Tag Archives: Ploughboy

1 March 1941: Sea Mines Explode Under Minesweeper

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2300 bicycles now in constant use (NWMA Malta)

(NWMA Malta)


  • No of air raid alerts 107 (including 28 night raids)
  • No of bombing raids 31
  • Days without air raid alerts 1
  • Total time under alert 56 hours 47 mins
  • Average length of alert 31.8 mins
  • Enemy aircraft shot down 11; unconfirmed 8; damaged 6


Minesweeping drifter Ploughboy was severely damaged today when three mines exploded close to the vessel.  The drifter was engaged in a sweep and operating a Kango hammer at the entrance to Grand Harbour when the mines detonated.  One was close beneath the drifter and caused serious damage, killing one rating, Able Seaman Carmelo Farrugia, and wounding another nine – at least one seriously. Ploughboy was left in a dangerous condition and had to be beached to prevent her from sinking.

Ploughboy has been heavily engaged in clearance since the Luftwaffe laid large numbers of acoustic and magnetic mines in and off Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour two weeks ago. She is the only vessel at present in Malta which can carry out the necessary clearances. Ploughboy is expected to be out of action for some time until repairs can be completed.


From: Governor & C in C                      TO: War Office

Over 2300 pedal cycles are now in constant use by the infantry for tactical and petrol-saving purposes. Since a large proportion are not service pattern the number of repairs required is relatively large.  Armourers are already overworked and fully employed on weapons.  To avoid using fighting personnel for repairs, I request the authority to enrol twelve cycle fitters for attachment to battalions.  Any necessary training can be given.


Weather  Fine and warm.

0823-0935 hrs  Air raid alert for several enemy formations totaling 20 aircraft, including JU 88 bombers and ME 109 fighters, which circle round the Island crossing the coast at intervals. Malta fighters are scrambled and anti-aircraft guns engage; no confirmed results.

1230-1310 hrs  Air raid alert for approaching enemy aircraft. Six JU 88 bombers escorted by fighters drop bombs in the sea, on Tigne, and on a line from Rocco to Tarxien.  Eight Hurricanes are scrambled; no engagement.  Anti-aircraft guns engage with heavy fire; no confirmed results.

Military casualties  Able Seaman Carmelo Farrugia, HMS Ploughboy

Civilian casualties  Valletta  Carmel Attard, age 50.


ROYAL NAVY  HMS Ploughboy exploded mines at the entrance to Grand Harbour and had to be beached to prevent her from sinking.  One Maltese rating was killed, nine others are wounded. Regent arrived from patrol off Tripoli with some damage from a depth charge attack, having sunk a merchant vessel.  

AIR HQ  69 Squadron Maryland photoreconnaissance Taormina north of Catania as requested by Vice Admiral Malta; enemy fighters attempted interception but failed.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  A floating mine in the harbour settled near a post of B Company which had to be evacuated from the danger area. All approaches were roped off.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 1 ( 1 x 500kg).

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  16 volunteer recruits joined the Battalion.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strength 24 officers, WO1 6, other ranks 132.


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Posted by on March 1, 2021 in 1941, March 1941


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