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8 July 1940: Quarrymen Dig 30 New Rock Shelters

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NEW SHELTERS IN STONE QUARRIES NEAR LUQA

Stone workers in the quarries of Kirkop have put their skills to good use in creating thirty new shelters around the village.  Recognising that the safest possible shelter against bombing raids on Malta is under rock, the stone-cutters, miners and masons of the Island’s celebrated limestone quarries have dedicated hours of labour to creating shelters.  The shelters’ proximity to Luqa aerodrome makes them particularly welcome.  Some 30 such refuges are now complete and are being made available to the public for safe shelter during attacks. (1) 

INTERNATIONAL PRESS REPORTS ON MALTA RAIDS

International newspapers are today reporting that three enemy aircraft were shot down in twelve hours in Malta over the weekend.  According to the press, two crashed into the sea on Saturday night, when raiders bombed and machine-gunned an aerodrome, wounding a soldier and slightly injuring four civilians.  During four air raids on Sunday, they report, Malta fighters shot a raider down into the sea, two soldiers were killed and six wounded, and nine civilians killed and one wounded.  Several houses were destroyed.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 8 JULY TO DAWN 9 JULY 1940

Weather  Heavy cloud in the afternoon.  Strong winds and heavy swells in Marsaxlokk Bay. 

Lockheed Hudson

Lockheed Hudson

0535-0555 hrs  Air raid alert.  No bombs are dropped.    

0825-0845 hrs  Air raid alert.  No bombs are dropped.        

1030-1050 hrs  Air raid alert.  No raid materialises.

1420-1445 hrs  Air raid alert.  A formation of enemy aircraft is heard above the heavy cloud and engaged by Malta fighters and successfully turned away five miles from the Island.    

1700-1715 hrs Air raid alert.  One Hudson aircraft lands in Malta; no enemy raiders are seen.     

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 8 JULY 1940

AIR HQ  Arrivals  3 Sunderland.  0445 hrs  Anti-submarine patrol and reconnaissance by Swordfish: nothing to report.  PM  At the request of the Commander in Chief one Hudson aircraft carried out reconnaissance to a depth of 265 miles off Malta: no enemy forces sighted. 

KALAFRANA  A refuelling lighter broke its moorings due to a heavy swell and was reported adrift in Marsaxlokk Bay.  It was subsequently secured by the Mate of Andromeda, who dived overboard with mooring ropes.  Three Sunderlands of 228 and 230 Squadrons arrived.  One recruit medically examined for the RAF.  One bus ambulance sent to Luqa for permanent duty.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 1 incendiary Birkirkara, 2 incendiary Kirkop, 3 incendiary Mqabba.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Working parties loading stores at Marsaxlokk.  Owing the the frequency of air raid alerts little progress was made to the platoon’s defence works.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Two recruits attested.

(1) Source: When Malta Stood Alone, Joseph Micallef, Interprint Malta, 1981

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Posted by on July 8, 2020 in 1940, July 1940

 

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7 July 1940: Six Children and Mother Killed in Raid

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PANIC IN KALKARA – BOMBS KILL SIX CHILDREN UNDER TEN

Panic struck the streets of Kalkara this morning when enemy raiders dropped bombs across the community, destroying several houses in St Rocco and Capuchin Streets.  Eight civilians were killed in the raid and another eight wounded.  Seven of the dead were from a single family: Melania Borg was killed along with her six children, all under ten years of age. 

Armoury, Vittoriosa

Armoury, Vittoriosa

The suddenness and ferocity of the attack shocked the harbour community causing residents to stampede in sheer panic.  Police Sergeant Bujega acted swiftly to calm the situation and set out to find immediate shelter for the stricken community.  Helped by the team at Cottonera ARP centre he forced open the door of the Armoury at Vittoriosa, which they cleared for the homeless.  Once cleaned and made fully ready, the Armoury is expected to accommodate up to 150 refugees from Kalkara.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 7 JULY TO DAWN 8 JULY 1940

Weather  Cloudy and hot. 

0800-0840 hrs  Air raid alert.  Enemy aircraft are reported in the vicinity of Malta but do not cross the coast or drop any bombs. 

0917-0935 hrs  Air raid alert for five enemy bombers which cross the coast and drop bombs Benghaisa, then the Dockyard.  Twelve bombs are dropped in the area of Tarxien and Zeitun, severely wounding one officer.  Eight civilians are killed and eight wounded in Kalkara; one civilian is killed in Zeitun.  One Hurricane pilot picks off an enemy bomber at the edge of the formation and attacks with machine gun fire. He is heard on his radio: “Am just giving the right hand bomber a basin full…going down, going down.”  The enemy aircraft is observed falling into the sea south of Filfla.

1000hrs  Private A House of the Dorsetshire Regiment is accidentally shot and killed at Zabbar.

1315 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

1835 hrs  Air raid alerts.  Enemy aircraft approach the Island.  Malta fighters are scrambled; the enemy raiders turn back, without crossing the coast or dropping bombs. 

Military casualties  Private Arthur House, 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment                     

Civilian casualties  Kalkara  Melania Borg, age 42; Maggie Borg, age 10; George Borg, age 5; Josephine Borg, age 4; Cettina Borg, age 3; Vincent Borg, age 2; Irene Borg, age 8 months.  L Gibbons.  Qormi  Amante Abela, age 30.  Tarxien  Joseph Garcia, age 14.   

Enemy casualties  Tenente Pellegrino Zagnoli, 233a Squadriglia, 59o Gruppo, 41o Stormo, pilot of S79 bomber, shot down; Franco Mora, 233a Squadriglia, 59o Gruppo, 41o Stormo, crewman of S79 bomber, shot down and missing.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 7 JULY 1940

ROYAL NAVY  The Mediterranean Fleet, less Ramillies and the 3rd Cruiser Squadron, left Alexandria today to carry out operation MA5, the objective to cover the passage of fast and slow convoys from Malta to Alexandria with evacuees and fleet stores.  The aim is to reach cover position east of Cape Passero on Tuesday.  Destroyers will proceed with Jervis and Diamond to escort convoys.

AIR HQ  0400 hrs  Anti-submarine and search patrol by flare-dropping Swordfish: nothing to report. 

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Bomb Disposal UXB  All unexploded HE bombs and fragments were collected at Marino Pinto, handed over to the Navy, taken out to sea in a minesweeper and dumped at sea.  Dealt with 2 incendiary Zurrieq.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Message received for a working party to stand by for loading stores on board ship tomorrow.

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Posted by on July 7, 2020 in 1940, July 1940

 

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6 July 1940: Dockyard Bombed Without Warning Killing Workers

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DOCKYARD BOMBED WITHIN SECONDS OF SIREN

Bombs struck the Dockyard this evening only seconds after the air raid alert sounded, causing casualties among men who were still making for shelter.  Two dockyard workers were killed and nine wounded, including three with life-threatening injuries.  The casualties have not been named.

fort St Angelo

fort St Angelo

Fort St Angelo evacuated

Four enemy bombers took part in the raid, which also targeted Fort St Angelo.  Three high explosive bombs smashed into gardens adjacent to the Officers’ quarters.  The impact and blast effect shattered all the doors and windows and considerably loosened the stone in the main structural walls of the buildings.  The quarters had to be evacuated and officers billeted temporarily in the former slave quarters, the residences of the Vice Admiral and the Captain of the Dockyard.

Another stick of bombs fell in a line from Vittoriosa to French Creek.  High explosives landed on Dockyard Creek: one on Store Wharf caused a crater and casualties, another demolished the upper floor of an office building.  A third bomb struck HMS Olympus lying in No 2 Dock, piercing its hull and puncturing the Dock itself in 17 places.  Damage to Olympus has set the completion of her refit back two months.

HMS Olympus

HMS Olympus

DEVASTATION AT PAOLA

The attack came just hours after a very heavy air raid over the Dockyard and the workers’ community of Paola.  Just after three o’clock this afternoon 20 enemy aircraft swept over the coast and rained dozens of high explosive bombs over the area.  One unexploded bomb was reported outside Ghajn Dwieli Gate.  Adjutant of the Special Constabulary Philo Pullicino rushed to the scene and was shocked by what he saw:

“The scene at Paola was indeed terrifying.  I think it must have been the worst up to date.  The first thing I noticed was splinters of glass inches deep all over the town, far from any burst bombs.  I walked along crunching and breaking glass underfoot. 

There were a hundred houses demolished while twice that number needed new doors and windows.  Roofs and windows and wooden balconies hung imply, overlooking the debris-strewn road.  Electricity and telephone cables were down everywhere.  Here and there water was trickling out from broken pipes.

In some places one or more houses had simply disappeared – nothing remained except an empty space.  The bombs must have been big!  Thank God the place had been evacuated…The town must have been mistaken for a military objective – it had been bombed before and today received the full force of the blow…I spoke to a woman who had been in her house alone when the house next door was demolished by a direct hit…(Her calmness amazed me.)  ‘I have stuck it more than the others, but now I think it were better if we started moving.’”  (1)    

AIR RAIDS DAWN 6 JULY TO DAWN 7 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine, warm and clear. 

0810-0840 hrs   Air raid alert for three formations of enemy aircraft which approach to within nine miles of the Island before turning away.  No raid materialises.

1455-1540 hrs  20 bombers approach the Island and carry out a heavy bombing raid and dropping 100 bombs.  High explosives are dropped on Kirkop, Luqa, Paola, Verdala Barracks and the Dockyard, in the sea off Benghaisa and San Rocco, and between Mosta and Naxxar.  Several evacuated houses at Paola are destroyed with five minor casualties among civilians.  Nineteen bombs land on Luqa, including six on the runway causing damage which is quickly repaired.  One bomb lands on the corner of a hangar, destroying the building.  Another just misses a slit trench occupied by personnel of 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regt., covering them with dust but causing no casualties.  Some motor transport at Verdala is damaged.  One Ack Ack gunner at San Giacomo is slightly wounded.  One enemy aircraft is believed brought down and a second badly damaged.

2110-2140 hrs  Air raid alert.  Four enemy aircraft attack the Island, dropping high explosive bombs near the Dockyard and on Fort St Angelo, damaging gardens, near Tal Bajda and Tal Virtu, and in the sea off Kalafrana.  A low-flying machine-gun attack is made between Madalena Tower and St Andrews Barracks.  The aircraft swoops over the parade ground of Pembroke Barracks, firing its tail gun towards the ground.  Two enemy aircraft are shot down by small arms fire into the sea off Madalena Tower.

2335 hrs  Lights are reported from the west of Verdala, believed possible signaling.  A few minutes later more possible signaling lights are seen coming from Dingli.

Civilian casualties  Michael Falzon, age 70. 

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 6 JULY 1940

AIR HQ  0445 hrs  Anti-submarine and reconnaissance patrol by Swordfish: nothing to report. 

KALAFRANA  Six recruits medically examined for the RAF.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 1 HE 250lb Dockyard; 1 HE 130lb Mqabba.

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

 

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Posted by on July 6, 2020 in 1940, July 1940

 

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5 July 1940: Mystery Aircraft Landing in Malta

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FRENCH AIR CREW ASK TO JOIN RAF

Hal Far and Kalafrana air bases were on red alert this evening after early warning systems spotted a single aircraft heading towards Malta’s south coast.  The plane approached a just before 10pm, showing full lights which suggested it was not on an enemy raider on a stealth mission.  It then began to circle Marsaxlokk Bay, signalling the word ‘FRANCE’ in morse code.  Five minutes later the aircraft landed at Kalafrana, where it was met by officers of the RAF.

French Latecoere with Sunderland at Kalafrana

French Latecoere with Sunderland at Kalafrana

The aircraft has been identified as a French Latecoere seaplane.  It was crewed by two NCOs who have flown to Malta from Bizerta in Tunisia.  The pilot has been named as Adjutant Duvauchelle and his crewman Wireless Operator Mehauas.  On being apprehended, the pair stated that they wish to serve with the Royal Air Force.        

In the lead-up to the French armistice with the Axis, it appears a message was issued inviting French planes to join Allied forces in the Mediterranean, including Malta.  However, in view of more recent attacks on Gibraltar by French aircraft, all French planes are now automatically regarded as hostile, unless and until they prove themselves friendly.

The two officers were placed under guard and taken to Malta’s War Headquarters for interrogation.  Meanwhile, the Island’s Air HQ has notified London of the events, requesting that the information be treated as top secret until further notice.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 JULY TO DAWN 6 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine, warm and clear. 

2150-2155 hrs  Air raid alert.  An unidentified aircraft is reported approaching the south coast, showing full lights.  It then signals in Morse Code before coming in to land at Kalafrana. 

2233 hrs  2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers report a light emanating from near Tal Minsia Church which illuminated three times for eight seconds, with five second intervals.  An investigation is ordered.

0010 hrs  Air raid alert.  Enemy aircraft are reported in the vicinity of the Island but none crosses the coast and no bombs are dropped.    

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 5 JULY 1940

AIR HQ  0445 hrs  Anti-submarine patrol by Swordfish: nothing to report.  1845 hrs  Nine Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm left to attack the aerodrome at Catania.  Bombs dropped: 6 x 500lb, 24 x 250lb, 27 incendiary; some on the aerodrome and some on workshops.  Two hangars were hit and four fires started.  Several cruisers and destroyers were observed in Augusta.  All aircraft returned safely. 

KALAFRANA  Nine recruits medically examined for the RAF. 

LUQA  Strength of station:  officers 19; airmen 75; civilians 4.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Camp visited AM by GOC Troops, Major General S J P Scobell and PM by His Excellency the Governor and Commander in Chief.

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Posted by on July 5, 2020 in 1940, July 1940

 

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4 July 1940: Italian Radio Broadcasts False Propaganda in Maltese

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MALTA BROADCASTS COUNTER FALSE ITALIAN RADIO CLAIMS  

Malta’s Rediffusion service is mounting a concerted campaign against false information coming from Italian radio.  Broadcasts from Rome in the Maltese language are making exaggerated and often false claims about the progress of Italian and German war campaigns.  Information from Italy has included claims that the Regia Aeronautica have destroyed Malta’s railways – which closed down in 1931.  Rediffusion announcements will be broadcast daily, systematically refuting the Italian propaganda.

Cant Z506

Cant Z506

MALTA FIGHTERS RESCUE DESTROYER

Malta fighters today helped fight off a surprise attack on a Royal Navy destroyer by an enemy aircraft.  HMS Jervis was attacked at just after six pm by an Italian Cant triple-engined seaplane.  The enemy aircraft swooped low and dropped bombs on the destroyer from between 500 and 1000 feet.  Malta-based fighter aircraft were scrambled and launched a counter-attack.  The encounter lasted half an hour but no damage was caused to the vessel or Malta fighters.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 4 JULY TO DAWN 5 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine and very hot; visibility clear.    

0555-0620 hrs  Air raid alert.  Three formations of enemy fighters appear over the Island.  One remains at altitude while the other two carry out a low flying machine gun attack on Hal Far aerodrome and then on Kalafrana.  All ground defence posts, including light machine guns of the RAF and 8th Bn Manchester Regt, return fire from the ground.  No damage or casualties reported.   

2111-2120 hrs  Air raid alert – no raid materialises.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 4 JULY 1940

Civilian casualties Antonio Azzopardi, Stoker.

AIR HQ  Aircraft casualties  Two Swordfish damaged on Hal Far aerodrome but repairable.  0445 hrs  Anti-submarine and reconnaissance patrol by Swordfish: nothing to report. 

KALAFRANA  Three recruits medically examined for the RAF.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 1 HE 250lb; 1 HE 130lb Addolorata Cemetery.

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

 

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2 July 1940: Businesses Open Air Raid Shelters to Public

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BUSINESSES RESPOND TO GOVERNMENT APPEAL FOR SHELTERS

Owners of businesses and club premises in Malta’s bombing target areas are opening their doors to provide shelter during air raids.  The Island’s newspapers have published details of six public shelters in the Sliema area alone.  The new shelters include the Chocolate Box Bar, Sliema Athletic Club, and St Julians Police Station as well as a motor vehicle garage and several privately-owned cellars.  The opening of the new shelters follows a recent appeal by the Government for garage owners to allow their premises to be adapted for use as public air raid shelters. (1)  

HMS Jervis

HMS Jervis

JERVIS DAMAGED IN HARBOUR

Destroyer Jervis was damaged today when she arrived at Malta from repairs in home waters.  The vessel bumped against the dock while berthing, sustaining damage to her bow.  The damage sustained was minor and after immediate repairs Jervis was declared fit for service.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 2 JULY TO DAWN 3 JULY 1940

Weather  Misty early morning, then fine. 

0925-0945 hrs  Air raid alert.  Two enemy aircraft cross the Island apparently on reconnaissance.  Ack Ack batteries at Luqa open fire and split the formation.  Bombs are dropped two miles out to sea to the south but none on land.  Malta fighters are scrambled. 

1830 hrs  Gunfire is heard an estimated ten miles to the south.  Later reports confirmed that a destroyer was bombed by a seaplane.

2320 hrs  Lights are again seen from Tal Minsia but they are not signalling.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 2 JULY 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Jervis arrived. 

AIR HQ  Departures  2 Sunderland.  0445 hrs  Anti-submarine patrol and reconnaissance by Swordfish: nothing to report. 

KALAFRANA  Two Sunderlands left for patrol and Alexandria.  Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 Squadrons operating 12 hour naval patrols over wide area covering Greek coast, south Italian coast and Sicily under direct instructions from Middle East and HQ Mediterranean.  Nine recruits medically examined for the RAF.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Practice “Close Valletta”.

HARBOUR FIRE COMMAND  RSM A Caruana granted emergency commission as Lieutenant.

(1) Source: When Malta Stood Alone, Joseph Micallef, Interprint Malta, 1981

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Posted by on July 2, 2020 in 1940, July 1940

 

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1 July 1940: Impossible to Send Fighters to Malta Says War Office

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NO FIGHTERS FOR MALTA

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

Regret impossible at present to send any fighters but consideration is being given.  Aircraft are unable now to fly over French territory and there are therefore only two methods of getting planes to Malta.  First by flying off a carrier sent well into Mediterranean.  Second subsequent to establishment of near east route via Nigeria and Egypt to fly planes from Mersa Matruh.  Neither method feasible at present.

Sunderland flying boat

Sunderland flying boat

MALTA IS A VITAL FLYING BOAT BASE

The Commander in Chief Mediterranean has pointed out to the Admiralty the vital role of Malta as a flying boat base when the fleet is operating in the central Mediterranean.  However, the report goes on to say that present continued air raids and lack of defences at Malta make refuelling of the aircraft a hazardous operation, except during the hours of darkness. 

The C in C has asked the Admiralty to give urgent consideration to the provision of fighters for Malta, and further that more Sunderland flying boats be allocated to the eastern Mediterranean to replace casualties and assist in the valuable work already being done by the existing squadron.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 1 JULY TO DAWN 2 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine. 

No air raid alerts.

2135 hrs  Shots are heard from the direction of Mosta Fort or beyond.  On investigation the officer in charge at the fort reports having seen a light signalling followed by a shot near buildings at Ta Qali.  Heavy explosions were later heard out to sea.

The CO of 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers is informed that a light has been seen from Tal Minsia, seeming to come from near the Officers’ Mess at St Andrews Barracks.  Investigation confirmed that the light was illuminated in a series of definite dots and dashes.  The source was determined as Tal Minsia Church.  Lights and shots have previously been reported in the same area.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 1 JULY 1940

HMS Coral

HMS Coral

ROYAL NAVY  Coral attacked an Italian U boat 3.6 miles off St Elmo light.  Jade claims to have sunk an Italian U boat. 

AIR HQ  Departures  1 Sunderland.  Aircraft casualties  0445 hrs Anti-submarine patrol and reconnaissance by Swordfish: nothing to report. 

KALAFRANA  One Sunderland left for patrol and Alexandria.  Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 Squadrons operating 12 hour naval patrols over wide area covering Greek coast, south Italian coast and Sicily under direct instructions from Middle East and HQ Mediterranean.  Three recruits medically examined for the RAF; one civilian candidate for a temporary commission.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Floriana Defence Company formed.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Strength of Battalion 25 Officers 743 Other Ranks.  Troops made considerable progress on Platoon defensive positions which are almost complete.

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Posted by on July 1, 2020 in 1940, July 1940

 

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27 June 1940: Suspicious Signalling During Air Raids

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SUSPICIOUS LIGHTS DURING AIR RAIDS

Reports have come in of mysterious lights in Sliema during tonight’s air raids.  Shortly after the alert sounded at 2130 hours a light was reported in a window in Hughes Hallett Street.  Personnel of 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers on duty nearby trained a rifle on the light which remained illuminated while enemy aircraft passed overhead. 

On investigation the window was found to belong to No 3, Arthur Flats, but there was no response from within.  The incident was followed up by local police who established that the flat belongs to a dockyard worker.  On gaining entry to the premises, they found that the electricity had been turned off at the metre.  As a precaution they removed all light bulbs.

Fort Mosta (NWMA, Malta)

Fort Mosta (NWMA, Malta)

This is the second similar incident in Sliema in four days.  On Sunday evening at 2200 hours a light was seen illuminating three times at the window of No 2, Mnajdra Flats, Hughes Hallet Street.  The flat owner, named as Mr Joseph Calascione, was not currently in residence.  The earlier incident was not reported as the investigating officer assumed the light was shown due to carelessness.  The authorities consider the similarity between the two incidents requires further monitoring.  Defence posts in the vicinity have been warned to keep a special look out for similar lights and report them at once.  

In a separate incident, investigations are also ongoing into unexplained lights in the area of Mosta Fort in the early hours of yesterday.  The lights were seen at 2245 and 2310 hours by defence posts of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers.  Described as white Verey lights, the beams were first observed following an upward course between the old mill and Mosta Fort.  The source of the lights is believed to be an area between Naxxar, Lija and Mosta.

Less than an hour later, a report was received of two periods of short flashes, each lasting about five seconds, from a point south of St Paul’s directly underneath Selmun Palace.  Within moments, a further flashing light was seen in the neighbourhood of Nadur Tower. 

HMS Orpheus

HMS Orpheus

SUBMARINES LOST

Two submarines reported as overdue yesterday are now confirmed lost.  HMS Odin disappeared in the Gulf of Taranto.  The cause is unknown.  HMS Orpheus is believed torpedoed by an Italian submarine en route between Malta and Alexandria.

GOVERNOR TURNS DOWN FOREIGN LEGION FORCE

The Governor and Commander in Chief today turned down an offer from the Foreign Legion to bring French forces to Malta to fight against the Italians.  The offer came from Captain Robert, based in Sousa, who arrived yesterday (Wednesday) by submarine from Tunis, which he had left on 24 June.  This was before the French signed an armistice with Germany, but after Tunisian troops had received instructions to obey orders from a Bordeaux government. 

According to Captain Robert, the French Army in Tunis (and across North Africa) wishes to fight on, either in Tunis or outside, in Egypt or elsewhere.  He believes they should continue to fight the Italians and maintain North African ports against the Axis fleets but, if that is not possible, he proposes they fight from another Allied base. 

It is understood that Foreign Legion officers plan to seize local boats at Sousa and transport 1800 troops with armoured cars to Malta, escorted by two French submarines. Lt General Dobbie believes that, although additional troops on Malta would be useful, a French unit here might produce more problems than it would solve.  However, he put forward the possibility that the French might replace an Allied battalion in Egypt, which could then perhaps be spared to assist Malta. 

The War Office has confirmed that the Foreign Legion personnel will be accommodated in Egypt if possible.  However, even if that happened, it was made clear that the situation in the Middle East there does not allow for a British battalion to be sent from Egypt to Malta.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 27 JUNE TO DAWN 28 JUNE 1940

Weather  Low cloud.

0905-0915 hrs; 1115-1125 hrs  Air raid alerts.  No attack. 

2130-2140 hrs  Air raid alert.  No attack.   It is reported that on the sound of the air raid alert a light went on somewhere in Tigne Mansions and stayed on until the all clear. 

0445 hrs  Swordfish aircraft carried out an anti-submarine patrol and reconnaissance for Italian shipping but found nothing to report.

Military casualties  Signalman John Ernest Saunders, Royal Corps of Signals

Civilian casualties  Hamrun  Carmelo Fiteni, age 40.  Marsa  George Gatt, age 7; Joseph Gatt, age 2. Tarxien  Angiolina Orland, age 30.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 27 JUNE 1940

KALAFRANA  Two Sunderlands of 228 and 230 Squadrons arrived from Middle East for Naval co-operative patrols using Kalafrana as a refuelling and re-arming base.  AC Sciberras admitted to Military Hospital, Imtarfa.

LUQA  Flt Lieutenant M Grennan transferred to Military Hospital, Imtarfa. 

2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  The Governor and Commander in Chief visited Battalion Headquarters and Fort Benghaisa.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  A large number of sand bags were filled throughout the day at Ghain Tuffieha Bay; 250 of these were taken up to Ta Saliba for the purpose of strengthening sangars.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Orders received for working party to stand by for unloading stores from ship at Marsaxlokk; troops moved at midnight.

 

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Posted by on June 27, 2020 in 1940, June 1940

 

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25 June 1940: Malta Regiment to Increase in Strength

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GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES RE-ORGANISATION OF KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT

The Governor and Commander in Chief Malta today proposed an urgent reorganization of the Kings Own Malta Regiment, and a strengthening of numbers.  Under the plans, the 2nd Battalion is to be divided into two, providing a new 2nd Battalion with 759 personnel plus a 3rd Battalion numbering 596.  The additional personnel are needed to cover a significant increase in anti-parachute patrols and guards for vulnerable points across the Island, in case of enemy invasion. 

Verdala Palace - scene of mystery signals

Verdala Palace – source of mystery signals

AIR RAIDS DAWN 25 JUNE TO DAWN 26 JUNE 1940

Weather  Gale at night.  Misty in the morning, then fine and very warm. 

2203 hrs  A defence post of 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment reports signalling in the form of red and white flashes from one degree east of Verdala Palace and from the direction of Rabat.

2200 hrs  Definite signalling is reported coming from the area of the Castille.  Sentries are ordered to train a rifle on the light.  20 minutes later, lamp signalling is reported coming from Wardia Hill.  Both incidents will be further investigated in daylight.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 25 JUNE 1940

ROYAL NAVY  The Commander in Chief Mediterranean instructed Vice Admiral Malta to sail Masirah from Bizerta to Malta at his discretion. 

KALAFRANA  Sgt Baker and Cpl Barlow admitted Military Hospital, Imtarfa.  W/Cdr Palmer-Jones attached Kalafrana from HQ Mediterranean for duties as SMO.  A/S/L Soper relinquishes acting rank of S/Ldr.  F/O Moore attached to RAF Station Luqa for medical duties.  AC Debono and AC F Pollacco admitted Military Hospital, Imtarfa.  11 recruits medically examined.

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Posted by on June 25, 2020 in 1940, June 1940

 

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24 June 1940: Italian Pilots’ Morale Low

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CAPTURED AIRMAN REVEALS LOW MORALE IN REGIA AERONAUTICA

Italian 500lb bombs (NWMA Malta)

Italian 500lb bombs (NWMA Malta)

Three captured Italian airmen were interrogated today, providing useful intelligence for the War Office, although as junior officers their knowledge was not extensive.  They provided no information on German forces or parachute troops in Sicily.  The airmen revealed that bombs up to 500lbs were earmarked for use against Malta, but all agreed that strict orders had been issued against bombing non-military objectives, in Malta as well as other theatres. 

Two of the airmen, from Naples and Ancona on the Italian mainland, were somewhat reticent in their responses and appeared devoted to the fascist cause.  They believed the reasons for Italy’s entry to the war were her admiration for Germany and the necessity of increasing the Italian empire and domination of the Mediterranean.

The third airman, a Sicilian, is said to have spoken freely yesterday during an unofficial interview.    He is reported to have said that the hearts of Italian air crews are not really into their mission over Malta.  He claimed that in briefings he was told “nothing ever happens over Malta”.  The 21 year old also said that he had not eaten for two days, and allegedly added that he cared little what happened to the Italian Army.  His comments support the general belief that it is unusual for Sicilians to be allowed on active service, due to the Island’s lack of enthusiasm for the war. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 JUNE TO DAWN 25 JUNE 1940

2140 hrs  A defence post of 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment reports signalling in the form of red and white flashes from the west of Verdala Palace.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 24 JUNE 1940

KALAFRANA  AC Rizzo transferred to Military Hospital, Imtarfa; L/Cpl Mfsud to ADS.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Personnel at Ghain Tuffieha camp are engaged on digging slit trenches for the protection of personnel during air raids.  As from today passes will once more be granted to troops to go to Valletta on their afternoon off.

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Posted by on June 24, 2020 in 1940, June 1940

 

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