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19 September 1940: Malta Infantry Garrison ‘Dangerously Weak’

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GOVERNOR WARNS ISLAND COULD NOT REPEL ATTACK FROM THE SEA

Dragonara Palace needs new depth post

Dragonara Palace needs new depth post

The infantry garrison of Malta would be ‘dangerously weak’ if the Island were attacked from the sea, the Governor and Commander in Chief said today. He was replying to a telegram from the War Office, which is currently reviewing Malta’s Infantry Garrison in response to the recent escalation of air attacks. Lt Gen Dobbie was asked for a report on the present situation, outlining the current infantry situation and giving reasons for the reinforcement with two battlalions which he has requested.

The Governor and C in C stated today that five infantry battalions are engaged in beach defences, using 16 British companies and one of the Kings Own Malta Regiment (KOMR). Each battalion covers on average 15 miles of coastline. A total of eight companies cover the defence of the three aerodromes. In addition, a Fortress reserve battalion can be seconded from these defences (with support of the Royal Engineers and Royal Army Service Corps) for launching a counter-attack but this would leave the aerodromes partially undefended. 2nd and 3rd Battalions KOMR are used to guard other vulnerable points including Roya Engineers and RAF premises. However, he believes they are not yet sufficiently trained for full infantry duties.

As a result, Lt Gen Dobbie argues, Malta has very little depth in defence and lacks sufficient resources for any kind of counter-attack, although he cannot as yet predict the likelihood of attack from the sea. The two additional battalions would bring defences up to an appropriate level and also make possible a counter attack, should it be needed. However, he strongly advises that the additional battalions should be posted from the UK, fearing a negative reaction by the civilian population of Malta to high levels of additional local recruitment.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 20 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine, with scirocco.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 19 SEPTEMBER 1940

LUQA Three unexploded bombs are destroyed.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  High explosive 1 x 50kg Qrendi.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Brigade commanders reconnoitred position for new depth post behind Dragonara Palace and anti-parachutist positions in Tal Francis, L’Imsierah, Tal Minsia area.

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Posted by on September 19, 2020 in 1940, September 1940

 

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18 September 1940: Bomb Disposal Team Tackle UXB in Well

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DANGEROUS UXB IN SENGLEA

Italian 500lb bombs (NWMA Malta)

Italian 500lb bombs (NWMA Malta)

Malta’s bomb disposal team completed a hazardous mission today when they succeeded in retrieving an unexploded bomb from deep in a well. The 400lb Italian bomb had been lying under water for a week in the well which was inside a partly demolished house in Senglea.

The water was pumped from the well and Sappers of the Royal Engineers cleared out debris and mud from the bottom. The bomb, which was fuzed at both ends, was in a dangerous state. It was decided to hoist it up to the ground floor by means of a gin, tackle, sling and ropes.

Because of its condition the bomb had to be kept horizontal as it was hoisted from the well. However, it was two and a half feet long and the mouth of the well only three feet one inch wide, giving a very small clearance. There was also a risk of the sling slipping while the bomb was being hauled up.

A Master Rigger of H M Dockyard was called on to construct the lifting gear. Lieutenant W M Eastman, RAOC, assisted him by guiding the bomb from below, at the foot of the well. Captain R L Jephson Jones, RAOC, went to the top to guide it through the opening. The Navy then took the bomb to be dumped at sea. (1)

In a separate incident today, Lt Eastman defused a 50kg German bomb at Qrendi – the first of this type to be defuzed in Malta.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 19 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine with scirocco.

1014-1040 hrs  Air raid alert for enemy fighter aircraft approaching the Island Three Hurricanes and two Gladiators are scrambled and engage the raiders. A Hurricane pilot claims one aircraft shot down. The remainder turn away before crossing the coast.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER 1940

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  No 3 Post A Company evacuated due to unexploded bombs.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  High explosive 1 x 400lb Senglea.

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

 

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Posted by on September 18, 2020 in 1940, September 1940

 

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17 September 1940: Corporal’s Bravery Under Fire

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RISKING LIFE TO SAVE AMMUNITION

NWMA Malta

NWMA Malta

The exceptional courage of a serviceman during an air raid on Luqa aerodrome today has earned him a recommendation for a bravery award. In a heavy dive-bombing and machine-gun raid on the airfield by JU87 Stukas, a Wellington bomber was set on fire. Ignoring the flames Corporal J G M Davis entered the aircraft to retrieve four Vickers machine guns and ammunition, despite some of that ammunition exploding around him. He succeeded but the Wellington was destroyed. A salvage dump and hangar were also ignited by the flames; a Hurricane aircraft inside was burned out. For his act of bravery Corporal Davis has been recommended for a British Empire Medal.

STUKA DIVE-BOMBER PILOTS ARE ITALIAN

German JU87 aircraft recently engaged in the battle over Malta are piloted by members of the Regia Aeronautica, it was revealed today. The pilot of a Stuka rescued up from the sea today was one of two taken to the Castille for interrogation. Under questioning he stated that the JU87 aircraft are operating from a base at Pantelleria and that the pilots are members of an Italian squadron.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 17 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 18 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine, with scirocco.

1040-1122 hrs  Air raid alert for 12 Junkers 87s and 25 CR 42s which approach the Island in three formations passing over Hal Far and dive-bomb Luqa aerodrome and a reservoir. Several hangars are machine-gunned. A salvage dump at the side of a hangar is set alight and the fire causes some damage to the hangar. A small office is hit by an incendiary bomb and demolished. One Wellington bomber which arrived in Malta this morning is burned out and a Hurricane burned out inside a hangar.

Malta fighters are scrambled and engage the raiders, along with Ack Ack and ground defences. Two Junkers and one Caproni are shot down by fighters. One destroyed enemy plane crashes at l’Iskorvit near Zammitello Palace, between Gnejna and Mgarr, and burns itself out; its pilot is taken into custody by the military authorities. The Marine Craft Section puts out from Kalafrana and picks up the surviving pilot and the dead gunner of one JU 87 eight miles north west of Filfla. In all, two Italian pilots are taken to the Castille for interrogation.

Fifteen unexploded bombs are reported in the Luqa area. They are believed to be delayed action bombs, so an exclusion zone is set up surrounding the bombs, to be enforced for seven days. Several roads are closed to all traffic; all military personnel in the area are required to wear steel helmets and follow restricted movement orders.

1555-1619 hrs  Air raid alert for three bombers and eight fighters which fly over the Island, probably on reconnaissance. No bombs are dropped.

Enemy casualties Sergente Maggiore Luigi Catani, 237th Squadriglia, 96th Gruppo Autonomo, pilot of JU 87 Stuka, shot down, rescued and taken prisoner. Sottotenente Francesco Cavalli, 70th Squadriglia, 23rd Gruppo Autonomo, pilot of CR42 shot down and taken prisoner. Primo Aviere Francesco Di Giorgio, 70th Squadriglia, gunner of CR42 fighter, shot down near Filfla and died.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 1940

AIR HQ  Departures 3 Sunderlands.

KALAFRANA  Three Sunderlands left for Alexandria. One returned to Kalafrana four hours later with engine trouble

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Construction work at A Company held up due to unexploded bombs. CO congratulated A and B Companies on standing up to air attacks.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  High explosive 15 x 250kg or 500kg believed delayed action inspected and left 7 days Luqa. Incendiary x 3 Luqa.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS Instructions are issued regarding action of mobile reserve should large enemy formations approach.

 

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Posted by on September 17, 2020 in 1940, September 1940

 

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15 September 1940: First Messerschmitt Fighters Over Malta

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SIX ME109 FIGHTERS IN EARLY MORNING ATTACK

Messerschmitt Bf 109E

Messerschmitt Bf 109E

Messerschmitt 109 fighters were identified for the first time over Malta today. Six of the German fighters were spotted approaching the Island just before 8 o’clock this morning, as part of a massive formation which also included ten Italian CR42 fighters and 20 German JU 87 dive bombers.

The appearance of ME 109s is seen as a major development in the enemy air campaign over Malta. The high-performance, manoeuverable aircraft is regarded as a ‘killing machine’ by some and is feared by many since its use during the Spanish civil war. Its speed enables the Messerschmitt to out-perform Malta’s tiny Gladiator force and even the Hurricane is significantly slower; only the Spitfire seems to be able to defeat it.

RAF headquarters in Malta has responded with a message to the War Office warning that the Island’s fighter strength must be increased urgently to counter the recently escalated attacks.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 16 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine and warm; cloudy in the evening.

0758 hrs  Air raid alert for a formation of enemy aircraft consisting of six Messerschmitt 109, ten CR42 and twenty Junkers 87s which approach the Island from the east. The JU 87s dive bomb Hal Far aerodrome from different angles, each releasing four bombs at a time, damaging the RAF ration store and some transport. Eight anti-aircraft gunners and one civilian are injured. Malta fighters are scrambled; one Hurricane is forced to land. Ack Ack, including Lewis guns at Delimara, and small arms fire engage low flying raiders. Eight Ack Ack personnel and one civilian are injured. One enemy aircraft is believed shot down by fighters out to sea but is not seen hitting the water; others are believed damaged.

17 unexploded bombs are reported around Hal Far aerodrome. They are inspected following the raid and identified as delayed action bombs. It is noted that those bombs which did explode did so after 5-10 seconds.   As the location of the UXBs does not prevent use of the aerodrome an exclusion zone is marked out around them which will be enforced for seven days. During that time all military personnel in the area are required to wear steel helmets and follow restricted movement orders.

1837-1845 hrs  Air raid alert for an aircraft reported by the Naval Signal Station on the roof of the Castille. The aircraft is later identified as friendly.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 1940

AIR HQ  Arrivals 1 Sunderland. Departures 1 Sunderland.

KALAFRANA Two Sunderlands on patrol; one left for Alexandria and one arrived from there.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  High explosive 17 x 250kg or 500kg believed delayed action inspected and left 7 days Hal Far.

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Posted by on September 15, 2020 in 1940, September 1940

 

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9 September 1940: Minelaying Threatens Ships Entering Malta

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MALTA NEEDS MINESWEEPERS

HMS Fermoy (c) IWM Q75630

HMS Fermoy (c) IWM Q75630

The Vice Admiral Malta has represented to the Admiralty that the increased use of Malta harbour by warships and storeships will probably lead to local enemy minelaying. As a result he says it is vital that searched channels up to 200 fathom line should be regularly swept.

Malta currently has only one ship, HMS Fermoy, capable of regular minesweeping during winter months. It is now considered essential that two more minesweepers should be allocated to the Island if the safety of Royal Navy and supply vessels is to be ensured.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 9 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 10 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine with scirocco.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 9 SEPTEMBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Osiris left for patrol of the Otranto Straits.

AIR HQ  Departures 1 London.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT   Four recruits enlisted.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  C Company No 14 Platoon began a week’s intensive training.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Bomb Disposal UXB High explosive 250lb x 1 Salvatore Gate.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Platoons began training.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT 25 horses and carts arrived.

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Posted by on September 9, 2020 in 1940, September 1940

 

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7 September 1940: Mother and 3 Children Killed at Kalkara

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HEAVY BOMBING ON GRAND HARBOUR DEVASTATES HOMES

Eye-witness account by Philo Pullicino, age 24, Adjutant of Special Constabulary

HM tug Hellespont suffers near miss

HM tug Hellespont suffers near miss

“Heavy raid at 12.30pm saw a large formation of bombers passing high overhead, engaged by our guns. Bombs dropped on Birgu and Isla. Rushed to spot by car. Public shelter hit and collapsed burying eight people. Three saved.  A tug boat in Dockyard Creek was hit, but the shell failed to explode. Two blocks of houses five storeys high were razed to ground level. The bombs must have been of heavy calibre, judging from the craters.

And yet life goes on. People living next door to the devastated building do not care to move away, though not a pane of glass is left anywhere in their houses.  The bombing was more accurate than previously. The Dockyard was hit but no serious damage done.

A woman and two young girls, covered in dust and rather pale, were arguing about how many people they had left in the demolished shelter which, by the way, was thought to be bomb proof as it had fifteen feet of material above it.  A shelter next door, which was not so strong, escaped untouched with seven hundred people inside.” (1)

DOCKYARD DAMAGED

The air raid alert was sounded at 1227 hrs and there was plenty of time for Dockyard employees to reach shelter before bombs fell. Enemy aircraft approached from the east, and dropped sticks of High Explosive bombs and incendiaries across Vittoriosa and the Dockyard.

One demolished an unoccupied house immediately behind Garden Reach. One 250kg demolished the Oil and Cotton Waste Store behind Garden Reach. The building was 75% demolished by the force of the explosion. A smouldering fire was started in the cotton waste which was quickly doused by trailer pumps. £70 worth of mixed oils have been destroyed.

One 50-100kg struck HM Tug Hellespont which was lying at Surgery Wharf, Sheer Bastion. The bomb pierced the aft saloon on the starboard side and detonated under the water. She settled until her stern rested on the bottom. She was pumped out and damage found to be less than at first thought; temporary repairs were made. The force of the explosion damaged and sank the Captain of the Dockyard’s picket boat which was lying astern. She was later raised from the bottom, lifted out of the water and taken ashore for repair. Two police launches were also damaged.

One partially demolished the Government School on top of St Michael’s Bastion. The shock also damaged a salt water tank and debris damaged roofs on the Dockyard below. The submarine Olympus also sustained minor damage.

A high explosive bomb and an incendiary fell near No 4 MG House, demolishing the building and causing a fire among paraffin and oil cans. A chargeman’s cabin was destroyed and other buildings damaged, along with several machines.

One unexploded bomb pierced a house in Crane Street, Senglea, and eventually came to rest in the well below the house.

BRAVERY OF MALTESE WORKERS

One unexploded 250kg struck the north wall of the Dockyard canteen and buried itself three feet into the base of the wall. Had it exploded, the bomb would have brought down much of the building and caused casualties. The unexploded bomb was later removed and dumped at sea. The Maltese workmen who dug out and lifted the bomb were neither volunteers nor chosen men. They were riggers and labourers from the Works Department. They went about the job without showing any fear and had to be reminded to be cautious.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 7 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 8 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather Fine.

1227-1243 hrs Air raid alert for 24 CR42 fighters escorting 11 enemy SM79 bombers which drop some 30 high explosive bombs on the Dockyard and Grand Harbour area, causing damage to Naval property. Four civilians are killed and two injured; another is missing. Anti-aircraft guns open fire and three Hurricanes and three Gladiators are scrambled. One aircraft hit by Ack Ack is reported losing height with smoke coming from its tail. One enemy bomber is confirmed shot down by RAF aircraft between Zurrieq and Filfla, and another probably. Two Hurricanes are slightly damaged by enemy fire.

Civilian casualties  Kalkara  Mary Pisani, age 27; Carmel Pisani, age 5; Lorenza Pisani, age 3; Joseph Pisani, age 1.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 1940

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB High explosive 400lb x 1 fuzed nose and tail dealt with by Naval authorities but examined by IOO for information. 250lb x 1 Vittoriosa.

(1) The Road to Rome, Philo Pullicino, mpi publishing 2012

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Posted by on September 7, 2020 in 1940, September 1940

 

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6 September 1940: First Time Bombs on Malta

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Lt W M Eastman RAOC

Lt W M Eastman RAOC

FIRST SUSPECTED DELAYED ACTION BOMB TACKLED BY RAOC

Kalafrana was put out of use for almost 24 hours due to the presence of a suspected time bomb close to the slipway. The unexploded bomb estimated as weighing 700lbs was reported following yesterday’s dive-bombing raid. The RAF inspected the bomb and suspected the fuze to be a delayed-action type. They called on RAOC officers Captain R L Jephson Jones and Lt W M Eastman to assist in the investigation of the bomb, which was lying on the surface. The fuze was found to carry the markings of the Rheinmettal Electric type.

Without further information on the type of fuze it was decided as a precaution to blow up the bomb immediately where it lay. The resulting crater was 12 feet deep and 25 feet in diameter. Later investigation confirmed the bomb as a German 500kg SD ‘Spreng Dickenwand’ bomb – is a thick-walled armour-piercing type.

MESSAGE FROM MALTA FOR GENERAL DE GAULLE

French officer Commandant Robert arrived today and sent a message via Malta’s Governor to General de Gaulle. The telegram was delivered to de Gaulle’s base in Whitehall, known as the ‘Spears Mission’.

  1. “Arrived Malta September 6th. Leave for Tunis about September 10th. Hope to rally civil and military elements. Request your instructions.
  2. But I call your attention to the possible consequences [of a] National Rallying Movement in Tunis which might cause Italian reactions. It is therefore necessary to foresee possible support by the British Fleet or Air Force, if requested, should the means of defence in Tunis be insufficient.
  3. I shall keep in touch with the Governor of Malta who will inform you of the progress of the situation and will transmit your instructions to me.
  4. I repeat that it would be advisable to undertake simultaneously propaganda in Algeria and Morocco for which task I may possibly ask you to send Commandant Des Essars to Tangiers if necessary to act quickly.
  5. I hope for a National Rallying Movement in Syria shortly.”

Commandant Robert later added that propaganda broadcast by Cairo Radio to Muslim communities in North Africa should be directed against Germany and Italy, and not be obviously in favour of the British.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 6 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 7 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

0939-0954 hrs; 1000-1023 hrs Air raid alerts; approaching aircraft are identified as friendly.

1019 hrs One Glen Martin bomber aircraft lands at Luqa.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 1940

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Glen Martin.

ROYAL NAVY Fermoy and Fellowship made an unsuccessful attempt to cut the Syracuse-Tripoli cable.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Practice ‘Man Marsa’ out to various posts.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT One recruit enlisted.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB High explosive 1 estimated 700lb delayed action blown in situ Kalafrana.

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Posted by on September 6, 2020 in 1940, September 1940

 

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29 August 1940: Malta’s First Convoy On Its Way

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CONVOY WITH URGENT STORES EXPECTED WITHIN DAYS

SS Cornwall (1)

SS Cornwall (1)

A convoy consisting of British cargo ship Cornwall, freighter Volo and the RFA oil tanker Plumleaf sailed from Alexandria at 2045 hrs today with urgent stores for Malta. Cruisers Gloucester, Kent and Liverpool and destroyers Jervis, Juno, Dainty and Diamond are acting as close escort.

During the passage of the convoy, codenamed MF2, reinforcements for the Mediterranean Fleet will pass through from Gibraltar to Alexandria, to divert attention from the convoy and also to act as additional cover in case of surface attack.

In all, a massive fleet is expected to put to sea from Alexandria, in addition to the convoy and escort. They include the battleships Malaya and Warspite, the carrier Eagle, cruisers Orion and Sydney, and destroyers Decoy, Defender, Garland, Hasty, Hereward, Hyperion, Ilex, Imperial, Stuart, Vampire, Vendetta and Voyager. This heavier force will keep its distance from the supply convoy, ready to meet any possible interception by the Italian navy.

Known as ‘Operation Hats’, vessels sailing from Gibraltar are the battlecruiser Renown, battleship Valiant and aircraft carrier Illustrious, with cruisers Calcutta and Coventry (all bound for Alexandria) and Sheffield, plus destroyers Encounter, Faulknor, Firedrake, Forester, Foresight, Fortune, Fury, Hero, Velox and Wishart, Gallant, Greyhound, Griffin, Hotspur, Janus, Mohawk and Nubian – the latter seven bound for the Mediterranean Fleet.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 29 AUGUST TO DAWN 30 AUGUST 1940

Weather  Fine.

0837-0928 hrs  Air raid alert for 12 enemy bombers closely followed by 12 CR42s approach from the north in three formations at high altitude and fly south over the Island. The bombers turn south south east and circle away in a large sweep. The fighters linger. Four Hurricanes are scrambled and ascend to 23000 feet before attacking them. They are immediately counter-attacked by CR42s from above. Meanwhile the bombers fly in and drop some 30 high explosive and incendiary bombs on the Hamrun, Marsa and Luqa areas, including several on the Marsa to Zurrieq road. Five land on the Race Club, seven on Marsa Club, eight on the golf course, five on the Poor House, eight on Addolorata, three on Luqa village and fourteen on Luqa aerodrome. Six civilians are slightly injured and properties damaged. One building in the Marsa Club area is destroyed by a direct hit. One Bren carrier and two military vehicles are slightly damaged. Four unexploded bombs are reported and dug out, including two on Luqa aerodrome which are exploded later in the day.  

0845 hrs  Six Wellington bombers land at Malta.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 29 AUGUST 1940

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB 1 HE 250lb near Luqa; 3 HE 130lb Marsa Sports Ground.

(1)  www.clydesite.co.uk

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

 

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25 August 1940: New Curfew Stops Maltese Attending Mass

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St Publius chCURFEW EXTENDED

The end time of the overnight curfew is to be extended by one hour. The curfew will now ban all persons in Malta from proceeding more than five yards beyond their doorstep between the hours of 8.30pm and 6am (although movement within town or village limits is to be allowed up to 10pm). Breach of curfew can incur a penalty of up to 15 days in prison. However, the new restriction has attracted widespread protest from people who say they can no longer attend Mass before work, as is their custom. (1)

MALTA NEEDS MORE ORDNANCE PERSONNEL

From: Governor & C in C                       To: War Office

The Governor and C in C wrote to the War Office stressing the pressing need for the additional Ordnance Officers and RAOC Other Ranks to deal with increases in the Island’s Garrison. Ordnance Command Headquarters has seen a massive increase of work and responsibilities as a result. The personnel will also be needed to oversee additional storage depots for ammunition and stores expected to arrive within days. Lt Gen Dobbie described the increase in personnel as ‘absolutely essential’ and requested immediate postings to Malta.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 25 AUGUST TO DAWN 26 AUGUST 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 25 AUGUST 1940

ROYAL NAVY  A floating mine was sunk 2 miles off Zonkor Point.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  The Adjutant reconnoitred the Marsa for a possible stone supply.

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

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Posted by on August 25, 2020 in 1940, August 1940

 

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23 August 1940: Destroyer From Malta Sunk

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MAIL LOST AT SEA

It has been reported today that troops’ mail sent to UK on Wednesday has been lost at sea due to enemy action.

HMS Hostile

HMS Hostile

HMS HOSTILE SUNK

A Royal Navy destroyer heading from Malta to Gibraltar was sunk today 18 miles off Cape Bon. It is believed that HMS Hostile hit a moored mine which struck the ship’s bottom and exploded. The Commanding Officer and four of the crew were killed, and three crewmen injured. Two destroyers from the convoy picked up survivors and brought them back to Malta.

Reporting on the incident, a Board of Inquiry concluded that the western part of the channel between Cape Bon and Pantelleria must be considered mined and recommends ships should be rerouted accordingly.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 AUGUST TO DAWN 24 AUGUST 1940

Weather  Fine; windy and dusty.

0835 hrs Seven Blenheim aircraft land at Ta Qali.

0837 hrs Air raid alert for six enemy bombers escorted by sixteen fighters which cross the coast and bomb the Hal Far area, causing some damage to RAF property. One unexploded incendiary bomb is reported by 2nd Bn Devonshire Regiment.    

1120-1150  Air raid alert for a formation of enemy bombers; they cross over Ghallis Tower heading south. Malta fighters are scrambled but do not engage.

2105 hrs  Air raid alert for enemy aircraft which approach the Island but do not cross the coast.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 23 AUGUST 1940

ROYAL NAVY Nubian returned to Malta with defective lubrication system to main engines. Hostile was mined off Cape Bon: survivors returned to Malta in Mohawk. Hero also returned. Proteus left on patrol.

AIR HQ 1600-1845 hrs French Latecoere seaplane reconnaissance between Malta and a point ten miles north east of Cape Bon.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB 1 incendiary near Hal Far.

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Posted by on August 23, 2020 in 1940, August 1940

 

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