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22 September 1941: Malta Free French Air Crew Killed on Spy Mission

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Free French F/Sgt Georges Blaize (1)

Free French F/Sgt Georges Blaize (1)

SPECIAL OPERATIONS HEINKEL CRASHES INTO SEA

The Heinkel 115 used for clandestine operations from Malta crashed today with the loss of the crew and one passenger. The Heinkel which has been at Kalafrana since June took off just after midnight for its latest secret mission but appears to have got into difficulties and was forced to make an emergency landing on the sea, some 20 miles off the coast of the Island. 

The crew have been named as Free French pilot F/Sgt Georges Blaize and flight engineer Sgt Raoul Gatien. Also on board and acting as observer was Fleet Air Arm S/Lt Reginald Drake, who was attached to Naval air station HMS Grebe in Egypt but operating from Malta. 

Rescue aircraft and the high speed launch from Malta set out to search for the stricken aircraft. They found wreckage strewn over the sea and the bodies of S/Lt Drake and F/Sgt Blaize.  There was no trace of Sgt Gatien.

The Heinkel is the second aircraft to be lost on Special Operations from Malta; last Tuesday a Swordfish crashed while transporting a secret agent to North Africa. Only yesterday Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief referred to the Heinkel as the only aircraft based on the Island dedicated to the service of the Defence Security Officer (maltagc70.com 21 September 1941). The Heinkel, which still carried its German markings, was stored under cover at Kalafrana and used only at night.

PILOT NURSES DAMAGED AIRCRAFT THROUGH 200 MILE FLIGHT

A Blenheim pilot landed his badly damaged aircraft at Luqa airfield today after a tense 218 mile flight across the Mediterranean. Sergeant Williams’ Blenheim was one of six sent to attack German barrack blocks and fuel dumps at Homs in North Africa.  During the attack Pilot Wing Commander D W Scivier AFC made a sharp turn, coming up underneath Sgt Williams, whose aircraft propellers sliced through the fuselage of W/Cdr Scivier’s Blenheim, which plunged into a steep dive and crashed with the loss of the entire crew. 

Sgt Williams’ Blenheim was also badly damaged in the collision. He managed to keep the plane airborne and nursed it gently back to Malta.  Sgt Williams and his crew, observer Sgt R Scholefield and wireless operator/air gunner Sgt A Tuppen are being treated for shock.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 23 SEPTEMBER 1941

Weather  Heavy rain mid-day.

0153-0214 hrs  Air raid alert for one enemy aircraft which approaches the Island but does not cross the coast. Bombs are dropped in the sea eight miles from shore.

0338-0355 hrs  Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft which crosses the coast over Dingli, drops bombs on Balzan causing two slight casualties and damage to houses before turning south over Luqa and receding, dropping more bombs in the sea off Delimara.

Military casualties  Flight Sergeant Georges Blaize, Royal Air Force; Sub-Lieutenant Reginald G Drake, Royal Navy; Flight Sergeant Raoul Gatien, Royal Air Force; Leading Airman Kenneth Pimlott, HMS St.Angelo; Flight Sergeant Leonard Martin Barnett, observer, Royal Air Force, 105 Squadron; Sergeant Brian Gray BFM, wireless operator/air gunner, Royal Air Force, 105 Squadron; Wing Commander Donald William Scivier AFC, pilot, Royal Air Force, 105 Squadron.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 22 SEPTEMBER 1941

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Spitfire, 1 Sunderland. Departures 2 Wellington. 38 Squadron 3 Wellingtons attacked a liner.  5 Wellingtons attacked motor transport depots near Tripoli.  Sgt Secomb failed to return. 69 Squadron 1 Maryland patrol east Tunisian coast.  1 Maryland photoreconnaissance Catania, Gerbini, Comiso.  1 Maryland on search for a convoy. 105 Squadron 6 Blenheims attacked barrack blocks and fuel dumps at Homs. 107 Squadron 5 Blenheims attacked barrack blocks and fuel dumps at Misurata. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 4 Swordfish attacked convoy off Kuriat, firing two torpedoes hitting one merchant ship amidships and another in the bows.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  The Battalion was visited by a representative of the Times of Malta who took photographs and interviewed officers and men. He also watched various types of training going on in the Battalion.  Weapons training courses are underway: in time all ranks will have fired the rifle and also whichever automatic weapon they are most likely to use in battle.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 3 (2kg incendiary).

(1)  See also website: Les Francais Libres

 

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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in 1941, September 1941, Uncategorized

 

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25 September 1940: Bomb Disposal Squads Clear 32 UXBs

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RAF AND RAOC CLEAR AIR FIELDS

Bomb disposal teams from the RAF and RAOC have cleared 32 unexploded bombs (UXB) across the airfields of Hal Far and Luqa. The bombs were dropped in air raids on 15 and 17 September and have been cordoned off since then; none has exploded in that time   The RAF dealt with 13 UXBs within the aerodromes. RAOC officers Captain R L Jephson Jones and Lt W M Eastman RAOC with their staff of Royal Engineers concentrated on those outside the perimeter of the airfields.

The bombs all carried German Rheinmetal fuzes. Armed with information from Bomb Disposal Headquarters in the UK about these fuzes, the bomb disposal squads was decided that the majority of the bombs could be defuzed; the remainder were blown up. Once rendered harmless, some of the bombs were kept by the RAOC while the rest were collected by the Royal Navy and dumped at sea.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 25 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 26 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

1132-1219 hrs  Air raid alert for one formation of eight enemy Macchi 200 fighters which fly over the Island at 20000 feet. Three Hurricanes and two Gladiators are scrambled and engage the raiders in a dog fight at 22000 feet, shooting down one Macchi which crashes on land near a military defence post at Delimara, killing the pilot. The Fort reports incendiary bombs near the anti-aircraft searchlight half a mile away. Ack Ack guns also engage the enemy: one aircraft is believed damaged but is not seen to crash.  

Enemy casualties  Maresciallo Gino Lagi, 79th Squadriglia, 6th Gruppo, 1st Stormo, pilot of Macchi C200 shot down and died.

Narval Free French submarine joins Allied ops at Malta (1)

Narval Free French submarine joins Allied ops at Malta (1)

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  French submarine Narval sailed on first patrol under Free French colours. Rorqual sailed on patrol.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  CO expressed appreciation for work done by A and B Coys digging up unexploded bombs.

(1)  Expedition Scyllas

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Posted by on September 25, 2015 in 1940, September 1940

 

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