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7 January 1941: Convoy Operation Second Wave Embarks

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ILLUSTRIOUS AND CONVOY MW 5½ HEADING FOR MALTA

Breconshire

Breconshire

The main Mediterranean Fleet sailed from Alexandria before dawn today. The aircraft carrier Illustrious plus two battleships and seven destroyers are heading for Souda Bay to refuel before heading for a rendezvous with eastern convoys heading for Malta.

This afternoon a second convoy consisting of the fast transport ship Breconshire and the freighter Clan Macauley sailed from Alexandria with supplies for Malta, escorted by the anti-aircraft cruiser Calcutta and destroyers Defender and Diamond.

DECOY MAIL TO MISLEAD ENEMY

Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief has suggested a way to mislead enemy intelligence by setting up correspondence to fictitious military units on the Island. The Governor has been informed that on several occasions telegrams addressed to units by name in Malta have been sent in clear by wireless telegraph, including one addressed to: “1 Independent Tank Unit”. 

As the enemy may have intercepted these and learned of the arrival of new units, he has suggested to the War Office that a serious of bogus telegrams addressed to units not in Malta be despatched periodically in order to mislead them and possibly convey the impression that the garrison is larger than it actually is.

TROOPS NEED TO KNOW MAIL ARRIVES SAFELY IN UK

Troops in Malta have expressed concern through their commanding officers about the safe transmission of their letters home. Currently bags of mail despatched from Malta by the Army authorities are numbered and addressed to the General Post Office, London.  However, no confirmation of receipt arrives in Malta, leaving troops uncertain as to its safe arrival.  The War Office has been asked to arrange for notification of the receipt of mail to be sent by cable from the receiving postal authority. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 7 JANUARY TO DAWN 8 JANUARY 1941

Weather  Cold and fine.

1455-1500 hrs  Air raid alert for enemy aircraft approaching the Island. Delimara Signal Station reports aircraft approaching at 8 miles east but they turn away before crossing the coast.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 7 JANUARY 1941

LUQA 431 Flight: 2 Marylands reconnaissance Catania and Tripoli prevented by bad weather.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  A Bren Carrier course started at Ghain Tuffieha camp.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  A and D Companies Lyon light training.

 

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Posted by on January 7, 2021 in 1941, January 1941

 

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6 January 1941: New Convoy Bringing Reinforcements for Malta

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OPERATION ‘EXCESS’ GETS UNDERWAY WITH STEALTH MANOEUVRE

HMS Bonaventure

HMS Bonaventure

Allied Naval Commanders are adopting new tactics to bring the latest convoy safely through the western Mediterranean to Malta. In a carefully planned move, four merchant ships escorted by cruiser Bonaventure and four destroyers left Gibraltar before dark this evening and sailed westward from Gibraltar, clearly heading towards the Atlantic.

Then under cover of darkness the four merchantmen reversed course and passed back through the Straits of Gibraltar, where Force H, including battlecruiser Renown, battleship Malaya, carrier Ark Royal, cruiser Sheffield and eight destroyers lay ready to escort them towards Malta.

In a companion move, cruisers Gloucester and Southampton loaded with Army and RAF personnel for Malta sailed from Alexandria today with destroyers Ilex and Janus.  Personnel embarked include: 12 Ack Ack Defence HQ officers 2, other ranks 7; 12 Ack Ack gun operation room officers 7, other ranks 12; 484 Searchlight Battery Royal Artillery officer 9, other ranks 322; RAPC officers 3; RAMC officer 1; Ad Corps officers 2, other ranks 1. 

ROME RADIO FALSE CLAIMS

Rome radio today reported that Malta was attacked last night. Yet no enemy aircraft have approached the Island during the past 24 hours. 

ALLIES DROP PROPOGANDA LEAFLET

Allied aircraft today dropped leaflets onto areas where Italian soldiers are stationed giving details of recent RAF operations in Libya, with the intention of terrorising them into ceasing to fight. Allied propaganda leaflets also emphasise the ideological purpose of British soldiers who are guided by the love of freedom and the right of the oppressed peoples.

MALTA SIGNAL COMPANY OPERATIONAL

The Governor and Commander in Chief today reported that the officer establishment of the Malta Signal Company is now up to basic strength. Communications are now operational with 50 lines of multi-phone for Ack Ack searchlights and gunlayer sets.  However, the unit requires three more NCOs and two other ranks to reach full potential.  He has asked the War Office for clearance to enlist British ex-servicemen or Maltese to fill the posts.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 6 JANUARY TO DAWN 7 JANUARY 1941

Weather  Rain and strong winds.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 6 JANUARY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Unique arrived to join First Submarine Flotilla.

AIR HQ 0615-1055 hrs Glenn Martin photo reconnaissance for enemy shipping. Naples from 6000 ft: two battleships, one cruiser in dry dock; three destroyers, two merchant vessels 12000 tons, 18 merchant vessels to 8000 tons, 20 merchant vessels 2-4500 tons.  Intense but inaccurate Ack Ack; no aircraft.  Palermo: two 6in cruisers, two destroyers, four merchant vessels 5000 tons, five of 2000 tons.  Light inaccurate Ack ack; no aircraft. 0614-1059 hrs Glenn Martin photo reconnaissance Tripoli harbour: five possibly six destroyers, four of which lying alongside large merchant vessels north and centre of harbour; two auxiliaries, four merchant vessels 10000 tons, four of 6000 tons, 14 small merchant vessels, 20 barges, three seaplanes.  Intense, fairly accurate Ack Ack.  9000 pamphlets of Churchill’s speech dropped over Tripoli.  Pantelleria not photographed owing to heavy low cloud over the Island.  Operations by Wellingtons: 148 Squadron against Tripoli.  

LUQA 431 Flight: 1 Maryland reconnaissance Palermo and Naples; 1 Maryland reconnaissance Tripoli – pamphlets dropped. 148 Squadron: 6 Wellingtons bombing raid on Tripoli.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  A raft, possibly from Hyperion, was found near a coastal defence post.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  General Donovan, US Army, toured posts. Billets taken over at Rinella for Nos 16 and 18 Platoons. 

 

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Posted by on January 6, 2021 in 1941, January 1941

 

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20 December 1940: Med Fleet Commander First Visit to Malta

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NAVY CHIEF ARRIVES WITH LATEST CONVOY

HMS Warspite

HMS Warspite

The Royal Navy Commander in Chief Mediterranean arrived in Grand Harbour today aboard his flagship Warspite on his first visit to the Island since the outbreak of war with Italy.   Admiral Cunningham is in Malta to discuss the supply situation with the Governor and Commander in Chief, Lt Gen Dobbie, and Vice-Admiral Malta Sir Wilbraham Ford.

HMS Warspite arrived with a large supply convoy, codenamed MW5, which set out from Egypt on Monday in two operations to make the 1000 mile journey through the Eastern Mediterranean to Malta.  Freighters Lanarkshire and Waiwera with their Royal Navy escort formed the first part of the supply convoy; the second included merchantmen Pontfield, Rodi and Volo plus Naval escort, joined later by freighters Devis and Hoegh Hood with escort.  Meanwhile, Warspite was on patrol with the Mediterranean Fleet providing distant cover for the passage of Convoy MW5 to Malta.

Large crowds turned out on the bastions overlooking Grand Harbour to welcome the arriving ships.  Although there were two air raid alerts during the day, no Italian aircraft approached close enough to the Island to disrupt the approach of the convoy.

With the arrival of MW5, a number of empty supply ships lying at Malta left Grand Harbour for Alexandria.  Merchantmen Breconshire, Clan Ferguson, Clan Macauley and Memnon sailed this afternoon escorted by the anti-aircraft cruiser Calcutta, destroyer Wryneck and three corvettes.  A second convoy also left Malta this afternoon for Gibraltar, including merchantmen Clan Forbes and Clan Fraser, accompanied by battleship Malaya and five destroyers.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 DECEMBER TO DAWN 21 DECEMBER 1940

Weather  Very cold and damp. 

1055-1150 hrs  Air raid alert; no air raid develops.

1600-1610 hrs  Air raid alert; no air raid develops. 

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 20 DECEMBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Destroyers Griffin, Greyhound, Gallant, Dainty and Hasty dock for refuelling.  Aircraft carrier Illustrious launched two air attacks on Tripoli with fifteen aircraft each. 

ARMY HQ  1100 hrs Command exercise ended.

 

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Posted by on December 20, 2020 in 1940, December 1940

 

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16 December 1940: New Convoy Embarks for Malta

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SS Waiwera

SS Waiwera

CONVOY MW 5A & B UNDERWAY

Two freighters bound for Malta set sail from Alexandria this afternoon carrying fresh supplies.  Operating under the convoy code MW 5A,  Lanarkshire and Waiwera will be escorted through the eastern Mediterranean by the battleship Malaya and destroyers Defender, Diamond, Nubian and Wryneck.

Under a dual operation, the ships are intended to link up another supply convoy, codenamed MW 5B in two sections.  Setting sail from Port Said yesterday were three merchantmen, Pontfield, Rodi and Volo have been joined by HMS Ulster Prince.  The second section put out from Alexandria early today.  Freighters the Devis and the Norwegian Hoegh Hood are escorted by the anti aircraft cruiser Calcutta and destroyer HavockHM Submarine Parthian will also shadow the convoy. 

The two groups of ships are expected to rendezvous tomorrow to complete their journey.  The Mediterranean Fleet is already at sea, and standing by to provide cover for the entire operation.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 16 DECEMBER TO DAWN 17 DECEMBER 1940

Weather   Cold and overcast.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 16 DECEMBER 1940

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Brigade commanders conference.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  There was an outgoing mail today.  

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Platoon Fitness Competition. 

 

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Posted by on December 16, 2020 in 1940, December 1940

 

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28 November 1940: Convoy Bombed as Ships Head for Harbour

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SS Clan Forbes

SS Clan Forbes

CROWDS COME OUT TO WELCOME ARRIVALS

After surviving a sea battle yesterday, Malta’s latest supply convoy was attacked by enemy aircraft as it neared its final destination. At around 2 o’clock this afternoon, a formation of ten bombers escorted by ten fighters approached the convoy from the east, split into two groups and unleashed two payloads of twelve high explosive bombs over the ships as they approached Grand Harbour. However, no damage was caused and Clan Forbes and Clan Fraser, with HMS Manchester and Southampton docked safely and began to unload stores, ammunition and personnel.

A buzz of excitement had spread through Valletta since early this morning, following rumours that ships have been sighted on the horizon. Just as the ships were spotted approaching the Harbour, air raid alert sounded and most of the population headed for cover. 

But as soon as the ‘all clear’ sounded, hundreds dashed to the Upper and Lower Barrakka gardens and the bastions overlooking the Harbour, ready to welcome the convoy as it steamed into port. The crowds sang and shouted, and waved handkerchiefs. (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 28 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 29 NOVEMBER 1940

Weather  Cool.

0906-0926 hrs  Air raid alert for eight to twelve Italian CR42 fighters which approach from the north at 23000 feet, circle Malta and then fly away to the north. Malta fighters are scrambled and a Hurricane shoots down one CR42 into the sea in flames, 20 miles north of the Island.  Four Wellington bombers take off during the raid.

1053-1111 hrs  Air raid alert for an unknown number of enemy raiders which approach the Island and drop several bombs in the sea to the north of Malta. They are engaged by Fleet Air Arm.  Three Blenheim aircraft approaching Malta during the raid land safely at Hal Far.

1329-1430 hrs  Air raid alert for six Italian CR42 fighters which approach from the north and spit into two formations over Valletta. One formation comes in over Delimara and is chased out by Malta fighters.  Another formation of ten bombers at 17000 feet escorted by ten fighters at 19000 feet then approaches from the east, splits up and bombs a convoy approaching Grand Harbour.  No ships are damaged.  Bombs are also dropped on land between San Rocco and Verdala Barracks.  Anti-aircraft guns launch a heavy counter attack and Malta fighters are scrambled.  Several dogfights follow: one CR42 and one enemy bomber are shot down into the sea by fighters.  A second CR42 is probably shot down by fighters. The Italian crew of the bomber are rescued and taken prisoner.  They confirm that their aircraft was a SM79 and was destroyed by a Malta fighter.

SS Clan Fraser

SS Clan Fraser

The convoy of two destroyers and two merchant vessels arrives safely in harbour.

2308-2320 hrs Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft which approaches the east coast of the Island but when illuminated by searchlights it retreats immediately.

Enemy casualties  Sottotenente Gaio Del Cerro, pilot, and Sergente Luigi Conte, air gunner, of SM79 bomber, 194a Squadriglia, 30o Stormo, shot down and taken prisoner; Sergente Giovanni Lozzari, 2nd pilot, and Ovidio Venanzi, 194a Squadriglia, 30o Stormo, shot down and died.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 28 NOVEMBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Operation ‘Collar’ successfully completed. Decoy and Hotspur arrived for refit but were sent out to escort Gloxinia into harbour, as she had one engine broken down. Griffin arrived for repairs.  Hire transports Clan Forbes and Clan Fraser arrived with guns and military and naval stores. 

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Fourth convoy arrived with ammunition in large quantities. Unloading began.

(1) Malta Diary of a War, Michael Galea, PEG Ltd 1992

 

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Posted by on November 28, 2020 in 1940, November 1940

 

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27 November 1940: Malta Convoy Attacked off Cape Spartivento

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Reconnaissance from Italian cruiser Bolzano spotted convoy

Reconnaissance from Italian cruiser Bolzano spotted convoy

BRITISH AND ITALIAN FLEETS LOCK IN BATTLE

Malta’s latest convoy was involved in a fierce sea battle in the Mediterranean today. Just before 10 o’clock this morning, the convoy was off Cape Spartivento in Southern Sardinia.  Admiral Somerville, commander of Force H sent to protect the convoy from the north, received a report from air reconnaissance that a significant force of the Italian fleet was in the vicinity.  Shortly afterwards he heard that additional ships of the Mediterranean Fleet had arrived from Alexandria, meaning that he was well equipped to match the Italian threat. 

Italian bombs miss Ark Royal

Italian bombs miss Ark Royal

Somerville immediately ordered his forces into two groups to form a protective shield over the convoy and repel attacks. Swordfish aircraft were prepared for take-off from HMS Ark Royal.  At 12.22 hours the two opposing forces came within range and the Italian cruiser Fiume opened fire, which was quickly returned.  The British naval ships were initially outgunned; HMS Berwick was hit by two shells which killed seven men and wounded nine others.  The British vessels rallied and the Italian destroyer Lanciere was badly damaged by a broadside from HMS Manchester.  The Italians again showed superior fire power before withdrawing from the engagement after just 54 minutes of battle.  Admiral Somerville’s forces set off in pursuit but as they approached Italian shores they were forced to turn back. The convoy was able to continue its safe passage to Malta.

MAILING DATES MUST REMAIN SECRET

Military personnel have been informed that for security reasons, no notice can be given of the opportunities for despatch of mail from the Island. In future, mail must be submitted to their Headquarters on Sundays and Thursdays.  It will then be censored and forwarded to the administration office on Mondays and Fridays.  Air Mail opportunities will continue to be notified to personnel by signal as previously.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 27 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 28 NOVEMBER 1940

Weather  Cool.

0757-0805 hrs; 0859-0911 hrs; 1147-1203 hrs  Air raid alerts for enemy formations but on each occasion the raiders turn away while still five or more miles from the coast.

2255-2314 hrs  Air raid alert. Air raid alert for two enemy raiders which approach the Island separately, from the north and east.  One crosses the coast near San Rocco, heads south and circles round Benghaisa, dropping several bombs in the sea nearby as well as high explosives on land south of Benghaisa Fort and near Windrock at Hal Far.  The second raider flying in from the east drops all its bombs in the sea off St Thomas’ Bay.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 27 NOVEMBER 1940

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Mail arrived from UK.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Strength of Battalion 27 officers, 889 other ranks.

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

 

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26 November 1940: Supply Convoy Braves Western Med

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HMS Manchester

HMS Manchester

OPERATION COLLAR BRINGS SUPPLIES THROUGH SHORT SEA ROUTE TO MALTA

Malta’s latest supply convoy has been sent through the hostile waters of the western Mediterranean, despite the threat of enemy attack. Until recently the route has been deemed too dangerous for all but the most urgent of supplies, and convoys have been taking the long sea route to the Island, via the Cape of Good Hope and Alexandria.  However, the balance of sea power in the Mediterranean has swung towards the Allied Navies, following the recent decisive attack on Italian fleet in Taranto harbour

Two merchant ships for Malta, SS Clan Forbes and SS Clan Fraser, sailed from the UK two weeks ago in fast convoy with SS New Zealand Star which is bound for Suda Bay.  Passing through the Straits of Gibraltar late yesterday they were joined by the cruisers HMS Manchester and Southampton carrying 1370 Royal Air Force technicians for Malta who had been brought out in Franconia to Gibraltar.  Escort for the convoy through the Mediterranean is made up of destroyers Duncan, Hotspur and Vidette, and corvettes Gloxinia, Hyacinth, Peony and Salvia.

HMS Southampton

HMS Southampton

To avoid the threat of air attack from Sicily, the convoy is following a route close to the coast of Algeria which currently remains neutral. Force H of the Mediterranean Fleet is providing additional protection to the north, with the battlecruiser HMS Renown, aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, cruisers HMS Sheffield and Despatch, and nine destroyers.  Other units of the Mediterranean Fleet including HMS Ramillies and cruisers HMS Newcastle, HMS Berwick and HMS Coventry are heading for a position south of Sardinia to meet the convoy and provide additional escort.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 26 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 27 NOVEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

0635 hrs  Air raid alert for a formation of enemy aircraft which approaches the Island but turns back some distance before reaching the coast.

Military casualties  Sergeant Dennis Ashton, Pilot, 261 Squadron RAF.                         

Enemy casualties  Tenente Giuseppe Becarria, 23o Gruppo Autonomo, pilot of Fiat CR42 fighter pilot.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 26 NOVEMBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY Convoy MW4 of four ships arrived and convoy ME4 of five ships sailed. Malaya entered harbour with an underwater defect which was quickly repaired. Newcastle sailed with Ramillies to the west. 

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Posted by on November 26, 2020 in 1940, November 1940

 

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29 September 1940: Troop Convoy for Malta Attacked

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HMS Liverpool

HMS Liverpool

CONVOY UNDER ATTACK

HM cruisers Gloucester and Liverpool came under threat today as aircraft of the Regia Aeronautica launched an attack on the convoy as they headed for Malta. The attacks were fought off by ships’ guns and aircraft from the carrier Illustrious.

It has emerged that Italian naval command had also picked up reports of the movements of Operation MB5 and has ordered its fleet to put to sea. Five battleships and seven heavy cruisers and four light cruisers and 23 destroyers set sail from Taranto and Messina in an attempt to intercept the convoy.

SLEEPING IN CLOTHES IN CASE OF A RAID

From the diary of the Chancellor of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Valletta

“What is the most important commodity a shortage of which would be most felt? In the economic sphere wheat, of course. Meat is not provided in the island to any extent, but the Maltese do not eat much of it. We used to get our beef, alive, from Romania; I do not think that any has come for months, and if Romania gets swallowed up by Germany there will be none. From the military point of view, I suppose petrol for the planes (of which we now have a much larger number, including some bombers who use us as a base) and heavy oil for the Navy, whose ships come in surreptitiously to re-fuel occasionally. Ammunition for the army one supposes was provided long ago. The gas manager tells me that he has coal for about 18 months at the present rate of consumption. Electric batteries for torches ran out for a time but were replenished before Italy came in.

St Pauls Anglican Cathedral

St Pauls Anglican Cathedral

I cannot obtain the pleasant pale blue type-ribbon which we have used for so many years – but I suspect the carelessness of the agent, who once before forgot to order it. Paraffin, which is much used for cooking ran very short a year ago. It was a great nuisance, and I hope it will not happen again; the poor who have no gas suffered a good deal.

We waste a great deal of time! An air raid a day keeps concentration away. We sleep in the Crypt; eerie, but one need not get up to go below in case of an alarm. The full moons of June and July were highly unpleasant; but in August, by the grace of God our enemies did not bother us. Here the moon is so bright that one can see to read at midnight. She is waxing now; shall we have attacks? It is also very cool in the Crypt; and it has been a cool year – another thing to be thankful for. For a fortnight I slept in my clothes – a form of funk, I think. Perhaps I had an idea that I might be called out for casualties. Also I took an old hat and kept it down below! This and a couple of iron bars, doubtless with the thought of being buried under fallen stone.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 29 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 30 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 1940

KALAFRANA Two Sunderlands on twelve hour reconnaissance patrols.

(1) Diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls courtesy of website: Malta Family History

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Posted by on September 29, 2020 in 1940, September 1940

 

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24 September 1940: Three More Supply Ships Expected at Malta

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Unloading WelshmanWARSHIPS TO BE UNLOADED AS FAST AS POSSIBLE

Infantry Battalions have ordered to stand by again for unloading of supplies. Three warships are expected to arrive in Malta within days carrying quantities of armour and ordnance stores. Two are estimated to dock in daylight and the third after dark.

Unloading parties of one officer, two NCOs and 50 men will be formed and report to Hamilton Wharf in the Dockyard at specified times. Battalions are asked to find as many men as possible with experience of stevedore work for the unloading parties. Each will work for shifts of four hours. The objective is to unload the ships in the shortest possible time – and hopefully to replicated the efficient unloading of the convoy on 2 September.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 25 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine, with scirocco.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 1940

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland. Departures 1 Sunderland.

KALAFRANA One Sunderland arrived from Middle East.   One Sunderland left for Gibraltar with Naval passenger.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS Information received that reinforcements may arrive very soon. Final instructions received regarding Northern Infantry Brigade exercise No. 1.

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

 

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2 September 1940: Malta’s First Convoy Docks Safely

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SHIPS UNLOADED IN RECORD TIME

Malta’s first convoy arrived safely today and was unloaded in record time. It was at first light this morning that the advance ships of supply convoy MF2 with its protective force of Operation Hats sighted the Island. The tugs Jaunty and Ancient went out to help the supply ship Cornwall into Grand Harbour.  

HMS Valiant enters Malta (NWMA)

HMS Valiant enters Malta (NWMA)

She was later joined by a second cargo ship Volo and HMS Valiant. At 1130 hrs the Vice Admiral Malta was able to report the safe arrival of the Island’s first convoy. Much needed Royal Artillery personnel disembarked from Valiant including three officers, twelve fire control operators, one equipment repairer, six gun fitters, two instrument mechanics, twelve height finders and four gun position officer assistants. Also on board were eight heavy and ten light Ack Ack guns and miscellaneous stores.

During the morning an enemy aircraft was overheard reporting three Royal Navy cruisers off Malta. An hour later one ship reported that she was being shadowed and decided to remain at 30 miles off Delimara. At 1450 hrs Italian aircraft launched an attack. Fulmars scrambled from Illustrious shot down one SM79, damaged another, and chased two SM79s as far as Italy. One Fulmar had to make forced landing at Hal Far; the Telegraphist Air Gunner was slightly wounded.

Troops from Malta’s Infantry Brigades joined the Dockyard stevedores at 1300 hrs to unload the convoy, expecting to work a twelve hour shift. However, the unloading was completed in just four hours, allowing the ships to leave harbour without facing any Italian air attacks. As well as the guns and ammunition, Malta now has much-needed supplies of general stores and fuel.

MORE GUNS DUE IN APRIL

Malta looks set to receive further massive reinforcements of defensive artillery. In a cable to the Island’s Army Headquarters today, the War Office in London has confirmed plans for an additional 112 heavy and 60 light anti-aircraft guns for the Island. The extra artillery is expected to arrive in Malta in April 1941.

However, it is still unclear how many of the additional forces will be posted from the UK and how many Malta would be expected to recruit from the Island itself. Final figures for reinforcements from Britain will be confirmed pending the Island’s reply.

In a separate exchange of telegrams, the War Office proposes increases in the senior structure of Ordnance Services on the Island.   The measure is designed to meet demands created by the growth of the Malta Garrison, which now stands at 12000 personnel, with a further 1000 expected within a few weeks.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 2 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 3 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine and clear.

1212-1227 hrs Air raid alert for six enemy bombers and fifteen fighters which cross the Island and travel eastwards in cloud, then head for Grand Harbour. They drop high explosive bombs in the sea, apparently attacking a destroyer lying offshore. Six Hurricanes are scrambled but do not engage.

1533-1545 hrs  Enemy aircraft are engaged in low dive-bombing attacks on Naval units to the south east of the Island. Two seaplanes aim bombs at a destroyer off Delimara Point and turn away from the Island. Six Hurricanes are scrambled but do not engage.

1800-1835 hrs  Air raid alert. Four destroyers are reported passing Delimara on a south-westerly course. Six enemy aircraft identified as JU87 dive bombers are seen over Grand Harbour and are followed by another formation. They turn away to dive-bomb Naval ships off the Island. Bombs are dropped near a destroyer off Fort St Elmo. The Navy claims to have shot down at least five enemy aircraft. Malta Hurricanes were unable to take off in time as they had just landed and were refuelling. Five take off later but do not intercept. No raiders cross the Island.

0500 hrs  Look-outs of 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers report the sound of a Motor Torpedo Boat or similar, off the coast. A destroyer is despatched to investigate.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 2 SEPTEMBER 1940

AIR HQ Departures 1 Sunderland. 0600-1630 hrs Sunderland on reconnaissance between Malta, Sicily and Zante. No enemy movements to report. 1610-1850 hrs One Skua reconnaissance Syracuse, Augusta, Messina: nil report.

KALAFRANA Three Sunderlands on patrol; one returned to Alexandria. One draft of 18 locally trained airmen left for Middle East.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT Six recruits enlisted.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Battalion sent parties to assist in unloading of supply convoy. 

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS Construction of accommodation at Ta Qali continues. Unloading party to be at docks at 1315 hrs. Returned 1800 hrs having completed a 12 hour job in four hours. Major G A French and four ORs arrive back from schools of instruction in Egypt and Palestine.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT 10 officers and 11 Other Ranks rejoined from ME courses. 52 Other Ranks unloading stores from HMS Valiant.

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

 

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