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15 March 1941: Recent Heavy Raids May Be Prelude to Invasion

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3 Wellington bombers arrived today

3 Wellington bombers arrived today

ANTI-AIRCRAFT DEFENCES MAY NOT BE ENOUGH SAYS WAR OFFICE

Recent heavy bombing attacks on Malta have raised concerns in London. The War Office sent a telegram to Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief today, saying: “Persistent attacks on your aerodromes might be a forerunner of invasion.  Therefore in view of recent German low-flying attacks, we would welcome your opinion whether you consider adequate the scale of weapons now allocated to aerodrome defence.  We would further be glad to know if you think light automatic fire can still be regarded as an effective deterrent against these types of attack.”

MALTA AIRFIELD SECURITY MUST BE UPGRADED

MOST URGENT From: Air Ministry                     To:  War Office             Copy:  Governor & C in C Malta

An increase in the establishment of the Kings Own Malta Regiment is urgently required for the anti-sabotage protection of the RAF aerodromes in Malta. The existing strength consisting of one company is inadequate in view of increasing RAF liabilities.  War Office approval is now requested for the raising of a second company locally consisting of six officers, six WO1/Sergeants, 12 corporals and 144 privates.  Also to increase the first company to a total of 24 junior NCOs.  Experience in the employment of these troops on anti-sabotage as opposed to anti-aircraft duties indicates the necessity of additional junior NCOs to supervise the greater number of posts into which troops must be organised.

A policy has been agreed between the Officer in Charge RAF and the General Officer Commanding Malta, endorsed by the Air Ministry, that these Kings Own Malta Regiment companies should remain under the Royal Air Force for anti-sabotage duties only.”

A note covering the telegram was added to Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief:  “Is this [new Rifles] company covered by the expansion authorised in our War Office telegram of 8 March? If not, do you agree its necessity and can you raise the personnel in addition to the existing expansion programme?”  Lt Gen Sir William Dobbie replied immediately: “The policy of the employment of Kings Own Malta Regiment for anti-sabotage protection on RAF aerodromes is under consideration. I request no action on the Air Ministry recommendation pending further recommendations from us.”

GOZO FISHING BOAT TRAGEDY

A fishing boat from Gozo was destroyed today when it struck a mine in Grand Harbour. Four civilians were killed, three seriously injured and three slightly injured in the explosion.  The magnetic mine was lying off Marina Pinto in Grand Harbour.  Early investigations into the tragedy have suggested that the boat was taking an irregular short cut when it struck the mine.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 MARCH TO DAWN 16 MARCH 1941

Weather  Storms until evening.

0705-0750 hrs  Air raid alert for twelve approaching enemy fighters which attempt to intercept Wellington bombers arriving from the UK. The pilot of one of the Wellingtons signals from north west of Gozo “Am being attacked”.  He does not reach Malta and it is later confirmed that he has been shot down.  Four Hurricanes are scrambled and chase off the raiders.  In a dog fight one Hurricane sustains slight damage.

0950-0956 hrs  Air raid alert for enemy aircraft on weather reconnaissance. Hurricane fighters are airborne but bad weather hinders interception.

1213-1236 hrs Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber which dive-bombs Hal Far dropping four bombs across the aerodrome from 4000 feet, causing no serious damage or casualties. It also attempts a machine-gun attack but is driven off.  Two of the bombs do not explode.

1445-1459 hrs; 1625-1629 hrs Air raid alerts for enemy aircraft on weather reconnaissance. Hurricane fighters are airborne but bad weather hinders interception.

0140-0225 hrs  Air raid alert for ten enemy aircraft which cross the coast individually and carry out attacks. Low cloud makes it difficult for the raiders to locate targets.  Some bombs are dropped near Iz-Zebbieh causing slight damage to civilian property but most fall in the sea.  Poor visibility also prevents Malta night fighters from taking to the air. 

Civilian casualties  Gozo  Emanual Borg, age 46; Carmel Costa, age 35; Saviour Grech, age 50; Saviour Rapa, age 74.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 15 MARCH 1941

AIR HQ Arrivals 3 Wellingtons, 1 Maryland from the UK. 0750 hrs Maryland approaching from UK reports seeing an enemy convoy midway between Pantelleria and Cape Bon. 69 Squadron Maryland reconnaissance Trapani.  Maryland patrolled area between Cape Bon and Sicily for shipping to pass information to submarines.  

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 1 (3.7” Ack Ack).

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  17 conscript recruits joined the Battalion.

 

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Posted by on March 15, 2021 in 1941, March 1941

 

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14 March 1941: Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief Knighted

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Lt Gen Sir William Dobbie

Lt Gen Sir William Dobbie

LONDON GAZETTE ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY

Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief, Lieutenant General Dobbie has been knighted. The announcement appeared today in the London Gazette.  Following a successful military career including the First World War, Lt Gen Dobbie was appointed Governor and C in C last year.  Today’s announcement reads:

CENTRAL CHANCERY OF THE ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD St James’s Palace, SW1, 14th March, 1941

The King has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotion in the Most Honourable Order of the Bath: –

To be an Additional Member of the Military Division of the Second Class, or Knights Commanders, of the said Most Honourable Order: –

Major-General (acting Lieutenant-General) William George Sheldon Dobbie, CB, CMG, DSO, Colonel Commandant, Royal Engineers, Acting Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Malta.

TROOPS HAVE HAD NO NEWS FROM HOME FOR MONTHS

From: Governor & C in C                                  To:  War Office

I am much concerned at the almost total non-receipt of mails from the UK by the Forces. Many men have had no letters since middle November.  Though a number of aircraft have recently reached Malta from the UK, practically no mail has been brought in them, in spite of assurances given in your telegram of 20 November. 

This is naturally causing much uneasiness and some unrest. I earnestly hope this may be put right without delay.  In view of the paramount importance of this, I suggest it would be justifiable to detail a Sunderland or Wellington for this purpose once a week or fortnight.   The matter is really urgent.  Please pass a copy of this to the Air Ministry.

From: War Office                                             To:  Governor & C in C

The following mails were despatched by aircraft: 4 February (152lbs by three aircraft, one lost); 21 February (206lbs by four aircraft); 23 February (52lbs by one aircraft); 3 March via Gibraltar (188lbs by Sunderland); 10 March (50 lbs by one aircraft). 

These mails included official and unofficial Royal Navy, RAF and Army communications. Every opportunity is taken to include [servicemen’s] mails but occasionally the notice is too short or bad weather prevents the carrying of full loads.  The suggestion in the last paragraph of your cable is being considered by the Air Ministry.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 14 MARCH TO DAWN 15 MARCH 1941

Weather  Storm clouds; less windy but considerable swell on the sea.

1243-1305 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 14 MARCH 1941

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  13 conscript recruits joined the Battalion.

 

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Posted by on March 14, 2021 in 1941, March 1941

 

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28 February 1941: Mines on Valletta – 200 Homeless

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CIVILIAN THROWN FROM 3RD FLOOR BY BLAST SURVIVES

Communities in Valletta emerged from their shelters this morning to a scene of devastation following last night’s widespread dropping of parachute mines by enemy aircraft. 200 have now been made homeless across the city; most have been given temporary shelter at St Francis Convent in Kingsway. 

Parachute Mine (1)

Parachute Mine (1)

The damage from parachute mines is especially severe due to their operation. Although the bombs themselves are heavy, the parachute slows their descent so that they explode on or near the surface, causing maximum blast effect over a wide area.  One mine near the church of Our Lady of Pilar blew a crater 25 feet across, damaging the church and the adjacent convent.  The Auberge d’Aragon suffered the full force of mine blast which severely damaged its roof.  A nearby school was also structurally undermined.   

Arriving to marshal his men in the rescue operations, Adjutant of the Special Constabulary surveyed the destruction: “Glass was smashed all over the capital and houses wrecked over a wide area. Casualties were four dead and twenty injured – without our good shelters I hate to think of the figure which might have been reached. 

Two men were dug out of a cellar while I was there; one was in a pretty bad mess and did not survive. Another person was blown out of his bath into the street when the front of his house was sucked out by the blast.  He flew from a third storey but was not hurt.

Someone informed me that an unexploded mine had just been seen on a nearby roof, and would I please go to see whether it was dangerous! I sent an [Royal Engineers bomb disposal] chap and followed gingerly behind with my heart all a-throb, but it was only a cover-part of the exploded mine – to which was attached a piece of parachute…200 families are homeless in Valletta.” (2)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 28 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 1 MARCH 1941

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

Military casualties Lance-Corporal Francis Gilmore, Corps of Military Police; Sergeant Lewis John Frederick Godwin, Royal Air Force; Lance Corporal John Charles Kelly, Army Dental Corps, attached Royal Army Medical Corps; Pilot Officer Hubert Scadeng, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Civilian casualties Valletta  Anthony Farrugia, age 19; Anthony Zammit, age 19.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 28 FEBRUARY 1941

ROYAL NAVY   At first light enemy aircraft laid mines at the entrance to the harbours and some in Grand Harbour. The Harbours are temporarily closed while the positions of mines is fixed. 

AIR HQ  Maryland photoreconnaissance Reci Maddelena, Cagliari, Elmas and Alghero at the special request of SO Forces N.  

KALAFRANA During the month Sunderlands of 228 Squadron carried out 12 patrols over a wide area in search of enemy shipping. Five communication flights were made by aircraft of 228 Squadron with important passengers and freight between Middle East and Gibraltar.  Several Sunderlands 10 Squadron RAAF and 230 Squadron arrived and departed conveying passengers between Middle East and UK.

LUQA  69 Squadron One Maryland photoreconnaissance Maddelena, Cagliari, Elmas and Alghero.

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Strengths: 24 officers, WOs 6, 132 other ranks.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Strengths: 27 officers, 509 other ranks.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal  Total unexploded bombs during month: reported 46; dealt with 23.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Strengths: 27 officers, 879 other ranks plus two permanently attached.

(1)  Bomb Fuze Collectors Net http://www.bombfuzecollectorsnet.com/

(2) The Road to Rome, Philo Pullicino, MPI Publishing 2012

 

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Posted by on February 28, 2021 in 1941, February 1941

 

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13 February 1941: New German Force Heads to North Africa via Med

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Rommel in North Africa

Rommel in North Africa

VICTOR IN FRANCE AIMS TO REPEAT SUCCESS

A major new German military force is set to cross the Mediterranean to North Africa, according to intelligence sources. Their commander, Major General Erwin Rommel is reported to have already landed in Libya.  Following his success in the invasion of France in 1940,  Rommel has been given the task by Chancellor Hitler to take on the British in North Africa, following heavy Italian defeats in the region. 

Observers and reconnaissance have recently made several reports of military forces amassing in Italy and Sicily, as well as extensive merchant and naval shipping movements through the Mediterranean to Libya. Malta bombers are expected to play a key role in impeding the successful transfer of resources to the North Africa campaign.

GERMAN BOMBERS ARMOUR-PLATED

German bombers are reinforced with armour-plating, according to Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief. Reporting the discovery in a telegram to the War Office today, Lt Gen Dobbie has recommended that the Army should be issued with A/P SAA .303 ammunition.  If the issue is approved, the Island would need an initial delivery of one million rounds, rising to five million rounds in time for the forthcoming increase to the Garrison recently authorised by London.

A WEEK IN MALTA – REPORT TO THE BRITISH WAR CABINET FOR 6-12 FEBRUARY

The Island was persistently but ineffectively raided by enemy aircraft, which included German bombers and probably fighters. Forty-five bombers maintained a prolonged attack on the night of 8th/9th, during which our Hurricanes destroyed two JU 88s and damaged a third; relatively unimportant damage was sustained at Luqa and Hal Far, though civilian property suffered considerably.  On the 12th, two intercepting Hurricanes were lost, but one pilot was rescued from the sea.  ME 109s have been reported over Malta, but have not been in action.

Our aircraft reconnoitred Tunis and the coast and sea routes from Italy to Tripoli and Benghazi. On the night of 11th/12th the aerodromes at Comiso and Catania in Sicily were attacked with over five tons of bombs by Wellingtons from Malta.  At least four enemy aircraft were destroyed at Catania and large fires were started at both aerodromes. 

Enemy transport activity on a considerable scale has been maintained between Sicily, Tripoli and Sardinia.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 13 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 14 FEBRUARY 1941

Weather  Fine and clear.

1508-1522 hrs  Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber accompanied by six ME 109 fighters which approach the Island from the north on reconnaissance at 22000 feet. Hurricane fighters are scrambled but on sight of them the ME 109s turn away and fly off.  Anti-aircraft guns open fire, hitting the JU 88 which is last seen losing height with smoke pouring from one engine.  No bombs are dropped on the Island.

1915-1932 hrs; 1942-2001 hrs; 2200-2235 hrs; 2331-2325 hrs; 2340-0040 hrs  Air raid alerts for a series of nuisance raids over the Island. Hurricane fighters are airborne in turn throughout.  In the first raid bombs are dropped between Mosta and Naxxar.  In the second, from Rinella to Della Grazia and one enemy bomber is damaged by a Hurricane.  In the third, raiders cross the coast over Dingli; bombs are dropped to the west of Ta Qali aerodrome; three fall on B block of Imtarfa Hospital, killing three patients, seriously wounding six and slightly wounding another six.  The third attack approaches from the south and drops bombs in the sea off Fort Leonardo.  In the fourth, bombs are dropped on the Grand Harbour area.  Searchlights pick up a single bomber heading away over the north coast.  During the raids bombs are also dropped on Pembroke and on Luqa aerodrome, seriously damaging one Wellington and slightly damaging one Whitley.

Military casualties  Private Lawrence Duckworth, 8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment; Private Robert McGill, King’s Own Malta Regiment; Private James Frederick Scott, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 13 FEBRUARY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm attacked and believed sank a merchant convoy heading for Libya.

AIR HQ Arrivals 2 Sunderlands. Sunderland patrolled western Ionian Sea.  69 Squadron  Maryland photoreconnaissance Comiso and Gela aerodromes: Comiso eight JU 88s of which one burned out, 11 HE 111s, one SM 79, plus 16 unidentified fighters; Gela seven bombers, nine fighters unidentified but with dark camouflage.   

KALAFRANA  One Sunderland arrived from Middle East en route for UK. One Sunderland 230 Squadron arrived from Middle East with passengers.

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Maryland photoreconnaissance Gela and Comiso.

1st Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Battle practices on Ghain Tuffieha ranges.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Private L Duckworth was killed by a bomb on an air raid shelter at Imtarfa Hospital.

 

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Posted by on February 13, 2021 in 1941, February 1941

 

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19 December 1940: RAF Malta Lacks Essential Facilities

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British Air Council in Session 1940

British Air Council in Session 1940

RAF FACILITIES CANNOT MEET PRESENT DEMAND

Lack of facilities on Malta are restricting the effectiveness of air operations from the Island, according to a report to the British War Cabinet today.  The comments came in a memorandum to the Cabinet by the Secretary of State for Air, in which he reported on the damage caused by RAF bombing operations over Axis targets.  Introducing his report, the Secretary of State outlined the difficulty of obtaining accurate data, due to the understandable playing down of raid damage in the Axis press, combined with a tendency for RAF pilots to underestimate their success.

Referring to operations from Malta on Italian targets, he commented:  “Several reports refer to the small amount of damage to Naples.  But we have only carried out 14 sorties and dropped 13 tons of bombs on this city.  The major difficulties of operating from Malta, with only one small aerodrome and an improvised maintenance service, have precluded a heavier scale of attack.”

From a close examination of all the evidence available on the results of RAF raids over both Germany and Italy, the Air Staff have concluded that the effect of British bombs on the enemy has been greater relatively to the size of the force at the country’s disposal than the results of German attacks on Britain.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 DECEMBER TO DAWN 20 DECEMBER 1940

Weather  Very cold and wet. 

0737 hrs  Two mines reported at Paradise Bay are made safe.

1130-1150 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

Military casualties  Private Louis Gatt, King’s Own Malta Regiment; Corporal Charles Moxon, 2nd Bn The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 19 DECEMBER 1940

ARMY HQ  0700 hrs  Command exercise began.

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Command exercise dispositions: A Company two platoons St Andrew’s area and one platoon Tigne area; B Company (vulnerable points) guards at Cable & wireless, Gargur Battery, Mosta Fort, Mosta Fort Magazine, Muesum and Rabat stations, Dingli and Id Dweira, one platoon in reserve at Mosta Fort; C Company (anti-parachutists) Posts TV 1-8 manned, one platoon in reserve at Sherwood Camp; D Company (anti-parachutists) Posts PB 1-7 and IT 1-5 manned, one platoon in reserve at Gomerino; HQ Company defence of Bn HQ area.  Telephone communications between vulnerable points and HQs are not considered satisfactory; direct communication is therefore essential.

 

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Posted by on December 19, 2020 in 1940, December 1940

 

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15 November 1940: Picture Postcards of Malta Seized by Censor

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Postcards could aid enemy landing plans

Postcards could aid enemy landing plans

POSTCARDS HOME COULD BE USEFUL TO THE ENEMY

The public has been warned against sending postcards abroad showing views of Malta which may provide useful intelligence to an enemy considering invasion. From now on such postcards will be withheld by the censors, without their senders being notified.

NEW ORDERS SUPPORT FAMILIES OF MALTA TROOPS

Troops of the King’s Own Malta Regiment have been reassured that their families will be properly paid, should any serviceman be admitted to hospital. According to general orders today, there have been cases of servicemen in the General Military Hospital at Imtarfa whose family have not been paid Family Allowance.  The matter has been brought to the attention of the Commanding Officer who has issued immediate orders to rectify the situation.  From now on, officers of the Regiment will ensure that when a married man is admitted to hospital his Family Allowance will be paid directly to his wife, to avoid future hardship.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 16 NOVEMBER 1940

Weather  Bright and fine.

1350-1407 hrs Air raid alert for four or more enemy fighters, believed to be Italian CR42s, which approach the Island ad 21000 feet. Anti-aircaft guns engage the raiders which turn away before crossing the coast.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 15 NOVEMBER 1940

TA QALI  F/O O’Connell posted to RAF Station Ta Qali as Medical Officer.

4th Bn THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT REGIMENT)  Governor and Commander in Chief Lt Gen W J S Dobbie, RE, CMG, DSO visited the camp.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Mine reported drifting near defence post J8.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Matches and fuzes made up locally burning for 7 seconds ordered for trial with petrol bombs. Large quantity of 18 pounders received from convoy is marked showing life of cordite charges expires 1942 and 1943.

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Posted by on November 15, 2020 in 1940, November 1940

 

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4 November 1940: Malta Aircraft Join Battle to Defend Greece

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Wellington bomber

Wellington bomber

WELLINGTON FORCE IN MALTA TO INCREASE

Aircraft from Malta are expected to join the military campaign to help Greece defend herself against possible Axis attack. The War Cabinet today discussed British intervention in Greece, which is seen as an important ally in the Mediterranean.  Addressing the Cabinet, Winston Churchill stated his view that only an air campaign could provide the much needed assistance quickly enough.  Fighters and bombers have already been sent from the Middle East. 

The Prime Minister now proposes to intensify attacks on Italy from Malta-based aircraft. To support this the number of Wellingtons operating temporarily from Malta will be increased to 24. About 200 personnel, stores and bombs are to be despatched to Malta by cruiser, to arrive on 17 November.  In addition, 34 Hurricanes will be transported to Greece via aircraft carrier and 32 Wellingtons will be sent to Egypt via Malta at the end of this month.       

MALTA TROOPS MUST ACCOUNT FOR KIT ISSUE

Commanders of the King’s Own Malta Regiment today issued orders to ensure that kit issued to troops is kept safely and in good order. Battalion Orders warn that every case of deficiency of clothing and equipment will be investigated by the Company Commander personally.  In all cases in which neglect is proved, the NCO or man concerned will be placed on a charge and remanded for disposal by a Commanding Officer.  All lists of deficiencies in future will have a certificate attached and signed by the Company Commander stating that the orders have been complied with.

POST EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS

Troops have been reminded to post early for Christmas, to ensure their parcels reach their loved ones in time for the festive season. All private parcels can be posted at the General Post Office in the usual manner.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 4 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 5 NOVEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 4 NOVEMBER 1940

Nil report.

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Posted by on November 4, 2020 in 1940, November 1940

 

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19 October 1940: Malta Troops Need News of Relatives

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LACK OF MAIL DAMAGING TROOP MORALE

The continuing lack of a regular mail service to Malta is becoming a serious threat to the morale of troops in Malta. The latest delivery of mail arrived after a delay of three months. British newspapers are also carried by the mail delivery service and are therefore failing to reach the Island before they are obsolete.  

Dunkirk evacuation: Malta servicemen await news of relatives

Dunkirk evacuation: Malta servicemen await news of relatives

The Governor and C in C has reported receiving an increasing volume of enquiries from troops stationed in Malta regarding their serving relatives, particularly those who are served the late British Expeditionary Force following the evacuation of Dunkirk, but also those in Middle East units. However, the sheer number of information requests makes it impossible to deal with each one by telegram.

Today Lt Gen Dobbie has written to the War Office asking for all service casualty lists to date to be cabled to Malta immediately, and from now on every list to be sent by telegram as soon as published.

According to Rev Reginald Nicholls, Chancellor of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta: “The dates of posting ranged from June 8th to the last days of August! The second batch also took about three days to sort; and the dates were also June, July and August. All higgledy-piggledy. But it was news even if three months – nay – four months adrift. There were a few copies of the Times for the last days of May and a few issued early in June. In that of June 8th, (received on 2nd October) we discovered that our son Anthony had been Mentioned in Despatches. This is a great joy to us.” (1)

NO INTELLIGENCE CORPS FOR MALTA

The War Office informed the Governor and C in C by telegram today that the formation of an Intelligence Corps Section in Malta “is not considered necessary”.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 OCTOBER TO DAWN 20 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine; cloudy at times.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 19 OCTOBER 1940

AIR HQ  Blenheim attached 431 Flight and Swordfish Fleet Air Arm patrolled Ionian Sea; nil reports.

KALAFRANA  Plan to reconnoitre Ionian Sea for enemy surface craft. Easterly sector not patrolled as Sunderland unable to take off due to heavy swell.

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT 19 recruits posted from depot.

(1) Extract from diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St.Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta. Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

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Posted by on October 19, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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11 October 1940: Troopship Convoy Arrives in Malta

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CONVOY MF3 BRINGS SHIPS SAFELY TO HARBOUR

Clan Ferguson

Clan Ferguson

Four merchant ships steamed safely into Grand Harbour today at the end of a thousand mile journey from Alexandra. Termed by the Commander in Chief Mediterranean a ‘troopship convoy’, the ships Clan Ferguson, Clan Macauley, Lanarkshire and Memnon sailed from Alexandria on Tuesday, escorted by cruisers Calcutta and Coventry, and destroyers Stuart, Voyager, Waterhen and Wryneck.

The Meditteranean Fleet was already at sea ready to provide additional escort, including battleships Malaya, Ramillies, Valiant and Warspite, aircraft carriers Eagle and Illustrious, plus six cruisers and 17 destroyers. They were joined by the destroyer Mohawk which came out from Malta to join the Fleet. During the operation HMS Imperial struck a mine and was towed in to Grand Harbour. The unloading of the convoy is said to be proceeding well.

The convoy brought long-awaited mail for Malta’s troops.

l'Imtahleb

l’Imtahleb

L’IMTAHLEB A POSSIBLE TARGET

2nd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment has been placed on special alert for the protection of L’Imtahleb. The area is considered a likely parachutist landing area and a possible landing place for a small sabotage party. The Battalion has been ordered to maintain a security watch in the area order to prevent such incidents and to deter information passing into or out of the Island. One platoon has been allocated responsibility for the localising and immediate destruction of any landing, either sea or parachutist, in the area and for passing any relevant information back to HQ. Defence posts in the area will each be covered by one NCO and four other ranks, manned with single sentries from evening stand to, to morning stand down.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 11 OCTOBER TO DAWN 12 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Overcast with thundery showers.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 11 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY Operation MB6 successfully carried out. Imperial was mined en route but reached harbour and was docked. A danger area was immediately declared by Commander in Chief Mediterranean and taken on by QBB95. Stuart and Vendetta remained for refit. 0600-0735 hrs Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm dropped photographs of shipping in Taranto, Tripoli and Brindisi harbours on HMS Illustrious. Four Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Airm provided local patrol for the arrival of a convoy at Malta; nothing to report. The operation of bringing in the incoming convoy and despatching the outgoing convoy is proceeding satisfactorily.

AIR HQ 1205-1255 hrs Glen Martin 431 Flight set off for reconnaissance but returned due to bad weather. 0355-1038 hrs Reconnaissance by Sunderland 230 Squadron reported at 0508 hrs having sighted two destroyers, one of which was on fire and stationary.   He interrupted patrol to shadow the two ships while Swordfish were despatched to attack them. Another destroyer Vicenzo Gioberti class was observed proceeding at high speed. On his return the pilot reported three Fiume class cruisers and three destroyers accompanied by twelve fighters. 0500-0919 hrs Glenn Martin 431 Flight on reconnaissance signalled three destroyers at sea. In Taranto he reported a large fleet of naval ships and in Brindisi naval ships and seaplanes.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. 0310-1656 hrs Sunderland 230 Squadron on reconnaissance sighted four motor boats; attacked twice. Two bombs fell close; no apparent result. The motor boats made off at high speed on a southerly course and an empty raft was spotted off Zante. On the homeward flight an aircraft resembling an Albacore approached one Sunderland but made off.

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Posted by on October 11, 2020 in 1940, October 1940

 

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17 August 1940: Malta Defence Volunteers Subject to Military Law

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One Blenheim arrived Malta ex UK

One Blenheim arrived Malta ex UK

MALTA DEFENCE FORCE MUST BE REGULATED

The Malta Volunteer Defence Force must be subject to military law, the War Office said today. Responding to the Governor and C in C’s proposals for the new Force, military chiefs in London stressed that the Defence Force should form part of Armed Forces of the Crown. As such Defence Volunteers must be properly enrolled and subject to military law – but they need not be paid. The Governor can use legislation similar to the Emergency Powers enacted on the Home Front since 1939.

The War Office also proposed steps to ensure the treatment of Defence Volunteers as bona fide combatants – in view of the Governor’s concerns should they be captured as prisoners of war. To achieve this, Defence Volunteers will have to wear a visible and distinctive emblem, incapable of being removed and replaced at will. An arm-band stitched to a sleeve may not be sufficient. Steel helmets will have to be worn at all times and if possible service respirators. The War Office is looking into the possibility of providing these, as well as denim overalls as worn by the Home Guard in the UK for the Malta Volunteers.

URGENT PLEA FOR STORES AND SERVICES

The Governor and C in C wrote to the War Office today with urgent needs for supplies until reliable supply runs to Malta can be established:

  • Engineer services: propose to hold locally six months reserve of important engineer stores plus two months’ working margin. Demands under preparation and will follow shortly to cover above plus estimated requirements six months consumption January to June 1941.
  • Supply and transport services: in the case of food supplies recommend continuance of monthly demands based on six months reserves plus two months working margin, latter being limited by consideration of turnover and suitable storage.
  • Medical services: propose maintain a definite six months reserve and continue half yearly demands in addition.
  • Ordnance stores: if periodical demands are not still to be submitted, it is recommended that bulk demand be sent for twelve months requirements from 1 January and that store margin interim period be increased from six months to twelve months. Consider Ordnance motor transport stores and spares and clothing should come on twelve months maintenance period and dry cells six months.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 17 AUGUST TO DAWN 18 AUGUST 1940

Weather  Fine and warm.

1519-1521 hrs  Air raid alert; no raid materialised.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 17 AUGUST 1940

AIR HQ  Arrivals 1 Blenheim. Of two Blenheims expected from UK one arrived safely and one force landed in Tunis due to lack of fuel. 1347-1517 hrs Skua of Fleet Air Arm reconnaissance Augusta and Syracuse.

KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  L/Cpl Brincat E Coy 1st Bn suffered gunshot wounds to hand and sent to Imtarfa Hospital.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  1 incendiary Tal Papa.

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Posted by on August 17, 2020 in 1940, August 1940

 

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