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18 June 1941: Malta Submarine Stealth Missions in Med

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HMS Unbeaten

HMS Unbeaten

HMS UNBEATEN HAS NARROW ESCAPE

Submarine HMS Unbeaten has narrowly escaped destruction on her current patrol on the hunt for enemy convoys as part of Malta’s submarine flotilla. Unbeaten’s second war mission since arriving in the Mediterranean began a week ago, when she was despatched to patrol south of the Straits of Messina and the east coast of Sicily. 

Early on Monday morning Unbeaten sighted a significant Axis convoy including three merchant ships and a large liner acting as troop transport at the southern entrance to the Straits.  The submarine quickly closed on the convoy and her commander Lt E A Woodward ordered the attack.  Four torpedoes were fired at the transport ship, two were reported as on target. 

Seeing the torpedo tracks, an escorting Italian Cant aircraft dropped two bombs which just missed the submarine. Nine depth charges were then dropped towards Unbeaten and she dived rapidly to evade impact, remaining deep underwater for over two hours to avoid further attacks.  

Having continued her patrol, this morning Unbeaten received orders to intercept and attack a Vichy French destroyer heading south through the Straits of Messina towards Beirut.

MINES

Since 1st March (besides those previously reported) ten magnetic and thirteen acoustic mines have been detonated off Malta.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 JUNE TO DAWN 19 JUNE 1941

Weather  Hot and sunny.

0915-0929 hrs; 0959-1013 hrs  Air raid alert for fifteen enemy aircraft which approach to within 25 miles north of St Paul’s Bay. Nine Hurricanes are scrambled and the raiders recede north.  The all-clear sounds but the raiders turn south again and repeat their tactics but are driven off again.

1634-1706 hrs  Air raid alert for two formations of six and three Italian Macchi 200 fighters which approach the Island in the St Paul’s Bay area. Hurricane fighters are scrambled and intercept the second formation 20 miles north of Grand Harbour, shooting down one Macchi 200 and a second probable.  One Hurricane catches fire due to a Glycol leak and has to make a forced landing in the Mosta area.  The pilot Sgt Livingston bales out but too low for his parachute to open fully and he is killed.

2002 hrs  Six Blenheim bombers arrive.

2035 hrs  Four Blenheim bombers arrive.

0457-0502 hrs  Air raid alert caused by the approach of Wellingtons returning to base.

Military casualties  Sergeant Alexander Livingston, pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 261 Squadron.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 18 JUNE 1941

AIR HQ  Arrivals 10 Blenheim. Departures 2 Bombay. 69 Squadron 5 Marylands on reconnaissance.  F/Lt Warburton special operation in Beaufighter crashed on take-off; aircraft destroyed but crew unhurt.  82 Squadron Arrived Malta. 

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Senior Royal Artillery officers visited the Battalion to establish where Bofors and Light Anti-Aircraft guns might provide ground assistance.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 2.

 

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Posted by on June 18, 2016 in 1941, June 1941

 

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19 May 1941: Dobbie Confirmed as Malta Governor & Commander in Chief

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Lt Gen Sir William Dobbie

Lt Gen Sir William Dobbie

DUAL ROLE CONFIRMED ONE YEAR AFTER TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT

Lieutenant-General Sir William George Sheddon Dobbie, KCB, CMG, DSO, who has been acting as Governor and Commander in Chief (Officer Administering the Government) since 24 May 1940, has now been formally appointed to the post. In the words of British Prime Minister Churchill, General Dobbie is “a Cromwellian figure at the key point”. 

SH: the Maltese population will no doubt welcome this confirmed appointment. General Dobbie’s obvious concern for people, hit by the tragedy of war, endears him to the whole community.

KEROSENE RATIONS NOW ISSUED WEEKLY

New arrangements for kerosene rations (maltagc70 2 April 1941) are introduced from today.  Every family will hold a set of coupons indicating their entitlement.  For a family of three or less this will be ½ a gallon weekly, for four or five ¾ of a gallon, and from six to nine family members, one gallon.  The rationing scheme, which will operate on a weekly basis, will be operated by the Food Distribution Office, which oversees general rationing.  Coupons will be handed to the operators of the horse-drawn kerosene carts (operated by the Shell and Standard Companies) which make house to house deliveries.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 MAY TO DAWN 20 MAY 1941

Weather  Dull with slight rain and wind.

1702-1711 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

0405-0429 hrs  Air raid alert for four enemy aircraft which approach singly from the north west, diving in to drop bombs on Valletta, demolishing a church and 15 houses, blocking three streets and damaging a water main. Two civilians are killed and two others missing, two more are severely injured.  Bombs are also dropped on St Julian’s Bay.  Heavy anti-aircraft guns engage with three barrages; no claims.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 19 MAY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Unbeaten attacked a 5000 ton merchant vessel; probably scored a hit.

AIR HQ  69 Squadron 2 Marylands reconnaissance eastern Tunisian and Sicilian coast. Maryland reconnaissance Malta to Corfu to Zante.  Operations hampered by poor visibility due to mist haze.

4th Bn THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT REGIMENT)  Recreation week until 24 May: men of the Battalion visited the RAF, other units and the submarine base.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 6; dealt with 4 (2 x 50kg; 2 x 250kg).

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Battalion Parade at Ghain Tuffieha.

 

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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in 1941, May 1941

 

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