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10 October 1940: A Full Hurricane Squadron For Malta

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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.

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Posted by on October 10, 2020 in 1940, October 1940

 

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5 October 1940: German Fuzes Challenge RAOC Bomb Disposal

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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.

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Posted by on October 5, 2020 in 1940, October 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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20 August 1940: Six Blenheim Bombers Land Then Four Hit by Bombs

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BLENHEIM BOMBERS LAND IN MALTA

Bristol Blenheim

Bristol Blenheim

Six Blenheim bombers arrived in Malta today but within two hours one had been destroyed and three damaged on the ground. The Blenheims form part of a formation now flying direct from the UK to Malta en route for the Middle East.

The aircraft landed at just after eight this morning. An hour and a half later two formations of bombers dropped high explosive and incendiary bombs over Luqa. An incendiary bomb hit one of the Blenheim’s which burst into flames. The three others were hit by flying shrapnel but can be repaired.

INCIDENT AT NAXXAR GAP

One man is in custody tonight and another is sought by police after a suspicious fire at Naxxar Gap. Just before 10 o’clock this evening a sentry from 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers spotted a fire at a pumping station. As he went to investigate he saw two men running from the scene. He gave chase and managed to catch one of them but the other escaped.  

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 AUGUST TO DAWN 21 AUGUST 1940

Weather  Periodic clouds; warm.

0810 hrs  Six Blenheim bombers land at Luqa.

0938-0955 hrs  Air raid alert for two formations of five bombers each, in line astern, escorted by 20 fighters which cross the coast and carry out bombing raids on Luqa and Hal Far. Twelve high explosive bombs land on Luqa, including three on the aerodrome, causing fires in several buildings and considerable damage. One Blenheim bomber on the ground is hit by an incendiary bomb and destroyed, another is damaged but repairable and another two slightly damaged. Several bombs are dropped over a defence post of 8th Bn Manchester Regiment but there are no casualties. Ten high explosive bombs are dropped on the Hal Far area, seven explode causing slight damage to one Swordfish of 830 Squadron, three are reported as unexploded.

1517 hrs  Air raid alert for six enemy fighters which fly over the Island, probably on reconnaissance.  

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 20 AUGUST 1940

AIR HQ Arrivals 6 Blenheim. Departures 3 Blenheim. Aircraft casualties 1 Blenheim destroyed; 4 damaged.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB 1 incendiary Luqa.

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Posted by on August 20, 2020 in 1940, August 1940

 

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17 August 1940: Malta Defence Volunteers Subject to Military Law

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One Blenheim arrived Malta ex UK

One Blenheim arrived Malta ex UK

MALTA DEFENCE FORCE MUST BE REGULATED

The Malta Volunteer Defence Force must be subject to military law, the War Office said today. Responding to the Governor and C in C’s proposals for the new Force, military chiefs in London stressed that the Defence Force should form part of Armed Forces of the Crown. As such Defence Volunteers must be properly enrolled and subject to military law – but they need not be paid. The Governor can use legislation similar to the Emergency Powers enacted on the Home Front since 1939.

The War Office also proposed steps to ensure the treatment of Defence Volunteers as bona fide combatants – in view of the Governor’s concerns should they be captured as prisoners of war. To achieve this, Defence Volunteers will have to wear a visible and distinctive emblem, incapable of being removed and replaced at will. An arm-band stitched to a sleeve may not be sufficient. Steel helmets will have to be worn at all times and if possible service respirators. The War Office is looking into the possibility of providing these, as well as denim overalls as worn by the Home Guard in the UK for the Malta Volunteers.

URGENT PLEA FOR STORES AND SERVICES

The Governor and C in C wrote to the War Office today with urgent needs for supplies until reliable supply runs to Malta can be established:

  • Engineer services: propose to hold locally six months reserve of important engineer stores plus two months’ working margin. Demands under preparation and will follow shortly to cover above plus estimated requirements six months consumption January to June 1941.
  • Supply and transport services: in the case of food supplies recommend continuance of monthly demands based on six months reserves plus two months working margin, latter being limited by consideration of turnover and suitable storage.
  • Medical services: propose maintain a definite six months reserve and continue half yearly demands in addition.
  • Ordnance stores: if periodical demands are not still to be submitted, it is recommended that bulk demand be sent for twelve months requirements from 1 January and that store margin interim period be increased from six months to twelve months. Consider Ordnance motor transport stores and spares and clothing should come on twelve months maintenance period and dry cells six months.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 17 AUGUST TO DAWN 18 AUGUST 1940

Weather  Fine and warm.

1519-1521 hrs  Air raid alert; no raid materialised.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 17 AUGUST 1940

AIR HQ  Arrivals 1 Blenheim. Of two Blenheims expected from UK one arrived safely and one force landed in Tunis due to lack of fuel. 1347-1517 hrs Skua of Fleet Air Arm reconnaissance Augusta and Syracuse.

KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  L/Cpl Brincat E Coy 1st Bn suffered gunshot wounds to hand and sent to Imtarfa Hospital.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  1 incendiary Tal Papa.

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

 

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14 August 1940: Any Casualties Would Put Guns Out of Action

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ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNS MAY HAVE TO CEASE FIRE

antiaircraft gunners defend Valletta bigAnti-aircraft guns in Malta may be forced to lay idle if shortages of Artillery manpower cannot be solved quickly. In a telegram to the War Office, the Island’s Governor and Commander in Chief warned that any casualties among existing gunners would put guns essential to the Island’s defence out of action. Malta is still awaiting reinforcements from Heavy Ack Ack Regiments promised by HQ in London. Local recruitment of Maltese gunners has fallen short of target by nearly 25%.

In addition to the shortage of personnel to man guns, Malta lacks sufficient operations room staff essential for gun and searchlight communications. Shortfalls are currently being made up through secondment from other regiments but this is seen as only a short term solution.

In a strongly worded conclusion, the Governor urged the War Office to send reinforcements without further delay.

WAR OFFICE ON TRAIL OF MISSING ITALIAN CREW

The War Office has written to the Governor and Commander in Chief Malta asking for information on the whereabouts of two Italian airmen reported missing in action. The telegram asked for a response as soon as possible giving any available news of General Cagna and Prince Pallavicini, who are believed to be prisoners of war.

The War Office has been informed that their aircraft was brought down in flames by one of HM ships on 2 August approximately 90 kilometres from Algerian coast. It is believed that the two officers were picked up by a British submarine.

General Stefano Cagna (2)

General Stefano Cagna (2)

It appears that on the late afternoon of 1 August, Prince Pallavicini was aboard a SM 79 piloted by General Stefano Cagna of 32 Stormo which led 10a Brigata in a group of 25 aircraft in an attack on convoy of Operation Hurry carrying Hurricane fighters through the western Mediterranean towards Malta. General Cagna’s aircraft is believed to have been shot down by a Skua from the aircraft carrier Ark Royal.

Their demise was witnessed by following pilot 2nd Lt Gastaldello: “it was about 3:30 pm with good visibility when we spotted out the enemy convoy around 90km off the coast of Formentera. I was able to count up to twenty ships when they furiously started to shoot, with shocking and loud explosions below us… Suddenly I saw the Sparviero piloted by General Cagna in front of me, heading nose-down towards the target being hit by anti-aircraft artillery and exploding in mid-air. Instinctively I pulled up my plane and doing so I managed to avoid the largest mass of debris coming all around me from the explosion, even though some of them hit my plane…The epilogue of our mission was the loss of three planes and many others being damaged.” (1)

Guglielmo Marius Hubert Marie de Pierre de Bernis de Courtavel, who became Prince Pallavicini in 1937, volunteered for war service and asked to join the Regia Aeronautica operations in the Mediterranean. General Cagna, the youngest general of Italy, was reknowned as a brilliant pilot before WW2 and was a popular Regia Aeronautica commander.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 14 AUGUST TO DAWN 15 AUGUST 1940

Weather  Fine and hot.

1717-1728 hrs  Air raid alert. Approaching aircraft subsequently identified as friendly.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 14 AUGUST 1940

AIR HQ  One Skua on reconnaissance.  

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  1 incendiary Zabbar.

(1) http://theaviationist.com/tag/wwii

(2) http://www.aeronautica.difesa.it/cpa/gallery/PublishingImages/aviatori/big/14.jpg

 

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Posted by on August 14, 2020 in 1940, August 1940

 

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13 August 1940: Malta Government to Control All Imports

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KEEPING MALTA SUPPLIED UNDER SIEGE

Malta’s Governor and C in C, Lt Gen Dobbie, has today put forward proposals for keeping the Island supplied while the fortress is under siege. In a message to HM Government in London, he made it clear that co-ordination is now essential, saying: If the ability of this fortress to resist attack is not uniformly strong, weakness at one point will affect the whole. It is thus of paramount importance that all reserves should be maintained at a uniform standard, eg advantage of the presence of stocks of ammunition and military stores for a specific period would be greatly diminished if reserves of essential foods and materials for the local population are not maintained for a similar period.

Wembley Store (2)

Wembley Store (2)

The supply of Malta now relies entirely on convoys from the Eastern Mediterranean but, with the dangers they face, supply runs must be kept to a minimum. As a result, shipping space must be used to the best advantage, so that only essential supplies are brought to the Island at the right time and the in right quantities. In addition, the Island needs to hold a reserve sufficient for at least six months, with an extra two months in hand, in order to sustain the Island in the event of the loss of a convoy. These time frames are supported by Vice Admiral Malta and the C in C Mediterranean.

To achieve effective supply runs, Lt Gen Dobbie proposes to co-ordinate all requirements for the Island, including those of the Services, of the Government and the civil population. The Government will assume responsibility for importation of all foodstuffs and other materials which are essential to the life of the community, so that the correct quantities are ordered and arrive when they are needed. Local importers – whose supply chains have been disrupted since the siege began – will be formed into pools, allowed to purchase supplies and to apply a small profit in selling to retailers.

The Governor stressed that stores for the civilian population and for the Armed Services must have equal priority. He therefore proposes that Government requirements for items such as building materials, coal, wheat and refrigerated substances be co-ordinated with the needs of the Services to ensure availability and to avoid wasting capacity on convoys. Though essential items will take precedence, the Governor also recognised that some space must be allocated for such items as books and toiletries which are deemed necessary to preserve morale on the Island.

Subject to the agreement of HM Government, Lt Gen Dobbie will telegraph an itemised list of the supplies needed immediately to bring Malta’s stocks up to a level sufficient for eight months, assuming that the next convoy will take two months to reach the Island. He then proposes a rolling programme of supply convoys to keep the level of stocks at the required minimum.

CREATURE COMFORTS FOR TROOPS

In a separate development today, the Welfare Branch of the War Office in London cabled the General Officer Commanding, Malta asking for a list of items needed to support the welfare of troops on the Island, including sports gear, games, wireless, books, woollen comforts and cigarettes.

ITALIAN STREET NAMES CHANGED TO ENGLISH

All Italian street names in Valletta, Cospicua, Senglea and Vittoriosa have now been translated or replaced with English names. (1)

SWORDFISH PILOTS MISSING IN ACTION

Three Swordfish destroyed: crews missing

Three Swordfish destroyed: crew missing

Two Swordfish aircraft were reported missing and a third crashed ditched in the sea off Malta tonight after a bombing raid on Sicily. The aircraft were with six others sent from Malta on a mission to attack shipping in Augusta. They faced intense fire from coastal batteries. Two of the Swordfish were shot down; Acting S/Lt D Edmondson and his Telegraphist/Air Gunner are believed killed. It is believed the crew of a second aircraft were picked up by the Italian Navy. Lt A F Hall’s Swordfish was also hit by Ack Ack fire but managed to reach a point four miles off the coast of Malta, near Ta Silch, before ditching in the sea. The crew survived and were rescued from their dinghy.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 13 AUGUST TO DAWN 14 AUGUST 1940

Weather  Fine and hot.

0857-0937 hrs  Air raid alert for a reported formation of enemy aircraft approaching Grand Harbour. No raiders cross the coast.

Military casualties  Acting S/Lieutenant D S Edmondson, pilot, 830 Squadron.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 13 AUGUST 1940

ROYAL NAVY   2100 hrs Nine Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm took off to carry out low-bombing and torpedo attacks on shipping in Augusta; results doubtful. Despite intense fire from coastal batteries six returned safely; two were reported missing and the crew of one picked up by the Italians. A third crashed four miles from Ta Silch; the crew were saved. PM A floating mine was reported off Torri L’Ahmar.  

AIR HQ  Aircraft casualties 3 Swordfish. 1500 hrs One Hudson reconnaissance of Augusta.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB  Unexploded incendiary bomb found broken up in the dining room at San Pietru. It had passed through the corrugated iron roof and a table, and stuck in the concrete floor. Pieces were removed.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  CO saw Brigade Commander at HQ to discuss employment of reinforcements.

(1) Malta Diary of a War, Michael Galea, PEG Ltd, 1992

(2) The Wembley Store, Valletta – still open for business

 

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Posted by on August 13, 2020 in 1940, August 1940

 

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26 July 1940: Italy Claims Malta’s Strategic Role is Over

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ITALIAN PROPAGANDA CLAIMS MALTA NEUTRALISED

Power Station

Power Station hit today: brief interruption to power supply

The Stefani news agency of Italy has claimed that Malta “has lost for ever its efficiency for England”, Hinting that military installations on the Island have been destroyed by Italian bombing, the announcement added that “Britain can no longer consider Malta to be one of the strategic bases of the Mediterranean.”  However, the news agency also admitted that the British Government is still using the Island as an aeroplane base.

ROYAL LADY ADVERTISES ROOMS WITH SHELTER

Hotels are now joining the drive to create more shelters for the public during air raids.  One hotel in Gozo has placed an announcement in the newspaper inviting those without a suitable refuge to make use of its facilities:

“For safety, bedrooms are available at the Royal Lady Hotel, Mgarr, Gozo which has air raid shelter under the rocks.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 26 JULY TO DAWN 27 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine and warm. 

1543-1610 hrs  Air raid alert for enemy aircraft which approach the Island in three formations.   Three Gladiators are scrambled and intercept: the enemy turn away to the east without crossing the coast.

0237-0420 hrs  Air raid alert for a series of up to six enemy bombers which approach from the north at five minute intervals over a long period, crossing the coast over Valletta.  They approach either in a steep glide to low altitude or a shallow dive with a slight left rudder at high speed.  They are picked up by searchlights and engaged by Ack Ack fire.  One raider is believed hit.  A third enemy aircraft flies in very low over Delimara.  Bombs are dropped on Valletta, Grand Harbour and Marsa Creek, on Kirkop and Ta Silch, and in the sea off Manoel Island.  The electricity power station is damaged, disrupting the electricity supply.  One delayed action bomb explodes in the Rabat area.    

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 26 JULY 1940

KALAFRANA  Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 Squadrons operating 12 hour naval patrols over wide area covering Greek coast, south Italian coast and Sicily under direct instructions from Middle East and HQ Mediterranean.

LUQA  Strength of Station: RAF officers 16, airmen 104; Army officers 9, other ranks 250; civilians 4.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 1 HE 250lb Gzira.   

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  £216 was today sent to the Malta Relief Fund.  The money was voluntarily collected by the officers, WOs and ORs of the Battalion.

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

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Posted by on July 26, 2020 in 1940, July 1940

 

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