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NO FIGHTERS UP AGAINST 276 BOMBERS – BOMB HITS CARE HOME
For the second day in a row no RAF fighters took to the air today to intercept incoming enemy formations. The Luftwaffe were able to arrive in Malta’s air space unhindered and carried out heavy raids on Grand Harbour and all the airfields, dropping a total of 436 tons of bombs (442,376 kg). Anti-aircraft positions were a main target: fifteen were hit, killing thirteen Gunners and injuring many more.
TRAGEDY IN HAMRUN
The community of Hamrun is in mourning today after a heavy high explosive bomb struck a care home, killing many of the patients and their carers. St Paul’s Home for the Elderly was run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, many of whom were among the 34 killed in the explosion.
GEORGE CROSS JOINS VICTORY V
“Great exhilaration is being shown by the people of Malta since the award of the George Cross by His Majesty the King. Replicas of the cross are being chalked on all the buildings alongside the ‘Victory V’ sign.” (1)
AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 APRIL TO DAWN 20 APRIL 1942
Weather Wind south-easterly. 30% high cloud – fine.
0710 hrs Air alarm. Raid does not materialise.
0806 hrs 60 JU 88 bombers and 24 JU 87 Stuka dive-bombers escorted by fighters are reported approaching the Island. They divide into several formations to attack Grand Harbour, Hal Far, Safi and Luqa, dropping four bombs from each plane.
0845 hrs Massive formations of JU 88s and JU 87s attack the Grand Harbour area, including Marsa Creek and Valletta. The San Lorenzo Tunnel is hit, causing a partial collapse. SS Pampas is set on fire and part of the Tram Depot is destroyed.
Royal Artillery HQ reports bombs on San Pietru gun position – one gun slightly damaged; Benghaisa gun position – gun out of action slightly damaged and three Other Ranks wounded; and on Tal Qroqq, Hompesch and Marsa gun positions.
A large formation of JU 88s attacks Valletta. A stick of bombs falls on Old Mills Street: no casualties. Eight JU 88s peel off to target Msida Creek: the Ospizio Barracks are hit.
0900 hrs Two formations – five JU 88s and four ME 109 fighter bombers – carry out high level bombing and dive bombing on Luqa airfield, cratering the runway. One unexploded bomb is reported in the Beaufort dispersal area. Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage numerous JU 88s: hits claimed.
0915 hrs Bombs explode north of Zabbar and between close to three defence posts of 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt. Light Machine Guns of their Battalion HQ and D Company engage one JU 88: no hits claimed.
0954 hrs Thirteen JU88 bombers raid Kalafrana and another eight attack Hal Far causing ten craters on the runway and dispersal areas. Barrack blocks are hit, one Hurricane is burned out, one Albacore and one Swordfish slightly damaged.
1003 hrs Raiders passed.
1015 hrs 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt report an unexploded bomb UXB 150 yards from Post RA3 and another at map reference 489224.
1121-1143 hrs Four enemy aircraft (suspected to be ME 109s) approach the Island but do not cross the coast.
1325 hrs Several large plots of enemy bombers with fighter escort are reported approaching the Island. They divide into several formations to attack Grand Harbour Hal Far, Luqa and the Safi strip.
1330 hrs A massive wave of JU 87s and JU 88s attacks the Grand Harbour area. The Police Office at Dockyard Main Gate is wrecked, and a surgery damaged. Several bombs land on Valletta, including one on a shelter in Merchant Street. In Floriana, Argotti Gardens, the Police Station and the Government Dispensary are hit. Bombs destroy several houses in St Francis Street: 13 casualties are later recovered from the rubble. Royal Artillery HQ reports direct hits on the Santa Maria gun position with 14 casualties.
1340 hrs A large formation of aircraft bomb Marsa crossroads, blocking the road, Marsa Creek and Marsa Ack Ack Battery, where there are six casualties.
1400 hrs One JU 88 attacks Hompesch: one stick of bombs lands close to a 3″ Ack Ack Battery and other positions of 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt. Their D Company gunners engage one JU 88 turning away from the attack: no hits claimed.
1445 hrs L/Cpl James and Pte D Macpherson, 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt are killed by an enemy bomb.
1400 hrs Twenty JU 87s and JU 88s attack Hal Far, badly damaging the Officers’ Mess and other quarters, including barrack blocks, cookhouse and the NAAFI. Two Hurricanes are slightly damaged. One stick of bombs falls across Hagiar Qim Battery causing some damage to equipment. Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage numerous JU 88s and ME 109s: hits claimed.
1325 hrs JU 87s, 88s and ME 109s carry out high level and dive-bombing raids on Luqa aerodrome, cratering the main runway, and on Safi strip. Transit Flight offices and Works and Buildings offices are damaged beyond use; four previously damaged billets are written off.
1446 hrs Raiders passed.
1530 hrs 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt reports an unexploded bomb at map position 518219.
1557 hrs Four aircraft (suspected to be ME 109 fighter bombers) approach from the north and drop bombs in the north of the Island.
1600 hrs A delivery flight of seven Hurricane lands successfully.
1626 hrs Raiders passed.
1630 hrs 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt reports two unexploded bombs at map position 512227.
1800 hrs Several large plots of enemy bombers with fighter escort are identified approaching the Island.
1812 hrs A large formation of bombers attacks the Grand Harbour area, including Corradino, French Creek and Marsa Creek. Bombs on Floriana cause considerable damage to the NAAFI Club in Parade Ground, Portes des Bombes area and Valletta Wharf.
Ack Ack gunners score a direct hit on one JU 88 and the aircraft disintegrates in mid-air. Manoel gun position is hit, killing nine Other Ranks and wounding one officer and 5 Other Ranks. Naxxar, Tal Qroqq, Benghaisa and Hompesch Heavy Ack Ack positions report near misses; the HQ of 32 Light Ack Ack is demolished.
1830 hrs JU 87 and 88 bombers attack Hal Far. Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage numerous JU 87s: hits claimed.
1840 hrs One lone JU 88 carries out a high level bombing attack against Hompesch. One bomb lands on the camp of Battalion HQ 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt but there are no casualties.
1940 hrs All clear.
Night Four air raid alerts sound for six enemy raiders. Bombs are dropped on Gudja, Safi, Hal Far and Kalafrana. No fighters are airborne.
2245-2340 hrs One Italian BR 20 aircraft approaches from the north and drops a number of 12kg bombs round Bir-id-Deheb, and from Ghaxaq to the Safi strip.
0130 hrs; 0238-0251 hrs Air raid alerts sounds for single aircraft: nothing transpires.
0330-0600 hrs One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol to intercept incoming enemy aircraft: no engagement.
Military casualties Able Seaman Joseph Galea, HMS St.Angelo; Gunner Anthony Cunningham, 7 HAA Regiment, Royal Artillery; Lance Corporal Alfred James, 1st Battalion, The Dorsetshire Regiment; Private Henry Livingstone, 1st Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment; Gunner Saviour Mifsud, 3 Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery; Private Anthony Saliba, King’s Own Malta Regiment.
Gunner Cyril Bunn; Gunner Sydney Carter; Lance Bombardier Charles Castle; Bombardier Andrew Cullen; Gunner James Ditheridge; Gunner John Mansell; Gunner Thomas Smith; Gunner James Stewart; Gunner Samuel Vickers, all of 222 Bty, 10 Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery. Lance Bombardier Albert Johnson and Bombardier Cyril Pughe, both 190 Bty (6th Battalion The Royal Warwickshire Regiment), 10 Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.
Civilian casualties Gudja Anthony Borg, age 46. Gzira Joseph Borg, age 15; Josephine Gingell, age 40.
Hamrun Marianna Attard, age 70; Filomena Azzopardi, age 70; Rosaria Azzopardi, age 70; Francesca Bonello, age 75; Silvia Bono, age 71; Carmela Borg, age 91; Giovanna Borg, age 72; Lucrezia Borg, age 55; Rosa Calascione, age 70; Mary Calascione, age 40; Maria Camilleri, age 70; Mary Camilleri, age 70; Joseph Caruana, age 77; Teresa Casabene, age 58; Marianna Cassar, age 65; Joseph Cuschieri, age 75; Catherine Cauchi, age 66; Concetta Darmanin, age 70; Carmela Debono, age 80; Pauline Ferro, age 80; Josephine Galea, age 70; Sister Teresa Garabaldi, age 53; Antonia Hyzler, age 75; Mary Kelly, age 90; Emanuela Laferla, age 70; Teresa Meilak, age 90; Teresa Micallef, age 60; Virginia Micallef, age 60; Grace Pace, age 80; Clara Pace, age 70; Giovanna Potenza, age 70; Sister Therese Sciberras, age 85; Mary Vella, age 69; Rosa Zahra, age 70.
Msida Francesca Bianco, age 70; Vincenza Caruana Mamo, age 74; Joseph Grech, age 76; John Zammit, age 78. Sliema Emanuel Borg, age 16. Valletta Violetta Bone, age 16; Joseph Borg, age 14; Herman Scerri, age 14. Zabbar Angela Degabriele, age 75; Josephine Gatt, age 34; Mary Lia, age 38; Saviour Mallia, age 33; Joseph Mallia, age 30; Grace Tedesco, age 23. Zejtun Paul Despott, age 16. Zurrieq Carmel Callus, age 43; Anthony Inguanez, age 13.
Enemy casualty Josef Bauer.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 19 APRIL 1942
ROYAL NAVY Clyde sailed for Gibraltar with passengers. Attacked by ME 109 off Grand Harbour and returned at 2200 hrs. Una proceeded on patrol west of Tripoli.
AIR HQ Arrivals Seven Hurricanes, two Blenheims from Gambut; one Beaufighter from Gibraltar. Departures Five Wellingtons to 108 MU; one Hudson to Gibraltar.
LUQA 2152-0920 hrs Six Wellingtons S/D Flight search for and attack enemy shipping. Sight one merchant ship and two motor torpedo boats: no attacks made.
TA QALI 20 airmen attached to this station from Luqa for one day. One Chief Petty Officer and twelve seamen ex Breconshire attached to this station for armament duties. Aerodrome runway serviceable and extensive repairs proceeding.
SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE 1 Dorset L/Cpl James and Pte Macpherson killed by a bomb at Gzira.
1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT 50 men working on electric light mains in Valletta continued working today; other parties stood down. Several incendiaries in and around Horn Works. Pte Livingstone, B Company, killed by shrapnel. Pte Holmes injured and admitted No 90 General Hospital.
1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT 0215 hrs Lt Treadwell dies in No 90 General Hospital.
1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY Work continued on aerodromes.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS NAAFI in Lintorn Bks demolished by bomb. Further bombs on Floriana Parade Ground – no casualties. Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 27; dealt with 13 (1 x 1000kg; 3 x 500kg, 2 x 250kg, 7 x 50kg).
1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT 1700 hrs No 4 Platoon now located at Ta Salib cross tracks.
8TH BN THE KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT One bomb lands close to B Company cook house of 3rd Battalion.
11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS Final day for Hal Far working party. 2100-0630 hrs Both working parties numbering all available Officers and men at Luqa and Hal Far to complete first set of pens for new aircraft.
8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT Working parties continue building Spitfire pens on Ta Qali aerodrome.
2ND BN THE ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT A working party of 130 Other Ranks is employed at Luqa during the hours of darkness.
(1) Army News, Darwin, Australia, 19 April 1942
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