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24 July 1940: Supplies Will Take Months to Reach Malta

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ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES FOR MALTA DELAYED

Essential stores commissioned by Malta command four weeks ago may take months to reach the Island, according to a telegram from the War Office in London today.  Although the items requisitioned are available, they will be transported via the long sea route, via the African Cape.

Macchi 200 attacked Sunderland off Malta

Macchi 200 attacked Sunderland off Malta

A second supply of the most urgently needed items will be loaded onto a fast transport ship which will attempt to pass through the short sea route via the western Mediterranean.  However, owing to a lack of available resources, most of these items cannot be duplicated in the slower convoy.

Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief now faces the difficult decision over which items to allocate to each convoy.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 JULY TO DAWN 25 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine and warm. 

0857-0920 hrs  Air raid alert for ten enemy fighters which approach the Island from the north at 17-22000 feet, passing over Imtarfa towards Hal Far, flying in pairs, a new formation.  Ack Ack guns engage the raiders.  Malta fighters are scrambled but do not engage.  No bombs are dropped.    

1541 hrs  Air raid alert for nine enemy aircraft, including three fighters and six bombers approaching from the north.  They skirt the coast and depart to the north.  No bombs are dropped.    

0230 hrs  Air raid alert for up to three enemy aircraft which approach from the north at intervals.  One flies over Grand Harbour at 500 feet.  Bombs are dropped in the sea off Fort St Elmo.    

0317 hrs  Air raid alert for one enemy aircraft which approaches from the north and is engaged by Ack Ack fire before turning away.    

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 24 JULY 1940

AIR HQ  0830-1700  Two patrols by Sunderlands between Sicily and the coast of Greece.  One destroyer only is sighted, in Augusta.  One Sunderland is attacked by a monoplane, possibly a Macchi 200, which is believed to have been shot down between Sicily and Malta.

KALAFRANA  Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 Squadrons operating 12 hour naval patrols over wide area covering Greek coast, south Italian coast and Sicily under direct instructions from Middle East and HQ Mediterranean.  Six recruits medically examined for the RAF.

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Posted by on July 24, 2020 in 1940, July 1940

 

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28 June 1940: Malta Cut Off From Western Mediterranean

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CONVOYS FOR MALTA CAN NO LONGER BE SENT VIA GIBRALTAR

The Admiralty has confirmed that there is currently no prospect of sending stores to Malta via Gibraltar.  The only Allied access route to the Island will now be from the Eastern Mediterranean.   This would require any supplies from the UK travelling the long sea route round the southern tip of Africa. 

C in Cs Middle East L to R: Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham; Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore; General Sir Archibald Wavell

C in Cs Middle East L to R: Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham; Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore; General Sir Archibald Wavell

The news presents a serious problem for the regular supply of Malta.  The Island is currently in urgent need of 100,000 sandbags, 5000 tons of goat fodder, 500 tons of coke and 6000 of coal, and medical stores.  The War Office has asked the Commander in Chief, Middle East, if he can spare these supplies until replacements can be sent via the Cape.

Within the next six months, it is anticipated that the Island will need a further 23000 tons of supplies for the Army, 10000 tons for the Dockyard and 2000 for the RAF.  The relevant ministries in the UK will be notified of the exact requirements, which will be prioritised according to urgency. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 28 JUNE TO DAWN 29 JUNE 1940

Weather  Fine. 

0920 hrs  A defence post of 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment reports signalling east of Boschetto area but nothing found. 

1305 hrs  Radio mast confirmed repaired and functioning.

1306-1358 hrs  Air raid alert.  Two formations of three enemy aircraft approach the Island at 15000 feet and attack Marsa, Delimara and HMS Terror.  Malta’s fighters engage the raiders who depart to the south west and south east.  One enemy aircraft is reported to be smoking and losing height 30 degrees from Terror and five miles out to sea.  An Ack Ack battery confirms seeing an aircraft diving towards the sea emitting quantities of smoke. 

1925-1940 hrs  Air raid alert.  No bombs dropped.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 28 JUNE 1940

AIR HQ  Arrivals  2 Sunderland.  Departures  2 Sunderland.   

KALAFRANA  One Sunderland arrived from UK for refuelling and one from Middle East.  Five recruits medically examined.  Sgt Beaddie (N/Ord) discharged from hospital and returned to duty at Luqa.  Cpl Jasper returned to Kalafrana.  AC Galea and AC Buhagiar admitted to Military Hospital, Imtarfa.

LUQA  Strength of Station: Officers 19; airmen 61; civilians 143.  Sgt G Beaddie, Nursing Orderly, attached on discharge from hospital.  Cpl C Jasper returned to Kalafrana. 

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  A determined drive was made by all available personnel at Ta Saliba under the command of 2/Lt Booth to complete wiring and road blocks. 

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Unloading party at Marsaxlokk for two periods during the day.     

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Posted by on June 28, 2020 in 1940, June 1940

 

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