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1 April 1942: 148 aircraft bomb Malta – 9 ships hit – 62 killed

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Ruins of Franciscan Friary, Sliema 1942 (NWMA)

TWO BOMBS ON SLIEMA KILL 22

Teenager Charles Grech of Sliema was due to meet Fr Diego Galdes when he heard the air raid alarm.  Ignoring the advice of his friend to take cover, Charles set off towards the friary.  He froze when he saw a JU 88 bomber release its load, and two heavy bombs heading in his direction:

“I mumbled a quick Act of Contrition and clung to the corner of the block almost as if to stop the building from falling on top of me.  Then two huge deafening explosions and a tremendous blast flung me to the ground.  There was a cloud of dust and smoke.  Pieces of glass and wood were flying in all directions.  Balconies fell into the street and doors and windows were blown out to the opposite side of the road…The cuts I received from the glass soon brought me back to my senses.  I could not see further than five yards up the street, because of the thick dust cloud and the dense smoke and could not tell where the bombs had fallen… most probably, not more than a block away…I thought that they must have fallen pretty close to the church…[Father] told us that besides the church and the friary many other buildings had also been damaged and that there were dead and wounded everywhere.  I immediately thought of Fr Diego…” (1)

Fr Diego Galdes was killed when a bomb struck the Franciscan friary: he was one of 22 killed in Sliema, who also included Police Sergeant Michael Riviera.

ENEMY’S HEAVY LOSSES

During these 24 hours Heavy and Light Ack Ack destroyed five JU 87s and two JU 88s and one ME 109.  Aircraft destroyed two JU 88s, two JU 87s and two ME 109s; probably destroyed five JU 87s and damaged five JU 88s, one JU 87 and two ME 109s.  None of Malta’s aircraft are missing.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 1 APRIL TO DAWN 2 APRIL 1942

Weather  Wind southerly; no cloud.

0917 hrs  26 JU 88s and six ME 109 fighter bombers escorted by fighters approach the Island.

0955 hrs  23 JU 88s and fighter bombers attack Hal Far, dropping over 100 high explosive (HE) bombs and destroying one Albacore and damaging three plus a Swordfish, badly damaging four Hurricanes and slightly damaging another four.  Three vehicles are written off and two bowsers damaged.  Private C F Rowe, A Company, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt is killed while working on the airfield. Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery attack the enemy aircraft: no claims.

1005 hrs  Five JU 88s drop 50kg bombs on Safi strip, Mqabba area and south of Gudja village.  One unexploded bomb is reported on Safi.

1015 hrs  JU 88s dive-bomb Luqa aerodrome, cratering the runway.  Two airmen are slightly injured, one Transit Wellington and an ambulance damaged.

1030 hrs  Four ME 109s machine-gun positions of 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regt (KOMR) at Armier Bay, Torri L’Abjad.  They also fire on a Gozo boat in the South Comino Channel.  Seven men from E Company immediately man the bullet-ridden boat and, while enemy fighters were still overhead, they help the boat’s engineer put to sea to rescue one of the crew who had dived overboard during the attack.

1051 hrs  One JU 88 carries out reconnaissance of Grand Harbour.

1101 hrs  Six ME 109s raid Hal Far, dropping five 250kg and four 50kg bombs and causing craters on the aerodrome.  One Hurricane is written off.  One large bomb is dropped on Tal Liebru area, near Safi.

1315-1350 hrs  Four Spitfires take off from Luqa and intercept six ME 109s.  P/O Plagis damages one.

1437 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron attack two Messerschmitts and fifteen JU 88s.  F/O Nash and P/O Plagis both probably destroyed JU 88s and S/L Grant damaged one.  One Spitfire is damaged; F/O Lee is wounded in the foot.

1455 hrs  Guns of 225 LAA Bty engage JU 88s heading for Hal Far.

1500 hrs  Nine JU 88s drop dozens of HE bombs on Hal Far, causing craters on the aerodrome.  One airman is killed.

1510 hrs  Four guns of 225 LAA Bty engaged three ME 109s diving from 1500 to 300 feet.

1530 hrs  Nine JU 88s drop 65 high explosive bombs, including six 1000kg, across Grand Harbour and Marsamxetto.  Several houses are demolished in Valletta.  Bombs on Floriana hit Kingsgate, Sliema bus terminus, St Johns Ditch, Great Siege Road, Msida Bastion Quarters, Block B and Lintorn Barracks.  In Sliema the Convent of the Franciscan Minors is destroyed and adjacent churches badly damaged, killing two women and a child.  Nearby houses are also destroyed, killing 22 civilians.

1535 hrs  Two ME 109s attack Mellieha Camp of 1st Bn KOMR.

1555 hrs  Twenty JU 88s approach the Island, dropping bombs on Luqa and the Safi strips.

1630 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron intercept Messerschmitts and a Dornier 24.  P/O Plagis and Sgt Hesselyn destroy ME 109s; P/O Buchanan and S/L Grant damage ME 109s.

1711 hrs  A large formation of JU 88s, JU 87s and ME 109s are reported heading towards the Island.

1800 hrs  Five Spitfires 249 Squadron sight 25 JU 87s and many ME 109 fighters approaching Grand Harbour.  F/O Buchanan and P/O Nash destroy one JU 87 each and P/O Plagis and S/L Grant probably destroy one each.

1835 hrs  Seven Hurricanes 185 Squadron then approach at 8000 feet and join the attack.  Sgt Fletcher destroys one JU 87 and probably destroys another.  Sgt Pawley probably destroys one JU 87 and damages one JU 88.  Two Hurricanes are slightly damaged.  The remaining Stukas dive-bomb Grand Harbour, dropping 96 bombs of 250kg across the Dockyard and submarine base.

2000 hrs  30 JU 88s and JU 87s drop bombs on Hal Far, causing numerous craters on the aerodrome.  Three sticks of bombs fall on Safi strip and four on the Tal Liebru area.

Night  Total of 46 JU88s and Italian BR 20 aircraft raid the Island, of which 18 drop bombs.

2035 hrs  One bomb is dropped on the Ta Salib area.

2100 hrs  One Beaufighter takes off from Ta Qali on patrol over Malta.

2113 hrs  Two bombs land on the Tal Liebru area.

2120 hrs  One JU 88 is damaged by Ack Ack fire and is seen to drop into the sea.

2140 hrs  Two bombs fall in Wied Has-Saptan and eight on the Safi strip.

2225 hrs  One bomb lands on the San Christu Church area and one on Wied Has-Saptan; a stick of unexploded bombs is reported in the Nigret area.

2310 hrs  One bomb lands on the Nigret area and explodes, severely damaging the Togores Palace.

2354 hrs  The Beaufighter attacks and damages one JU 88 which counter-attacks, setting fire to the port engine of the Beaufighter.  The starboard engine stops but the aircraft lands safely at Ta Qali at 0015 hrs: crew unhurt.

0008 hrs  One stick of bombs is dropped on Ta Karach ridge.

0205 hrs  Three bombs land on the Tal Liebru area.

0420 hrs  All clear.

Military casualties  Able Seaman Henry Gunn, HMS Penelope; Thomas Lewis, Chargeman of Boilermakers, HMS Dockyard.  Corporal Ronald David, Leading Aircraftsman Michael Ellis, Leading Aircraftsman Stanley Hoskin, Leading Aircraftsman Albert Osborne, Corporal Joseph Pitt, Flight-Lieutenant Frederick Povey, Corporal Dennis Wills, all Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.  Gunner Thomas (Edgar) Burfield, Gunner Thomas Richardson, Lance-Bombardier John Scarborough-Taylor, Gunner Ernest Smith, all 4th HAA Regiment, Royal Artillery; Gunner Anthony Mifsud, 11th HAA Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.  Sapper Ronald Feltham and Sapper Clarence Weaver, 16 Fortress Company, Royal Engineers.  Corporal Fred Chappell, Sapper Evan Evans, Sapper Henry Hayes, Sapper William Leighton, Sapper Daniel Mizen, Sapper John Sandilands, all 173 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers.  Private Charles Rowe, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment; Lance-Corporal Charles Pearce, Corporal William Foote and Private Ernest French, 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment; Sapper Paul Psaila, Royal Engineers, Malta Territorial Force.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Edgar Zahra, age 3.  Balzan  Walter Farrugia, age 43.  Gzira  John Azzopardi, age 15; Ophelia Colombo, age 25; Concetta Mifsud Ellul, age 43; Mary Anne Miller, age 10.  Paola  Anthony Vassallo, age 22.  Sliema  Carmen Bates, age 6; Imelda Bates, age 5; George Bates, 9 mths; George Cassar, age 27; Vincenza Cassar, age 20; Censa Cauchi, age 80; Hilda Clarke, age 32; Ivy Clarke, age 5; Joseph Clarke, age 2; Albert Fava, age 1; Fr Diego Galdes, age 52; Alfred Gatt, age 50; Giulia Gatt, age 46; Rose Marie Gatt, age 4; Thomas Lewis, age 54; Lonza Micallef, age 50; Michael Riviera, age 40; Josephine Tabone, age 22; Antonia Tabone, age 7; Alfred Zammit, age 50; Marianna Zammit, age 45; Carmel Zammit, age 15.  Zebbug  Carmel Attard, age 50; Frances Attard, age 16.  Zejtun  Carmel Camilleri, age 18; Cristopher Caruana, age 77; Annunziato Desira, age 21; Louis Grech, age 31.

Enemy casualties  Unteroffizier Winfried Gunther, 8/StG 3, Pilot of a JU 87 Stuka shot down by Anti Aircraft fire.  He baled out into the sea, was rescued by a RAF Launch and taken prisoner.

P36 – a U class submarine

OPERATIONS REPORTS 1 APRIL 1942

 

ROYAL NAVY  During heavy air raid P36, Pandora and drifter Sunset were sunk.  Havock, Sokol, Swona, Girl Margaret and a number of small craft were damaged and Unbeaten was damaged while bottomed.  Talabot received one hit with a heavy bomb.  Submarine workshops were damaged.  One Albacore and one Swordfish at Hal Far were burned out.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Spitfires PRU, two Beaufighters, three Blenheims, one Sunderland, one Beaufort, one Hudson from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Wellington, four Hudsons, one Beaufort, one Sunderland to 108 MU.

LUQA  1045-1345 hrs  69 Squadron Spitfire Photo-reconnaissance (PR) Sicilian aerodromes.  2242-0607 hrs  One Wellington SD Flight Special Search with bombs. One destroyer sighted: bombs jettisoned.

TA QALI  Considerable work carried out on erection of pens for aircraft.  Large numbers of soldiers working on aerodrome and 42 men reported from Hal Far on attachment.  Hurricanes from Hal Far operating from Ta Qali.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT 0900 hrs  GOC speaks to the troops starting work on SS Pampas.  Work is hampered by lack of power for the winches – and air raids.  Private Camenzuli KOMR attached to us for training was killed by a bomb.

1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  Explosion of bombs on crashed JU 87 kills Cpl Foote, L/Cpl Pearce and Pte French, and wounds LCpl Bell and Pte Garrett.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  All Companies working on Ta Qali aerodrome during the day.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  During afternoon raid, the garage received a direct hit. Casualties: 173 Company – 6 killed; 24 Fortress Coy – 1 killed.  A further bomb fell at the rear of the Administrative Block, Lintorn Barracks.  UXB  Reported 23; dealt with 11 (3 x 500kg; 1 x 250kg; 7 x 50kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  1000 hrs  This unit takes over the Observation Post at Tal Minsia from 1 Cheshire Regt (now unloading convoy).

(1) From Raiders Passed: Wartime Recollections of a Maltese youngster, Charles B Grech (translated by Joseph Galea Debono), Midsea Books, Malta 1998

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of  use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2022 in 1942, April 1942

 

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31 March 1942: Enemy Objective – Neutralise Malta

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  • 20 alerts in the last 24 hours

    De Havilland Mosquito

  • Heavy raids at dusk: 150 high explosive bombs on Grand Harbour and Hal Far
  • Mosquito attacked on take-off
  • Army to help day and night unloading Pampas
  • Restricted bus service introduced

ENEMY OBJECTIVE: NEUTRALISE MALTA

“Since the arrival of the convoy dive bombing attacks on Grand Harbour and all the aerodromes have increased in intensity.  There has been an almost continuous battle between enemy dive bombers and Malta’s Ack Ack defence guns.  From time to time our fighters have taken part in this defence at heavy odds.  This month for the first time Spitfires have been operating from this Island.  Losses to the enemy have averaged about four aircraft shot down and six badly damaged daily.

The enemy has continued nuisance raids (ie sending single aircraft over at night) throughout the month although the number of aircraft over each night has been much greater.  Generally it can be said that the enemy this month has been making an enormous bombing effort against Malta with the object of neutralising the Island as a base for aircraft of all kinds and as a harbour.

On occasions it has appeared as if some of these attacks have been directed agains Heavy Ack Ack gun positions.  The enemy has suffered considerable losses and although great damage has been done to property and installations on the ground it would appear that he has not succeeded in his neutralisation; bombers and fighters still operate from Malta and the artillery defence has sustained little damage.”  (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 31 MARCH TO DAWN 1 APRIL 1942

Weather  Wind westerly; 100% cloud.

0831-1516 hrs  17 bombers approach singly and drop bombs from above the low cloud.  Only three aircraft drop bombs on land, on Gudja, Hamrun, Zabbar and Zonkor areas, and Valletta near Buttanici Corner.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages.  Messerschmitts continually patrol around the Island until 1516 hrs.

1015 hrs  A Mosquito of 69 Squadron is despatched from Luqa on photo-reconnaissance of Tripoli.   Immediately on take-off the pilot is instructed to pancake quickly.  As the Mosquito is slowing in the Luqa circuit, observer Sgt Pike spots two ME 109s.  At least one attacks, hitting the Mosquito in the port and starboard wings and in the rear of the fuselage.  The port wing catches fire and the pilot breaks cloud over Hal Far aerodrome.  Pilot P/O Kelly manages to make a belly-landing: he and Pike scramble out unhurt before the Mosquito burns out completely.

Two Hurricanes airborne from Hal Far are jumped by four ME 109s.  Sgt Broad gives the last of the MEs a short head-on burst and then goes into an evasive spin.  Sgt Steele fails to return.

1025 hrs  Four guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA) engage two ME 109s: no claims.

1030 hrs  Two guns of 225 LAA engage two ME 109s: no claims.

1200 hrs  A Company, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report an unexploded bomb 300 yards south of Nigret.

1543 hrs  Six bombers drop bombs in the sea near Grand Harbour and on Luqa, Siggiewi and Zonkor areas.

1705 hrs  Three bombs are dropped on Ta Karach ridge.

1715 hrs  One bomb is dropped on Bubaqra area.

1720 hrs  A single raider drops a stick of bombs between D Company, 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regiment and Ta Mehrla church.  First bomb of the stick fell very close to the Camp but did only superficial damage to stone billets.

1824 hrs  Three aircraft carry out a patrol to the north of the Island.

1925 hrs  38 aircraft approach from the north.  Malta’s fighters engage.  Searchlights are illuminated 35 times and Heavy Ack Ack engage.  One JU 88 is destroyed by Light Ack Ack.  13 JU 88s drop 52 high explosive bombs of 250kg and 500kg on Grand Harbour, Msida, Gzira and Hamrun.  Bombs on the Dockyard cause severe damage to electric and telephone cables, gas and water mains, and the roadway east of No 3 Dock. Bombs on Hamilton Wharf, destroy the crane track, and 2/3 Dock Pumping Station discharge.  The majority of telephone lines in Dockyard are put out of action.

1940 hrs  Four Hurricanes 185 Squadron, Hal Far, are scrambled to intercept six plus JU 88s.  P/O Ormrod probably destroys one JU 88 and Sgt Eastman scores hits on another.  P/O Wigley attacks a third: no strikes observed.  Three Hurricanes land at Ta Qali, one at Luqa.

1945 hrs  One stick of bombs lands on the Bubaqra area and others around Misrah Blandun area.  Five bombs land near Hagiar Qim battery of 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regt.

1950 hrs  All guns of 225 LAA Battery engage numerous JU 88s attacking Hal Far.  Hits are claimed and observed on several enemy aircraft but exact estimate of damage prevented by failing light.

1953 hrs  A stick of bombs lands near Ta Mehrla Church.

1956 hrs  Twenty plus JU 88s dive-bomb Hal Far, each dropping two 250kg and two 500kg HE bombs.  One Albacore and one Swordfish are burned out; one hangar is damaged by fire.

2005 hrs  Gun position L22 of 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt expends five magazines at an enemy aircraft dropping bombs nearby.

2035 hrs  All clear.

2204 hrs  One aircraft drops bombs in the Qrendi area.

2215 hrs  A stick of bombs falls between Guarena and HQ Coy, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment.

2320 hrs  One aircraft drops bombs on rocks near Benghaisa Point.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Archibald Steele, Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 185 Squadron.

Civilian casualties  Hamrun  Elizabeth Casha, age 18; Annie Casha, age 17; M’Anna Micallef, age 45; Emanuela Micallef, age 3.  Zabbar  Antonia Muscat, age 33.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 31 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Pandora arrived from Gibraltar to join First Submarine Flotilla and discharged kerosene at Marsaxlokk.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Four Hudsons, one Beaufort, one Wellington from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Gambut. Departures  Three Beauforts, two Beaufighters, one Blenheim, one Hudson, one Wellington to 108 MU; one Beaufighter to Heliopolis; one Lodestar to Gambut.

LUQA  2217-0042 hrs  One Wellington Transit Flight ASF attacked Catania aerodrome.

TA QALI  Spitfires operating from Luqa: no combats.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT 0930 hrs  Battalion training exercise started late due to rain.  Held in Birzebbugia.  1430 hrs  All Companies on weekly cross country run.  2030 hrs  Special orders: the Battalion is to unload SS Pampas; 90 men at a time to work day and night from 0900 hrs 1st April.

1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  Strengths:  37 Officers; 827 Other Ranks; 5 RAOC (attached).

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Strength: 34 Officers; 652 Other Ranks.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Disposition of Battalion: A Company (Coy) Ta Karceppu; B Coy & HQ Coy Ta Salvatur; C Coy Ta Hasluk; D Coy Tal Providence.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  0600 hrs  GOC visit Battalion HQ during Battalion Scheme.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  During the month a number of unexploded bombs fell in the Bn area; the majority turned out to be delayed action bombs.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 8; dealt with 4 (3 x 50kg; 1 x 500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

(1) War Diary, Southern Infantry Brigade, Malta – March 1942

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Posted by on March 31, 2022 in 1942, March 1942

 

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29 March 1942: Malta Must Be Sustained At All Costs Says London

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MOST DRASTIC STEPS JUSTIFIED

From: Chiefs of Staff, War Office, London  To: Commander in Chief, Middle East

Our view is that Malta is of such importance both as an air staging post and as an impediment to enemy reinforcement route that the most drastic steps are justifiable to sustain it. Even if Axis maintain their present scale of attack on Malta, thus reducing its value, it will continue to be of great importance to the war as a whole by containing important enemy forces during critical months.”

Spitfires over Malta (1)

SPITFIRE FLIGHT DOUBLED

Seven new Spitfires landed in Malta today, more than doubling the fighter flight.  After four days of intense raids, only five serviceable aircraft are available for the air defence of the Islands.  Ground crews have been collecting every serviceable part from damaged planes to restore other machines to flying standard.  Fighter command has resorted to using fake radio transmissions, to fool the enemy into believing there are extra fighters in the air to intercept incoming raids.

AURORA & AVONVALE EVACUATED

As a result of heavy and incessant attacks on the Dockyard it was decided that any ships which could steam and were not required in Malta should be evacuated at the first opportunity.  Aurora, though her refit was not completed, and Avonvale, who had been patched after collision and bomb damage, were sailed for Gibraltar as soon as darkness fell this evening.  Both ships arrived safely.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 29 MARCH TO DAWN 30 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind south westerly; cloud and rain – visibility poor.

Throughout the day a series of single enemy aircraft approach the Island and drop bombs from above cloud level on several areas including Hal Far, Gzira and Tigne.

0724 hrs; 0925 hrs  One enemy aircraft each time approaches from the north but does not cross the coast.

0940-0948 hrs  A single enemy aircraft approaches Grand Harbour and then recedes.

1205 hrs  One JU 88 drops bombs on Ta Karach ridge.

1230 hrs  P/O Peck (Ta Qali squadron) attacks and scores strikes on a JU 88: claimed as damaged.

1351-1402 hrs  One enemy aircraft approaches from the north east but recedes before crossing the coast.

1402 hrs  3rd Bn D Company, Kings Own Malta Regiment reports one unexploded bomb in No 16 Platoon Billet and two more near Bofors position 100 yards south of D Company HQ.  The Royal Engineers (RE) Bomb Disposal Officer attends and the bomb, a 250kg high explosive, is dealt with immediately.

1435 hrs  Bombs fall at Ta Mehrla church but do not explode:  8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regiment report them to RE Bomb Disposal Section who begin digging for two buried bombs immediately.

1750 hrs  Bombs fall on an area north of Bluebell Troop, 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt.

2039-2225 hrs  A series of single enemy aircraft drop bombs from above the cloud on various locations on land, damaging houses, and in the sea.  Malta’s fighters seriously damage one JU 88; Heavy Ack Ack probably destroy another.

Night 29/30th  No raids during the night.

Military casualties  Able Seaman Joseph Yandle, HMS Dulverton; Lance-Corporal Thomas Eaton, 8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment; Private Charles Patten, 8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment; Private John Farrington, 8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 29 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  2000 hrs  Aurora and Avonvale sailed for Gibraltar.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Seven Spitfires, seven Beaufighters, seven Wellingtons, three Blenheims, two Beauforts from Gibraltar.

LUQA  2020-0430 hrs  One Wellington S/D flight special search.

TA QALI  Spitfires operating from Luqa.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  National Day of Prayer.  All Companies on church parade.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  The following officers were killed by enemy action: LL/Cpl t Eaton; Private J Farrington; Private C Patten.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 4; dealt with 2 (1 x 50kg, 1 x 250kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed.  For conditions of  use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2022 in 1942, March 1942

 

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24 March 1942: Mass Raids on Grand Harbour Surpass Illustrious Blitz

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  • Raids target convoy ships in harbour
  • Weight of bombs double the Illustrious Blitz
  • Raids continuous from noon onwards
  • Bomb on air raid shelter at Hal Far kills RAF personnel
  • 23 military casualties 33 civilian – 23 in Kalkara
  • 28 Stukas dive-bomb Hal Far
  • Smoke-screens protect Breconshire from repeated attacks

FAMILY TRAGEDY AT KALKARA

During ferocious attacks on the convoy ships in Grand Harbour today, one family in the village of Kalkara was almost completely wiped out when a bomb fell on their home, bursting the gas and water mains supplying nearby Bighi Royal Naval Hospital. Gas seeped into the basement shelter where Mary Coster, her mother and aunt together with other younger members of the family had taken refuge. The whole family was overcome with the fumes and collapsed, drowning in the water which was pouring into the shelter from the fractured water main.

Hearing what had happened, Mary’s son Joseph rushed down to the house from Bighi Hospital, where he worked with his brother Augustus. Descending into the shelter Joseph was overcome by the gas. Augustus who followed him down, together with a cousin, shared the same fate.  Only their other brother Thomas survives, having remained in Mosta where his mother and siblings had been refugees up to a few days ago.  The family had only returned to Kalkara because of a catastrophic air raid on Mosta. 

Thomas Coster is now the sole survivor of a family wiped out by enemy action on Malta in two world wars.  His father, Alfred Coster, lost his life when HMS Russell was mined outside Grand Harbour on 27 April, 1916 as it returned from the Dardanelles campaign. Alfred’s two brothers had died at the Battle of Jutland some weeks later. (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 MARCH TO DAWN 25 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind north east; 30% medium cloud.

HMS Kingston: a target at Dockyard mooring

0623-0657 hrs  One aircraft passes four miles to the east of the Island and then recedes.  Malta’s fighters are up; no engagement.

0705-0731 hrs  Two aircraft pass over the Island.  Malta’s fighters are up; no engagement.

1015-1052 hrs   Two ME 109 fighter bombers approach the Island from the north.  Malta’s fighters shoot them both down.

1115-1126 hrs  Three aircraft approach the Island from the north without crossing the coast, then recede.

1141 hrs  One JU 88 drops bombs in the sea off Zonkor.

1200 hrs  Six ME 109s drop 12 high explosive (HE) bombs on the Hal Far, Mqabba and Luqa runway (still serviceable).  One bomb drops on the Safi strip, another to the west of Gudja village.

1230 hrs  Fifteen JU 88s in two waves drop thirty 500kg and thirty 250kg HE bombs in the Grand Harbour area, the Quartermaster’s Office, lavatories and D/C stations on St Angelo jetty are hit, a diesel launch and other boats at St Angelo are damaged.  Two large craters are blown on the east side of No 5 Dock; fresh, salt, hydraulic and air lines are fractured.  Unexploded bombs are reported in No 6 Sub Generating Station, No 2 Gun Mounting Store and No 1 Boiler Shop – suspected to be delayed-action.

1344 hrs  Eighteen JU 88s drop over fifty 250kg and 500kg HE bombs from St Julians across Grand Harbour to Tarxien.  Unexploded bombs are reported after the raid, probably delayed-action.  Bombs on the Lyceum Air Raid Precautions Centre kill five and injure five.  Private Edwards, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt is killed on leave in Valletta.  Privates Mace and Greshem, HQ Company, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt are slightly injured in Tarxien.

1439 hrs  An air raid on Hal Far by four ME 109s leaves craters on the dispersal area.

1510 hrs  28 JU 87 Stukas carry out a mass dive-bombing attack on Hal Far aerodrome, dropping 84 high explosive bombs of 250kg and 500kg across the airfield.  Bombs demolish the naval wing of the Officers’ Mess and a barrack block and extensively damage other buildings.  Four vehicles and one trailer are written off.  Six airmen, three soldiers and two civilians are killed.  Private Stockhall (1) and Private Channon, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt were among them, killed while on a working party on the airfield.  Twelve airmen, three Fleet Air Arm, one Malta Auxiliary and two labourers are reported missing. Two RAF officers and one civilian are injured.

1510 hrs  Ack Ack and light machine guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA) engage the Stukas, claiming numerous hits, but smoke pall renders observation difficult.  Official report states two JU 87s destroyed.  F/L Johnston from Ta Qali damages one JU 87 but his aircraft is damaged by ME 109s on landing at 1525 hrs.

1520 hrs  Guns of 225 LAA engage two ME 109s: one hit claimed.

1624 hrs  Evening rescue search.

1700 hrs  Four Hurricanes from Hal Far are airborne to intercept eight JU 88s, scoring hits on at least three of them and causing many to jettison their bombs.

1710 hrs  Six JU 88s escorted by ME 109s attack Hal Far, Safi and Gudja, dropping bombs near barrack buildings.  Several unexploded bombs are reported in the Safi area.

1715 hrs  Guns of 225 LAA engage four JU 88s: four hits claimed on two.  The engagement has to be broken off as friendly fighters intercept the enemy aircraft.

1759 hrs  Enemy raiders attack Grand Harbour, Valletta and Floriana. The Palace and Custom House and Combined War Headquarters, Lascaris Barracks are hit by high explosive bombs.  GSO1 Col A D Clinch is killed and CSO wounded.

2230-2345 hrs  An unknown number of enemy aircraft drop a few bombs on Luqa aerodrome and Safi strip.  One delivery Beaufighter and one delivery Blenheim are seriously damaged.

Night 24/25th  Visibility deteriorates.  The enemy drops flares over Grand Harbour and Heavy Ack Ack are active.

Military casualties  Air Mechanic George Honey, Royal Navy, HMS St.Angelo; AM 1 J Kershaw, Fleet Air Arm, HMS St.Angelo; Ordinary Seaman George Smailes, HMS Dulverton.

Aircraftsman George Baines, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR); Aircraftsman II Alexander Campbell, RAFVR, 185 Squadron; Aircraftsman Walter Fisher, Royal Air Force RAFVR; Leading Aircraftsman Henry Gallichan, RAFVR, 185 Squadron; Corporal Reginald Haslam, RAFVR, 185 Squadron; Leading Aircraftsman James Haynes, RAFVR, 185 Squadron; Corporal Harry Kin, RAFVR, Kalafrana; Aircraftsman Edward Lee, RAFVR, 185 Squadron; Leading Aircraftsman Gerald Leverington, RAFVR; Aircraftsman Arnold Manchip, RAFVR, 186 Squadron; Leading Aircraftsman Leslie Quinn, RAFVR; Leading Aircraftsman Eugenio Scicluna, RAFVR; Aircraftsman William Titherington, RAFVR; Leading Aircraftsman Clifford Turpin, RAFVR, 185 Squadron; Leading Aircraftsman Alexander Webb, RAFVR, Aircraftsman W. Whatmore, RAFVR; Corporal Alan Woodman, Royal Air Force.

Colonel Andrew Clinch, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry; Private Leonard Channon, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment; Private William Stockhall, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment (2); Private Anthony Micallef, King’s Own Malta Regiment, died whilst on duty at Hal Far; Driver Vincent Micallef, Malta Auxiliary Corps.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Paul Borg, age 17; Louis Sacco, age 60.  Birzebbugia  John Callus, age 49.  Hamrun  Joseph Grixti, age 51.  Kalkara  Joseph Bartolo, age 18; Anthony Busuttil, age 16; Joseph Camilleri, age 45; Filomena Coster, age 54; Mary Coster, age 48; Gustu Coster, age 30; Joseph Coster, age 26; Stella Gauci, age 12; Manuel Gauci, age 9; Rokku Gauci, age 2; Grezzja Hili, age 44; Concetta Hili, age 20; Pauline Hili, age 12; John Hili, age 4; Mary Micallef, age 31; Samuel Micallef, age 10; Toni Micallef, age 9; Carmela Mintoff, age 80; Josephine Mintoff, age 48; Marina Stivala, age 62; Spira Vella, age 70; Michael Ventura; age 75.  Angelica Ventura, age 66; Luqa  Alexander Bonnici; age 36.  Mosta  Luigi Calleja, age 75.  Paola  Toussaints Aquilina, age 17.  Rabat  Mary Adami, age 6.  Valletta  Joseph Mifsud, age 47.  Zabbar  Katie Cardona, age 50.

Enemy casualties  Hans Bretschneider, III/StG 3, pilot, and Ferdinand Burger, III/StG 3, crewman of JU 87 Stuka aircraft shot down by Anti Aircraft fire.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: TUESDAY 24 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Three Albacores left to attack one cruiser and three destroyers 098 degrees Syracuse 67′ but were unable to attack owing to bad visibility.  Heavy bombing attacks but nothing very serious in the way of damage.  Southwold mined and sunk while patrolling BreconshireNight 24/25th  Breconshire towed by tugs Ancient and Robust to Marsaxlokk.  Secured No 1 buoy at 1045/25.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Seven Beaufighters, five Wellingtons, four Blenheims from Gibraltar.

HAL FAR  PM One Swordfish on search for units of the Italian navy.  Three Albacores despatched to attack units of the Italian navy. Which were located at 0340 hrs: one cruiser, three destroyers at 098 degrees, 67 miles course 330 at 25 knots.  Flares are dropped but aircraft are unable to see ships owing to bad visilibity.

LUQA  1025-1248 hrs  One Photo Reconnaissance (PR) Unit Spitfire 69 Squadron despatched on PR of Messina and Palermo Harbours and Sicilian aerodromes.  No photos taken owing to cloud.

TA QALI  249 Squadron operating from Luqa.  1100 hrs  Salvage and repair work proceeds.

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Private Mace and Private Gresham, HQ Company, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt slightly injured by bombs at Tarxien.  Private Edwards, HQ Coy 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt killed on leave in Valletta.  Private Stockhall and Private Channon, A Company, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt killed on working party. (2)

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  All Companies on route march.  Heavy bomb direct hit on HQ Company cook house: no casualties.  70 JU 88s; 30 JU 87s.  Bombs on War HQ: GSO1 killed.  Bombs on Hornworks.  CO s car and lorries written off.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Training exercise for officers by CO.  SSO1 Col Clinch is killed by a bomb.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  1000 hrs  3″ mortar shoot near Fort Ta Silch.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Anniversary of the formation of 96th Foot, The Manchester Regiment: observed as a holiday.  Message from Brigade wishes the unit a happy birthday.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2.

(1)  Thanks to Joseph and Mary Galea Debono.

(2) “My Great Uncle, William Stockhall, a Private in the second batallion Devonshire Regiment, died in Malta on 24 March 1942. [maltagc70] is a wonderful way for my family to understand what he went though in his final days and to honour his contribution.”  Anne Wright, Victoria, Australia.

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18 March 1942: Three Hour Battle Over Malta – Blow by Blow Account

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  • 12 raids in 16½ hours
  • Aerodromes main target
  • Gozo passenger boat machine-gunned
  • Fighters prowl Malta’s coasts

‘Buck’ McNair (Canadian Aces)(1)

MALTA ADOPTS BATTLE OF BRITAIN TACTICS

“The Malta pilots quickly adapted Battle of Britain tactics to their situation under the tutelage of SL Turner. What Spitfires that could get airborne would try to attack the escorts first while the Hurricanes would come in just behind them and try to get at the bombers. This didn’t often work out, due to the overabundance of 109s in the air. However, on March 18 Buck damaged a Bf-109, and the next day he shot one down in flames.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 MARCH TO DAWN 19 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind south west; no cloud.

0727-0845 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by sixteen ME 109s drops bombs in the sea west of Anchor Bay, on land near Torri L’Abjad and near Miziep Pumping Station.  Four ME 109s peel off and machine-gun Marfa Beach, firing on the Gozo ferry boat disembarking at Marfa Jetty and injuring three passengers. ME 109s go on to carry out low-flying patrols around the coast.

0855-1216 hrs  Six ME 109s circle the Island, three patrol off the south east coast and three ME 109s patrol off Delimara.  Four ME 109s patrol to the south of the Island and two in the north.  Malta’s fighters engage.

1230-1308 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are  airborne to escort a Maryland south.  While still trying to locate it they see two of the patrolling ME 109s, five miles south of Delimara.  They attack: W/Cdr Turner damages one; P/O McNair damages one.

1326-1400 hrs  ME 109s patrol off the coast and to the north of the Island.

1430 hrs  Five Hurricanes 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept an incoming formation of one JU 88 and twelve ME 109s.

1447 hrs  The Hurricanes attack and together damage a JU 88.  P/O Lester is shot up by a ME 109 and wounded.

1645 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron, four Hurricanes 126 Squadron and seven 185 Squadron are airborne to intercept 24 JU 88 bombers in a series of formations, each with fighter escort.

1650 hrs  The four Spitfires are jumped by four ME 109s. One ME shoots down P/O Fox who bales out over the sea.  F/Lt McQueen attacks the ME and sees that go down into the sea.  P/O Sergeant attacks another ME, observing large pieces falling off.  P/O Lee attacks a JU 88, seeing strikes on the fuselage and black smoke from the port engine.

The Hurricanes close to within sight of the attacks.  F/Sgt Fletcher and F/Lt Stone see hits on the same JU 88 attacked by P/O Lee.

1711 hrs  Air raid on Hal Far.  Five JU 88s drop fifteen high explosive (HE) bombs, including three 1000kg.  Eight fall on the airfield.

1715 hrs  225 Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA) engage three JU 88s: one hit claimed.

1717 hrs  Three JU 88s drop 14 HE bombs including three 1000kg on Safi strip, and on Hal Far, damaging one Albacore, demolishing a hangar and leaving craters on the aerodrome.

1725 hrs  One gun of 225 LAA engages a JU 88: no claim. 

1725 hrs  One 1000kg bomb falls on Bubaqra village, damaging headquarters of A Company, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regt and injuring the storeman.  An unexploded 500kg bomb is discovered 50 yards away.  B Company reports one fighter in the sea near Filfla.

1730 hrs  One gun of 225 LAA engages one JU 88: no claim.

1735 hrs  Guns of 225 LAA engage one JU 88: two guns claim one hit each.  One of the gun positions is hit:  billets are damaged and rendered unserviceable.  Personnel have to be accommodated temporarily in tents.

1735 hrs  Three JU 88s drop bombs on Misrah Blandun area.

1755 hrs  Four bombs explode between the headquarters of B and D Companies, 3 Bn Kings Own Malta Regt (KOMR).  One 1000kg bomb is reported near RAF posts at Ghar Lapsi.  An unexploded bomb is reported at position 424193.

1755 hrs  Fighter aircraft return to Ta Qali but Sgt Mulloy and P/O Lester are reported missing.

1810 hrs  Three Spitfires 249 Squadron airborne to escort the High Speed Launch in a search for P/O Lester.

1830 hrs  Seven JU 88s raid Ta Qali, dropping 45 high explosive bombs.  24 hit target, setting fire to and destroying two Hurricanes, one bowser and one tractor.  Bombs fall on the runway and the aerodrome is unserviceable for a short time.  One Hurricane and one Spitfire are slightly damaged.  LAC Parker is admitted to No 90 General Hospital with severe shock.

Several bombs fall around the camp of 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regt and on Qrendi strip.  One bomb explodes close to the HQ building. The guard commander is affected by bomb blast and taken to hospital suffering from concussion.

1845 hrs  Four JU 88s drop HE bombs on Luqa airfield.

1900 hrs  P/O Sergeant 249 Squadron attacks a ME 109 with several bursts: the aircraft dives steeply towards the sea, emitting white smoke.

1909 hrs  Raiders passed.

1955 hrs  An observer of 3rd Bn KOMR at Ghar Lapsi sights a bomber in the sea West of Filfla, one fighter south east of Filfla and another fighter south of Filfla.

P/O Lester is rescued by the High Speed Launch.

2235-2300 hrs  One enemy aircraft crosses the coast near St George’s and drops bombs on Birkirkara and Tal Qroqq.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2355-0127 hrs  Eight single aircraft approach from the north.  Four cross the coast and bomb searchlight positions at Tal Balal and Mellieha, and in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack engage; one night fighter is airborne.

Military casualties  Flight Sergeant Arthur Delehaunt, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR), 69 Squadron; Sergeant William Anderson, Royal Australian Air Force; Pilot Officer Harold Fox, Royal Air Force VR, 249 Squadron; Sergeant Robert Grimley, Royal Australian Air Force; Sergeant George Mulloy, Royal Air Force VR, 126 Squadron; Sergeant Graham Parker, Royal Australian Air Force.

Civilian casualties  St Paul’s Bay  Carmela Muscat, age 72; Francis Muscat, age 14.

Enemy casualties  Leutnant Kurt Lauinger, III/JG 53, Pilot of Messerschmitt Bf 109, shot down, picked up from the sea and taken prisoner.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Two Swordfish and two Albacores on shipping search without result.  One Swordfish crashed on landing; crew unhurt.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Three Blenheims from Gibraltar.

HAL FAR  AM  Two Swordfish and four Albacores of 828 and 830 Squadron on shipping search.  Two merchant vessels and two destroyers sighted 180 degrees Lampedusa 45 miles, course north, 15 knots.  One hit scored.

LUQA  0825-1256 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron special search for shipping: relocation of convoy and traffic moving east from Tripoli.  1434 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron despatched on reconnaissance of Marittimo-Kerkennah.  Sgt Parker fails to return.  One Maryland on reconnaissance Marittimo-Kerkennah failed to return: believed shot down by enemy fighters off Filfla.  Crew: Sgts Parker, Delehaunt, Grimley and Anderson airborne 1434 hrs.

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  One man A Company Kings Own Malta Regiment slightly injured by [1000kg bomb] in Bubaqra village; one Other Rank slightly injured by bomb blast.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Working party two Officers and 100 Other Ranks at Luqa.  1400 hrs  30 Other Ranks final parachute practice on Marsa Range. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 16-20 March 35 (average 7 per day).

(1) Profile of Robert Wendell ‘Buck’ McNair from Canadian Aces (Miles Constable)

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15 March 1942: Hell on Sunday – 1800kg Satan Bombs on Valletta

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MASSIVE BOMBS ON VALLETTA AS HEAVY RAIDS RETURN TO THE CAPITAL

German 1800kg ‘Satan’ Bomb (NWMA Malta)

Mass bombing returns to Malta today as the enemy responds to the recent success of Spitfires against their raiders.  The city of Valletta became a specific target for the first time this year.  The Luftwaffe chose the heaviest bomb carried by Junkers aircraft for their mission:  the two-ton ‘Satan’.  In five raids on the capital, German bombers dropped over 15000 kg of high explosive bombs on the streets, killing twelve civilians and one serviceman on leave.

Observers report that the number of aircraft in each raid has risen significantly.  Fighter escorts have increased in size, to outnumber the Island’s modest Spitfire force and overcome their recent success rate.

DOCKYARD APPRENTICE FINDS GIANT BOMB

“I was then a 16 years old Dockyard apprentice and Sunday was the only full day off from where I worked… It was a sunny morning and I was outside my home…A detachment of Infantry troops on a route march were coming down the road a short distance away. Suddenly everything erupted all at once. Wailing sirens, dispersing troops and heavy and intense gunfire. Like a second instinct we all dashed to take cover . As usual I was always one of the last to enter the shelter staying at the entrance to see what was going on.

Almost immediately, out of the din, the screaming crescendo of a diving plane filled our ears and, as the noise began to fade, suddenly a loud ”shuuuttle-sshee-shuuuttle ”- the unmistakable and sinister shuttling  noise of a falling bomb. I ducked inside the shelter as far as I was able waiting for the usual shattering explosion and the trembling of the ground under our feet.  But nothing happened.  Another five minutes or so went by and still nothing happened. It was becoming clear that a bomb had come down and had not exploded.

As soon as the noise of gunfire and diving planes had subsided and without waiting for the All Clear sirens, I emerged from the shelter and ran along Zabbar Road to where I thought the bomb had fallen, assuming, with good reason, that the bomb was aimed at the detachment of troops as they marched along the road…I spotted something embedded in the ground right in the middle of the road… a large bomb was clearly visible close to the surface and painted a bluish colour…

Gingerly, and apprehensively with my curiosity overcoming fear I moved nearer for a closer look. It was then that the stark and ominous reality suddenly dawned on me. For a fleeting moment, aghast and transported into a different dimension, I nearly froze rivetted to the spot. What was I doing here so close to this hellish object? Have I taken leave of my senses?  I could be blown to bits in a fraction of a second!

I retreated, hurriedly breaking into a run towards the shelter pointing behind me and shouting at the top of my voice ”Unexploded bomb; unexploded bomb’ and in Maltese,”Emm bomba ma splodiet’ to some of the men now cautiously emerging from the shelter… ”   Joseph V Stephens, 2012

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 MARCH TO DAWN 16 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind variable; cloudy at times – deteriorated during the day.

0713-0732 hrs  Two ME 109s approach the Island but do not cross the coast.

0818-0905 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by ten ME 109s approach from the north.  Two JU 88s drop 250kg and 500kg bombs on Ta Minsia and St Julians area.  One JU 88 recedes.

0932-1005 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by five ME 109s drops an 1800kg bomb to the west of Zabbar.

Four Hurricanes of 605 Squadron (all armed with machine guns) are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft.  P/O Noble engages a ME 109: strikes observed.  P/O Wigley attacks another ME 109: results not observed.

1020 hrs  Four JU 88s escorted by 24 fighters approach the Island.  One JU 88 drops an 1800kg bomb on Valletta.  The other three drop 250kg and 500kg bombs on Valletta and Qrendi strip.  Malta’s fighters are airborne and engage.

1045 hrs  Three Hurricanes of 242 Squadron are scrambled.  Sgt Boyd attacks a JU 88 twice but sees no results.  C Coy, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report a stick of bombs in area: three men are slightly hurt.

1100 hrs  A bomb explodes in Francis Street, Valletta: suspect delayed-action.

1130 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa.  They are attacked by three ME 109s.  F/L Heppell sees cannon strikes on the fuselage of one ME which is then lost in cloud.  All Spitfires return safely to Luqa.

1135 hrs  All clear.  Three Hurricanes 242 Squadron return to Ta Qali.

1205-1255 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by fifteen ME 109s drop 250kg and 500kg bombs near Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and damage one engine of a JU 88.

1220 hrs  Three JU 88s drop 500kg bombs from below cloud level between headquarters of 8t Bn Kings Own Royal Regiment (Ta Qandia quarries) and C Company at Ta Hasluk.  Kings Own Malta Regiment report a stick of bombs near Wied Babu.

1319-1438 hrs  Four JU 88s escorted by nine ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Zabbar, Latnia and Rinella.  Four Spitfires engage.

1421 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by ME 109s approaches from the north.  Seven Hurricanes and three Spitfires are airborne but do not engage.  The JU 88 drops a 1800kg bomb on Valletta.

1515 hrs  A bomb explodes in Ursula Street, Valletta; suspect delayed-action.

1517 hrs  Three JU 88s and two ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Zabbar and Zonqor areas.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

Four Hurricanes of 185 Squadron at Hal Far take off to intercept incoming enemy aircraft.

1538 hrs  Three JU 88s accompanied by 25 ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Hal Far and in the sea.  The Hurricanes attack a JU 88: hits are observed on the tail and fuselage.

1545 hrs  Bombs area Della Grazia – Rinella-Maria Tas Silch.

1555 hrs  All clear.

1619-1657 hrs  Seven unidentified aircraft approach above the clouds.  Heavy Ack Ack engage with two barrages.

1715 hrs  W/C Satchell leads four Hurricanes from Ta Qali which join up with four from Hal Far; one returns early.  W/C Satchell attacks a JU 88: strikes are observed on the wing.  The same aircraft is fired on by two other Hurricanes.  W/C Satchell becomes separated from the formation and has a dog fight with a Messerschmitt.  He shoots off the tail of the enemy aircraft: claims destroyed.

1732-1820 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by ME 109s drop bombs on Hal Far. Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage; no claims.

1931-2045 hrs  Two aircraft drop bombs on Gozo and in the sea.  Ack Ack engage.

2122-2140 hrs  One aircraft drops bombs in the sea.  Ack Ack do not engage.

2354-0018 hrs  One aircraft approaches and recedes when still 15 miles north of the Island.

0028-0058 hrs  Three aircraft approach; bombs are dropped to the north of Zabbar and in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

Military casualties  Private Dominic Mifsud, King’s Own Malta Regiment, died whilst on leave in Valletta. Leading Aircraftsman Stanley Leavesley, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Salvu Borg, age 20.  Sliema  Polly Cannataci, age 26.  St Julians  Christopher Butler, age 21 months, (son of Capt Butler, 2nd Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment).  Valletta  Giovanna Attard, age 56; Joseph Bellizzi, age 66; Dominica Borg Bellizzi, age 39; Michelina Busuttil, age 60; Vincent Busuttil, age 30; Anthony Formosa, age 37; Girlamo Fsadni, age 77; Marianna Mayman, age 34; Harold Miles, age 38; Mary Mifsud, age 57; Michael Vella, age 74; Melita Vella, age 35.  Zabbar  Emmanuele Bongailas, age 28; Giuseppe Lia, age 12.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 15 MARCH 1942

LUQA  0745-0920 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out part of SF 5 patrol.

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  One Man D Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment slightly injured by bombs in area of Qrendi strip.  Two men E Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment Paola sustained slight injuries during a bombing raid.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

 

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12 March 1942: Luftwaffe ‘Licking its Wounds’

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  • Enemy forced higher to avoid Ack Ack: bombs dropped from 20-24000 feet.
  • Italian bombers in daylight raids on airfields
  • German bombers aim 36 High Explosive bombs at Ta Qali
  • Plus another 36 High Explosive bombs on Hal Far

AIRCRAFT NEED BOMB-PROOF SHELTERS

Heavy bombing of Malta’s airfields is destroying too many aircraft on the ground.  Infantry battalions are being drafted in to Hal Far to build protective walls to shelter planes from the blast effect of exploding bombs.  With an acute shortage of materials, the Army have to improvise to create suitable building blocks.  As well as any stone fragments which can be salvaged from destroyed buildings, empty petrol cans will be filled with soil and stacked up to create the pen walls.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 12 MARCH TO DAWN 13 MARCH 1942

Weather  Cloudy at times; wind variable.

0849-0928 hrs  Two ME 109s come in from the south east and recede north east without dropping any bombs.

1104 hrs  Two plots of six aircraft come in from the north and drop bombs on the Ta Qali area.  Nine bombs are dropped on quarters of D Company, 1st Bn Durham Light Infantry near the coast at Gebel Ciantar.

1130 hrs  Four Italian BR 20 aircraft drop bombs on Ta Qali camp, damaging a bus and one refueller.  One shelter and one billet collapse; seven Hurricanes are slightly damaged.  LAC White is admitted to hospital (he died on 13th March) and three others, LAC Weston, LAC Weir, and AC1 Varty, are rescued from the shelter and admitted to hospital.

1205 hrs  All clear.

1226-1241 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north but does not cross the coast.

1605 hrs  Enemy bombers with fighter escort totalling eighteen aircraft approach the Island.

1635 hrs  Three JU 88s drop about fourteen bombs on Ta Qali.  HLB electric light cables are interrupted; slight blast damage to new and old HQ buildings.  One Hurricane, one Spitfire and one fighter Blenheim are slightly damaged.

1706 hrs  All Clear.

2040 hrs  Seven aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs on St Andrews, Kalafrana, Safi and out at sea.  Fighters do not engage.

2050 hrs  Twelve bombs are dropped in the area of St Agata Church.

2100 hrs  HQ Company of 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report one unexploded bomb between Qrendi and Zurrieq.

2200 hrs  A Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report eight grenades round Bubaqra Platoon tents.

2345 hrs  A Beaufighter crewed by F/L Hayton and P/O Josling sights a JU 88, follows it and attacks; they see strikes and explosions on the fuselage.  The enemy aircraft dives and is followed but lost.  Petrol consumption for 2 1/2 hours is 500 gallons.

0138 hrs  One aircraft bombs Ta Qali and Boschetto Gardens.  Fighters and Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0143 hrs  Bombs are dropped in the Bubaqra area.

0215 hrs  All Clear.

Civilian casualties  Salvo Perini, Police Constable, HM Dockyard.

Enemy casualties (known)  Unteroffizier Horst Eiler, 1/KuFlGr606, pilot of a Junkers JU 88 bomber shot down.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 12 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  P31 returned from patrol off Lampion having sunk a southbound 6000 ton merchant vessel which was fully laden.  Porpoise sailed for Alexandria with passengers and stores.  One Albacore sighted one merchant vessel and one destroyer in the vicinity of Pantelleria, westbound.  Three Swordfish left to attack but returned owing to leader developing engine trouble.

AIR HQ  Departures  One Wellington to Shalufa.

HAL FAR  Afternoon raid: main road to Kalafrana damaged.

LUQA 0740-1250 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carries out SF5 patrol.  1215-1452 hrs  One Spitfire carries out photo-reconnaissance of Sicilian aerodromes.

TA QALI  Six airmen are attached from Luqa for duty with Beaufighter Flight.  Fifteen aircrew personnel are posted to 249 Squadron.  Air Marshall Tedder, C in C Middle East, visited and inspected station.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion went on fortnightly route march.

2ND BN THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion provides 100 men a day with effect from today for building protective walls at Hal Far.

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  C Company of 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regt relieved A Company 4 Hamps on Safi strip.  A Company moving to Ta Hashluk area.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  C Company temporarily took over area from A Company of !st Bn Hampshire Regt on Safi.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  C Company HQ and Reserve Platoon move to Savoy Hotel from Ta Xbiex.  Aircraft activity over Island on minor scale:  Luftwaffe probably ‘licking its wounds’.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

 

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4 March 1942: Dog Fights in 20 Hour Bombing Spree

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  • Bombing almost continuous for 20 hours from 10 am
  • 28000 kg of bombs dropped on Malta
  • Italian bomber joins Luftwaffe formation
  • Five planes damaged on airfields
  • Hits scored on 16 enemy aircraft

AUCHINLECK GIVEN COMMAND OF MALTA: DOBBIE WILL REPORT TO MIDDLE EAST

From: The War Office                                                       To:  Governor & C in C Malta

Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck

Situation in your command has been very much in minds of the COS lately and we have discussed it in Committee several times in last few days.  We have been carefully considering every possible means to assist you in your difficulties, and have impressed on Auchinleck that defence of Malta is part and parcel of operations in his theatre and particularly in Cyrenaica.

2.  Under present system there is inevitable tendency to regard Malta and Cyrenaica as separate problems to be co-ordinated in London.  We have therefore decided that military garrison of Malta should be put under Auchinleck as Naval and RAF garrisons are under command of C in C Mediterranean and AOC-in-C Middle East respectively.  The three Commanders in Chief and Middle East Defence Committee will thus have joint responsibility for Malta as integral part of whole Middle East theatre, and you as Governor will have your hands strengthened by gaining direct access to Minister of State in Cairo as well as to HMG at home.

3.  We want to make it clear to you beyond all doubt that nothing could be further from our minds than lack of confidence in you.  We are all deeply conscious of magnificent fight you have put up and of inspiration which your leadership has given to Malta garrison and colony.  The more reason to strengthen your hands by every possible means now that you have entered such difficult and testing period.

4.  Apart form this change in organisation which is being communicated to Cs-in-C Middle East you will shortly hear in a COS telegram of various schemes for relieving your deficiencies in supplies and personnel.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 4 MARCH TO DAWN 5 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind north west; slight.  30% medium cumulus/cirro cloud.

0745 hrs  Two ME 109s on patrol near the south and south east coast.

1010-1040 hrs  Ten ME 109s patrol the Island.  One JU 88 with an escort of two ME 109s carries out reconnaissance from 22000 feet: engaged by barrage.

1059-1208 hrs  ME 109s continue to patrol.  Four ME 109s drop bombs on Luqa from 12000 feet, causing craters on the aerodrome.

1224-1330 hrs  Five JU 88s accompanied by ME 109s drop bombs on Safi Strip, setting three Wellingtons on fire: two are destroyed and four more Wellingtons are damaged.  The Officers’ Mess of 37 Squadron is also damaged.  One ME 109 crashes near F range at Pembroke.  The pilot, Unteroffizier Benedikt Wegmann, has already baled out into the sea.  He swims ashore, where he is captured by B Company of 11th Bn Lancashire Regt.  225 Light Ack Ack Battery claim three hits on one JU 88.

1346-1404 hrs  Two ME 109s approach the Island and patrol.  Six Hurricanes are airborne: no interceptions.

1415 hrs  Five ME 109s drop bombs on Luqa from 11000 feet.  Five JU 88s dive-bomb Luqa.

1420 hrs  Seven Hurricanes of 242 Squadron at Ta Qali under S/L Wells join eight Hurricanes of 605 Squadron scrambled from Hal Far to intercept the enemy aircraft as they return from the raid.

F/Sgt Fletcher (605) scores a hit on the rear gun turret of one JU 88, and P/O Noble hits another JU 88 twice, on the tail plane fuselage and the port engine, setting it on fire, before both pilots’ Hurricanes suffer damage (pilots unhurt).  Sgt Gardiner (242) hits the same JU 88.

Fiat BR20 “Cigogna” (stork)

Sgt Wilson hits one ME 109 on the fuselage and wing.  P/O Omerod hits the underside of another ME 109, another on the wing roots and engine cowling, and then hits an Italian aircraft – later identified as a BR 20 bomber – on the tail.   F/Lt Kee and P/O Kidson (242) score cannon strikes on another JU 88 before P/O Kidson dives on a ME 109, damaging its tail and claiming a ‘probably destroyed’.  One JU 88 ditches in the sea to the north of the Island and an ME 109 is shot down by Anti-Aircraft fire.

1515 hrs  All Clear.

1612-1803 hrs  Three JU 88s accompanied by seven ME 109s approach from the north and drop bombs on Luqa and the Safi strip.  Two Marylands are damaged.  Two billets are demolished and the sergeants’ sleeping quarters damaged.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage, damaging one JU 88.  Malta’s fighters are airborne; no engagement.

1902-0239 hrs  21 aircraft approach singly, dropping bombs on Gozo, Ta Silch, Hal Far, Luqa, Lapsi, Qrendi, Hagiar Qim, Zeitun, between Nigret and Bubaqra, Wardia, Ta Qali, Salvator and in the sea.  Cpl Refalo of 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment is killed and L/Cpl Aquilina injured.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and searchlights expose eight targets.  Ta Qali Hurricane pilot Sgt Wood engages a JU 88 over the centre of the Island, as it fires at a searchlight.  Sgt Wood closes in and lets loose a 20 second burst of cannon-fire.  The JU 88 bursts into flames and crashes on land to the south west of Dingli.

0247-0632 hrs  Four aircraft drop bombs on Ta Qali and Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0649 hrs  One aircraft comes to within 30 miles of Malta and then recedes.

Military casualties  Corporal Joseph Refalo, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Attard  Joseph Dingli, age 15; Tessie Dingli, age 4; Valentine Dingli, age 1.  Birkirkara  Michael Gauci, age 40.  Gozo (Zebbug)  Louis Vella, age 22.

Enemy casualties  Crew of JU 88 bomber of 2/KG 66 shot down night of 4/5t March 1942:  Unteroffizier Albert Degenhardt, 2/KG 66 (pilot); Unteroffizier Friedrich Engelmann/Engelbert, 2/KG 66 (observer); Unteroffizier Herman Gessele (wireless operator); Unteroffizier Werner Rehschutz (air gunner).

OPERATIONS REPORTS: WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Unbeaten returned from patrol off Kuriat, having hit a northbound tanker, believed sunk.  Unique sailed for Gibraltar and United Kingdom.  An Albacore sent on shipping search south and west of Malta sighted nothing.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Four Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  Five Wellingtons to 108 MU; one Catalina to Gibraltar and Lisbon; one Sunderland to Aboukir.

HAL FAR  One Albacore on search for enemy shipping Lampedusa-Zuara areas: nothing sighted.

LUQA  0930-1145 hrs  One Beaufighter 69 Squadron on photo-reconnaissance (PR) Sicilian aerodromes.  1010-1353 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron PR Lampedusa Harbour and SF 2 patrol.  2107-0503 hrs  One Wellington 38 Squadron carried out a shipping search with torpedoes; no attack made.  2128-0508 hrs  Three Wellingtons 37 Squadron attacked shipping in Tripoli Harbour.

TA QALI  Commanding Officer commenced investigations of landing Wellington against orders.

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  ‘A’ Company moved to Safi strip in relief of C Company which moved to Gudja Camp.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Five bombs drop in D Company’s area during the night.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

 

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1 March 1942: 32 One-ton Bombs on Civilian Areas – 20 Dead in Floriana

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32 ONE-TON HIGH EXPLOSIVE BOMBS LAND ON CIVILIAN AREAS

1000kg ‘Hermann’ bomb ready for Malta (NWMA Malta)

20 people were killed and 49 injured when 1000kg ‘Hermann’ bombs struck the densely populated area of Gunlayer Square in Floriana on this Sunday afternoon.  Many of the casualties were caught out having stayed at home during the raid; others were standing at the entrance to an air raid shelter.  Emmanuel Tonna might have been among them: “Had it not been for the insistence of my friend, Mr Carmelo Gauci, I would have stayed there talking to people.  Better counsel did, however, prevail and I left the place together with Mr Gauci.  We had barely reached the shelter in St Publius Street, Floriana, when we were violently shaken by the thud of bombs.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 1 MARCH TO DAWN 2 MARCH 1942

Weather  Rain during the morning.  Wind south west.  Bright periods with low cloud at times.

0737 hrs  Two MEs circle the Island and recede north.  Malta’s fighters are up; no engagements.

0912-1000 hrs  16 fighters patrol the Island, dropping four high explosive bombs on Gozo.  Malta’s fighters are up; no engagements.

1210-1234 hrs  One JU 88 and two ME 109s carry out reconnaissance over Grand Harbour.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1245 hrs  Pilots of 242 and 605 Squadrons take to the air in nine Hurricanes and attack three JU 88s and their escort of twelve ME 109s.  F/Lt Stone machine-guns a JU 88; reports damaged.  P/O Lester attacks a Messerschmitt and observes the engine emitting grey smoke before he breaks off engagement; claims one ME 109F destroyed.  F/Sgt Howe claims a JU 88 as probable before he is shot down, baling out and sustaining a leg wound.  P/O Wigley attacks a JU 88 without visible results. P/O Tew and Sgt Harvey are shot down in the sea.  Sgt Harvey is seen to bale out but a rescue vessel later finds his body in the water.

1310 hrs  Two ME 109s are engaged by guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Regt at 5-800 feet; no claims.

1327 hrs  All clear.

1422-1515 hrs  13 JU 88s plus fighter escort drop thirteen 1000kg bombs in St Julian’s, Sliema, Hamrun, Marsa, Gzira, Marsamxetto, Floriana and the Grand Harbour area.   Heavy Ack Ack engage.  AC1 Wright is killed in an air-raid shelter in Floriana along with several civilians.

1716-1839 hrs  Two waves of enemy aircraft approach Malta: first six JU 88s with fighter escort, then eleven JU 88s with fighter escort.  1000kg bombs are dropped in St Julian’s, Sliema and Valletta areas.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.  One Other Rank 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment suffers concussion in the raid and is admitted to No 45 General Hospital.  Stella Maris Church in Sliema is gutted by a bomb.

2153-0658 hrs  One continuous air raid.  Ten aircraft approach the Island, one after another.  Bombs are dropped near the Royal Engineers works in Floriana and on rocks off Sliema sea front, then on the Dockyard, Jesuits Hill and near St Edward’s College, on Zabbar, Hal Far, Qrendi and Kalafrana.  Heavy Ack Ack engage, with 28 barrages and searchlights illuminating the target for ¾ minute.

Military casualties  Surgeon Captain Algernon Cheeseman*, Royal Navy, HMS Talbot age 55; James Tew, Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 242 Squadron; Flight Sergeant Ray Harvey, pilot, RAF 242 Squadron; AC1 George Wright, RAF, 249 Squadron; Staff Sergeant Jarvis Whittaker, Royal Army Ordnance Corps; Private Saviour Debono, 2nd Bn, Kings Own Malta Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Floriana  Robert Attard, age 60; Joseph Borg, age 8; Una Patricia Cameron, age 18; Giovanna Caruana, age 43; Joseph Darmanin, age 60; Stella Debattista,age 19; Annunziata Demanuele,age 13; Benjamin Maggi, age 15; Grezzju Magro, age 16; Emmanuel Pace, age 20; Jane Pace, age 15; Carmelina Portelli,age 4; Sarah Portelli,age 39; Antonio Pulo,age 27; Doris Zammit,age 24.  Msida  Carrie Portelli,age 23.  Sliema  Dolores Borg, age 60; Joseph Muscat, age 35.  St Julians  Doris Cheeseman*, age 45. 

OPERATIONS REPORTS:  SUNDAY 1 MARCH 1942

AIR HQ   Arrivals  Four Beaufighters from Gibraltar.  One Maryland was force-landed during the night.

LUQA  0730-1120 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron on photo-reconnaissance (PR) Lampedusa and SF 24 patrol.  1440-1632 hrs  One Beaufighter 69 Squadron PR Palermo.  1415-1925 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron SF1A patrol.  1952-0322 hrs  One Wellington S/D Flight on special search.  2225-0235 hrs  Six Wellingtons of 37 Squadron attacked shipping in Tripoli Harbour.

TA QALI  Six pilot officers left for roof-spotting at the Palace, pending posting to the Middle East.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  One Staff Sergeant died as a result of enemy action.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Bombs on Floriana near HQ Officers’ Mess: several windows broken.

1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  One Other Rank injured in an air raid.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Disposition of Battalion:  A Company (Coy) Ta Karceppu (5 Officers, 123 Ors); B Coy Ta Salvatur (6 Officers, 124 Ors); C Coy Tal Hasluk (5 Off 132 OR); D Coy Tal Providence (5 Off, 131 OR); HQ Coy Ta Salvatur (14 Off, 269 OR).  Chaplain and Medical Officer also attached.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party continues: 100 men.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

(1)  loriana in Wartime, Emmanual S Tonna, Malta 1969

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Posted by on March 1, 2022 in 1942, March 1942, Uncategorized

 

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28 February 1942: Spitfires Not Coming to Malta

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MALTA’S COMMANDERS REVIEW A HARD MONTH

  • 235 air raid alerts; 222 bombing raids
  • 118 civilians killed; 153 seriously wounded
  • 8 enemy aircraft destroyed by Ack Ack fire; 11 by RAF fighters
  • Rainfall double the average; airfields waterlogged
  • 29 air attacks by Malta forces on enemy bases; 15 on shipping
  • 100+ reconnaissance missions
  • Seven Hurricanes lost in action

“Throughout the month weather conditions were bad.  There was much rain and percentage of cloud which greatly assisted the enemy in his bombing objectives.  The main targets were the aerodromes and the submarine depot.  Particular attention was also paid to the Grand Harbour.  Of the three aerodromes, Ta Qali received more attention than hitherto.  There appeared to be an increase in the bombing of civilian dwellings, and Valletta, Sliema and Mosta suffered heavily.  There was a general increase in the number of casualties both service and civilian. 

Favourable weather conditions for the enemy combined with the effectiveness of the Heavy Ack Ack (HAA) barrage in many cases turned away the hostile bombers from their targets, but at the expense of the civilian thoroughfares – hence the damage and casualties in Sliema and Valletta.  The enemy scored a notable success in the bombing of the Grand Harbour by the sinking of HMS Maori on the night of 11/12th

Our bombers continued their offensive operations against the enemy bases in Sicily, and interception of enemy convoys to and from North Africa by our submarines was not prevented by the determined enemy attacks on Lazaretto and Manoel. 

Nothing new appeared in enemy tactics, although the re-appearance of the Stuka (JU 87) occurred during the afternoon of the 13th.  “G” Mines were also dropped on various occasions.  Despite adverse weather conditions our fighters and HAA continued to exact toll from the enemy, the AA shooting in particular being good.”

 OPERATION SPOTTER SPITFIRE DELIVERY ABORTED

The convoy carrying a shipment of Spitfires which set out from Gibraltar on Thursday has turned back.  The decision to call off the mission is not due to enemy action: the aircraft carrier Eagle with Spitfires on board was well protected, with eleven Royal Navy ships of Force H as well as support aircraft on board the carrier Argus.  However, once launched from the carrier, pilots faced a 700 mile onward flight to Malta.  According to reports, adaptations to the Spitfires’ fuel supply system have malfunctioned.  Long-range flights cannot be attempted until the problems are rectified.  The dangers presented by delivery flights is emphasised by the loss of one of seven Wellingtons en route from Gibraltar today.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 28 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 28 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Bad: extremely heavy rain and low clouds; strong wind.

No raids during the day or night owing to bad weather.

1141-1159 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Raid does not materialise.

1203-1220 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Raid does not materialise.

Civilian casualties  Valletta  Captain William Parnis, MC, OBE, age 48.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Seven Wellingtons from Gibraltar (one missing).  Departures  Five Wellingtons to LG 224; one Wellesley and four Beaufighters to 108 MU.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF2A patrol and photo-reconnaissance Lampedusa.  One Beaufighter Sicilian Task.

TA QALI  Aerodrome unserviceable during the day: no scrambles.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strength:  32 Officers; 186 Other Ranks; MAS 4 Other Ranks; LAD 14 (attached).

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT Brigade ceremonial parade cancelled owing to rain.  GOC visited HQ Company: was quite pleased with what he saw.

1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT Strength:  34 Officers; 827 Other Ranks; 5 RAOC (attached).

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Observation Post at Tal Minsia handed over to 1/Cheshire Regt.  Intellingence Section returned to Bn HQ.  Strength:  25 Officers; 548 Other Ranks (Malta); 3 Officers; 96 Other Ranks (Middle East.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  B Company take over posts on Victoria Lines perviously held by A Company.

KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT 1st Bn Observation Posts: HQ, Miziep, Torri l’Ahmar, Selmun.  Strength:   32 Officers plus 1 Chaplain, 1 Officer attached.  3rd Bn Strength:  27 Officers; 778 Other Ranks.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Disposition of Bn:  A Company Tal Karceppu; B Coy & HQ Ta Salvatur; C Coy Ta Hasluk; D Coy Tal Providence.  35 Officers; 779 Other Ranks.  Also Medical Officer and Chaplain attached.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  During the whole month, the Battalion has provided a daily working party, average strength 140 men, at RAF bomber aerodrome, Luqa, performing the following tasks:  (a) repairing bomb crater damage on main strip; (b) widening taxi strips; (c ) building dispersal areas for aircraft.

 8TH BN THE MANCHESTER  During the month the dispositions of the Battalion have altered; the Bn now has three completely mobile Companies which are primarily responsible for the Wardia Ridge but may be called on for a counter-attack role in any part of the Island.  All Officers and NCOs have carried out a reconnaissance of the other two Brigade areas. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

 

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Posted by on February 28, 2022 in 1942, February 1942

 

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