Tag Archives: Fortress Royal Engineers

7 February 1942: Malta’s Guns Silenced to Save Ammunition

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Anti-Aircraft Battery at Work

Anti-Aircraft Battery at Work

Information  Air attack is at present on a large scale causing heavy expenditure of ammunition.

Intention  To conserve stocks of Anti-Aircraft ammunition.

Method:  Enemy fighters will not be engaged by Heavy Anti-Aircraft Artillery with the following provisos:

  1. Fighters which look as if they intend to attack shipping or make low-flying attacks on aerodromes may be engaged by Heavy Anti-Aircraft artillery by Range Control procedure only.
  2. Heavy Anti Aircraft artillery may engage enemy fighters in order to afford protection to our own aircraft.
  3. When our fighters are airborne pointer rounds may be fired in accordance with present policy.
  4. These instructions will come into force at 1800 hours Sunday 8th February 1942.

Lieut-Colonel, RA


“We buried Miss Yabsley on the 7th. There was a big crowd; gunfire opened while we were awaiting the body, and I personally asked Lady Dobbie to go to the door of a shelter quite near as unless she did so nobody would; and there were many young Scouts and Guides present. I went myself partly to set an example. Splinters of shell were falling through the leaves of the trees.

When the funeral was about to start Mrs Denaro the Head of the Guides said that she was not bringing the Guides to the graveside, I asked her what harm it could do them. In the end she allowed them to come round the grave after we had finished that part of the service which I took in the Chapel. That evening I heard again the scream of falling bombs close to the Cathedral.”

Extract from diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St.Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta (1) 


Weather  Clear sky, no cloud.  Wind south south-east.

0824-0846 hrs  Two ME 109 fighters approach from the north, patrol to the north east of the Island, are engaged by Heavy Ack Ack and recede north.

0905 hrs  Four aircraft of 249 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali: no interceptions.

0929-0936 hrs  One JU 88 bomber escorted by two ME 109s approaches from the south west having skirted the Island a long way to the east.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and Malta’s fighters are up: no engagement.  No bombs are dropped.

1031-1217 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by twelve plus ME 109s approach from the north.

1041 hrs  Enemy aircraft drop bombs in the Hal Far area.  Billets of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery at XLS 25 are damaged by bomb blast.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  Two ME 109s carry out a low-flying attack on Luqa and are engaged by ground defences.   Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1120 hrs  One ME 109 attacks a friendly aircraft trying to land on the Safi strip.  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery gun position attack, destroying the ME 109 which crashes near another gun position at Hal Far.

1130 hrs Kings Own Malta Regiment 3rd Bn reports two ME 109s shot down: one crashing between Zurrieq and Hal Far, the other near Gudja.

1229-1346 hrs  A hostile raid of six ME 109s approaches from the north: two ME 109s sweep very low over Luqa.  No Hurricanes are up; Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1425-1802 hrs  Fourteen plus ME 109s patrol round the Island while one JU 88 comes in on reconnaissance.  Heavy Ack Ack engage the bomber.  Three JU 88s then come in and drop bombs on Hal Far, damaging three Hurricanes and injuring two RAF personnel.  Heavy Ack Ack engage, damaging one JU 88, confirmed by an intercepted German radio message.  Several ME 109s are machine-gunned and engaged by Malta’s destroyers.  The enemy aircraft shadow the destroyers for some considerable time before returning to their base.

1745 hrs  Six aircraft of 249 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali as escort for a rescue launch; landing 1850 hrs.

1837-1857 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

1911-1945 hrs  Four bombers approach singly from the north and drop bombs in the Hal Far, Grand Harbour, Floriana, Qawra Tower areas and also in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1954-2028 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the south and drops bombs near Comino and then recedes north.

2051-2144 hrs  One bomber approaches from the north and after dropping bombs in the Madliena area circles the Island twice and recedes north.

2219-2250 hrs  One bomber approaches via Gozo, crosses the coast near Ghain Tuffieha and drops bombs in the Bingemma-Benghaisa areas.

2307-0035 hrs  One aircraft comes in from the north west, crosses the coast at St Paul’s Bay and drops bombs in the sea off Kalafrana, then machine-guns Hal Far.  Heavy Ack Ack engage, firing two barrages.  Another aircraft approaches from the north, is engaged by a barrage and drops bombs in the sea north of Ricasoli.

0050-0115 hrs  One aircraft comes in from the north and  drops bombs 2000 yards from Nicola.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage.

0213-0316 hrs  One aircraft comes in from the north over Gozo and Comino and drops bombs on Safi Strip, north of Gudia and in Gudia village.  Heavy Ack Ack do not engage.

0422-0549 hrs  One aircraft crosses the coast four times at various points, dropping bombs on Qrendi strip, Lapsi searchlight position, Luqa area, east of Qormi, north of Salvatore, near the Palace and on the Fleur de Lys gun position, near the headquarters of the 11th Bn The Lancashire Regiment.

0457 hrs  3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment reports a stick of bombs between Qrendi and Providenza.

Civilian casualties  Floriana  Anthony Pizzuto.

Enemy casualties  Oberfeldwebel Otto Goethe, pilot of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter.


AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Wellington from 234 Wing; three Wellingtons from UK (one missing).  Departures  Three Wellingtons to LG 224.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland special search; one Beaufighter Sicilian Task; one Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Taranto, Messina; one Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland special search Tripoli-Buerat.  40 Squadron  Seven Wellingtons sent to attack Tripoli.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special search Lampedusa-Kerkennah.

TA QALI  One Blenheim arrived for attachment 242 Squadron.  15 air raid alarms between 0030 and 2220 hrs – no bombs on camp.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion drill parade held at Corrodino: 17 Officers and 290 Other Ranks on parade.  Luqa working parties increased to 140.  Holiday in the afternoon.

FORTRESS COMPANY ROYAL ENGINEERS  During an early evening raid, four bombs fell on and around Msida Bastion quarters of 173 Tunnelling Company RE.  Half of one is destroyed, with minor damage to equipment and stores.  Fortunately, there were no casualties, as the men were out, but it can be safely assumed that had this occurred on any other night in the week, casualties would have been of a serious nature.  No 1 Section were found alternative accommodation in Lintorn Barracks.  Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 2; dealt with 7.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Bombs fell in Battalion sector close to B Company: superficial damage to billet; no casualties.

(1) Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

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Posted by on February 7, 2022 in 1942, February 1942


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29 July 1941: Maltese Gunners Praised for Defence of Harbour

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The Chief of Imperial General Staff in London has written personally to Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief praising the efforts of the Royal Malta Artillery in Saturday’s attack on Grand Harbour by Italian combat boats:

“Please convey my congratulations to all ranks of the Royal Malta Artillery manning fixed defences on their great success in breaking up the determined enemy sea-borne attack on Grand Harbour. The action of these gunners has excited universal admiration here in the United Kingdom.  The skill and determination shown by them will act as a strong deterrent to future enemy attacks by sea.”

Lt Gen Dobbie replied immediately:

“Your message to the Royal Malta Artillery is greatly appreciated by all ranks. It was a really good show and I agree will discourage future [enemy] efforts.”

In a separate communique today, the War Office asked for further details of the methods used by the Harbour Fire Command against the Italian raid for the benefit of Allied commands in other theatres of war:

“Request details of recent successful action by twin 6 pounders against E boats and submarines. Details such as the warning obtained, the ranges at which the enemy were engaged, the effectiveness of coastal artillery searchlights if used, the effectiveness of the distribution of fire scheme, any lessons learned from the action in the employment of the 6 pounder twin will be most useful as no practical experience in Motor Torpedo Boat defence has been gained in this country or other commands abroad.”


Lt General Dobbie has strongly resisted a suggestion by the War Office in London that the establishment of the Royal Engineers in Malta could be reduced.

Fortress Royal Engineers units in Malta currently comprise 24 Fortress Company RE, 173 Tunnelling Company RE, RE Bomb Disposal, and two Works Companies RE Malta Territorial Force. The total establishment is 26 officers, 34 WOs/sergeants and 914 rank and file.  The units are responsible for military and defence construction, engineering and repair projects as well as providing manpower for infantry duties.  The Royal Engineers bomb disposal unit also deals with all unexploded bombs across Malta and Gozo outside of the boundaries of RAF airfields and the Royal Navy dockyard.  In a concise response to London today, General Dobbie wrote: “No possibility of disbandment of any unit can be foreseen.”


Weather  Sunny and hot.

No air raids.


AIR HQ  Departures 1 Sunderland. 69 Squadron Marylands reconnaissance Sicily and Tripoli.

TA QALI  New Armoury taken over.


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Posted by on July 29, 2021 in 1941, July 1941


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