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26 April 1941: Bombers Sent to Malta to Protect Convoys

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Bristol Blenheim

Bristol Blenheim

BLENHEIM SQUADRON TO WORK WITH ROYAL NAVY SHIPS

RAF Blenheim bombers are to be deployed to Malta to support Royal Navy operations in the Mediterranean, including the protection of convoys transporting essential supplies and personnel to the Island. The Blenheims will be supported by detachments of six Beaufighters at a time, fitted with special equipment to communicate with ships. 

Air chiefs of staff in London wanted to send the heavier Beauforts to the Island but conditions currently make it impossible to base them in Malta. A detachment of six Blenheims is expected, with a further six possibly to come. 

SPEED LIMITS VITAL FOR FUEL ECONOMY

The attention of service personnel has been drawn to the persistent disregard of the regulations governing the speed of motor transport. This violation of regulations not only renders offenders liable to disciplinary action but is an extravagant use of petrol, as the authorised speeds are the most economical.  The speed limits for all military mechanised transport in Valletta and in all towns and villages are 25 mph for motor cars and 15 mph for all other vehicles. Vehicles found exceeding this speed will be stopped and reported to Command Headquarters.  In the event of it being proved that the vehicle exceeded the approved speed, the driver (if a soldier) will forfeit his leave for two months.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 26 APRIL TO DAWN 27 APRIL 1941

Weather  Fine.    

0929-0940 hrs  Air raid alert for a JU 88 escorted by eight ME 109 fighters. The JU 88 carries out reconnaissance of Grand Harbour at 25000 feet while the fighters stay at higher altitude.  Hurricane fighters are scrambled; two are engaged by four ME 109s at 29000 feet but sustain no damage.

1530-1604 hrs  Air raid alert for one JU 88 bomber which carries out reconnaissance, escorted by six ME 109s. The bomber crosses the coast and is engaged by heavy anti-aircraft guns; no claims.

Military casualties Sergeant Jack Foster, 12 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery; Lt Commander John Guy Douglas Wetherfield, HMS Fermoy.

Civilian casualties  Msida  Anthony Sammut, age 33.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 26 APRIL 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Regent returned from the visit to Kotor which she found in Italian hands. After being in harbour nine hours the submarine was dive-bombed, suffering severe damage to her battery.  She sailed hurriedly, leaving one officer behind and bringing an Italian Army officer as hostage.

AIR HQ  69 Squadron Maryland patrol northern part of eastern Tunisian coast. Patrol of southern part not possible; Maryland unserviceable. 

HAL FAR  A second ambulance arrived from Kalafrana for duties at Safi.

2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Morning ‘stand to’ is at 0500 hrs from today.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 4 ( 4 x 50kg).

 

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Posted by on April 26, 2016 in 1941, April 1941

 

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26 August 1940: Blenheim Runs Out of Fuel Trying to Reach Malta

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BLENHEIM DITCHES IN THE SEA

RAF Blenheim

RAF Blenheim

Another Blenheim aircraft was lost today trying to reach Malta. The bomber set out from Gibraltar for Malta early today but was seen ditching in the sea 55 miles from Dingli. The aircraft is one of the latest Blenheims stopping off at Malta en route for the Middle East.

Blenheim T2058 was piloted by Warrant Officer G H ‘Pee Wee’ Cluley. It is thought he ran out of fuel near Pantelleria and was attempting to land there but fell short and came down in the sea.    

A Swordfish, a Sunderland and HMS Nubian were sent immediately to search the area but found nothing. Further aircraft continued to search throughout the afternoon but there was no sighting. WO Cluley has been listed as missing.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 26 AUGUST TO DAWN 27 AUGUST 1940

Weather  Fine; cooler.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 26 AUGUST 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Janus arrived. A floating mine was sunk ten miles off St Elmo by Beryl.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  A canteen was opened in an empty house at St Paul’s Bay. Several women from the district have offered to help run the canteen.

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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in 1940, August 1940

 

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20 August 1940: Six Blenheim Bombers Land Then Four Hit by Bombs

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BLENHEIM BOMBERS LAND IN MALTA

Bristol Blenheim

Bristol Blenheim

Six Blenheim bombers arrived in Malta today but within two hours one had been destroyed and three damaged on the ground. The Blenheims form part of a formation now flying direct from the UK to Malta en route for the Middle East.

The aircraft landed at just after eight this morning. An hour and a half later two formations of bombers dropped high explosive and incendiary bombs over Luqa. An incendiary bomb hit one of the Blenheim’s which burst into flames. The three others were hit by flying shrapnel but can be repaired.

INCIDENT AT NAXXAR GAP

One man is in custody tonight and another is sought by police after a suspicious fire at Naxxar Gap. Just before 10 o’clock this evening a sentry from 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers spotted a fire at a pumping station. As he went to investigate he saw two men running from the scene. He gave chase and managed to catch one of them but the other escaped.  

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 AUGUST TO DAWN 21 AUGUST 1940

Weather  Periodic clouds; warm.

0810 hrs  Six Blenheim bombers land at Luqa.

0938-0955 hrs  Air raid alert for two formations of five bombers each, in line astern, escorted by 20 fighters which cross the coast and carry out bombing raids on Luqa and Hal Far. Twelve high explosive bombs land on Luqa, including three on the aerodrome, causing fires in several buildings and considerable damage. One Blenheim bomber on the ground is hit by an incendiary bomb and destroyed, another is damaged but repairable and another two slightly damaged. Several bombs are dropped over a defence post of 8th Bn Manchester Regiment but there are no casualties. Ten high explosive bombs are dropped on the Hal Far area, seven explode causing slight damage to one Swordfish of 830 Squadron, three are reported as unexploded.

1517 hrs  Air raid alert for six enemy fighters which fly over the Island, probably on reconnaissance.  

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 20 AUGUST 1940

AIR HQ Arrivals 6 Blenheim. Departures 3 Blenheim. Aircraft casualties 1 Blenheim destroyed; 4 damaged.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB 1 incendiary Luqa.

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Posted by on August 20, 2015 in 1940, August 1940

 

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