, dropping 250kg bombs near the floating dock and on the Parade Ground of St Angelo destroying three mess rooms and injuring three people. Bombs are also dropped in the sea.  Hurricanes of 126 Squadron are scrambled. Searchlights illuminate raiders three times but the Hurricanes are unable to make contact.  P/O Stone chases a raider 30 miles out to sea but is unable to see it beyond the searchlights. 

2350-0017 hrs  Air raid alert for a single BR 20 which approaches from the north and drops 250kg bombs in the Grand Harbour area, as well as in the sea north east of Ricasoli. Hurricane fighters are scrambled; no engagement.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 31 JULY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  P32 arrived from United Kingdom. Upholder arrived from patrol off Marittimo, having sunk a 6000 ton laden merchant vessel, and obtained 2 hits on a Condottiere D class cruiser.  830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 5 Swordfish left to intercept a southbound convoy of 4 merchant ships and 5 destroyers 20 miles west of Lampion.  Owing to poor visibility, convoy was located by ASV (radar).  2 torpedoes were fired and 1 hit obtained (unconfirmed).

AIR HQ  Arrivals 1 Wellington. Departures 3 Wellington, 4 Blenheim (leader had engine failure and all returned). 69 Squadron Marylands made 8 reconnaissance flights including Sicily, Elmas and Monserrato.  Maryland reconnaissance Tripoli strafed enemy aircraft on the ground at Zuara.  Marylands on special patrol. 105 Squadron 6 Blenheims sent to attack convoy but were intercepted by enemy fighters and returned without dropping bombs.

KALAFRANA  During July Sunderland and Catalina flying boats made considerable use of the station for flights between the Middle East and UK, with 28 arrivals and departures of aircraft during the month. Passengers included Sir Edgar Ludlow-Hewitt, Inspector General of the Royal Air Force, and Rt Hon Captain Lyttleton, AOC, Middle East.  The rescue Swordfish carried out 8 patrols and marine craft 6.  Numbers rescued during the month were 3 Italians by marine craft, 1 British and 1 Italian by floatplanes.  Total rescues since 11 June 1940 are 42 by marine craft (including 7 dead) and 3 by floatplane.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  The Regimental Dance Band is being reformed in the Battalion. Auditions were held and instruments have been begged, borrowed and bought.

1st Bn DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  Strengths officers 31, other ranks 876, RAOC (attached) 2.  

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Battalion strength 22 officers, 393 other ranks.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Battalion strengths 17 officers, 554 other ranks.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strengths 27 officers, 8 WOs, 181 other ranks.

 

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Posted by on July 31, 2016 in 1941, July 1941

 

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6 July 1941: Heavy Bombs on Paola & St Julians Destroy Homes and Kill 6

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BR 20 bombers

BR 20 bombers

240 HIGH EXPLOSIVE BOMBS OVER MALTA

Fifteen civilians were killed and 14 injured when heavy bombs struck the Dockyard community of Paola tonight. In a series of four air raids spread over five hours, more than 20 enemy bombers crossed the coast singly at intervals at a height of 17000 feet, dropping over 240 high explosives, many of them 100kg and 250kg.  Bad weather hampered defensive operations by Malta’s night fighters who were scrambled in pairs for each of the raids but were unable to engage the enemy bombers. 

The first four raiders approached the Island at about 1030 pm but made no significant attack, dropping bombs on rocks at Mellieha Bay and in the sea. An hour later the second wave of ten BR 20s crossed the coast north west of Grand Harbour and dropped several 250kg bombs on Paceville in St Julians, demolishing four houses and damaging ten others with no casualties.  Bombs were also dropped on Ta Braxia Cemetery and Sa Maison in Pieta.  Anti-aircraft guns opened fire but were unable to locate their targets.

Just after 1am a single bomber crossed over Grand Harbour and dropped 15kg bombs on Marsa. The heaviest raid came towards 3am when the final wave of 12 bombers approached, crossing the coast in three separate formations between Grand Harbour and Delimara.  One formation headed directly over the Harbour area and dropped several sticks of 250kg and 100kg bombs across Vittoriosa and the heart of Paola, where the civilian casualties occurred.

ROYAL MALTA ARTILLERY AT WORK

RMA Gunner recalls a summer at Ghain Tuffieha

“In July 1941 we handed over the Naxxar Silent Gun Position to 6th HAA Battery [Royal Malta Artillery] – also of our regiment – and my troop moved to Ghajn Tuffieha.  Battery HQ joined the other troop at Ta’Giorni…

We established ourselves in the wooden huts at Ghajn Tuffieha Camp, the same huts we used to go into as Boy Scouts when we were ‘camp followers’ to our older friends in the Kings Own Malta Regiment machine gun platoon in 1938. I took over four 3 inch 20 cwt guns but this time they were deployed in two Silent Gun sites – two guns in each – with no instruments to direct the fire.

It was a very busy time for us for we had to stack a very large quantity of 3 inch 20cwt ammunition in a cave situated close to one of the sites. Early every morning the whole troop, except for guards and cooks, marched uphill for nearly two miles to get to Bajda Ridge (Biddy).  Here, from time to time, a huge Matador gun tower arrived loaded with ammunition, which we had to unload and carry to a cave off the road…  Each box was made of steel with separators to take four live cartridges; one former stevedore had a lump of hard skin on his right shoulder the size of half a tennis ball.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 6 JULY TO DAWN 7 JULY 1941

Weather  Stormy.

2218-2252 hrs  Air raid alert for four enemy aircraft approaching from the north. Two Hurricanes are scrambled but do not engage due to bad weather.  The raiders drop bombs on rocks at Mellieha and in the sea.

2313-0049 hrs  Air raid alert for ten enemy BR 20 bombers which approach the Island and drop high explosive bombs on St Julians demolishing several houses, on Pieta, and in the north of Grand Harbour. Heavy anti-aircraft guns engage the raiders with two barrages; no claims.  Two Hurricanes are scrambled and anti-aircraft guns open fire; no claims.

0106-0206 hrs  Air raid alert for a single bomber which crosses the coast and drops bombs on Marsa. Two Hurricanes are scrambled; no claims.

0228-0317 hrs  Air raid alert for 12 enemy aircraft which approach the Island in three separate formations. They cross the coast singly between Grand Harbour and Delimara, and drop bombs on Paola killing several civilians. Bombs are also dropped on Vittoriosa and near St Thomas’ Bay.  Two Hurricanes are scrambled; no claims.

Military casualties Private Frank Watson, 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment; Private Emmanuel Tanti, Kings Own Malta Regiment.                                              

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 6 JULY 1941

ROYAL NAVY Mine detonated in Floating Dock. P33 arrived from Gibraltar. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 8 Swordfish bombed and laid 5 cucumbers off Tripoli. 

AIR HQ  Arrivals 6 Blenheims, 1 Catalina. 82 Squadron 6 Blenheims attacked shipping Palermo Harbour. 

HAL FAR  One Fulmar patrolled over Catania and attacked a large aircraft which burst into flames.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  All ranks were kept in barracks owing to ‘Exercise Asia’; organised bathing parties were allowed.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal Section busy on unexploded bombs. Exercise review concludes that all our drivers should be trained soldiers as MAC drivers have a tendency to go to ground under bombing. Bomb Disposal UXB reported 4.

(1) Recollections of a Malta HAA Gunner, Maurice G Agius, Allied Publications 2008

 

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Posted by on July 6, 2016 in 1941, July 1941

 

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5 July 1941: Troops Deployed to Defend Gozo From Invasion

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Citadel, Victoria, Gozo

Citadel, Victoria, Gozo

GOZO DEFENCE SCHEME IN PLACE

Troops of 1st Bn Hampshire Regiment have been issued with detailed orders to prepare for a possible invasion of Gozo.  The strategy is designed to counter enemy seaborne landings at Marsalforn, Mgarr and Cala Dueira, and to prevent airborne landings in the area Xaghra-Nadur-Xewkija-Rabat. 

In the event of a seaborne landing at Marsalforn, one Company will cover its southern exits and occupy Il Kortin ta Gjain Damma. Another company based at Il Mirzuk will prevent the enemy from using the road between Marsalforn and Rabat.  One Company will be located in Mgarr against a possible seaborne landing there and another will occupy a key point of approach to the town.  To defend Cala Dueira one Company will cover the area of Torri tal Qawra and another Tad Bieji.   

To counter airborne landings troops will be based at Rabat, Xaghra, Nadur and Xewkija and there will be ten additional coast watches at key points around the Island.  In addition, should no orders be received, Company Commanders will use their initiative in dealing with any enemy landings which are not in their areas of primary responsibility.

SECOND AIRCRAFT CRASH IN TWO DAYS

A Blenheim aircraft crashed today within seconds of taking off from Luqa aerodrome. The Blenheim was barely airborne when it suddenly lost height and crashed near Gudja military camp.  Two of the crew were killed on impact, two others were rescued from the burning plane.  The Blenheim which was leaving for the UK was completely burned out.  A guard was mounted on the remains by 1st Bn Hampshire Regiment until RAF salvage operations could be completed. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 JULY TO DAWN 6 JULY 1941

Weather  Hot and sunny.

Night  Four air raid alerts during which in all ten enemy aircraft pass over the Island, seven of which drop bombs in the sea.  The other three dropped bombs on and near Mosta, in Lija cemetery and in fields near Zeitun and Birkirkara.  Hurricanes are scrambled five times and anti-aircraft guns fire several barrages; no claims.  

2243-2300 hrs; 2321-0034 hrs  Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft which approaches from the north east and drops bombs in the sea west of Kalafrana.  Searchlights illuminate the raider for two minutes and eight heavy anti-aircraft guns fire a barrage at 18000 feet; no claims.

0113-0133 hrs  Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft which crosses the coast north of Grand Harbour and drops bombs near Ta Qali.

0151-0309 hrs  Air raid alert for three enemy aircraft approaching the Island singly from the north and drop bombs in the sea off St Thomas’ Bay, near Kalafrana, and on land near Ta Qali. Searchlights illuminate the targets for 2¼ minutes.  Anti-aircraft guns fire a barrage at aircraft south of Kalafrana; they immediately recede east and then northwards.

Military casualties Sergeant Alfred D F Murcutt, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), 82 Squadron; Sergeant Jack Oaten, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, RAFVR, 82 Squadron.

Civilian casualties Hamrun  Ines Serra, age 15; Nello Serra, age 13; Aldo Serra, age 10; Carmelina Serra, age 5; Carmel Grima, age 44; Emanuel Sammut, age 16; Emanuel Sultana, age 40; Pauline Verzin, age 70.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 5 JULY 1941

AIR HQ  Departures 5 Blenheim 82 Squadron. 69 Squadron  Marylands reconnaissance Sciacca, Castel Vetrano, Syracuse, Augusta, Gela, Tripoli and special patrols. 110 Squadron 4 Blenheims searched for reported ship without success. 

LUQA  5 Blenheims 82 Squadron left for Middle East, one crashed on Gudja, killing 2 and injuring 2.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 1.

1st Bn HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  The Battalion will move to Gozo for a 3 week training course starting on 15 July.

 

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Posted by on July 5, 2016 in 1941, July 1941

 

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2 July 1941: Long Nights in Air Raid Shelters Affect Civilian Morale

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PHYSICAL AND MENTAL EXHAUSTION COMMON

Shelter crowdedLong nights spent in often uncomfortable air raid shelters are disrupting the lives of civilians. The enemy raiders’ tactic of extending the period under alert up to several hours is taking its toll.  Charles Grech later recalled the effect on his boyhood community of nights under alert which:

“tired out people and lowered their morale, creating physical and mental exhaustion. Sometimes, air raid warning signals were given at 7pm and would remain in effect throughout the whole night, till 8am the following morning.  Women, children and older people took cover in the shelters and spent the entire night there.  Some men, especially those who had a day’s work ahead of them, only go down to the shelter when they heard gunfire.  It was not unusual to see men racing to the shelter in their underpants or pyjamas…and only realised this when they got down there and stood in front of a gaggle of wide-eyed women.

Sometimes, one or two women would also pluck up courage to leave the shelter and come back with some hot coffee and something to eat for their children or parents or some warm milk for baby. [My] mother was quite organised for this eventuality and the first thing she did in the evening was prepare a thermos flask full of coffee and pack some food in her basket in case of emergency. (1)

ARMS STOCKS IN MALTA AS AT 30 JUNE 1941

  • Rifles: 17318
  • Mortars: 111
  • Machine guns:
  • Bren 634
  • Lewis 616
  • Vickers 293
  • Thompson sub. 168
  • Besa 6

AIR RAIDS DAWN 2 JULY TO DAWN 3 JULY 1941

Weather  Hot and humid.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 2 JULY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 8 Swordfish layed mines in approaches to Tripoli Harbour; they also bombed three large and several small motor vessels and started fires.

AIR HQ  Arrivals 8 Blenheim 110 Squadron, 2 Wellington. Departures 1 Sunderland, 6 Wellington.  Aircraft casualties 69 Squadron  Marylands reconnaissance Pantelleria and Tripoli Harbour. 82 Squadron 3 Blenheims attacked Homs destroying barracks and vehicles.  3 Blenheims attacked Buerat barracks, destroying vehicles.   148 Squadron 7 Wellingtons bombed port facilities and ships in Tripoli Harbour; ships damaged. 

TA QALI  Two Hurricanes collided on landing, both badly damaged.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 2.

(1) Raiders Passed, Charles B Grech translated by Joseph Galea Debono, Midsea Books 1998

 

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Posted by on July 2, 2016 in 1941, July 1941

 

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1 July 1941: Malta Commands Resists Reduction in Artillery Defences

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  • RAID SUMMARY JUNE 1941
  • No of air raid alerts 67 (including 25 night raids)
  • Days without air raid alerts 7
  • Total time under alert 32 hours 2 mins
  • Average length of alert 28.7 mins
  • Civilians killed by enemy action 5

ROYAL ENGINEERS BOMB DISPOSAL

  • Unexploded bombs dealt with April-June 1941 total 224
  • High explosives total 45 (15g 21, 50kg 9, 100kg/250lb 8, 150kg 2, 250kg/130lb 2, 500kg 3)
  • Incendiaries 175
  • Anti-personnel 5
Royal Malta Artillery  (NWMA Malta)

Royal Malta Artillery (NWMA Malta)

NO ALTERATION IN ARTILLERY UNITS MUST BE MADE, GOVERNOR TELLS LONDON

From: Gov C in C          To: War Office

The War Office is proposing returning to the Island a Maltese artillery battery at present serving in North Africa. Since volunteering to serve overseas before Italy joined the war, 5th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery Royal Malta Artillery has been with Allied forces in Egypt since May 1940. 

However, the War Office plan includes the release of one British battery from the increased garrison currently planned for Malta, a proposal which has been firmly rejected by the Island’s Governor and Commander in Chief today:

“I cannot surrender a British battery in its place. It appears probable that 5th HAA Battery will have to be broken up on its return to Malta.  I trust no, repeat no, alteration will be made in the numbers or units destined for Malta under your telegram of 19 June.”

ITALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR NAMED

The Italian pilots of two Macchi 200 fighters shot down on 27 June have been named as 2nd Lieutenant Neri de Benedetti and Sergeant Alfredo Sclavo, both of 90th Fighter Squadron.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 1 JULY TO DAWN 2 JULY 1941

Weather  Hot and humid.

No air raids.

Military casualties  Sergeant James Walford Hamborough, Royal Air Force (RAF) Volunteer Reserve (VR); Sergeant James Edward Jamieson, Royal Canadian Air Force; Flight Sergeant Ronald Rolfe Jowett, RAF; Sergeant Arthur Joseph Lassner, Royal Canadian Air Force; Flight Sergeant Hay George Simpson, RAFVR.                                           

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 1 JULY 1941

AIR HQ  Arrivals 3 Wellington. Departures 6 Blenheim, 1 Wellington. 69 Squadron Marylands special patrol western Sicilian coast and east Tunisian coast.  Patrols Cape Bon to western Sicily and Pantelleria-Lampedusa area.  At 1730 hrs six merchant vessels were seen north east of Pantelleria heading south. 82 Squadron 4 Blenheims despatched Homs bombed the coast road causing several craters; one lorry destroyed, reservoir received direct hit.  Six more Blenheims were despatched tonight to attack a staging post at Homs and Beurat; they are not yet due back in Malta. 148 Squadron 5 Wellingtons attacked Spanish Port Mole, Tripoli.  Bombs were dropped from 10000 feet, achieving six direct hits on the Spanish Mole and others on the base of Karamanli Mole.  A fire was started on the edge of the town.  One medium merchant vessel probably two direct hits, believed set on fire but hidden by heavy smoke screen.  Anti-aircraft fire experienced.  One Wellington made a second attack on Tripoli, the others could not be turned round in time to do so due to poor visibility.  All Wellingtons returned safely.

LUQA  Four Wellingtons arrive, one of which fires the recognition signal and sets alight a small cornfield near the airfield.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strengths officers 26; WOs 7; other ranks 122.

ROYAL MALTA ARTILLERY  1st Coast Regt strengths 31 officers, 1307 other ranks; 11 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regt strengths 17 officers, 437 other ranks; 2 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regt strengths 22 officers, 643 other ranks; 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regt strengths 19 officers, 591 other ranks.

 

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Posted by on July 1, 2016 in 1941, July 1941

 

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30 June 1941: Six Hurricanes & Pilots Lost From Malta Convoy

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HMS Furious

HMS Furious

HURRICANE CRASH DURING OPERATION ‘RAILWAY’ PHASE 2

After successfully delivering 21 Hurricanes to Malta on Friday the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal returned to Gibraltar where another 26 aircraft were transferred from HMS Furious.  With 16 Hurricanes still on board, Furious sailed with Ark Royal yesterday escorted by cruisers Renown and Hermione with seven destroyers. 

This morning both carriers reached the rendezvous this morning and the Hurricanes began to take off in groups, each led by six Blenheims which would guide them to Malta. However, the tenth aircraft to take off from Furious had collided with the bridge of the carrier, starting a fire which killed three Fleet Air Arm officers, damaged five other Hurricanes and injured their pilots.  Accompanied by Ark Royal and escort the carrier turned back immediately for Gibraltar.

FURTHER ANTI-INVASION MEASURES IN PLACE

Anti-aircraft guns have been put in position to prevent the landing of enemy troop-carrying aircraft. Obstacles have also been erected around the coast with the same object.  Anti-shrapnel mines have been laid along ditches beside the Victoria Lines and also in the Ta Qali areas in the north.

ROYAL MALTA ARTILLERY SHORT OF OFFICERS

The Royal Malta Artillery has 20 fewer officers than it needs. The Governor and Commander in Chief has submitted an application to the War Office for approval to grant five immediate commissions.  Eleven cadets are currently under training at the local Artillery School. 

Approximately eight of a draft of 27 officers now believed to be in Egypt were originally asked for to cover RMA vacancies which it was anticipated could not be done from local resources. Lt Gen Dobbie is keen for additional officers to be provided from this source to make up the numbers to full strength.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 30 JUNE TO DAWN 1 JULY 1941

Weather  Very windy.

1200-1219 hrs  Air raid alert for 11 Macchi 200s which approach to within 25 miles north east of Malta in two formations.  Hurricanes 46 Squadron are scrambled and intercept just below cloud at 17000 feet, shooting down two Macchis.  A third is chased by a Hurricane to within 15-20 miles of Sicily, attacked and damaged. 

Enemy casualties  Tenente Armando Cibin, pilot of Macchi 200 fighter, 7o Gruppo, 54o Stormo, shot down and crashed into the sea.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 30 JUNE 1941

GENERAL STAFF  Improvement in mail deliveries and weekly broadcasts are much appreciated by all ranks.

ROYAL NAVY  Good progress was made in the month in clearing the corners of the harbours and the dangerous area of the North East Coast of enemy mines.

AIR HQ Arrivals 35 Hurricane, 6 Blenheim. Departures 3 Blenheim. 69 Squadron 6 Marylands sorties on reconnaissance. 82 Squadron 6 Blenheims made a low level attack on ships in Tripoli Harbour.  Six direct hits were made on a merchant vessel, probably the Erperia  and two on the Oceania or Neptunia.  Seaplanes on the water and disembarked troops were machine-gunned. 

KALAFRANA  June saw a considerable increase in the use of Kalafrana by flying boats on communication flights between the UK, Gibraltar and Middle East. There were 31 arrivals and departures during the month.  The increase in operations from the Island increased demand for services of the Marine Craft Section for search and rescue work.  15 patrols rescued 8 British personnel (1 dead) and 2 Italian (1 dead).  3 patrols by Swordfish resulted in the rescue of one Italian pilot.

TA QALI  46 Squadron arrived from Hal Far. 9 Hurricanes arrived ex HMS Furious, 12 ex Ark Royal.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal  Total unexploded bombs during month: reported 45; dealt with 36.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Strengths officers 27, other ranks 864.

 

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

 

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