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25 April 1942: Hospitals Target of Shock Attacks – Bombers Aim at Red Cross

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  • 246 enemy raiders in 19 attacks
  • 1000 bombs total 317,486 kg (312 tons)
  • 42 military killed and 23 wounded

    No 45 General Hospital, St Patrick’s (NWMA Malta)

BOMBING OF HOSPITALS ‘DELIBERATE’ SAYS ARMY OFFICER

At 7.30 this morning Bomb Disposal Officer Lt George Carroll was in his ward at No 45 General Hospital, St Patrick’s, where he was recovering from recent emergency surgery:

“…the dressings were all removed and I was told I could get up.  I dressed in the morning and, with my new freedom, I went out onto the balcony in the sunshine, looking out over the sea.  As I looked out I saw the silhouette of a Stuka dive-bomber, headed directly towards our hospital.  I saw two black objects, released by the plane and obviously bombs.  This was clearly an attack on the hospital.

I ran into the ward and picked up one of two helmets and gave it to the naval officer in the bed opposite mine whose leg was in traction, and I dived under the bed in the corner.  The next moment, all the windows came shattering across the room.  He was hurt but I was unharmed.  The matron came round to check if there were any casualties.  She put her head round the door into the ward and asked, ‘Anybody hurt?’  I said, ‘I’m all right but my friend here has been cut by glass, I think.’ 

It was particularly surprising that the hospital was bombed, although the enemy might claim it could be a store in disguise.  But right outside our ward there was a huge circle of white stones with a red cross – about 30 feet across.  He was diving down towards the hospital with the red cross right in front of him.  One can only conclude that it was deliberate; some Germans (and British) acted in disregard of who or what was damaged.” (1)

GOVERNOR WANTS ATROCITY PUBLICISED

From:- Governor & C in C Malta          To:- C in C Middle East          Rptd. The War Office          25/4/42

Air attacks today 0730 hrs, 1300 hrs, 1815 hrs included deliberate heavy attacks on 39 and 45 General Hospitals.  In first raid two wards 39 General Hospital demolished red cross on roof building.  Dining hall hit; 6 killed, two wounded.

Lt Rosenvelt German prisoner in hospital expressed horror and amazement at his comrades as he knew red cross visible.  Rosenvelt behaved well assisting injured after raid.  Improvised red cross manufactured from sheets which Rosenvelt agreed was large enough.  After raid Rosenvelt warned nurse to take shelter when next alarm as, quote: ‘now they have started they will not leave a building standing’ unquote.

In second raid three more wards demolished and improvised red cross also hit: 3 killed also one child.  Unexploded bomb on red cross at 45 General Hospital which also hit by one bomb.  POW Camp which in hospital area for safety also hit; one Italian prisoner killed, one injured.  In third raid further bombs area 39 General Hospital and cookhouse hit.  Details of this raid awaited.

Suggest this be given wide publication.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 25 APRIL TO DAWN 26 APRIL 1942

Weather  Cold northerly wind.  50% medium cloud.

0625 hrs The air raid alert sounds for massed formations of enemy aircraft, including 100 bombers with fighter escort, approaching the Island from the North.

0637 hrs  13 JU 88s drop high explosive bombs of various calibres on Mellieha Camp and west of Miziep Valley, and a large quantity of incendiaries across a wide area around Mellieha.  Two men from Kings Own Malta Regiment are killed, one is seriously wounded and later dies from his injuries.  Main buildings of Mellieha Camp are damaged and stores destroyed.

0715 hrs  Ghain Tuffieha Camp is bombed with high explosives and incendiaries.  Pte Loco, 8th Bn Manchester Regt is engaging enemy aircraft from a Lewis gun pit when he is killed by enemy fire.  Two Other Ranks are injured and admitted to hospital.  ME 109s machine-gun troops moving to dispersal areas. Casualties are small owing to the rapid and orderly manner in which troops moved to dispersal areas carrying arms and ammunition.

0730 hrs  26 JU 88 bombers carry out heavy bombing raids on the Pembroke area, including No 45 General Hospital at St Patrick’s and No 39 General Hospital at St Andrew’s.  Pilots are seen to target bombs directly at the large red crosses which identify the location of the hospitals from the air.  Sgt Moore, RAOC, attached 2nd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment is reported missing believed killed in St Andrews.

Ten JU 88 bombers attack St George’s Barracks.  Bombs hit the Married Quarters, causing extensive damage.

12 JU 88s carry out a dive-bombing attack on Luqa airfield.  17 JU 88s attack the Poor House, demolishing RAF officers’ quarters and injuring five Officers, one seriously.  Army quarters are also demolished, killing five Army personnel.  Tal Handaq gun positions are also hit.

Malta’s fighters are airborne and destroy two ME 109s and one JU88; probably destroy one JU 87 and damage five JU 88s, one JU 87 and two ME 109s.  One ME109 is destroyed and one JU 88 damaged by Ack Ack.  One Spitfire crashes on a hill, killing the pilot; one is damaged in combat – the pilot is safe.

Four Hurricanes 185 Squadron and two Hurricanes 229 Squadron from Hal Far are scrambled to intercept formations of JU 88s and 10 JU 87s with an escort of ME 109s.  P/O Wigley claims one JU 88 damaged.  Sgt Tweedale destroys one ME 109.  Sgt Finlay damages one JU 88 and Sgt Dodd damages one JU 88 and probably destroys one JU 87.

1225 hrs  A second large plot of 100 enemy bombers with fighter escort approaches the Island.  Three Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept the enemy aircraft; they are joined by three more Spitfires 249 and 603 Squadrons from Ta Qali.

12 JU 88s carry out a bombing raid on Mellieha Barracks and Ghain Tuffieha.  21 JU 88s drop bombs across the Pembroke area, again targeting Nos 39 and 45 General Hospitals.  10 JU 88s bomb St George’s Barracks, causing further damage to administrative buildings and accommodation.  St Julian’s and Sliema are also hit.

14 JU 88s attack Heavy Ack Ack gun positions along the north east coast, including Gharghur fort, Campbell Battery and Spinola.

1315 hrs  15 JU 87s attack the Poor House, and leave two delayed-action bombs near the Sergeants’ Mess.  Royal Engineers quarters are damaged.  One JU 87 drops a stick of bombs across the road from Zabbar to Marsascala 500 yards from Zabbar.  Tal Handaq gun positions are also hit.

Three Spitfires 601 Squadron engage the JU 87s dive-bombing Poor House: no claims.  P/O Pawson fails to return.  Three Spitfires 249 and 603 Squadrons (Ta Qali) join the attack on the JU 87s.

1340 hrs  Sgt Brennan, 249 Squadron, destroys one ME 109 and one JU 88; P/O McNair (249) damages two ME 109s, one JU 87 and one JU 88.

1345 hrs  Raiders passed.

1405 hrs  The air raid alert sounds for a single aircraft patrolling to the north of the Island, apparently on a search.

1515 hrs  The alert sounds a second time for enemy aircraft patrolling to the north.

1720 hrs  Another large formation of some 90 bombers with fighter escort is plotted approaching the Island from the north.  Three Spitfires 261 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft.  P/O Peck fires at a JU 88: no claims.  Sgt Goldsmith lands early as the hood of his aircraft blows off.  Two Hurricanes 229 Squadron from Hal Far intercept eight JU 88s.  P/O Carter attacks one of the bombers: no results observed.  Hurricane pilot W/O Corfe fails to return.

1730 hrs  Two Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to engage enemy raiders: no results seen.  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron and one Hurricane 185 Squadron are airborne from Luqa, joining with another Spitfire from Luqa to attack JU 88s.  F/Lt Douglas (603) destroys one JU 88; P/O Fletcher (185) destroys one JU 88 and Sgt Webster (603) damages one.

1741 hrs  15 JU 88s bomb Ghain Tuffieha Camp with high explosives and incendiaries.  A third attack on Mellieha Camp by 12 JU 88s causes further damage and renders the camp uninhabitable.  Immediately after the attack, Kings Own Malta Regiment troops are evacuated from the Camp.

29 JU 88s and 10 JU 87s attack the Pembroke and St George’s areas, causing damage to barracks, buildings, RAOC stores and workshops.  No 39 General Hospital is again deliberately attacked and further damaged.  Spinola Heavy Ack Ack gun position receives a direct hit, killing nine Other Ranks and wounding two and destroying one gun.  One Light Ack Ack position suffers a near miss, wounding three Other Ranks.

1815 hrs  Pembroke Battery sustains three direct hits, destroying a billet and causing two casualties, Other Ranks.  The battery remains intact.

1835 hrs  Twelve JU 87s carry out a dive bombing attack on the Poor House.   A section of the airmen’s quarters is destroyed and the parachute section damaged.  The Poor House has to be evacuated.  Two ME 109s are engaged by two guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery.

1907 hrs  All clear.

Night  No night alerts.

Military casualties  Able Seaman Walter Dargue, HMS St.Angelo; Leading Stoker Leslie Waldron, HMS Xmas.

Flight Sergeant Lucien Brooks, Royal Canadian Air Force, 279 Squadron; Warrant Officer Douglas Corfe, Royal Air Force, 229 Squadron; Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Pawson, 601 Squadron.

Private Dennis Blanksby, Lance-Corporal Walter Clingo, Private William Logue, 39 General Hospital; Corporal Owen Powell, Private Stephen Sage, Private John Searle, Corporal Jack Wait: all Royal Army Medical Corps.

Private Alfred Dilley, Private Arthur Heywood, Private Cyril Maguire, Private Philip Rust, Private Cecil Tappin, all Royal Army Pay Corps.

Gunner Walter Seamarks and Sergeant George Walker, 4 Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery; Bombardier Robert Andrews, 7 Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery; Gunner Thomas Casey 55 Bty, 32 Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Gunner William Allen, Gunner James Budden, Gunner Harold Lloyd, Gunner Harry Turner, Gunner Ernest Walker, Gunner Cyril Wiles, Lance Bombardier Cyril Yeomans: all 222 Bty, 10 Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Private Frederick Edwards, Private Patrick O’Sullivan, Private Leslie Urquhart, Private Edward Walker: all 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment.

Private Anthony Baldacchino, Private Nazzarine Grech, Private John Sammut: all 1st Battalion, King’s Own Malta Regiment.

Corporal Albert Johnson, 1st Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment; Private Arthur Loco, 8th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment; Signalman Richard Mifsud, Corps of Signals, Malta Territorial Force; Sergeant Vernon Moore, Royal Army Ordnance Corps; Fusilier Samuel Purvis, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers; Fusilier Harold Robinson, 11th Battalion,Lancashire Fusiliers; Lance-Corporal John Walker, Corps of Military Police; Claude Sampson, Asst.HC Depot, HM Dockyard; Vincent Prime, son of Corporal Prime, Royal Army Service Corps.

Civilian casualties  Floriana  Onorato Amaira, age 45.  Gharghur  Ganna Camilleri, age 65; Mary Camilleri, age 60.  Marsa  Unidentified male.  Sliema  Perina Montefort, age 88; Alfred Montefort, age 75.  St Julian’s  Albert Montgomery, age 41.  St Paul’s Bay  Joseph Grech, age 52.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 25 APRIL 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Porpoise arrived from Alexandria with passengers, fuel, and stores.  P35  returned from patrol off Kerkenah, sank one 5000 ton ship and obtained one hit on a smaller one.   Naval rest camp and St. George’s Barracks bombed by large formations of JU 88s.

AIR HQ  Departures  One Hudson to Gambut.

LUQA  1040-1400 hrs  One Spitfire on photo-reconnaissance of Sicilian harbours.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Work on the aerodromes continues at night.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bombs at Poorhouse, Company Office & Rations destroyed. 1 man admitted to hospital, 1 slightly injured. Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 33; dealt with 5 (4 x 250kg, 1 x 50kg).

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Cpl Poynter and Fus Purvis are killed by enemy bombs.  Bombs in Bn area: St Andrews attacked – families homeless.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  1900 hrs  Walking wounded and convalescent officers and Other Ranks temporarily returned to unit from bombed hospitals.  0400 hrs  Priority tasks of Luqa and Hal Far working parties complete.

2ND BN THE ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Pte E F Walker, Pte F Edwards and L/Cpl P T O’Sullivan killed by bombs on Poor House.

(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.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2017 in 1942, April 1942

 

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24 April 1942: Dogfights Over Grand Harbour

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  • 3 enemy aircraft destroyed, 8 damaged
  • 23 civilians killed in 13 localities
  • 40 unexploded bombs reported today
  • 24 tons of unexploded bombs disposed of in 6 days

    Wellington bombers

SECOND BOMBER MISSING AFTER SICILY RAID

Another Wellington bomber was reported missing this morning following the loss of one aircraft in yesterday’s raid on the Axis airfield at Comiso.  Flight Lieutenant Hayter and his five man crew took off from Luqa yesterday evening at 20:45 hours.  Theirs was one of the first wave of four Wellingtons attacked by anti-aircraft fire.  Two were hit, one was badly damaged; the other, piloted by F/Lt Harper, was reported missing.  F/Lt Hayter returned safely to Luqa at 2225 hrs.

Two hours later he took to the air again, as part of a second-wave attack on the same target.  During the early hours of the morning, his aircraft was shot down over the island above Acate. All of the crew except F/Lt Hayter were killed: he was taken prisoner.

The crew are named as Second Pilot Sergeant Douglas King, Observer Sergeant Maurice Buckley, Wireless Operators/Air Gunners Sergeant Edward March, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner and Sergeant George Tull, and Air Gunner Sergeant James Kehoe; all Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 APRIL TO DAWN 25 APRIL 1942

Weather  Wind south easterly; no cloud – visibility approximately 70 miles.  Warm.

0530-0620 hrs  Air raid warning.  One JU 88 bomber approaches from the west and drops bombs on Floriana.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0640-0658 hrs  Three ME 109s machine gun Ta Qali aerodrome.

0709 hrs  Formations of enemy bombers with fighter escort are observed approaching the Island.  Four Hurricanes 185 Squadron and two Hurricanes 229 Squadron from Hal Far are scrambled and intercept a formation of JU 88s and ME 109 fighters.  Sgt Boyd damages two ME 109s and F/Lt Lawrence one.  P/O Fletcher damages one JU 88.

Four Spitfires 126 Squadron (Ta Qali) are also airborne and engage enemy aircraft.  F/Lt Johnstone probably destroys one JU 88; Sgt Miller and Sgt Christ damage one JU 88; Sgt Milner damages two.

0725 hrs  Seven JU 88s carry out a dive-bombing attack on Luqa.  Bombs land on the perimeter of the aerodrome.  One serviceable and one unserviceable Hurricane are burned out.  A photo-reconnaissance Spitfire is damaged.

0730 hrs  22 JU 88 bombers attack the Dockyard, targeting French Creek and Marsa.

0810 hrs  Bombs land on the north east outskirts of Zejtun and near Tal Handaq.

0820 hrs  One JU 88 is engaged by light machine gun fire from HQ 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt: no hits claimed.

0839 hrs  Raiders passed.

1005 hrs  A large plot of enemy bombers and fighters is observed heading towards the Island.

1010 hrs   Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept.  They attack JU 88s while they are engaged in bombing raids over Grand Harbour: Sgt Christ destroys one JU 87.

South Street, Valletta (NWMA Malta)

1015 hrs  45 enemy bombers and fighters attack the Grand Harbour area and drop a considerable number of bombs on houses and buildings in Valletta and Floriana.

In Valletta, heavy bombs explode in St Johns Ditch, Hastings Gardens and South Street, killing one and injuring ten.  ARP officers are reported to have collected six bags of human flesh from the ruins. 

Several members of 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment are in an air raid shelter in Old Bakery Street when it is hit by a high explosive bomb.  Privates E Jones and F Jepson are reported missing, believed killed.  Witnesses suggest that the bomb landed at their feet, killing both instantly.  Corporal A Johnson is badly injured [he later died of his wounds].  Sergeant Myers and Private Doyle are injured and taken to hospital; Sgt Bollard, L/Cpl Clarke and Pte Leak are slightly injured.

In Floriana bombs explode in St Anne’s Street, St Thomas Street, Sarria Street, Gunlayer Square and Magazine Street, killing two people and injuring thirty, eight seriously.

1030 hrs  Ta Qali is attacked by enemy bombers using heavy calibre bombs – believed to be captured British bombs.

1110 hrs  Raiders passed.

1230 hrs  Three waves of JU 88 bombers with fighter escort (approximately 15 aircraft in each wave) approach the Island.  Two Hurricanes 229 Squadron and one from 185 Squadron from Hal Far intercept the incoming formation.  P/O Nixon, 229 Squadron, damages one ME 109.

1235 hrs  The enemy plots separate:  22 JU 88s head for Grand Harbour, bombing Valletta, Corradino, Marsa Creek and Pieta, causing further damage to buildings and Dockyard facilities.

1236 hrs  Six JU 88s raid Luqa, causing craters on the aerodrome and dispersal areas.  Bombs fall on already uninhabitable billets.

1240 hrs  One Spitfire is airborne from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagement.

1250 hrs  JU 88s are engaged by light machine gun fire from HQ 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt: hits claimed.

1355 hrs  The lone Spitfire is returning to Luqa when he is shot at by four ME 109s during landing.

1400 hrs  Raiders passed.

1800 hrs  A large number of enemy aircraft is plotted to the north on course for the Island.  They turn towards Grand Harbour: the first formation flying on towards Ta Qali, the second attacking Grand Harbour and Valletta, and the third targeting Msida.  Three Spitfires 601 Squadron are airborne from Luqa to intercept.  They engage several JU 87s and ME 109s over Grand Harbour.  One JU 87 is claimed as damaged.

1807 hrs 15 JU 88s and 19 JU 87 Stukas with a large escort of fighters attack Grand Harbour.  Considerable damage is caused to buildings in Floriana and Valletta, including Casemate Barracks, the Torpedo Depot, the General Post Office and GOR Officers’ Mess.

Floriana is a main target: bombs hit the ARP centre, destroying medical equipment one ambulance and a reconnaissance motor cycle.  Bombs also hit houses in Filippo Sceberras Square, St Anne’s Street and Sarria Street, causing 23 casualties (some later died in hospital).  Pte Urquhart, 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment, is killed while on leave in Valletta.

Four Hurricanes 185 Squadron from Hal Far intercept 15 of the JU 87s involved in the raid on Msida.  P/O Wigley and Sgt Finlay each damage a JU 87.  Sgt Dodd attacks four JU 87s: no results observed.

Three Spitfires are airborne from Ta Qali to defend the aerodrome from the incoming raiders.  F/Lt Lucas has to crash land near Siggiewi due to Glycol trouble.  The other two Spitfires return with R/T trouble.

1820 hrs  Nine JU 88s with fighters in support attack Ta Qali.  Bombs are also dropped near Targa Heavy Ack Ack position.

1840 hrs  An enemy reconnaissance flight is observed over the north of the Island.

1845 hrs  One ME 109 is engaged by 225 Light Ack Ack Regiment.

1905 hrs  Raiders passed.

Dusk  Three ME 109 fighter-bombers attack Ta Qali.

2042-2340 hrs; 0155-0210 hrs; 0345-0435 hrs Three air raid alerts are sounded for individual approaching aircraft.  German and Italian bombs, including incendiaries are dropped in the Luqa area, Tal Virtu, Gudjia and Safi.  A few houses are destroyed but there are no casualties.  One Beaufighter is airborne in response to each alert to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagement.

Military casualties  Flight Sergeant Alexander Balinson, Royal Canadian Air Force, 148 Squadron; Flight Sergeant Arthur Charron, Royal Canadian Air Force; Corporal William Rogerson, 1st Battalion, Durham Light Infantry; Gunner Carmel Dingli, 1 Coast Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery; Lance-Sergeant Joseph Sammut, 1 Coast Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Joseph Delia, age 20.  Floriana  Dolores Abela, age 60. Ghaxaq  John Mary Camilleri, age 67; Anthony Galea, age 51. Gzira  Joseph Borg, age 15.   Hamrun  Charles Demajo, age 13; Aida Kelly, age 26; Michael Pace, age 15; Joseph Spiteri, age 12.  Marsa  Michael Cilia, age 18.  Mosta  Luigi Calleja, age 75. Paola  Leone Bartolo, age 20; Teresa Bondin, age 2; Josephine Bondin, age 6 mths; Gaetan Pisani, age 31.  Pieta  Saviour Caruana, age 21; Petra Christine Dungstaad, age 30. Siggiewi  Carmel Cachia, age 53.  Sliema  James Naudi, age 45.  Tarxien  Michael d’Alfonso, age 18.  Valletta  Jane Muliett, age 3; Caroline Salnitro, age 14.  Comino  Rose Zammit, age 15.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 24 APRIL 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Torpedo Depot further damaged in air raid.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Bombay from Gibraltar, one Hudson from Gambut.  Departures  One Catalina, one Hudson to Gibraltar; one Bombay to 108 MU.

LUQA  1150-1343 hrs  One Spitfire on photo-reconnaissance of East Sicilian aerodromes.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Battalion ceased working on aerodromes at Ta Qali and Luqa during the day and began working from 1930 hrs until 0300 hrs daily for seven days a week.  One Other Rank is wounded by a delayed-action bomb and dies of his wounds shortly afterwards.  A detachment from the Battalion took over observation post duties at Tal Minsia for one week.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb in Casemate Bks destroyed FRE Oil Store. Weight of bombs disposed of still rising: 24 tons in 6 days.  Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 43; dealt with 10 (3 x 500kg, 4 x 250kg, 3 x 50kg).

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  1800 hrs  This unit hands over observation post at Tal Virtu at 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regt.  2100 hrs  Luqa and Hal Far working parties continued.  Work progressing much quicker than by daylight.  No dispersal of troops on air alert at night.  Luftwaffe using firework-incendiary bombs at night, not successfully, against grounded aircraft.

(1) Compiled with reference to Dover War Memorial Project.  Flight Lieutenant Hayter, Mentioned in Dispatches, was one of the escapees from Stalag Luft III, as recalled in the film ‘The Great Escape’. Hayter one of the fifty recaptured and shot on the direct orders of Hitler.

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

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in 1942, April 1942

 

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23 April 1942: Malta’s Airfields ‘Complete Shambles’ Warns Air Commander

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Ta Qali: craters April 1942 (NWMA Malta)

AIR OFFICER COMMANDING WARNS MALTA ‘MUST HAVE ABUNDANCE OF SPITFIRES’                                               

Message AOC Malta to C in C Middle East Air Command 23 April 1942

 “Both places (Takali 377 tons of bombs…Luqa 122 tons) a complete shambles in spite of soldiers working day and night…Have made every effort to get Spitfires off the ground…All Spits in pens widely dispersed, some with complete cover from blast…In spite of this, 9 destroyed on the ground – direct hits, 29 damaged splintered rocks.  Owing to heavy fighter escort, our battle casualties 8 Spitfires destroyed and 75% of remainder damaged in combat…Army filling bomb holes day and night. Airmen work all day and, in shifts, throughout the night.  Cannot do more to protect Wellingtons or Spitfires.  Here everything liable to attack. German intention appears to be air blockade into submission…Aim now is to destroy harbour facilities so that when convoy arrives it will be difficult to unload…Also to destroy aerodromes and all equipment for handling aircraft. To hold this Islandmust have abundance of Spitfires and hope to get them into air before next raid which was 90 minutes on this occasion.” (1) 

CIVILIAN WORKERS JOIN AIRFIELD LABOUR FORCE

There has been extreme difficulty owing to the scale of attacks on Malta, in obtaining any large effort on work in dangerous areas from the civil population.  During April very little actual work was done on aerodromes by civilians other than those employed by the RAF in the normal way.  On the other hand, machinery was set up which may cause a greater effort in future, when the Labour Battalions have got into their stride, and people have accustomed themselves to work in the same conditions as the military.

…By April 23rd 100 men for each of Ta Qali and Luqa were organized to work under officers of the Malta Volunteer Defence Force.  Buses had to be provided to take the men to rock shelters whenever the alarm went, but it is hoped that when they come under the Compulsory Service Scheme and get the same dependents’ and injury allowance as the [Kings Own Malta Regiment] they will…work away from rock shelters.

Excellent work pen building, etc, was done by the Detachments of Malta Police who worked in exactly the same conditions as the soldiers.  War Diary, Air HQ, Malta, April 1942

AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 APRIL TO DAWN 24 APRIL 1942

Weather  Wind south-westerly; cold.  50% cloud.

0625-0715 hrs  At dawn, four ME 109s dive-bomb Grand Harbour.  A bomb outside No 31 Refuge wrecking entrance and Section HQ of the Dockyard kills two and causes minor injuries to several others.

0655 hrs  Two unexploded bombs are reported on Bidni Ridge.

1025 hrs  Massed plots of enemy aircraft – one of 39 bombers plus fighters and another of 66 bombers and fighter-bombers with fighter escort – are reported approaching the Island.  Four Hurricanes 185 Squadron and two Hurricanes 229 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept.  SGt Tweedale destroys one JU 87 and Sgt Todd damages another.  Three Spitfires 601 Squadron are also scrambled from Luqa on interceptions: one is damaged by Messerschmitts.

1050 hrs  The first formation of 39 JU 88s attacks Grand Harbour, including Corradino, Marsa, Valletta and Floriana, as well as inland.  In Floriana bombs explode on St Anne’s Street, Filippo Sceberras Square and Pietro Floriani Street causing considerable damage to buildings.

1048 hrs  The second plot divides of 40 JU 88s and 22 JU 87s and 4 ME 109s plus fighters divides into formations to attack the aerodromes.  Hurricanes and Spitfires are airborne, destroying two JU 87s and one JU 88.  Another JU 88 is damaged by Ack Ack fire.

1105 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage numerous JU 87s: many hits claimed.  One gun claims a hit on the nose of a JU 87 which crashes into the sea.  Another claims two hits on one JU 87 which recedes smoking and rapidly losing height.

1114 hrs  Five JU 88s raid Hal Far, damaging one Wellington pen and writing off one Hurricane.

1115 hrs  A raid on Luqa and the Safi strip by 13 JU 88s causes craters on the runways and leaves several unexploded bombs on runways and dispersal areas – suspected delayed-action.  A bomb explodes near Tal Handaq gun position, wounding four Other Ranks.  Guns are also damaged at Benghaisa and Targa.

1125 hrs  One JU 87 is reported crashing in the sea.

1130 hrs  A heavy raid on Ta Qali leaves craters on the runway and the southern dispersal area.  Unexploded bombs are reported – suspected delayed-action.  A working party of 8th Bn Manchester Regt suffers two casualties: Cpl Wood, Carrier Platoon, is hit by shrapnel; Pte Clare is injured by falling debris.

1155 hrs  Raiders passed.  Malta’s fighters come in to land.  1205 hrs  All clear.

1326-1430 hrs  Air raid alert: no attacks over the Island.

1525 hrs  A large plot of enemy raiders approaches the Island, dividing into several formations to attack the airfields.  A second large formation follows minutes later and bombs Grand Harbour and French Creek.

Two Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft: claims two JU 87s probably destroyed.  Four Hurricanes 229 Squadron are airborne from Hal Far and go after six JU 88s with an escort of ME 109s.  S/L Beatty and P/O Nixon engage: results not observed.

1555 hrs  Ten JU 88s dive-bomb Luqa: one Wellington and one Spitfire are burned out and photo-reconnaissance Spitfire slightly damaged.

1600 hrs  Eight JU 88s bomb Ta Qali, leaving craters on the runway (which remains serviceable) and damaging buildings.

1610 hrs  Four JU 88s and two ME 109s raid Hal Far, damaging one Fordson tractor, writing off one Albacore and slightly damaging another, plus one Hurricane.

1620 hrs  Two Spitfires 126 Squadron from Luqa attack JU 87s.  S/L Gracie probably destroys one JU 88 and F/Sgt Schade probably destroys one JU 87.

1620-1650 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage one JU 88 and two ME 109s.  One gun claims hits on the fuselage of one ME 109.

1630 hrs  In the second wave of raiders, 19 JU 87 Stukas and 12 JU 88s attack the Grand Harbour area, including Marsa and Msida.  Bombs also land between Hompesch and Paola.

1702 hrs  All clear.

1805 hrs  A small formation of enemy aircraft approaches the Island, accompanied by a fighter escort.  Malta’s fighters are airborne to intercept.

1810 hrs  A Spitfire is attacked by three ME 109s, crashes on a hillside near the observation post at Tal Virtu and bursts into flames.  Personnel of 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers manning the observation post (2/Lt J D Brown and Fusiliers Brownbill, Grundy, Davies and Moore) reach the plane and extricate the pilot, who is seriously wounded and burnt. The soldiers apply first aid and the Intelligence Section puts out the fire and removes the aircraft’s ammunition.  No-one apart from the pilot is hurt.

1822 hrs  Nine JU 88s drop bombs on Luqa and the Safi strip.

1840 hrs  One JU 88 is engaged by light machine gun fire from the HQ of 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt: hits claimed.

1905 hrs  Raiders passed.

1915-1955 hrs  Four ME 109s bomb Ta Qali.

2112-2129 hrs; 2145-2205 hrs; 2226-2240 hrs  Air raid alerts. Three delayed-action bombs explode on Safi strip during the night.

2316-2342 hrs  A raid by unidentified aircraft which drop bombs on Luqa airfield.  One Corporal of Durham Light Infantry is injured: he dies on admission to Imtarfa hospital.

Military casualties  Aircraftsman A. Moriarty, Royal Air Force; Pilot Officer Peter Pimblett, 139 Squadron, Royal Air Force; Bombardier Harold Naylor 223 Battery, 32 Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Civilian casualties Paola  Vincent Scerri, age 64; Joseph Vella, age 43. Gozo (Xaghra)  Francesco Azzopardi, age 58.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 23 APRIL 1942

AIR HQ  Two Wellingtons left Malta for 108 MU: both missing, no further news.  Arrivals  Two Wellingtons from 235 Wing; one Cataline, one Hudson from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Hudson to Gambut; one Beaufort to 108 MU.

LUQA  1212-1417 hrs  One Spitfire 69 Squadorn on photo-reconnaissance of Sicilian aerodromes.  2040-2300 hrs  Seven Wellingtons S/D Flight despatched to attack convoy: two merchant vessels and three destroyers located; bombs fell ahead of ships.  2040-0333 hrs  Nine Wellingtons 148 Squadron in two waves despatched on offensive.  All bombs hit target area; at least one fire started.  One Wellington is badly damaged by Ack Ack; another fails to return.  Pilot F/O Harper, crew Sgts King, Wear, Perrin, Hosking, Powell.  0220-0440 hrs  Two merchant vessels and three destroyers located: possible hit on one merchant vessel or very near miss.

TA QALI  Aerodrome runway serviceable – repairs proceeding.  No night operations.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  A working party of one Officer and 40 men to work near Marsa Basin.  Other working parties continue.  On last raid a JU 87 hit Battalion HQ with three bombs in the yard.  Pioneers and Armourers shop hit, also PAD store – all the upper part of the building is untenable.  Three near misses on the other side of the ravelin made most of the old orderly room block untenable.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Work on aerodromes now starts at 1930 hours until 0300 hrs.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bombs at Haywharf, buildings damaged, no casualties.  Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 9; dealt with 5 (1 x 500kg, 3 x 250kg, 1 x 50kg).

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  2100 hrs  Luqa and Hal Far working parties continued.

(1) From diary of Robert Wendell ‘Buck’ McNair, Canadian Air Aces and Heroes, WWI, WWII and Korea

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22 April 1942: ‘Malta’s Darkest Hour’ – Only 7 Spitfires Fit to Fly

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‘MALTA’S DARKEST HOUR’ – SPITFIRE PILOT BUCK MCNAIR

‘Buck’ McNair (Canadian Aces)(1)

“Within an hour of landing the radar plotters showed the Luftwaffe were up and leaving their bases in Sicily. It took three hours to get all of the Spitfires refuelled, and rearmed due to the excessive security. Also, despite assurances the cannons had not been air-tested in England and had to be set-up and there was a problem with faulty ammunition. All of the regular hands took off in what new Spits were ready and were into the first of a series of heavy raids intended to destroy as many of the new fighters on the ground as possible. The Germans were quite successful. Forty-eight hours later only seven of the forty-six Spitfires remained fit to fly. The old hands could only look at each other. It was Malta‘s darkest hour.”  Robert Wendell “Buck” McNair (1)

AIRMEN FIRE ON ENEMY RAIDERS FROM THE GROUND

Airmen are encouraged to fire rifles from slit trenches at low-flying enemy aircraft.  Many rifle brigades are formed and the morale of airmen considerably improved.  During raids 21st and 22nd April from the machine-gun site on top of the caves:  W/O Satchell damaged one JU 88 and two ME 109s; S/L Westmacott damaged one JU 88 and one ME 109.   In the morning raid, W/C Satchell hit three JU 88s.  War Diary, Ta Qali, April 1942

AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 APRIL TO DAWN 23 APRIL 1942

Weather  Strong south-westerly wind.  100% medium cloud.

0435-0500 hrs; 0728-0759 hrs  Air raid alert sounds for incoming aircraft: nothing transpires.

0915 hrs  36 enemy bombers with fighter escort approach the Island.  Four Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept incoming enemy aircraft: one JU 88 probably destroyed.

0932 hrs  11 JU 88s drop bombs from a high level on Luqa near Schinas Reservoir, and on the Safi strip.  One Wellington is damaged by shrapnel.

0945 hrs  Three guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage one JU 88: hits claimed.

Seven Spitfires 249 & 603 Squadrons are airborne from Ta Qali and see 20 JU 88s heading inland over St Paul’s Bay.  They attack.  Four Spitfires return to Luqa after a few minutes.  P/O West (249) attacks a second wave of JU 88s, damaging one, and also later attacks and damages the reconnaissance aircraft.  F/Sgt Hurst destroys one ME 109.  P/O Murray does not return.  Two Spitfires crash on landing: pilots unhurt.  Total destroyed 1; damaged 2.

1000 hrs  25 JU 88s drop over 100 high explosive bombs on Ta Qali, causing craters and further damage to buildings.

1018-1120 hrs  Air raid alert.  Four ME 109 fighter-bombers attack Ta Qali.

1219 hrs  Approximately 50 enemy bombers with fighter escort approach the Island.  15 JU 88s carry out a high level bombing attack on Ta Qali and Mosta.  22 JU 87 Stukas and 12 JU 88s attack the Grand Harbour area, dropping bombs across a wide area including Valletta and Floriana, Corradino and Addolorata.  In Floriana bombs explode on the Central Civil Hospital, St Calcedonio Square and St Johns Ditch. 

1349 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

1705 hrs  Massed formations of enemy aircraft approach the Island from the North, splitting into various plots to attack Ta Qali, Luca and Safi, Hal Far and the Grand Harbour area.

1724 hrs  Six Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept incoming enemy aircraft.  P/O Jemmett is believed to have been shot down near Rabat.

Two Hurricanes from Hal Far are airborne and intercept 12 JU 88s heading for the airfield with a fighter escort of ME 109s.  P/O Wigley probably destroys one ME 109.  P/O Ormrod, DFC, is missing.

1730 hrs  Twelve JU 88s carry out a high level bomb attack on Luqa, damaging workshops and equipment stores.  One Hudson previously written off is now burned out.  Two Wellingtons and a Blenheim are damaged.  A bombing raid on Hal Far by five JU 88s partly demolishes the Torpedo Shop and damages one Hurricane.  A raid on Ta Qali by 13 JU 88s leaves further craters and buildings damaged.  The enemy concentrate on cuttings which they apparently believe are underground hangars.

1740-1750 hrs  12 JU 88s drop bombs on the Safi strip.

1740-1810 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage numerous JU 88s: hits claimed by five guns.  One gun claims two hits on one aircraft and flames emitted.

1750 hrs  21 JU 87s and 26 JU 88s attack Grand Harbour, including Valletta and Floriana, Kalkara and the Dockyard.  Bombs land between ADS Zabbar and the Cottonera Lines.

Bombers target several anti-aircraft guns.  Two Light Ack Ack gun positions are hit by bombs, killing five Other Ranks and wounding seven, including one seriously.  A bomb explodes close to Tal Handaq Heavy Ack Ack gun position wounding one Other Rank and putting two guns out of action.  Others land close to San Pietru gun position, setting ammunition on fire, and Gudia searchlight position wounding one Other Rank.

1800 hrs  Four ME 109 fighter bombers raid Ta Qali, demolishing the main billet at Bukana Camp.

1850 hrs  All clear.

2200 hrs  3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment at Ghar Lapsi report a boat showing a light four miles offshore.

2240-2251 hrs  The alert sounds for one aircraft which does not cross the coast.

0225 hrs  One aircraft approaches the Island and drops bombs in the sea off Torri l’Abjad.

0300-0330 hrs  One aircraft comes in from the north east and drops mines on Zonqor Point.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Frank Jemmett, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR), 601 Squadron; Pilot Officer Gordon Murray, Royal Canadian Air Force, 603 Squadron; Pilot Officer Oliver Ormrod, Royal Air Force VR, 185 Squadron; Squadron Leader Stewart Surridge, MC, Royal Air Force VR.

Private James Barrowman and Private Roy Douglass, 1st Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry.

Gunner Tom Berry, Gunner James Booth, Gunner Michael Kelly, all 223 Bty, 32 Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery; Gunner Cecil French, Bombardier Harry Gentle, Gunner William Gilbert 182 Bty, Gunner Gilbert Nixon, Bombardier Albert Norris, all 4 Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery; Sergeant Bernard Alliston, 276 Bty, 68 Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Emmanuela Gatt, age 60. Valletta  Vincent Schembri, age 60.   Zejtun  Joseph Scicluna, age 18.  Zurrieq  Emanual Mangion, age 18.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 22 APRIL 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Urge returned from uneventful patrol south of Pantellaria.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Hudson from Gambut; one Wellington, one Beaufort from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Wellington to 108 MU.

LUQA  0605-0650 hrs  Two Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft on interceptions: no combat. 1408-1457 hrs  One Spitfire 69 Squadron on photo-reconnaissance east Sicilian aerodromes.  2105-0540 hrs  Six Wellingtons S/D Flight despatched to attack a convoy: bombs dropped but no results seen.  2040-0555 hrs  Twelve Wellingtons 148 Squadron are despatched in three waves to attack Comiso aerodrome.   Bombs are dropped in the dispersal area but no fires seen.

TA QALI  Two senior NCOs and 35 airmen attached from Kalafrana for temporary duties.  A salvage section is attached from Luqa.  An attachment of 48 airmen from Kalafrana is accommodated in Boschetto Gardens.  No night operations.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Working parties continue as yesterday; B Company still salvaging.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Seven Other Ranks were wounded by enemy action on Ta Qali: one died same day.  One Other Rank killed by enemy action on Ta Qali.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bombs at Haywharf – Offices, Stores and Equipment destroyed, 2 engines damaged.  Bomb nr NAAFI Lintorn damaging 24Coy store and destroying depth charge – no casualties.  Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 19; dealt with 17 (1 x 500kg, 3 x 250kg, 12 x 50kg; 1 x 15kg anti-personnel).

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Working parties from Battalion on aerodrome.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  2100 hrs  Luqa and Hal Far working parties continued.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  Two unexploded bombs of 250kg and 500kg are reported 400 yards south of a gun position; not evacuated.

(1)  From Canadian Air Aces and Heroes, WWI, WWII and Korea

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21 April 1942: Malta’s Troops Praised World Over Says CO

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Maj Gen D M W Beak

SPECIAL MESSAGE TO ALL RANKS OF THE ARMY 21 APRIL 1942                      

FROM MAJOR-GENERAL D M W BEAK VC DSO MC, GENERAL OFFICER COMMANDING TROOPS, MALTA

“I wish you all to know how much I appraise and appreciate the steadfast and excellent work you have been giving and still are to our cause which is the cause of all free people.

You have been experiencing a tense period fraught with intense difficulties.  Nevertheless you have responded gallantly and never once failed or faltered.  You are sticking to the job with a cheerfulness and fortitude which is beyond praise.  Much has been asked of you but more have you given.The spirit of your effort is representative of the best which the British breed has ever produced in its long history of brilliant achievement and that is saying much.

I know you are straining at the leash to be able to get at the enemy.  Nothing can be more trying than having to ‘sit and take it’.  The day will come when we shall ‘rise and give it’ and then I know you will not be weighed in the balance and found wanting.

There must be many questions passing through your minds which cannot, at the moment, be answered.  Remember that there are no points in the present situation which are forgotten and no efforts lacking to see it through to a successful conclusion.

Your spirited work is known and praised the world over but nowhere is it better known, more understood and appreciated, than in this Island by those of us who are fully in the picture.  Your effort is magnificent.  You may be justly proud.”                                       

ME 109

KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT: FEARLESS RETALIATION

Troops of D Company, 3rd Battalion Kings Own Malta Regiment were attacked by two Messerchmitt fighters while out on a route march at noon today.  As the ME 109s swooped low over the march, the infantrymen primed their rifles and returned fire.

Later this afternoon a number of ME 109s flew low over the sector of 1st Battalion, whose Ack Ack Platoon immediately responded with a volley of machine gun fire.  An hour later, A Company of 3rd Battalion opened fire on another enemy aircraft, which then crashed into the sea about four miles off the coast.

AMERICAN PILOT LOST

American pilot Hiram Putnam was killed this afternoon when his Spitfire hit a steel wireless mast and crashed.  Texas born Putnam, serving as a Pilot Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force, had been attacked with cannon fire by an enemy fighter.  It is believed he was mortally injured by the attack: his aircraft which spun out of control and crashed into the pylon near quarters of 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regiment who immediately mounted a guard at the site.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 21 APRIL TO DAWN 22 APRIL 1942

Weather  Wind easterly; 50% cloud at 15000 feet.

0722 hrs  Large formations of enemy aircraft, including over 70 bombers plus fighter escort,  approach the Island.

0830 hrs  Four Hurricanes 185 Squadron and two Hurricanes 229 Squadron based at Hal Far are airborne and intercept twelve JU 88s.  P/O Horricks claims one JU 88 probable and one ME 109 damaged.  Sgt Finlay damages one ME 109.  Sgt Fullalove 229 Squadron is missing.

Four Spitfires 601 Squadron are also airborne from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft.  Two JU 88s and one ME 109 are destroyed; one JU 88 damaged.  One Spitfire from Luqa is shot up by ME 109s and crash-lands at Hal Far; the Pilot F/Lt Barnham is uninjured.  P/O Brooker does not return.

13 JU 88s attack Ta Qali, aiming for what they believe to be underground hangars beneath the airfield.

Six JU 88s carry out a medium level bombing raid on Luqa causing slight damage to a Maryland.

0845 hrs  As the JU 88s turn away from their attack on Luqa, they are intercepted by six Spitfires from Ta Qali.  S/L Grant and P/O Plagis between them destroy one JU 88.  P/O Plagis destroys one ME 109 and Sgt Hesselyn damages one.  F/O Buchanan damages one JU 88.

35 JU 88s dive-bomb Ta Qali in two waves, dropping some 150 high explosive bombs on the airfield, causing craters in dispersal roads and damaging buildings.  Four Spitfires are written off and five slightly damaged.

0910 hrs  Twelve JU 88s attack the Dockyard, Corradino and Marsa Creek.  SS Pampas is hit.

0910-0930 hrs  Six guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage numerous JU 88s.  One gun claims a hit on the nose of a ME 109: smoke appears and gunners claim the aircraft as ditched in the sea.

1032 hrs  All clear.

1210 hrs  Several plots of enemy aircraft are identified approaching the Island from the north.  Bombers peel off to attack Salina Bay, damaging billets of 2nd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment and wounding one Other Rank at Salina gun position.

1220-1335 hrs  Four Spitfires 601 Squadron from Luqa are airborne to intercept enemy aircraft, claiming one JU 88 probably destroyed; two JU 88s and one ME 109 damaged.  S/L Bircher is shot down: pilot safe.

1230 hrs  16 enemy bombers and fighter bombers head for Ta Qali but are attacked by eight Spitfires before they reach the airfield.  Sgt Hesselyn destroys one JU 87 and one ME 109, damaging another.  P/O Watts destroys one ME 109.  F/O Buchanan destroys one JU 87.  P/O Watts damages one ME 109.

1235-1305 hrs  Twelve JU 88s with fighter escort head drop bombs Hal Far airfield.  Bombs are also dropped on the Safi strip.  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage numerous JU 88s and ME 109s: hits claimed.

1245 hrs  Four ME 109s and twelve JU 87s dive-bomb Ta Qali, dropping 25 bombs on the aerodrome and causing craters but the runway remains serviceable.

1335 hrs  Raiders passed.

1450-1530 hrs  Two Spitfires 601 Squadron from Luqa carry out a search for a missing Spitfire pilot: nothing sighted.

1612 hrs  Several formations of enemy aircraft approach the Island in waves, dividing to attack Grand Harbour, Ta Qali, Luca and Safi.  ME 109s flying low over the sector manned by 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment are engaged by their Ack Ack Platoon: no claims.

13 bombers attack the Grand Harbour area: San Pietru gun position is bombed.

20 JU 88 bombers carry out another heavy bombing raid on Ta Qali airfield.

1640-1745 hrs  Two Spitfires 601 Squadron are airborne to intercept enemy aircraft: one JU 88 possibly damaged.

1645 hrs  Eight Spitfires from Ta Qali dive to attack ME 109s but two are themselves jumped by the enemy fighters.  One Spitfire is slightly damaged.

1720 hrs  Nine Spitfires from Ta Qali attack enemy aircraft.  F/Lt McQueen destroys one ME 109 F; Sgt Brennan probably destroys one JU 88.  F/Lt McQueen damages one JU 88.  Total enemy aircraft destroyed ten; damaged seven.

1740 hrs  Two ME 109s and six JU 88s bomb Hal Far, severely damaging one Hurricane.  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage the enemy aircraft: hits claimed.

1744 hrs  Eight JU 88s dive-bomb Luqa and Safi.  One latrine and a wash house are demolished and the main runway is cratered.  Two Wellingtons are burned out and written off and one damaged.  Bombs are also dropped on Tal Handaq gun positions.

1910-1945 hrs  One Spitfire 601 Squadron carries out another search for the missing Spitfire pilot: nothing sighted.

2121-2210 hrs  One aircraft approaches the Island from the north but does not cross the coast.

Night  The air raid alert sounds for eight aircraft approaching the Island singly.  All bombs are dropped in the sea.

0340 hrs  One German airman comes ashore at St Thomas’ Bay and gives himself up to 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment at Munshar searchlight detachment.  He is held at Fort Ta Silch.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Hiram Putnam, 126 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force; Pilot Officer Stanley Brooker, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR), 601 Squadron; Corporal Peter Clarke, Royal Air Force; Sergeant John Fullalove, Pilot, Royal Air Force (VR), 229 Squadron; Lieutenant George Treadwell, 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment; Private Joseph Salkeld, 8th Battalion, King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster).

Civilian casualties  Mosta  Vincent Zammit, age 39.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 21 APRIL 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Uproar P31 returned from patrol off Spartivento with leaking rivets.  Jade sunk by bomb.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Eight Wellingtons from Kabrit; one Wellington from Gibraltar.  Departures  four Wellingtons, one Beaufighter, one Beaufort to 108 MU.

LUQA  1130-1330 hrs  One Spitfire 69 Squadron on photo-reconnaissance of Sicilian aerodromes.   2259-0505 hrs  Five Wellingtons 148 Squadron to attack Comiso aerodrome.  Bombs are dropped on the aerodrome and surrounding area, and on Augusta.  Bursts are seen but no results confirmed.

TA QALI  Aerodrome runway serviceable.   More tents and land taken in Boschetto Gardens.  Kitchens re-erected.   Aerodrome runway serviceable and extensive repairs proceeding. Cut in rations – difficult to feed men adequately already.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Working parties as for yesterday.  Likely to take some time yet.

1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  1400 hrs  Lt Treadwell is buried at Imtarfa Cemetery.  1500 hrs  L/Cpl James and Pte Macpherson are buried at Pieta Cemetery.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Work on aerodromes continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 15; dealt with 17 (3 x 1000kg; 1 x 500kg, 9 x 250kg, 4 x 50kg).

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Cpl Bynter is wounded by an aircraft machine-gun bullet.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Bn moved to new headquarters at 415202 from 423199.  Pte J Salkeld, A Company, died of wounds received as a result of enemy action on 18/4/42.

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20 April 1942: 46 New Spitfires Bombed on the Ground

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Spitfires at Ta Qali (NWMA Malta)

NEW SPITFIRES SLOW TO GET OFF THE GROUND

“The fighter strength was reinforced on the 20th by the arrival of 46 Spitfires from UK…Prior to the above mentioned reinforcement there was a period when it was not possible to have any fighter aircraft airborne at all, due to unserviceability.  It was very noticeable that with the arrival of the fighter reinforcements, the enemy preluded his bombing attacks with fighter sweeps and maintained fighters over the Island even after the bombers had made their get-away.

During the period when the 46 Spitfires were necessarily grounded for refuellling and re-arming and brought into a fully operational condition, many were damaged on the ground by enemy action.  The inability to scramble our aircraft was due in the first place to the fact that minor details such as cannon testing were not done, and it would appear that the aircraft had come straight from the factory without being tested to see that they were fit to fly operationally.”   War Diary, Air HQ Malta, April 1942

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 APRIL TO DAWN 21 APRIL 1942

Weather  Wind easterly; no cloud, fine.

0615-0635 hrs  Air alert sounds for a single aircraft: nothing transpires.

0810 hrs  63 enemy bombers plus fighter escort approach the Island from the north in several plots.

“Pampas” ablaze (NWMA Malta)

0815 hrs  30 JU 88s bomb the Grand Harbour area, including Floriana, Pieta and Marsa Creek.  In the Dockyard the Abattoir is bombed; Pampas is hit and set on fire.  A shelter in St Lawrence Street, Senglea is hit by a bomb and partly collapses, killing one person and injuring five.  Manoel Island is hit by several bombs, damaging offices and workshops, as well as the pier.

One stick of bombs falls on Hompesch 3.7″ Ack Ack Battery, wounding two Other Ranks.  The bombers are engaged by light machine gun fire from 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment.

18 of the JU88s target Pieta, Marsa and Floriana: bombs land on the Argotti Gardens, St Anne’s Street, Gunlayer Street and Square, Market Street, Magazine Street, Mall Gardens and Mall Street, St Calcedonio Street, First Street and New Street.  One person is killed and one seriously injured.

22 JU 87 Stukas and 11 JU 88s bomb Kalafrana and Hal Far.  Delimara Gun position is hit – one gun is damaged.

0830-0855 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage numerous JU 87s and JU 88s: hits claimed.

0935 hrs  All clear.

1000 hrs  23 Spitfires land at Ta Qali from Gibraltar.

1046-1106 hrs  Two enemy aircraft patrol to the north of the Island.

1100 hrs  23 more Spitfires are reported landed safely at Ta Qali.

1230 hrs  Over 100 enemy aircraft – JU 87s, JU 88s and ME 109s – head towards the Island in several waves and divide to attack the Grand Harbour area, Ta Qali, Luqa, Hal Far and Delimara.

23 JU 88s and 30 JU 87 Stukas attack Grand Harbour and Floriana, where bombs cause extensive damage to the Parade Ground, St Philip’s Garden, Lintorn Barracks, Kingsgate, Rundle Garden, Mall Gardens, the Granaries and Sliema Bus Terminus.

12 JU 88s raid Hal Far, damaging barrack blocks and leaving craters on the aerodrome.  One petrol bowser is destroyed.  Four JU 88s bomb Delimara point.

1250 hrs  Three Hurricanes of 185 Squadron at Hal Far engage twelve JU 88s.  P/O Noble and P/O Wigley each claim one JU 88 damaged.  Two Hurricanes 185 Squadron and two Hurricanes 229 Squadron intercept another formation of JU 88s.  F/L Lloyd and SGt Brooks each damage a JU 88; Sgt Tweedale claims two destroyed.

1250 hrs  JU 88s heading south from Grand Harbour are engaged by light machine gun fire from 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment at Hompesch: hits are claimed.

1315-1330 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage numerous JU 87s and JU 88s: hits claimed.

1330 hrs  Fifteen JU 88s dive bomb Luqa airfield, Safi strip and the dispersal areas.  One Maryland is damaged by a Bofors shell.  Incendiary bombs are dropped, setting the grass on fire.

1400 hrs  Another wave of enemy raiders drops bombs on Ta Qali.  Sgt Taylor destroys one ME 109 and one JU 87.  He is slightly injured by perspex splinters in the face. P/O Sergeant damages a JU 88.  Aircraft cannons are reported to have jammed continuously owing to bad ammunition.

1430 hrs  Twelve more JU 88s attack Floriana and Valletta, where bombs explode in St James and Porte Reale.

Four ME109s drop bombs on St Paul’s Bay near positions of 2nd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment.

1715 hrs  For the third time massed formations of enemy bombers and fighters approach the Island, dividing to attack. Ta Qali is the main target but Luqa and Safi, Hal Far and the Dockyard are also bombed.

1720 hrs  20 JU 88s carry out medium-height bombing of Luqa aerodrome.  Several ME 109s machine-gun the airfield: two Spitfires are shot up on the ground.  Craters are blown in the Siggiewi end of the main runway.  One unexploded bomb is reported near the bomb store, close to the Zurrieq road.

1730 hrs  Five Spitfires 601 Squadron take to the air to intercept incoming enemy aircraft: only one returns to Luqa, at 1840 hrs.

1800 hrs  31 JU 88s attack Ta Qali: many bombs land on the camp, including several delayed action bombs.  Ghain Znuber is machine-gunned, causing three casualties to D Company, 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment; one serious.

1805 hrs  12 JU 88s drop bombs from the Safi strip to Ta Karach ridge.  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage numerous enemy bombers: hits claimed.

1815 hrs  Two JU 88s attack Hompesch.  One stick of bombs falls between Bluebell Troop (1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt) and Zejtun and another at 497225.

1825 hrs  Two ME 109s machine-gun B Company, 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt at Zejtun School and fly out to sea over Zonqor Ridge.  Troops retaliate with light machine gun fire: no hits claimed.  One stick of bombs falls 400 yards west of St Clements Church.

1853 hrs  Raiders passed.

1925 hrs  Five aircraft approach the Island without crossing the coast.  They are followed in by a formation of bombers with fighter escort.

1930 hrs  Eleven Spitfires from Ta Qali and five from Luqa are scrambled to intercept the incoming aircraft.  Six of the Spitfires from Ta Qali have a dog fight with ME 109s.  Sgt Hesselyn destroys one ME 109 and damages one JU 88.  P/O Brooker damages one ME 109.  Sgt Brennan destroyes one ME 109 and one JU 88.  P/O McNair probably destroys one ME 109.  P/O Sergeant destroys one JU 88.  F/Lt McQueen destroys one JU 88.   F/Lt Lucas damages one ME 109.

P/O Putnam is killed and F/Sgt Ryckman is missing.  F/Lt Johnson successfully bales out over Luqa.  Two Spitfires are slightly damaged.  Total enemy aircraft: 8 destroyed, one probably destroyed, six damaged.

2000 hrs  Nine remaining JU 88s carry out a dusk attack on Ta Qali.  Many incendiary bombs are dropped during the raid, evidently intended to destroy the newly-arrived Spitfires.

2020-2044 hrs  Nine aircraft approach the Island in two waves: three are illuminated by searchlights and engaged by Ack Ack fire.  Bombs are dropped in the Dockyard area.

Night  Six alerts are sounded for single approaching aircraft.  Bombs are dropped on Ta Qali, Luqa, Corradino, Hal Far and in the sea.

2336-0115 hrs  One JU 88 bomber comes in from the north and drops incendiaries near a Pioneer billet near Tarxien, which are extinguished by the Pioneer platoon.

0240-0327 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north and drops bombs and incendiaries between two defence posts of 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt causing a slight fire among crops, which is quickly put out.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer George Ryckman, Royal Canadian Air Force, 402 Squadron; Gunner Lewis Evans, Lance Sergeant James Golding, Gunner Sidney Nurse, Gunner Alfred Phillips, all of 484 Bty, 4 Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery; Sapper Leonard Soper, Mentioned in Despatches, 16 Fortress Coy., Royal Engineers; Police Constable C Cachia HM Dockyard.

Civilian casualties  Floriana  Henry Moakes, age 42.  Hamrun  Dr Annetto Montanaro LLD, age 79.  Mosta  Concetta Mifsud, age 80; Rev Joseph Mifsud, age 50.  Rabat  Louis Agius, age 20; Giovanna Maria Bezzina, age 20.  Sliema  Carmel Rogers, age 71.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 20 APRIL 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Clyde carried out successful trial and sailed for Gibraltar.  Upholder 48 hours overdue.  46 Spitfires arrived – Operation Calendar – USS Wasp.

AIR HQ  Wellington crashed on landing: crew unhurt.  Spitfire PRU 907 departed from Gibraltar for Malta missing: no further news.  Arrivals  47 Spitfires, 13 Wellingtons, two Blenheims, one Beaufort, one Hudson from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Hudson to Gibraltar; four Wellingtons to 108 MU; two Blenheims to Gambut.

LUQA  1042-1225 hrs  One Spitfire on photo-reconnaissance Sicilian aerodromes.  2135-0135 hrs  Seven Wellingtons S/D Flight on search for and strike enemy tanker and escort: attack carried out.

TA QALI  F/O Penny is discharged from No 90 General Hospital.  More Spitfires arrive.  20 Officers (603 Squadron) accommodated.  Aerodrome serviceable – repairs proceeding.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Bombs near the entrance of Battalion HQ.  Pte Kilshaw HQ Company hit by piece of stone: mouth cut.  Working parties resumed as Saturday.  C Coy 80 men and A Coy 40 men Valletta.  D Coy 40 men at Ospizio salvaging RAOC stores.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Work on aerodromes continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bastion shelter hit by bomb, bomb on north Square Lintorn Barracks, no casualties. Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 15; dealt with 20 (2 x 1000kg; 5 x 500kg, 12 x 250kg, 1 x 50kg).

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Regimental silver removed from Valletta.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Bombs 150 yards wide of Battalion HQ west to east.  Spitfire hit steel pylon and crashed in area at 417208: guarded by this unit.  Aerodrome working party started working at night instead of during the daytime.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  2130 hrs  Luqa and Hal Far working parties continued.

ROYAL ARTILLERY HQ  Ammunition restrictions raised to cover arrival of Spitfires.

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

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in 1942, April 1942

 

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19 April 1942: No Fighter Planes to Defend Malta – 15 Ack Ack Guns Hit – 71 Killed

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Clear-up in Floriana (NWMA Malta)

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.

Msida Bastion (NWMA Malta)

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

 

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

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2017 in 1942, April 1942, Uncategorized

 

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