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POWER CABLES DOWN, WATER AND GAS MAINS DAMAGED, BAKERIES AND MILLS AFFECTED
From: Governor (Lt Gen Sir W Dobbie) To: Secretary of State for the Colonies
On the evening of 7th April Valletta was heavily and apparently deliberately bombed. Many buildings either destroyed or extensively damaged. Among these were the Palce, near miss, Auberge de Castille (RA Headquarters), [Auberge] de France (Education Department) and Opera House, all direct hits. Market mostly destroyed. Other buildings housing Government Departments also destroyed or badly damaged…Much damage also to private property with interruption of water and electricity supply, telephones and blockage of roads. Gas service previously put out of action and not repairable in present conditions. Casualties fortunately few. There had also been serious damage in Valletta in previous days resulting from attacks on the harbour area.
- Cumulative effects of the above have made it impossible for Government offices in the Palace and other seriously damaged buildings to continue to function in Valletta. These including my own office and the Lieutenant Governor’s are now being moved to Hamrun and environs.
- There has also been much damage in the Three Cities, Marsa, Floriana and stores on Valletta side of Grand Harbour. Power Station and Flour Mills have so far escaped serious damage but baking and the distribution of bread has been most difficult owing to the destruction of several bakeries and the interruption of electric power and breakdowns in communications. Situation now in hand.
- The people are showing great fortitude in face of acute hardship to very many.
LACK OF MINESWEEPERS LEAVES MALTA’S SHIPS AT RISK
Vice Admiral Malta notifies Commander in Chief Mediterranean that due to recent heavy bomb damage the Island is severely short of minesweepers. The approach channels cannot be fully swept, presenting a serious risk to vessels operating from Grand Harbour. It is hoped that one or two minesweepers can be sent to Malta with the next convoy.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 11 APRIL TO DAWN 12 APRIL 1942
Weather Wind south-east; clear, with haze at 20000 feet.
0543 hrs Two ME 109s patrol south of the Island.
0625 hrs Two ME 109s patrol south east of the Island.
0848-0858 hrs One JU 88 and two ME 109s cross the coast on reconnaissance. Heavy Ack Ack engage.
1020 hrs 12 ME 109 fighters and fighter bombers – attack Hal Far. One Hurricane is burned out and two slightly damaged. One petrol bowser is damaged.
1215 hrs Formations of 37 ME 109s, 44 JU 88s and 16 JU 87s approach the Island from different directions, attacking Grand Harbour, Luqa, Ta Qali and Hal Far.
1216 hrs 10 JU 88s attack gun positions round Grand Harbour; several bombs land near radio communications positions at Rinella: roads are blocked.
1225 hrs 15 JU 88 bombers drop dozens of high explosive bombs on Ta Qali: three land near the caves.
1230 hrs A formation of 14 JU 88s attacks Luqa aerodrome, destroying two Wellingtons, two Beauforts and one Hurricane. One Wellington under repair is further damaged and a truck is burned out.
1237 hrs Twelve JU 88s bomb Safi strip.
1240 hrs Two Messerschmitts machine-gun the Safi strip.
1245-1257 hrs Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA) engage numerous JU 88s and ME 109s: no claims.
1331 hrs All clear.
1714 hrs 100 enemy aircraft including JU 88s, JU 87s and ME 109s in several formations approach the Island and divide to attack the Dockyard, Luqa, Safi and Hal Far.
1725-1735 hrs Guns of 225 LAA engage numerous JU 88s and ME 109s. One gun claims two hits on each of two JU 88s, another claims one hit on each of two JU 88s. One generator is damaged by bomb splinters.
1727 hrs Three ME 109s and ten JU 88s bomb Hal Far. One Hurricane is badly damaged and two slightly damaged. One soldier is injured and a petrol bowser is destroyed.
1730 hrs HMS Kingston in No 4 Dock is hit on the port side amidships. The bomb penetrates the bulkhead between the engine-room and gearing room. The ship turns over to port and is believed to be a write-off.
JU 88s and ME 109s carry out dive-bombing and ground-strafing on Luqa aerodrome, destroying four Wellingtons and damaging one Maryland, one Wellington and a photo-reconnaissance Spitfire.
1750 hrs 30 JU 88s drop bombs on Ta Qali: the runway is still serviceable.
1800-1810 hrs Four ME 109s attack Mellieha Camp and Selmun Palace, causing slight damage to buildings. Ack Ack guns engage.
1820 hrs Bombs at Xaghra and San Pietru. One JU 88 is engaged by 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt: no hits claimed.
1921-0705 hrs Continuous series of raids by individual aircraft.
2045-2200 hrs One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol for enemy aircraft: no engagements.
0027 hrs A single enemy aircraft comes in from the north. A Beaufighter is airborne and shoots down the enemy bomber out to sea.
0305-0410 hrs One Beaufighter on interceptions destroys one Italian BR 20.
0345 hrs The Beaufighter closes in on an Italian BR 20, attacks and destroys it over Gozo.
0430-0630 hrs One Beaufighter on interceptions: no engagement.
Military casualties Sergeant David Balmer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve; Gunner Theodore Dalli, 3rd Light Ack Ack (LAA) Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery; Gunner Joseph Faella, 3rd LAA Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery; Gunner Lawrence Spiteri, 3rd LAA Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.
Civilian casualties Mgarr Mary Vella, age 36.
Enemy casualties Obergefreiter Peter Dressen, Observer; Unteroffizier Karl Geilenkirchen, Air Gunner; Unteroffizier Friedrich Haas, Wireless Operator all crew of a JU 88 bomber, killed when the aircraft was shot down.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 11 APRIL 1942
ROYAL NAVY Kingston sank. Rinella W/T Station damaged. Urge proceeded for patrol between Lampion and Pantelleria.
AIR HQ Hudson missing: no further news. Hudson crash-landed: crew safe. Arrivals One Sunderland, two Wellingtons, four Hudsons from Gibraltar. Departures One Sunderland to 108 MU.
LUQA 1120-1420 hrs One Spitfire 69 Squadron photo-reconnaissancfe Sicilian aerodromes and Pantelleria.
TA QALI Aerodrome serviceable but large repairs still required. Army parties still working.
1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT 1745 hrs One JU 88 crosses Battalion HQ Camp at low altitude after coming through the harbour barrage. The aircraft is engaged by light machine gunfre from Battalion HQ and D Company, and crashes at Tal Francis.
1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY Work on aerodromes continued.
11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS Hal Far working party continues: demolition and construction work progressing. The working party is machine-gunned: no casualties. Ack Ack light machine-guns claim strikes on one ME 109.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 10; dealt with 3 (1 x 30kg; 1 x 250kg; 1 x 1000kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.
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