Tag Archives: Operation MB5

29 September 1940: Troop Convoy for Malta Attacked

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HMS Liverpool

HMS Liverpool


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.


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)


Weather  Fine.

No air raids.


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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