RSS

Tag Archives: RAOC

5 January 1941: Medals for Malta Bomb Disposal

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

 

Captain R L Jephson Jones & Lt W M Eastman

Captain R L Jephson Jones & Lt W M Eastman

GEORGE CROSS PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT MUST NOT MENTION TIME BOMBS

Malta’s first two bomb disposal officers have both been awarded the George Cross. The London Gazette made the official announcement of the awards to Captain R L Jephson Jones and Lieutenant W M Eastman, RAOC, which were made in recognition of their ‘most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out very hazardous work’.  According to the recommendation, the two officers:  “worked under dangerous and trying conditions and performed acts of considerable gallantry in dealing with large numbers of various unexploded bombs, some of which were in a highly dangerous state and of the German delay type.

On one occasion, these officers showed particular gallantry in dealing with an 1100lb (500kg) German bomb. Two attempts were made to explode this bomb but it failed to detonate; at the third attempt when it was in a most dangerous state, they succeeded in detonating it.  On a second occasion, these officers, assisted by a Master Rigger of H M Dockyard, succeeded in removing a 400lb high explosive Italian unexploded bomb which had been under water for a week in a 20ft deep well inside a house…”

Captain Jephson Jones and Lt Eastman with their Royal Engineers team tackled some 85 unexploded bombs and over 150 Ack Ack shells in the six months to November last year. With no formal training or specialist equipment available in Malta, they often had to improvise to get the job done. 

In a further development today, the War Office issued a caution to Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief to place a press embargo on any mention of the two officers dealing with time bombs in coverage of their awards. (1)

AMMUNITION USE

The following Ack Ack ammunition was used during the period 31 December 1940 to 5 January 1941 inclusive, all services: 4.5” shells 33; 3.7” shells 194; 3” high explosive 66.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 JANUARY TO DAWN 6 JANUARY 1941

Weather  Rain and strong winds.

No air raids.

Military casualties WO2 Clarence Walter Tucker, 12 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 5 JANUARY 1941

AIR HQ Arrivals One Sunderland. Reconnaissance carried out of main aerodromes in Sicily. 0755-1000 hrs Glenn Martin reconnaissance Catania including harbour and Noto.  Nothing in Catania harbour.  28 aircraft believed SM 79 and nine single-engined aircraft dispersed around the aerodrome. 0610-1200 hrs Glenn Martin reconnaissance Palermo; snowstorm encountered two 6in cruisers, ten merchant vessels in harbour. 0815-1010 hrs Comiso observed from 3000 feet: 13 CR 42 fighters and three transport aircraft, probably SM 75s.  Two fighters took off but the Glenn Martin withdrew without encounter.  Gela aerodrome and landing ground: no aircraft seen.  Trapani: 10 Macchi 200s and five three-engined aircraft – Ack Ack encountered from two gun positions.  All the aerodromes appeared to be waterlogged and in several cases aircraft seemed bogged down.

0810-1210 hrs  Glenn Martin photo-reconnaissance of Tripoli harbour from 10000 feet: three seaplanes near hangars; six destroyers, one merchant vessel 10000 tons, five of 8000 tons, seven of 6000 tons and eleven smaller.  Moderate to heavy Ack Ack encountered: fairly accurate.  Reconnaissance of Pantelleria: photos not taken due to 100 per cent cloud at 2300 feet over the island. 1429 hrs Sunderland from Gibraltar landed safely with nothing to report.      

KALAFRANA One Sunderland arrived from Gibraltar with passengers including Group Captain G H Livock, DFC, AFC, new Commanding Officer for Kalafrana.

LUQA 431 Flight: 2 Maryland reconnaissance Tripoli and Pantelleria; 1 Maryland reconnaissance Catania; 1 Maryland reconnaissance Trapani, Comiso and Gela; 1 Maryland reconnaissance Palermo. 148 Squadron: 6 Wellingtons bombing raid on Tripoli.

(1) UXB Malta, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010/2012    

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 5, 2016 in 1941, January 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 November 1940: Villagers Surround Crashed Italian Plane

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

CIVIL POLICE SLOW TO REACT SAY MILITARY CHIEFS

Civil police were the target of criticism today after crowds of civilians flocked unimpeded to the site of a crashed Italian aircraft. The Macchi 200 was engaged in an air raid over Malta today when it was attacked by a Hurricane and crashed between Zeitun and Hompesch.  Villagers from both communities immediately rushed to the scene and surrounded the wreckage, before a protective cordon could be established.  Military chiefs questioned the efficiency of the police who, they said, had not acted quickly enough to secure the area and keep the public away.  

The body of the Italian pilot was found near his aircraft; observers reported that he baled out but his parachute failed to open fully. He was confirmed dead by the military inspecting officer, who commented on the inferior quality of the parachute equipment.  The pilot has since been named as Abramo Giuseppe Lanzarini; his rank is unknown.

Adrian Warburton

P/O Adrian Warburon

QUICK THINKING NAVIGATOR SAVES RECONNAISSANCE PILOT

A RAF navigator saved the life of himself and his pilot today after their Maryland was attacked by four Italian fighter aircraft. The Maryland of 431 Flight was on a reconnaissance mission to photograph Taranto harbor when the Italian fighters attacked.  A bullet struck the nose of the aircraft and hit Pilot Officer A Warburton, knocking him unconscious. 

As the aircraft plunged into a steep dive, Observer/Navigator Sergeant Frank Bastard acted fast, manoeuvering the unconscious pilot aside and grabbing the controls himself. He managed to stabilise the aircraft and keep it on a steady course until the pilot regained consciousness.  F/O Warburton was sufficiently recovered to fly safely back to Malta. (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 2 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 3 NOVEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

1228-1336 hrs Air raid alert for five Italian formations totalling 20 SM79 bombers accompanied by some 30 Macchi 200 and CR42 fighters which approach from the north and fly over the Island. Bombs are dropped four miles in front of Fort St Elmo.  Anti-aircraft guns open fire, splitting the first bomber formation.  Six Hurricanes and two Gladiators are scrambled and attack the raiders in several dogfights at 17000 feet. 

One Macchi 200 is brought down by a Hurricane between Zeitun and Hompesch. The pilot bales out but his parachute fails to open fully and he is killed.  A second Macchi is possibly destroyed by another Hurricane.  Two CR42s are also damaged by fighters.  Ack Ack guns split the formations and shoot down one enemy aircraft.   After a brief lull bombers and fighters cross the coast and drop bombs on Luqa hitting a hangar on the aerodrome, and on Zabbar, demolishing four houses.  2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment carries out a search for unexploded bombs on the aerodrome: three are reported.  No military or civilian casualties are reported.

Military casualties Sergente Abramo Giuseppe Lanzarini, 72a Squadriglia, 17o Gruppo, 1o Stormo, pilot of Macchi C200 fighter.                                                   

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 2 NOVEMBER 1940

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Fatigue parties cleaning Strickland House.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Despatch of Italian machine guns to UK. Bomb Disposal UXB High Explosive 1 Luqa.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Molotoff cocktail trials. 1800 hrs Cycle patrol mounted at Luqa. 

(1) For his actions Sergeant Bastard was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal.

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 2, 2015 in 1940, November 1940

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

1 November 1940: Malta Aircraft Bomb Naples

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

Naples bombing 1 NovMALTA-BASED AIRCRAFT BOMB NAPLES

Aircraft from Malta were involved in a heavy bombing raid on Naples today. Main targets were the seaport, industrial zones and railways to the east of the City, and a steel mill to the west.  The mission was part of a co-ordinated British attack against the ports of Naples and Brindisi.

SUNDERLANDS UNDER ATTACK

One Sunderland flying boat of 228 Squadron is believed destroyed and another seriously damaged after they were attacked by Italian fighters today. The aircraft of Squadron Leader Menzies and Flying Officer S M Farries was on patrol over Sicily when it was intercepted by Italian fighters which launched a determined attack.  The Sunderland was severely damaged and was observed falling into the sea.  There were no reported survivors.

In a separate incident, a second Sunderland piloted by F/Lt Ware left Kalafrana to search for the crew of a Wellington aircraft which had failed to arrive in Malta. The flying boat was attacked by Italian Macchi 200 and CR42 fighters. Despite being riddled with large bullet holes, the Sunderland managed to limp back to Kalafrana. On landing, the pilot reported that Air Gunner Leading Aircraftsman R J Barton had continued firing at the enemy aircraft despite severe gunshot wounds to his neck and ankle. (1)  

AIR RAIDS DAWN 1 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 2 NOVEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

0655-0735 hrs Wellington bombers land at Luqa.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 1 NOVEMBER 1940

AIR HQ  Aircraft casualties  1 Sunderland.

KALAFRANA A Sunderland piloted by F/Lt Ware, 228 Squadron attacked by Italian Macchi 200 and CR42 fighters: two airmen wounded and the aircraft damaged. Officers S/L Menzies and F/O Farries, four NCOs and four airmen of 228 Squadron have been reported missing after their aircraft failed to return from patrol off Sicily.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Tests carried out on petrol bombs; a solution was made which prolonged the life of the flame.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS B omb Disposal UXB  High Explosive 3, Zabbar, Latnia, Luqa.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  1130 hrs GOC inspected bomb dumps. Nightly patrols of aerodrome mounted to prevent sabotage of Wellingtons. 

(1) Leading Aircraftsman R J Barton was awarded the DFM for his actions.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 1, 2015 in 1940, November 1940

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

24 October 1940: Anti-Italian Feeling Grows in Malta

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

Kingsway or Strada Reale

Kingsway or Strada Reale

ITALIAN PILOT ATTACKED IN VALLETTA

Anti-Italian feeling is growing among some groups of Maltese civilians. Increasing numbers of letters are being sent to newspapers seeking the eradication of Italian language and cultural symbols from Maltese life. One correspondent commented: “Whenever we hear the siren, there are only Italian planes, directed by Italian pilots, dropping Italian bombs…are we going to leave the Italian language on our walls? Are we to continue to write our address in Italian?…Is the Italian language to be continued to flow in our Secondary Schools? Street names are already being changed from Italian to English in response to demand. However, while the Government has sounded a note of caution, some views published in the press have enflamed anti-Italian feelings.

A minority of individuals have taken the matter into their own hands, accusing others of being Italian sympathisers. And only days ago an angry crowd gathered around an Italian pilot prisoner of war who had been taken to Valletta for some shopping. According to one report: “There was a great commotion in Strada Reale and it was only through the great tact of the Police that something very distasteful did not happen…It took the Police a long time to dissuade the crowd not to tear him to pieces.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 OCTOBER TO DAWN 25 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

1131-1230 hrs Air raid alert for a formation of enemy aircraft approaching from the north. The come within ten to fifteen miles east of Valletta and circle. Six Hurricanes and two Gladiators are scrambled and the raiders turn away.

Military casualties  Gunner Emmanuel Callus, Royal Malta Artillery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 24 OCTOBER

ROYAL NAVY Clearance sweep continued by Oropesa; four mines swept up in position 141 degrees Delimara 12.3 miles. Reconnaissance Swordfish and Skua Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Skua reported on landing seeing French 10000 ton liner coming out of the straits of Messina.

AIR HQ  Aircraft casualties One Swordfish. Reconnaissance of Ionian Sea for enemy surface forays by Blenheim attached 431 Flight, Swordfish 830 Squadron FAA and Sunderland 228 Squadron; Glenn Martin 431 Flight; nil reports by all aircraft.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 Squadrons. Sunderland 230 Squadron reconnaissance are Malta-Tripoli-Jerba Island; reported on landing seeing one Italian destroyer and one merchant vessel in convoy. Operational base for Sunderlands transferred to St Paul’s Bay owing to sea conditions at Kalafrana.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT Ack Ack firing practice: the target was towed by aircraft. 10 hits were registered.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Petrol bombs tried out and proved successful. Tar used instead of oil, giving more sustained burning. Work began to prepare 500 to issue to Infantry Battalions.

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

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 24, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

23 October 1940: Swordfish Forced to Land Off Malta

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R) 

Swordfish

Swordfish

CREW RESCUED BY TRAWLER

The crew of a Swordfish aircraft had to be rescued by a trawler today after their aircraft was forced to land in the sea within sight of Malta today. The Swordfish, of 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm, was returning from reconnaissance of the Ionian Sea, searching for enemy surface forces. A recovery vessel was sent to the area to retrieve the stricken aircraft. After a thorough search it was concluded that the Swordfish had sunk.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 OCTOBER TO DAWN 24 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine and fresh.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 23 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY Clearance sweep continued by Oropesa; no result. 1150-1535 hrs Skua Fleet Air Arm reconnaissance Malta to 25 miles north of Tripoli; nil report.

AIR HQ Reconnaissance of Ionian Sea for enemy surface forces by Blenheim attached 431 Flight and Swordfish 830 Squadron; nil reports by all aircraft. Reconnaissance Glenn Martin 431 Flight reported one small merchant vessel, possibly hospital ship at 1240 hrs.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. High speed launch returned from Dockyard after repair of damage sustained in air raid on 21 July.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT C and D Coys sent a working party to the Castille for the removal of Ack Ack ammunition.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Work of unloading ammunition completed. Of 45000 cartridges QF40mm 8000 are found to be marked for issue in emergency only. Bomb Disposal One week bomb disposal course started by Inspecting Ordnance Officer with assistance of Lt W M Eastman. The course was attended by two officers and six senior NCOs of the Royal Engineers.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 23, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

10 October 1940: A Full Hurricane Squadron For Malta

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

AIR CHIEFS OF STAFF IN LONDON TO SEND FIGHTERS

Hurricane squadron for Malta

Hurricane squadron for Malta

The Air Chief of Staff in London is preparing to make representations to the War Cabinet on the question of reinforcements of air forces in the Middle East and Malta. As winter approaches it is believed that air raids on Britain may diminish. At the same time, recent troop movements have shown that the Axis powers are turning their attention to the Middle East theatre, where it is believed a ‘most serious danger’ is developing.

Plans are already in hand to increase the existing flight of Hurricanes in Malta to a full squadron of 16 aircraft plus reserves. An additional 12 aircraft will soon be on their way to the Island. In addition, the existing Glenn Martin unit at Malta is to be brought up to a full flight of twelve with the delivery of six additional aircraft.

However, the Air Chief‘s report stresses that the rapid delivery of reinforcements by air would not be easy. The air route to Malta is liable not only to enemy attacks but to adverse weather. Reinforcements also require maintenance personnel and equipment which must be transferred by sea – currently involving a three month time lag as ships have to travel the long sea route round the Cape to reach Egypt.

DECEASED ITALIAN AIRMAN PICKED UP FROM THE SEA

Authorities in Malta have been trying to identify a deceased Italian pilot brought into Malta today. The body of the airman brought into Grand Harbour on board a Royal Navy vessel was examined by a doctor and an officer of the RAF. No identification documents were found, only the initials F A marked on his clothes. However, official papers found in the pockets included a report signed by Lt Adolfo Ferrari, which is thought to be his name. His aircraft is believed to have left Castelvetrano to conduct reconnaissance including over Kalafrana in Malta.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 10 OCTOBER TO DAWN 11 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

0430-0630 hrs Submarine sanctuary in force.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 10 OCTOBER 1940

Il-fawwara

Il-fawwara

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. 0953-1655 hrs Sunderland 230 Squadron on patrol reported seeing at 1546 hrs a submarine which submerged immediately. 1130-1620 hrs Glenn Martin 431 Flight reported disposition of Italian fleet in Taranto Harbour same as yesterday with the addition of two destroyers, one 2000 ton cargo ship at sea and in Syracuse two 2000 ton merchant ships; at Augusta three 1500 ton merchant vessels and two sloops, at Catania nil. 1215-1640 hrs French Latecoere reconnaissance reported seeing one hospital ship in harbour, along with two small cargo ships, one 3000 ton, two 1500 tons , one large tanker, two flying boats, two Cant Z506 and one 1000 ton escort vessel. Intense anti-aircraft fire prevented good photographs being taken. 0430-0905 hrs Glenn Martin 431 flight reconnaissance of Ionian Sea. 0440-1617 hrs Sunderland 228 Squadron reconnaissance of Ionian Sea reported one Greek 7000 ton merchant vessel loaded with ballast.   0515-1615 hrs Sunderland 230 Squadron reconnaissance reported three French merchant vessels Athos, Florida and Djeanne.

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE Wardia reports mines off il Fawara; Admiralty informed.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  High Explosive 1 HE 250lb Casal Paola.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 10, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

5 October 1940: German Fuzes Challenge RAOC Bomb Disposal

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

NEW INSTRUCTIONS FOR TACKLING GERMAN BOMBS

German bomb fuze head type 50 (c) IWM MUN3302

German bomb fuze head type 50 (c) IWM MUN3302

The War Office today sent full instructions to Malta for dealing with unexploded bombs (UXB). The detailed instructions include information on German fuze types and how to neutralise them as well as safety precautions to be taken around a UXB while it is awaiting disposal, depending on its location, size and fuze type.  

Since air raids began on 11th June, bomb disposal has been carried out by the Inspecting Ordnance Officer, Captain R L Jephson Jones, along with Lt W M Eastman – neither of whom have had any formal training in bomb disposal. However, German bombs as used in recent air raids carry electrical fuzes which are more complex and varied than the mechanical types used in Italian bombs. As well as assisting the RAOC in their work, the new instructions will be used to train personnel from the Royal Engineers who work alongside them.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 OCTOBER TO DAWN 6 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

1441-1525 hrs Air raid alert for four enemy aircraft to the north of the Island, followed by another seven east of Delimara. Three Hurricanes and two Gladiators are scrambled. No raid materialises.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 5 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  French submarine Narval arrived back from her first patrol of Cape Misurata, Libya: nothing sighted. Clearance sweep of mined area begun by Oropesa – two mines were cut up. 0320-0718 hrs Swordfish 830 Squadron FAA carried out reconnaissance of Ionian Sea; nothing to report.

AIR HQ  Departures 1 Sunderland.

KALAFRANA  Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. One Sunderland left for Gibraltar.

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 5, 2015 in 1940, October 1940

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,