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WELLINGTONS ATTACK AXIS BASE AT PALERMO
Wellington bombers from of 37 Squadron based at Luqa launched a highly successful attack overnight on Palermo Harbour, an important base for convoys supplying Axis forces in North Africa. Despite a smokescreen set off obscure the target, the Wellingtons succeeded in dropping 26 tons of bombs on shipping and dockyard facilities, including a shipyard, oil dump, warehouses and a seaplane base. Two merchant vessels of 5000 and 9000 tons were sunk and a third was set on fire along with its cargo of motor transport. Reconnaissance aircraft reported fires still burning six hours after the attack.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 2 MARCH TO DAWN 3 MARCH 1942
Weather Wind southerly; 30% cloud. Warmer.
0740-0819 hrs Two ME 109s patrol the Island.
1038-1205 hrs Nine JU 88s with fighter escort approach in two waves. Bombs are dropped on Gudja, Safi Strip, Corradino, Cospicua and Zabbar. Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage. Two bombs land in Gudja army camp and behind HQ at Safi. One Other Rank of 1st Bn Hampshire Regt is seriously wounded (died 5 March 1942).
1358-1443 hrs Four JU 88s with fighter escort cross the south east coast, drop bombs on the Safi Strip and recede north.
1658-1850 Six JU 88 with fighter escort approach from the north and drop bombs on Grand Harbour and Lazaretto, from Ta Karach Ridge to Safi strip and Luqa airfield where one Wellington is damaged.
1941-0410 hrs One continuous raid: thirteen raiders approach the Islandsingly, dropping bombs on land and in the sea.
1944 hrs Three unidentified enemy aircraft attack Luqa, damaging one Maryland. Bombs also land on Siggiewi, Tal Providenz (demolishing one building) and Ta Mehrla Chapel during the late evening. near the Officers’ Quarters, Kalafrana.
2040 hrs One JU 88 at 2-3000 feet is engaged by guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery: one hit claimed.
2050 hrs One JU 88 at 2000 feet diving to 500 feet is engaged by two guns from 225 Light Ack Ack Battery: one hit claimed.
Military casualties Leading Aircraftsman George Boorman, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
Civilian casualties Cospicua Anthony Zammit, age 70. Kalkara Lorenzo Mejlak, age 55. Zabbar Grezzju Abdilla, age 45; Maria Abdilla, age 15.
OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 2 MARCH 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals Five Wellingtons, one Sunderland from Gibraltar. Departures Five Beaufighters, two Blenheims to 108MU; six Wellingtons, one Hudson to LG 224; one Sunderland to Gibraltar.
HAL FAR 828 Squadron One Albacore on search for enemy shipping: one merchant vessel of 4000 tons in position 206 degrees Lampedusa 42 miles. 830 Squadron Three Swordfish dispatched to attack the merchant vessel reported off Lampedusa. The vessel was not located and all three aircraft returned to base at 0615 hrs 3 March.
LUQA 0740-1219 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron photo-reconnaissance (PR) and SF 2A patrol, Lampedusa. 1216-1403 hrs One Beaufighter 69 Squadron PR Palermo. 1403-1250 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron PR Pantelleria and SF 1A patrol. 2115-0312 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight special search. 2203-0540 hrs Sixteen Wellingtons 37 Squadron attacked shipping in Palermo Harbour, sinking two ships, damaging and gutting warehouses and buildings on the northern mole and in the dockyard. 2320-0430 hrs One Wellington 38 Squadron despatched on a torpedo attack on shipping; no attack made.
1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT No Luqa working parties this week. Gas masks worn 10-1100 hrs. First rehearsal for loading light equipment for mobile company carried out at Hornworks. 1700 hrs Conference at Marsa Club on Brigade wireless exercise. Unexploded bomb hit post of B Company CA10: post needs complete rebuilding.
1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY C Company moved from Boschetto Gardens to Dingli and took up anti-parachute role in that area.
11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS Debris from bombs on the outskirts of St Julians and blocking the coast road is cleared by a working party from C Company. Brigadier De La Bere visits a demonstration of operational and ceremonial sentries at Battalion HQ.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).
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