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14 September 1940: Malta’s Coastline Fortified Against Invasion

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HM Drifter Eddy under fire today

HM Drifter Eddy under fire today

OBSTACLES SET UP IN MALTA

A ring of obstacles is being set up along all vulnerable stretches of Malta’s coastline in a bid to deter invasion from the sea. The obstacles are pyramid blocks five feet high, made of concrete, each weighing one and a quarter tons and fitted with iron spikes. They are laid along the one-fathom line in two staggered rows with twenty feet between rows and also between each obstacle.

So far the installation of blocks has been completed in Mellieha Bay, St Thomas Bay, St Pauls Bay, Salina Bay, Caba Mistra and Marfa Peninsula Bays, and Ghain Tuffieha Bay north of Ghain Tuffieha Tower. Construction south of the Tower is underway but work has now ceased due to a lack of cement and deteriorating weather conditions.

TROOPS ORDERED TO REPORT UNKNOWN VESSELS

Troops manning the Island’s defence posts have been ordered to report the presence of any unknown vessels to the duty officer at their headquarters. To minimise mistakes in identity, all ranks are also required to familiarise themselves with Malta vessels which carry out inshore patrols. The orders follow a number of recent incidents of enemy vessels approaching the coast.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 14 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 15 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine at first, then unsettled and cloudy with thundery showers.

2023-2108 hrs  Air raid alerts for enemy aircraft approaching the Island from the east. Searchlights are active. One enemy bomber is sighted over Grand Harbour but when caught in a searchlight it is engaged by Bofors guns and turns away. Bombs are dropped out to sea off Ghallis Tower.

2103-2117 hrs  Air raid alert for enemy aircraft approaching from the north. One incendiary bomb is dropped on Delimara Point; one high explosive is dropped on land near a military defence post, and four more in the sea. Lewis guns at Fort San Rocco engage a dive bomber: no claims. Some twelve enemy aircraft open very inaccurate fire at long range on the inshore patrol vessel Eddy; no damage or casualties.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY Jade attacked and is believed to have sunk an enemy submarine 6 miles off Selmun Palace. The attack report suggested the target was a U boat.

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland. Departures 1 Sunderland.

KALAFRANA Two Sunderlands on patrol; one left for Alexandria and one arrived from there.

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Posted by on September 14, 2020 in 1940, September 1940

 

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13 June 1941: BBC Puts on Programme for Malta Troops

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BBC microphone picDEDICATED MESSAGE BROADCAST TO AID MORALE

The BBC is to introduce a special weekly message programme on its Empire Services network for troops serving in Malta. According to the War Office, the 20 minute programme will start next Wednesday 18 June at 7pm local time.  The BBC is expected to make an announcement on the Empire News shortly.  Malta’s Commander in Chief Lt Gen Dobbie has warmly welcomed the news.

11 ENEMY AIRCRAFT SHOT DOWN IN 24 HOURS

A total of 11 enemy aircraft were shot down by Malta’s defenders yesterday, it has been confirmed. Most of the engagements took place out across the sea in the direction of Sicily and the local alarm was not sounded.

Searches continued today for survivors of yesterday’s air battles. Fleet Air Arm Fulmars and power boats searched for pilot P/O R H Munro who has been missing since his Hurricane went down during a dogfight yesterday morning.  Wreckage of two aircraft was seen floating on the surface but there was no trace of the missing pilot.  Meanwhile enemy aircraft carried out searches throughout the day between Malta and Sicily for missing Italian airmen.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 13 JUNE TO DAWN 14 JUNE 1941

Weather  Hot and sunny.

No air raids.

Military casualties  Midshipman John Collis Creasey, RNR, HMS Jade.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 13 JUNE 1941

AIR HQ  Arrivals 2 Sunderland. Departures 1 Sunderland. 69 Squadron 4 Marylands on reconnaissance.

ARMY HQ Northern Infantry Brigade  A training exercise was held to test the defences of Imtarfa Hospital.

 

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Posted by on June 13, 2016 in 1941, June 1941

 

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12 June 1941: Enemy Fire on Rescue Missions Kills Naval Officer

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A Cant rescue flying boat was also attacked

A Cant rescue flying boat was also attacked

JADE ATTACKED DURING SEA RESCUE

Royal Navy trawler HMS Jade was attacked by two E boats in the early hours of the morning while she was on a mission to rescue a missing RAF pilot. Jade was sent out from Malta to search for Hurricane pilot P/O R Munro, whose aircraft crashed into the sea during a dogfight with Italian Macchi 200 raiders this morning.  She was 17 miles off the Sicilian coast when she encountered the E boats which both immediately fired torpedoes which just missed the trawler. Jade’s guns opened fire and a fierce gun battle followed with the E boats at close range, during which one of Jade’s crew was killed.  The trawler returned fire, constantly raking the E boats with machine-guns and damaging both, one seriously. The missing pilot was not found.

The encounter follows an incident earlier today when Hurricanes sent to intercept an enemy formation reported as approaching Malta fired on a red cross flying boat before seeing its identification markings. Once the pilots realised the situation they withdrew but the Cant aircraft was already ablaze and ditched in the sea. 

TROOPS PREPARE PLANS TO RECAPTURE TA QALI

New plans have been put in place recapture of Ta Qali should it fall into enemy hands following an enemy invasion. Malta’s Northern Infantry Brigade is responsible for the area and has issued orders to 4th Bn the Buffs for immediate action to recapture the aerodrome, the retention of which is vital for the defeat of any incursion.

Two areas of high ground overlooking the airfield are identified as key to its. Tal Virtu is marked out as the best strategic point from which to recapture these bluffs.  In the event of an enemy take-over, 4th Bn The Buffs are instructed to assemble in positions around Tal Virtu, with one platoon in Mdina, posted on the roof of a building or buildings from which fire can be brought to bear on any parachutists descending on the town itself.  The chief entrances to Mdina will be blocked, with the exception of the main gate which will be defended by infantry personnel.

REINFORCEMENTS AND SUPPLIES ARRIVE

HM Submarine Rorqual arrived in Malta today from Alexandria with urgent reinforcements and supplies. Three officers and 21 other ranks disembarked. Also unloaded were two tons of medical stores, 62 tons of aviation fuel (enough for 3 days) and 45 tons of kerosene.  147 bags of mail were also delivered.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 12 JUNE TO DAWN 13 JUNE 1941

Weather  Hot and sunny.

0925-0956 hrs Air raid alert for an enemy aircraft on reconnaissance over Grand Harbour, escorted by Macchi 200 fighters, which passes over Luqa and Hal Far before leaving to the south west. The raiders are heavily engaged by anti-aircraft fire which splits the formation. 18 Hurricane fighters are scrambled and engage and shoot down five enemy fighters into the sea.  Two Hurricanes also crash into the sea; P/O R Saunders is rescued, badly wounded.  The second, P/O R Munro, does not survive.  A third Hurricane is damaged on landing.

Noon  A formation of enemy aircraft is reported approaching the Island.  Hurricanes of 46 Squadron are scrambled and intercept.  They fire at a Cant flying boat before seeing that it is marked with red crosses, and evidently searching for casualties.  The Hurricanes immediately turn away but the flying boat catches fire and the crew bale out as it dives towards the sea.  In the ensuing dogfight four enemy fighters are confirmed destroyed.  One Hurricane crashes into the sea; the pilot Sgt N Walker is rescued. 

Evening  Another flying boat approaches the Island and is attacked and shot down by Hurricanes.

0220 hrs  While searching for the Hurricane pilot missing after this morning’s raid, HMS Jade is attacked by two E boats 17 miles south of Cape Passero, Sicily.  Both E boats fire torpedoes which miss Jade; a spirited encounter ensues at close range; one of Jade’s crew is killed by machine-gunfire. Jade returns fire, constantly raking the E boats with machine-guns and damaging both, one seriously.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Roich H McKenzie Munro, pilot, RAF, 249 Squadron.

Civilian casualties  Mosta  Mary Barberi, age 74.

Enemy casualties  Sottotenente Vittorio Bertoccini, pilot of CR 42 fighter, 74a Squadriglia, 23o Gruppo Autonomo.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 12 JUNE 1941

ROYAL NAVY  830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 6 Swordfish despatched to attack Tripoli Harbour and quays. Two returned with engine trouble; the remaining four dropped 2000lbs of high explosive bombs and 100lbs of incendiaries over Spanish Quay and buildings, starting several fires.  

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland. Departures 1 Sunderland. 69 Squadron 4 Marylands on reconnaissance.  One Sunderland en route to Malta from the Middle East attacked an Italian submarine 240 miles off Malta; the submarine crash-dived.

HAL FAR  One Fulmar force-landed in the sea; crew picked up safely and returned to Hal Far.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Vigorous training by parachutist-fighting platoons.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 1 (50kg).

 

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Posted by on June 12, 2016 in 1941, June 1941

 

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