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- Hundreds of bombs target civilians
- Convoys on the way to Malta
- UK government considers compulsory evacuation of service families
- 32 new Spitfires arrive safely
- Trusty Star sunk
7 June 1942
BUTTERFLY BOMBS DROPPED ON TOWNS AND VILLAGES
Hundreds of dangerous anti-personnel bombs were dropped last night along a flight path over Luqa, up to Ta Qali and out towards the north-west coast. Both airfields, the lanes and fields around Dingli, and eleven of the elegant streets of Haz-Zebbug have been covered with the small bombs. Malta’s civil defence and bomb disposal units are now dealing with a volatile anti-personnel weapon: the German ‘butterfly bomb’.
Unexploded SD2 bombs have been discovered only a few times in England since 1940 but the small, insignificant-looking bombs are known to be extremely hazardous. Although the bomb itself is just eight centimetres long, with its load of 225 grams of TNT and thick-walled construction it can kill anybody within 25 metres and injure people 150 metres away.
The ‘butterfly bomb’ is so named because as it falls an outer shell hinged opens to form ‘wings’. The tiny 2kg bombs are packed into containers holding between two dozen and a hundred each. The container opens as it leaves the aircraft, releasing the winged bombs to float down like sycamore seeds. A spindle screwed into the fuze pocket of the bomb rotates, arming the fuze. After it lands, the slightest disturbance of the bomb will set it off. 350 unexploded butterfly bombs are dealt with by Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal this week.
Adapted from UXB Malta, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010/2012
AIR RAIDS DAWN 7 JUNE TO DAWN 8 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind south-westerly; fresh to strong. Little cloud.
0617-0730 hrs 11 Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft. The Spitfires operate in three sections, one of which is unsuccessfully attacked by ME 109s.
0620 hrs One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol from Ta Qali: no engagement.
0635 hrs Air raid alert. The second section of Spitfires dives on a JU 88 reported over Ta Qali but cannot locate it. The third section chases two ME 109s but fail to get enough height to make the attack.
0909-1010 hrs Four Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa are airborne to cover the High Speed Launch; no combat.
1050-1105 hrs Three Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa are airborne to intercept suspected enemy aircraft: raid does not materialise.
1213 hrs Seven Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept approaching enemy aircraft.
1225 hrs Air raid alert. The Spitfires engage enemy fighters: F/Lt Plagis destroys one ME 109 and F/S Reid probably destroys one ME 109.
1246-1345 hrs Four Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far take over the intercept patrol.
1320 hrs Air raid alert: there is no engagement.
1450 hrs Air raid alert: twelve Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are scrambled in response. They patrol until 1530 hrs: no combat.
1655-1727 hrs Four Spitfires 601 Squadron are airborne on patrol: no sightings.
1816 hrs Eight Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled to intercept approaching hostile aircraft.
1830 hrs Air raid alert sounds for approaching Italian fighters. Sgt Yarra damages two Re 2001s.
1940-1945 hrs Four Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft; no combat.
2206-2321 hrs Air raid alert. Twelve enemy raiders cross the coast: eight Cant Cz 1007s and four JU 87s flown by Italian pilots. They drop high explosive bombs on the Luqa, Hal Far and Ta Qali areas. Heavy Ack Ack destroy one JU 88.
2210-2350 hrs One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit on patrol; no interceptions.
0415 hrs Air raid alert. Raid does not materialise.
Military casualties Nil Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS 7 JUNE 1942
ROYAL NAVY Porpoise sailed for Alexandria and Beryl returned to Grand Harbour.
AIR HQ Arrivals One Lodestar from LG 05; four Wellingtons from Gibraltar. Departures Two Wellingtons to LG 222; one Hudson to Gibraltar.
LUQA 0840-1230 hrs One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance Cagliari Harbour, Elmas Aerodrome, Cape Bon, Trapani and Palermo. 1330-1554 hrs One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance east Sicilian aerodromes and San Giovanni. 1720-1910 hrs One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance south Sicilian aerodromes. 2300-0330 hrs Seven Wellingtons 104 Squadron carry out bombing attack on Cagliari town. Bombs are dropped in the target area causing many small fires in the area of the railway station and San Augusta Barracks.
TA QALI Station stood down.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 13; dealt with 2 (1 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg).
8 June 1942
ENEMY SHIPS UNDER SURVEILLANCE TO PROTECT CONVOY
Convoys have departed from both the eastern and western Mediterranean, headed for Malta. The Island’s photographic reconnaissance unit (PRU) is concentrating on movements and disposition of the Italian fleet, to ward off any attacks. Today PRU reported that both the Littorio and all three serviceable Cavour battleships are located at Taranto, along with the cruisers Trento and Gorizia, and two Condottieri class cruisers. Reconnaissance of Cagliari shows that two cruisers, three destroyers and six submarines are lying in readiness for the western convoy.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 8 JUNE TO DAWN 9 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind southerly; no cloud.
0600-0715 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali on shipping patrol.
0740-0830 hrs; 0820-0845 hrs; 0840-0930 hrs Four and five Spitfires of 601 Squadron Luqa and four of 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne on patrol: no interceptions.
0930 hrs Two delayed-action bombs explode at Luqa, damaging a Spitfire and wounding three soldiers.
1025-1125 hrs; 1105-1130 hrs Four Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa and four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali on patrol: no interceptions.
1155 hrs Nine Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept an incoming formation of ME 109s.
1200 hrs The air raid alert sounds. The Spitfires attack: F/Sgt Brown destroys one ME 109; P/O Barlow is jumped by the enemy and does not return.
1212-1255 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne: no contacts.
1345-1445 hrs Two Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali carry out a search for P/O Barlow but find nothing.
1615 hrs Twelve Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft.
1625 hrs The air raid alert sounds as the aircraft approach the Island. The Spitfires intercept four ME 109s.
1645 hrs F/Sgt Butler is fired at and is forced to make a crash landing in fields near Luqa aerodrome.
1925-2025 hrs Four Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa: no interceptions.
2215 hrs One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit is scrambled to intercept approaching enemy aircraft.
2225-2320 hrs Air raid alert. Four bombers. one of which is identified as a JU 88, use flares to illuminate targets and then drop bombs in the Luqa and Safi area.
2241-2318 hrs; 0040-0510 hrs One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit continues on patrol: no interceptions.
0420 hrs Air raid alert: no bombing.
Military casualties Flying Officer Leslie Barlow, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 603 Squadron. Shot down by German ME 109 fighters.
Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 8 JUNE 1942
ROYAL NAVY Grand Harbour entrance sweep abandoned owing to engine room defect in Tug Robust. Beryl proceeded to Marsaxlokk to act as Asdic link for Clyde arriving from Gibraltar. Clyde arrived and secured alongside Shell Pier at 2200. Beryl returned to Grand Harbour.
AIR HQ Arrivals One Flamingo, one Hudson, one Wellington from Gibraltar; two Wellingtons from Shallufa; three Baltimores from LG 121. Departures One CW 20, one Hudson to Gibraltar; one Lodestar, one Flamingo to Heliopolis, three Wellingtons, one Spitfire to LG 222. Aircraft casualties One Spitfire crashed after combat; pilot uninjured. One Spitfire shot down in combat; pilot believed killed.
HAL FAR 185 Squadron are placed on one hour readiness: no scrambles.
LUQA 1715-2015 hrs One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance (PR) Taranto Harbour. 2223-0510 hrs One Wellington dispatched to locate and bomb and train Swordfish onto southbound convoy. Three destroyers and one motor torpedo boat located 001 degrees Cape San Vito, course north east. The Wellington attacked: one bomb fell about ten yards from the bows of one of the destroyers. 2150-0340 hrs Eight Wellingtons 104 Squadron despatched to bomb shipping and docks at Taranto. Raid reported as successful; two fires were started.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS No 2 Section 173 Company re-started work at War HQ. Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 39; dealt with 3 (3 x 250kg).
9 June 1942
From: Governor & C in C Malta To: War Office Rptd: C in C Middle East
Up to date evacuation of families has been on voluntary basis and claims of families all services have been considered. I agree in principle with compulsory evacuation. As evacuation by air is bound to be a gradual process do not consider that it will have any adverse effect on morale of civil population. Mass evacuation by ship as visualized in 1940 would have had bad effect.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 9 JUNE TO DAWN 10 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind south-westerly; no cloud.
0530-0645 hrs Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali on anti-shipping patrol.
1000-1140 hrs Eight Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa are airborne to escort a delivery of Spitfires; no interceptions.
1050-1150 hrs Twelve Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept incoming enemy aircraft.
1115 hrs The air raid alert sounds as German fighters approach the Island. The Spitfires chase the ME 109s: Sgt Webster damages two.
1125-1240 hrs Eight Spitfires are airborne from Luqa to act as high cover for arriving Spitfires; no interceptions.
1300 hrs Air raid alert for a plot of enemy aircraft identified to the north.
1320-1350 hrs Four Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are airborne to intercept ME 109s: no engagement.
1820 hrs Ten Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft.
1830 hrs Air raid alert. The Spitfires see three Italian bombers with fighter escort and attack: P/O Hurst damages one, believed destroyed.
1837 hrs Twelve Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to join the attack. P/O Graves claims one ME 109 destroyed; F/Sgt Evans claims one Re 2001 probably destroyed.
1845 hrs Bombs are dropped on Ta Qali aerodrome from the eastern dispersal area to the Valletta road. One Spitfire is burned out.
1935 hrs All clear.
2051-2135 hrs Three Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft but sight nothing.
2306-2354 hrs Air raid alert. Three raiders drop bombs on the areas of Luqa and Ta Qali.
0330 hrs Air raid alert.
0400-0600 hrs One Beaufighter from Ta Qali is airborne on patrol: makes one contact but no engagement.
0505-0544 hrs Air raid alert. Three enemy raiders drop bombs near Naxxar, on the Safi strip and in the sea.
Military casualties Nil.
Civilian casualties Benghaisa Joseph Zammit, age 72. Marsa Gaetano Attard, age 28. Sliema John Miceli, age 21.
OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 9 JUNE 1942
ROYAL NAVY 32 Spitfires arrived having flown off from HMS Eagle. Five mines swept in Grand Harbour and Marsamxett entrances.
AIR HQ Arrivals Three Wellingtons, one Hudson from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Gambut; three Wellingtons from Shallufa; 32 Spitfires from Naval operations. Departures Two Wellingtons to LG 222; one Wellington to Shallufa; one Hudson to Gibraltar; one Lodestar to Heliopolis. Aircraft casualties One Spitfire crash landed; pilot uninjured.
HAL FAR AM Three delivery Spitfires arrive.
LUQA 2200-0435 hrs Eight Wellingtons 104 Squadron despatched to attack docks, warehouses and shipping at Taranto. All bombs are dropped in the target area. A large fire is still burning twenty minutes after bombing.
TA QALI 1550 hrs Court martial proceedings commenced in the case of three locally-trained airmen who were in No 3 Cave when it was set on fire.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 12; dealt with 4 ( 4 x 250kg).
10 June 1942
In the two years since Italy declared war, Malta has experienced 2537 air raid alerts, 492 day bombing raids and 574 night bombing raids. (1)
MOTOR LAUNCH ATTACKED: TRUSTY STAR LOST
During minesweeping operations of the entrance channel to Grand Harbour today, Trusty Star struck a mine 3 miles 054 degrees from Fort St. Elmo and sank. One Maltese seaman was injured, the remainder of the crew being picked up unhurt. ML 126 was attacked by three ME 109s but managed to shoot down one and damage another. The Captain, First Lieutenant and three ratings were slightly wounded.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 10 JUNE TO DAWN 11 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind south-easterly; no cloud.
0922-1025 hrs One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit and eleven Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to intercept approaching aircraft.
0940 hrs The air raid alert sounds as enemy fighters patrol near the Island. Two Spitfires attack ME 109s with no observed results. One Spitfire is attacked by ME 109s but is unable to return fire.
1100 hrs Ten Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to intercept enemy fighters.
1120 hrs The alert sounds as the enemy approach: the Spitfires engage ten ME 109s and Macchi 202s. Sgt Gray destroys one Macchi 202; he undershoots on landing and crashes near the western dispersal area of Ta Qali. Eight Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far are also airborne but do not engage the enemy.
1245 hrs Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled for approaching enemy aircraft.
1315 hrs Air raid alert as a formation of enemy fighters escort a Dornier 24 carrying out a search near the Island. F/Lt Lucas and P/O Linton 249 Squadron damage the Dornier. W/O Ramsey probably destroys one ME 109.
1355 hrs Air raid alert. Eight Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa are airborne to intercept another enemy search and rescue mission: they do not engage the enemy but sight a half-submerged fighter pilot’s dinghy with no-one on board.
1810-2000 hrs Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled to cover the arrival of a delivery flight of Beauforts.
1900 hrs Eight Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa are airborne to intercept an approaching formation of four Cant 1007s with 15-strong fighter escort.
1912 hrs The Spitfires engage the enemy: P/O Sewell claims one Macch 202 destroyed. P/O Innes is shot down into the sea.
1920 hrs Air raid alert. The Spitfires of 249 Squadron also attack the hostile fighters: S/Ldr Grant destroys one Re 2001; F/Sgt Williams damages one. F/Lt McNair destroys one ME 109.
1949 hrs The Cant bombers drop 50kg high explosive bombs on the Safi area.
1922-2055 hrs Four Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled to cover a rescue mission by the High Speed Launch which races out to search for P/O Innes. He is picked up safely and taken to hospital.
2130-2325 hrs One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol.
2214 hrs Air raid alert. Twelve aircraft cross over the Island singly, using flares to illuminate targets and dropping bombs on Luqa and Siggiewi, including many anti-personnel type. The Beaufighter destroys one Italian BR 20.
2305 hrs All clear.
0100hrs Air raid alert. One Beaufighter is airborne from Ta Qali on patrol and lands at Luqa at 0220 hrs: nothing sighted.
0335-0440 hrs Air raid alert. One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol: nothing sighted.
0058 hrs; 0325 hrs Total eight aircraft drop bombs on Kalafrana and Hal Far areas and west and north of Gozo.
Military casualties Sapper Francis Cumming, 16 Fortress Company, Royal Engineers attached to Royal Artillery.
Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 10 JUNE 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals One Lodestar from LG 05; one Wellington from Shallufa; nine Beauforts, eleven Beaufighters from Gibraltar. Departures One Wellington to LG 05; two Wellingtons to Shallufa; one Wellington to LG 222. Aircraft casualties One Beaufort damaged by enemy aircraft: force landed – Flying Officer George Stead and Wireless Operator Sergeant Jack Cockshott 235 Squadron were killed; rest of crew safe. One Spitfire shot down into the sea; pilot injured.
HAL FAR PM Twenty Spitfires from Hal Far make five scrambles with no interceptions.
LUQA 2155-0355 hrs Seven Wellingtons 104 Squadron are dispatched on a bombing mission over Sicily. All bombs are dropped in the dock area despite visibility obscured by a smoke screen and low cloud. Several fires and many explosions are seen in the target area. One fire could be seen 60-70 miles away. 2215-0600 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight sent to locate and bomb enemy shipping sighted three merchant vessels of 4-5000 tons and three destroyers, 32 degrees Cape Bon 22 miles. Four bombs were dropped across one of the merchant vessels and it is highly probable that a hit was obtained. The rear gunner also machine-gunned the vessel. 2212-0400 hrs Two Wellingtons S/D Flight are sent to locate and bomb the same convoy: nothing sighted.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 9; dealt with 13 (3 x 500kg, 8 x 250kg, 2 x 50kg).
11 June 1942
MALTA STANDS PREPARES FOR CONVOYS
Fortress Royal Engineers Operation Instruction No 8 issued: “At a date to be notified later a convoy will be arriving in Malta – essential it be unloaded and cargo dispersed shortest possible time. Intense period of unloading anticipated 14 days. Large scale assistance to Royal Navy and RAF will be provided by Army. All Royal Engineers work except essential/not needing transport, will cease with effect from Thurs 11 June until end of intense period. Work of Bomb Disposal Sections will be carried on in normal way except a squad will always be immediately available by day or night to deal with priority UXBs, the presence of which hinders the operation.”
AIR RAIDS DAWN 11 JUNE TO DAWN 12 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind southerly.
0929 hrs Twelve Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are airborne to intercept an approaching formation of six enemy aircraft.
1005 hrs Air raid alert. The Spitfires engage enemy fighters attempting to patrol: P/O Bisley claims one ME 109 destroyed.
1030 hrs All clear.
1210-1340 hrs Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali on patrol: no combat.
1300 hrs Air raid alert. Eight Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept six enemy fighters patrolling the Island: no combat.
2005-2045 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne on calibration test.
2135-2330 hrs One Beaufighter on patrol: no interceptions.
0133 hrs Air raid alert. Two aircraft drop bombs in the area of Falka Gap and Ghain Tuffieha. 104 Squadron Wellingtons leave for the Middle East. 38 Squadron torpedo-carrying Wellingtons arrive from the Middle East.
0210-0400 hrs One Beaufighter on patrol: no interceptions.
Military casualties Nil. Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 11 JUNE 1942
ROYAL NAVY Beryl, ML 126 and Harbour Launches continued sweep. Beryl’s sweep damaged.
AIR HQ Arrivals Two Hudsons to Gibraltar; one Lodestar to Heliopolis. Departures One Lodestar to Heliopolis; one Wellington to Shallufa; seven Wellingtons to LG 106; two Hudsons to Gibraltar.
HAL FAR 185 Squadron is placed on one hour readiness: no scrambles.
LUQA 0605-0915 hrs One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance (PR) Cagliari and Palermo Harbour. 0605-0920 hrs One Spitfire PR Taranto. 1130-1510 hrs One Spitfire PR Naples, Messina, Augusta. 1330-1516 hrs One Spitfire PR Sicilian aerodromes. 2224-0315 hrs One Wellington on armed search for southbound convoy: nothing sighted. Attempted to bomb Lampedusa but Ack Ack was too intense so bombs were brought back.
TA QALI Court martial adjourned until 27 June.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 6; dealt with 5 (2 x 250kg, 3 x 50kg).
12 June 1942
AIR RAIDS DAWN 12 JUNE TO DAWN 13 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind south-easterly; 30% high cloud.
0640 hrs Air raid alert. Four Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far and eight of 601 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to intercept approaching formations of enemy aircraft. A small number of fighters carry out an initial sweep. They are followed by two JU 88s escorted by twenty German and Italian fighters. F/Sgt Terry 185 Squadron damages one ME 109.
0646 hrs Two JU 88s with fighter escort attack Luqa, dropping bombs on a dispersal area, including several delayed-action.
0742 hrs All clear.
1020 hrs 12 Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept nine ME 109s which approach in two waves to carry out patrols.
1025 hrs Air raid alert. The Spitfires engage in dog-fights with ME 109s. Sgt Beurling damages one ME 109; F/Sgt Rae damages one. F/O Daddo-Longlois is hit in the fuselage, tail and wing by cannon and machine-gun bullets; he is unhurt.
1126 hrs All clear.
1520-1550 hrs Two Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne on patrol: nil report.
1715-1750 hrs Four Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft: no combat. They sight an oil patch three miles east of Filfla.
1935 hrs Air raid alert: raid does not materialise.
2105-2145 hrs Two Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne on anti E boat patrol: no sightings.
2140-2315 hrs Two Beaufighters are airborne on patrol: no interceptions.
2225-2318 hrs Air raid alert. Eight enemy aircraft approach the Island. Four cross the coast and drop 2kg anti-personnel bombs from Rabat to Ta Qali and from Safi to Gudja. Searchlights are active and Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage. Ack Ack destroy one unidentified bomber and damage one JU 88.
Military casualties Nil. Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 12 JUNE 1942
ROYAL NAVY Clyde sailed at daylight. Sweeping continued until Beryl’s sweep was damaged by a mine exploding. ML 125 unsuccessfully attacked by ME 109s.
AIR HQ Arrivals Eight Wellingtons, six Beauforts, one Beaufighter from Gibraltar; one Lodestar, one Baltimore from LG 05. Departures Two Lodestars to Heliopolis; one Wellington to LG 224; one Wellington to LG 105. Aircraft casualties One Spitfire crashed on landing; pilot uninjured.
HAL FAR PM 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled three times without sighting any enemy aircraft. Two aircraft of the NAS take off on patrol: nothing sighted.
LUQA 0750-1110 hrs One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance Taranto. 2223-0445 hrs One Wellington S/D Flight on reconnaissance for enemy fleet in Taranto.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 26; dealt with 9 (1 x 500kg, 4 x 250kg, 4 x 50kg).
13 June 1942
WEEKLY MILITARY SITUATION REPORT FOR WEEK ENDING 13 JUNE 42
From: Governor & C in C Malta To: C in C Middle East Rptd: The War Office
1. Air. Enemy attacks by day remain on small scale. Only four bomber raids totalling 7 Cants, 3 JU 88s, small fighter sweeps. Main effort at night totalling 66 raiders. Large number of anti-personnel bombs dropped by aid of flares near aerodromes. Damage slight.
Enemy aircraft casualties: by Ack Ack at night 2 JU 88s destroyed, 1 JU 88 damaged. RAF destroyed 1 BR 20, 1 Macchi 202, 1 Re 2001, 5 ME 109s; probably destroyed 1 Re 2001, 3 ME 109s; damaged 1 Cant 1007, 6 Re 2001s, [?] ME 109s, 1 Dornier 24. Own casualties: destroyed 3 Spitfires (2 pilots safe); damaged 4 Spitfires.
36 sorties made by Malta-based Wellingtons, mainly on Taranto. Further Spitfire reinforcements also Beaufighters, Beauforts, Wellingtons and Baltimores. Aerodromes working to maximum capacity.
3. Military damage during week very slight. Casualties 1 Other Rank killed, 5 wounded. Army Bomb Disposal disposed of 41 UXBs totalling 10 tons plus 350 x 2kg anti-personnel bombs.
CONVOY FINAL PREPARATIONS
News of an expected convoy bringing much-needed supplies is creating a sense of hope across Malta’s communities. During this morning a rehearsal was carried out to test the organisation and arrangements to deal with the convoy arrivals. During the night, lights were exposed at lighter points in Grand Harbour and a friendly aircraft flew over to confirm that they were visible. The Island is ready.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 13 JUNE TO DAWN 14 JUNE 1942
Weather Wind southerly; no cloud.
0815 hrs Air raid alert. Eight Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are airborne to intercept enemy aircraft.
0825 hrs Two Me 109s patrol to the south east of the Island. The Spitfires do not engage.
0915-0955 hrs Four Spitfires are airborne from Ta Qali: no air raid materialises.
1000-1105 hrs Four Spitfires are airborne from Ta Qali.
1045 hrs Air raid alert: no sighting of enemy aircraft.
1120 hrs A Beaufighter from Luqa which has been testing guns at Hal Far crashes onto a car on the aerodrome soon after take-off, killing the driver. The aircraft is completely destroyed and the crew killed.
1630-1645 hrs Seven Spitfires are airborne from Ta Qali on patrol: no engagement.
1700 hrs Cpl Hoskins finds an anti-personnel bomb behind the caves at Ta Qali: it is blown up by Sgt Allchurch.
2100 hrs Two more anti-personnel bombs are disposed of by Sgt Allchurch.
2150-2325 hrs One Beaufighter on patrol: no interceptions.
2220 hrs Air raid alert. Four enemy aircraft drop bombs in the Luqa area, and between Gudja and Ta Silch.
Military casualties Pilot Officer John Doncaster, Royal Canadian Air Force, 235 Squadron RAF; Sergeant William White Webster, Observer, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 235 Squadron.
Civilian casualties Rabat Frank Galea, age 31; Brother Norbert Vella, age 20. Siggiewi Joseph Spiteri, age 36.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 13 JUNE 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals One Hudson, one Beaufighter from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Heliopolis via LG 05; one Beaufighter from LG 05. Departures One Lodestar to Heliopolis. Aircraft casualties One Beaufighter stalled in a vertical bank during an attempt to shoot up the aerodrome; crew killed.
HAL FAR 185 Squadron is placed on one hour’s notice.
LUQA 0712-0940 hrs One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance (PR) east Sicilian aerodromes. 0635-1015 hrs One Spitfire PR Cagliari and Palermo. 0750-1102 hrs One Baltimore 69 Squadron on shipping patrol in central Ionian sea. 1330-1645 hrs One Spitfire PR Taranto. 2226-0450 hrs One Wellington despatched on shipping reconnaissance in the Straits of Messina and Gulf of Taranto. Two cruisers and three destroyers located 331 degrees Cape San Vito 21 miles and drop flares. 2342-0618 hrs A second Wellington despatched to same area: nothing sighted. 0215-0620 hrs Two Wellingtons 38 Squadron sent to strike convoy in co-operation with earlier Wellingtons. Aircraft due to act as flare carrier crashed on take-off: torpedo attack not made as enemy naval force not seen.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Lt G D Carroll invalided to UK. Amendment No 1 to Fort RE OP Inst No 8 issued. Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 24; dealt with 4 (1 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg, 1 x 50kg, 1 Italian anti-personnel container).
(1) Malta, Diary of a War 1940-1045, Michael Galea, Publishers Enterprises Group 1992.
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