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17 January 1942: Malta Needs More Troops

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Lt Gen Dobbie

ENEMY ATTACKS AND INCREASED OPS FROM AIRFIELDS CREATE MANPOWER SHORTAGES

From:  Governor & C in C Malta                        To:  C in C Middle East, copy: War Office

IMMEDIATE: Following are absolute minimum (repeat minimum) essential.

First:  Infantry 54 Officers [Off] 600 Other Ranks [OR].  As far as possible would like by regiments as follows but this is not essential.

Buffs 8 Off and 50 OR.  King’s Own 4 Off and 90 OR.  Lancs Fus.  4 Off. And 80 OR.  Cheshire 2 Off and 60 OR.  Hamps 8 Off and 120 OR.  Dorset 2 Off and 30 OR.  Royal W Kent 4 Off and 50 OR.  Manch 4 Off and 60 OR.  Royal Irish Fus 10 Off and 60 OR.  Devon 8 Off and nil OR.

Second: RASC 1 Supply Officer, 1 MT Officer, 84 Drivers.

Third:  RAOC 3 Officers and 47 Other Ranks made up as follows.  Officers 1 OO (Sub), 1 OME 2nd Class, 1 OME 4th Class.  Clerks 1 WO Class II, 1 S/Sjt, 1 Cpl and 1 L/Cpl.  Storemen 3 Sjts (1 trained in GL and two in Amn.), 1 Cpl, 2 Ptes (trained in GL), non-tradesmen 2 Sjts, 1 L/Cpl Amn. Examiners, 2 Cpls, 1 Pte Armament Artificers, 1 Radio 1 Wireless, 2 Inst AA, 1 Inst Field (All S/Sjts).  Fitters (MV) 4 Ptes.  Electricians 8 Ptes.  Inst. Mechanics 5 Ptes.  Radio Mechanics 5 Ptes.  Welders 3 Ptes.  Wireless Mechanics 1 Pte.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 17 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Wind south west.  80% low cloud.  Bright periods.

0001-0015; 0025-0040; 0214-0232 hrs  Air raid alerts.  Raids do not materialise.

0430-0800 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

0920 hrs Two Hurricanes are scrambled from Ta Qali.  P/O Russell attacks a JU 88 near Kalafrana – gets in a two-second burst but no hits observed.  Enemy aircraft dive into cloud and contact is lost.  Both Hurricanes return safely.

0942-1050 hrs  Three JU88s approach from the north east, drop bombs in the sea and then recede without crossing the coast.

1105-1112; 1140-1202 hrs  Air raid alerts.  Raids do not materialise.

1314-1345 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the east and recedes without crossing the coast.  Four Hurricanes give chase without result.

1314-1345 hrs  One aircraft approaches and recedes without crossing the coast.  Four Hurricanes give chase without result.

1543-1613 hrs  Two ME 109 fighters attempt to intercept a returning Beaufighter but recede when a few miles off the coast.

1615-1630 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

1659-1702 hrs  One JU 88 is reported over the Island.  Hurricanes are up and engage; enemy aircraft believed damaged.  Guns do not engage.

2220; 2250; 2322 hrs  Air raid alerts.  Raids do not materialise.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: SATURDAY 17 JANUARY 1942

Vice Admiral Leatham, January 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Admiral Leatham with his secretary Commander Clay arrived in Malta to take over from Admiral Ford as Vice Admiral Malta.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Champion GAFCT, two Hudsons, seven Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  one Champion to Cairo; one Blenheim to Helwan; one Beaufighter to 108 MU; three Wellingtons to LG 224.

HAL FAR  Night 17/18th Five Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched to attack convoy consisting of Italian tanker Giulio Giordani, 7000 tons, and two destroyers, Da Recco and Usodimare.  The tanker was hit by one torpedo and one of the escorting destroyers also believed to have been hit.  All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance (PR) Sicilian and south Italian aerodromes, then Palermo, Messina and Reggio; one Maryland Cairo 2 search; one Maryland Cairo 1a search. 21 Squadron  One Blenheim Cairo 1B search.

TA QALI  Aerodrome serviceable.  Seven air raid alarms.  Hurricane No 1 long range tanks landed at Hal Far with wheels up.  One airman attached for Blenheim Fighter Flight.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  Distribution of ammunition from Benghaisa to Safi area (1296 rounds) and Hal Far (624 rounds) 40mm to make total holdings per gun to 2500 rounds.

8TH BN MANCHESTER REGIMENT  E Company took over A Company’s posts at Ta Qali.  A Company becomes a mobile Company responsible for the defence of the Imtarfa Hospital area. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 7; dealt with 6 (3 x 500kg, 2 x 50kg, 1 x 15kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

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Posted by on January 17, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

 

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16 January 1942: Food for a Fortress Under Siege

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  • Attack without warning kills civilian

    Short S.30 'C' Class Empire Flying Boat, G-AFKZ "Cathay", of BOAC (IWM Air Ministry Second World War Official Collection)

    Short S.30 ‘C’ Class Empire Flying Boat (C) IWM CH14013

  • Flying boat visits Malta
  • Malta’s defenders fight off the enemy
  • Army working parties for Luqa increased to 350
  • One letter card home per week allowed

GOVERNOR LISTS SUPPLY NEEDS FOR MALTA’S DEFENDERS

From: Governor and C in C Malta                                                 To:  C in C Middle East

Copy: War Office

Demand for June as follows.  This and future demands being divided into two parts.  Part one…represents the requirements of the whole Fortress.  Items in part two are S. and T. demands only.

Part 1.  In tons: flour 3400; wheat 4500; benzine 500; kerosene 1100; edible oil 130; food for livestock 2800; lard 47; butter 14; cheese 55; coffee 55; rice 55; soap 160; tea 33; margarine 121; salmon 72; sardines 18; preserved meat 358; grated cheese 64; tinned milk 182; sugar 641; herrings 47 (in boxes).  Matches 836000.

Part 2.  In tons: biscuits 40; M and V rations 323; sausages tinned 88; chocolate 22; salt 18; dried fruit 14; yeast 1; custard powder 4; cocoa 3; grease G.S. 1; oatmeal 21; tinned vegetables 21; tinned C bacon 51; jams 37; tinned fruit 38; tobacco 2; rice cones 1; pickles 7; straw paillasse 39; acid cal. phos. 1; tinned potatoes 27 (in pounds); pepper 824; curry powder 940; mustard 824; baking powder 705.

In number: cigarettes 8167000.  In gallons: vinegar 595; oil (M. 120) 50; oil (M. 160) 1120 (1150); oil (C. 600) 500; hypoid (90) 50; sauces 940.

Hospital requirements.  In pounds:  fruit jelly 2000; ham 450; biscuit cream crackers 510; mixed peel 1110; fancy biscuits 468; honey 60; coffee 222; mixed spice 40; lunch tongue 120 (in tins).  Ovaltine 360 (in packets).  Mixed herbs 336 (in pints).  Ale (4700 stout) 840 (in bottles).  Lime juice 500.

Barrack requirements.  In gallons: methylated spirits 300; anti-mosquito spray 1000; heavy naptha 150 (in yards); wick flat half inch 60 (in pieces); wick SOH No 116A (rip stove) 20; wick SOH No 500 (for Valor heating stove No 525R) 20 (in pounds); nitr. cake 1120; anti-louse powder 1680.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 16 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Wind south west.  50% cloud.  Bright periods; visibility good.

0642-0742 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north and patrol south of the Island, apparently trying to intercept a flying boat.  The aircraft cross the south coast and drop bombs on Hal Far and Kirkop.  Heavy Ack Ack fire two immediate barrages; one Hurricane is airborne at 0739 hrs.

0844-0907; 0936-0943 hrs  Air raid alerts: raids do not materialise.

1000-1017 hrs  One JU 88 bomber approaches to within 15 miles of Grand Harbour but is driven off by Hurricanes.

1137-1200 hrs  Air raid alert: aircraft identified as being friendly.

1234-1238 hrs  An aircraft approaches the north east coast at 8000 feet; believed to be a returning Beaufighter.  Without any warning, the aircraft dives out of the sun and drops bombs on Senglea, killing one civilian and damaging buildings before being engaged by Hompesch second gun position.

Civilian casualty  Senglea Vincent Micallef (48).

1640 hrs  21 Hurricanes of 126, 242 and 249 Squadrons at Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept approaching hostile aircraft.

1700 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by approximately nine ME 109 fighters approach via Gozo and cross the coast near Dingli, where the Hurricanes intercept: Pilot Officer Anderson claims a hit on one JU 88.  Most enemy aircraft are driven off but two get through.

1718 hrs  Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage the three bombers, claiming one hit.  W/Sgt H Lane is injured in the thigh and side by bomb splinters and taken to No 90 General Hospital.

One JU 88 dives down to 8000 feet and drops bombs on Luqa and to the east of Safi village – no damage is reported.

1744 hrs  Raiders passed.  All Hurricanes return safely.

Night 2043-2107; 2157-2205; 2350-0012; 0208-0227; 0316-0356; 0410-0750 hrs  During the whole of this period some eight aircraft approach from the north and carry out patrols around the Island.  Heavy Ack Ack fires nine barrages; no bombs are dropped on land.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: FRIDAY 16 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Cathay [flying boat] from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Blenheim to Helwan; one Cathay to Cairo.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Hurricane photo-reconnaissance (PR) Palermo Messina; one Beaufighter PR North African aerodromes; one Hurricane PR Sicilian aerodromes.  S/D Flight  one Wellington search Pantelleria-Maritimo, Cape Bon to Kuriat.  40 Squadron Two Wellingtons nuisance raid Tripoli.

TA QALI  Aerodrome serviceable.  No attacks on camp.  Operation order No 2 is issued for move of Squadrons to Luqa for 24 hour duty on 18.2.42.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  Adjutants’ conference at HQ.  It is proposed to introduce a system of letter cards from Malta East and West.  One letter card per week may be sent and it will take about 3 days.  This is a great improvement – the present mail situation being bad.  Commitment for Luqa working parties increased to 350 men daily (allocated 11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers 150, 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment 100, 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regt 100).

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; dealt with 1 (250kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

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Posted by on January 16, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

 

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15 January 1942: RAF to Train as Infantry to Defend Airfields

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RAF PERSONNEL UNDERGO RIFLE TRAINING

RAF personnel are to be armed with rifles and trained to use them in defence of Malta’s airfields, in the event of a possible enemy invasion.  A special army officer has been appointed to each airfield as Aerodrome Defence Commander.  On attack he assumes command of all military personnel on the aerodrome, including RAF as soon as they are no longer able to fulfil their normal duties.  Training of RAF personnel is now underway at each of the Island’s aerodromes.  However, the Army is unable to supply sufficient rifles from already overstretched resources.  The Governor and Commander in Chief has written to the War Office recommending that the RAF should be issued with their own supply of weapons.

Focke-Wulf 200 Condor

GERMAN FOCKE WULF REPORTED OVER MALTA

A German Focke Wulf Condor is spotted taking part in an air raid over Malta this morning.  The aircraft was seen dropping bombs in the sea to the west of the Island.  Built as an airliner, the Condor is normally used in combat as a long-range reconnaissance and anti-shipping bomber.  Reports are as yet unconfirmed.

ENEMY USING HEAVIER BOMBS

All but one of the unexploded bomb (UXB) reports handled since yesterday morning by Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal have been for German High Explosive bombs of 500kg.  They include three Priority reports for UXBs requiring immediate disposal: two at Ghar Hassan searchlight station and one near Hal Far airfield.  Bomb Disposal squads are also at work on excavations for buried bombs at Rinella and near Gudia, all identified as 500kg.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 15 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Low clouds, sky overcast; SE wind reaching gale force at times; cold.

0156-0311 hrs  Three aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs (and possibly mines) in the sea off Mellieha Bay and Qawra Tower, before receding.

0354-0417 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, crossing over Gozo, dropping bombs in the sea before receding north.

0649-0803 hrs  One aircraft passes west of Gozo and crosses the south coast, dropping bombs near Ta Qali, including incendiaries near Imtarfa.  Guns do not engage.

0831-0850 hrs  Air raid alarm: raid does not materialise.

0937-1016 hrs  Two JU 88s and one aircraft identified as a Focke Wolfe Condor approach the Island.  The JU 88s cross the coast and drops bombs near Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack at Luqa fire a barrage.  The Focke Wolfe Condor crosses over Salina Bay and drops bombs in the sea west of Bingemma.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.

1301-1320 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea five miles off Qawra Tower.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but enemy aircraft are not engaged.

1354-1410 hrs  One JU 88 crosses Gozo, machine-guns Jordan Lighthouse on the Island’s north west coast and drops bombs nearby.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.

1438-1457 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north west, dropping bombs in the sea seven miles off Torri L’Ahmar before receding.  Enemy plane dropped objects (suspected mines) two miles out to sea from Tigne.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.

1539-1554 hrs  One JU 88 from the west approaches Grand Harbour via the south west coast, dropping bombs on the Pembroke Ranges and killing three members of a firing party of B Company, Royal Malta Artillery.  Heavy Ack Ack engages.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.

1628-1712 hrs  Two bombers escorted by three ME 109s approach from the north.  One raid drops bombs on Gozo and in the sea.  One ME 109 intercepts a returning Maryland, causing it to crash land.

1722-1727 hrs  Aircraft identified as friendly.

1748-1800 hrs  Raid does not materialise.

Night  No enemy raids.  Wellingtons from Luqa and Swordfish from Hal Far carry out attacks on enemy shipping, thought to have been successful.

Military casualties  AC1 John Hoare, Royal Air Force, 69 Squadron; AC2 Ronald Lamble, Royal Air Force, 69 Squadron; Flight Lieutenant Edward Williams, DFC, Royal Air Force, 69 Squadron; Gunner Thomas Gravina, 1st Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery; Gunner Anthony Storace, 1st Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery; Gunner Philip Sammut, Royal Malta Artillery (died 20 January 1942).

Civilian casualties  Siggiewi  Ganna Micallef, age 17.  Zurrieq  Louis Farrugia, age 22.  Nadur, Gozo  Francis Cutajar, age 48; Rita Galea, age 15; Joseph Muscat, age 9.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: THURSDAY 15 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Departures  Two Blenheims to Helwan.

HAL FAR  Night 15/16th Five Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched to attack one merchant vessel and one destroyer.  Two possible hits claimed on the merchant vessel.  Smoke screen by destroyer very effective.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland special search Kerkennah- Cape Bon; one Maryland SF6 patrol; one Maryland SF15 patrol.  21 Squadron  Three Blenheims search one destroyer and one merchant vessel: not located.  40 Squadron  One Wellington nuisance raid Tripoli.  S/D Flight  One Wellington T/B and S/M depot ship.

TA QALI  Restricted flying owing to bad weather.   

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1; dealt with 13 (4 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg, 1 x 15kg, 7 x 1kg).

 

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Posted by on January 15, 2017 in 1942, January 1942, Uncategorized

 

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14 January 1942: World Record 17 Air Raid Alerts in 24 Hours

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  • Malta experiences a record number of raids, with 17 air raid alerts in a 24 hour period
  • 61 aircraft involved in daylight raids
  • German aircraft using flares to illuminate night bombing targets
  • RAF fighters still unable to take off from Hal Far and Ta Qali

Blackburn Skua Aircraft

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 14 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Warmer with little wind (southerly); bright periods.

0251-0335 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Aircraft identified as friendly.

0703-0807 hrs  Nine plus aircraft approach from the north in three raids.  Heavy Ack Ack fire immediate barrage. The aircraft are believed to be searching for a friendly destroyer to the south of the Island.

0814-0834 hrs  One JU 88 bomber approaches from the south and bombs HM ships south east of Delimara.  A Hurricane engages the enemy without result.

0916-0925 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the west, crossing the coast near Dingli.  Heavy Ack Ack engages.  Bombs are dropped near Bingemma and a stick of five is dropped 400 yards south east of Gomerino.  One Hurricane is airborne but does not engage.

0954-1132 hrs  Two JU 88s and four groups of three or more ME 109 fighters carry out a patrol round the Island.  ME 109s at heights from 9000 feet down to 500 feet; they are believed to be attempting to intercept Malta’s reconnaissance aircraft.  Guns do not engage, as aircraft are out of range.  One Hurricane airborne until 1007 hrs.

1210-1215 hrs  Air raid alert. Raid does not materialise.

1245-1345 hrs  Three JU 88s and escorting ME 109s approach from the north as two raids.  Bombs are dropped near Benghaisa Point, including one on a gun position, damaging three buildings and injuring one man.  Heavy Ack Ack engages; no Hurricanes airborne.

1459-1608 hrs  Four JU 88s and escorting fighters approach from the north in four raids.  Bombs are dropped on Grand Harbour, Luqa, Hal Far and Kalafrana.

1511 hrs  Three JU 88s and nine ME 109s cross over Kalafrana.  The JU 88s drop bombs on Hal Far, setting fire to two Skuas and one Swordfish, destroying all three.  A second Swordfish and five Hurricanes are slightly damaged.  Four soldiers of a working party filling in craters on the aerodrome are badly wounded; another five are slightly injured.  Four ME 109s circle overhead at 4000 feet, engaged by Heavy Ack Ack fires and Bofors guns.

1621 hrs  Air raid warning.  Bombs are dropped in Marsaxlokk Bay and on Safi landing strip.  No damage or casualties.

1629-1659 hrs  Three JU 88s with escorting ME109s cross the coast to the east of the Island and drop bombs between Hal Far and Safi.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages.

1933-1943 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid did not materialise.

2021-2119 hrs  Eight aircraft approach from the north in quick succession; only one crosses the coast.  Bombs are dropped in the sea off Tigne, St George’s Bay and Ricasoli.  Flares are used off Zonkor Point.  Heavy Ack Ack fires five immediate barrages.  There are indications that the enemy is laying mines.

2305-0105 hrs  Three aircraft approach from the north and patrol round the Island, dropping bombs in the sea off Salina Bay and Zonkor Point.  Guns did not engage.

Night   25 bombers take part in six raids, using flares ineffectually – the first time flares have been used over Malta for many months – but in spite of illuminating Grand Harbour most of the bombs dropped out to sea.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Kenneth Coakley, 402852, Royal New Zealand Air Force, 21 Squadron; Flight Lieutenant Harold Dukes-Smith, Royal Air Force (RAF) Volunteer Reserve (VR), 21 Squadron; Sergeant Donald Groves, RAF VR, 21 Squadron; Flight Sergeant Anthony Hussey, RAF;   Sergeant Douglas McLaren, RAF VR, 211 Squadron; Sergeant Alfred Wratten, RAF VR, 21 Squadron; Gunner Thomas Lodge, 26th Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: WEDNESDAY 14 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Departures  Four Blenheims, one Hudson, one Wellington to LG224; one Catalina to Gibraltar.

HAL FAR  One Albacore 828 Squadron and five Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched on shipping search north west of Pantelleria.  No sightings.

LUQA   69 Squadron  One Maryland photo-reconnaissance(PR)  North African aerodromes; one Hurricane PR Pantelleria Harbour and aerodrome; one Maryland special search Pantelleria-Cape Bon-Kerkennah-Malta.  21 Squadron  1145 hrs Four Blenheims C/v sweep Linosa, Kerkennah, Tripoli.  The Blenheims located and attacked a German motor vessel and its Italian destroyer escort off the coast of Tunisia.  During a low-level attack on the enemy vessels, Blenheim Z7342 piloted by Fl/Lt Harold Dukes-Smith hit the mast of the German ship and plunged into the sea, killing the entire crew including Flight Sergeant Anthony Hussey and Sergeant Alfred Wratten.  40 Squadron  One Wellington Tripoli nuisance raid.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 10; dealt with 2 (500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

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Posted by on January 14, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

 

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13 January 1942: 14 Air Raids – 9 Hours Under Fire

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“Weather, being low heavy rain-clouds, is favourable for dive-bombing.”  War Diary, 11TH Bn The Lancashire Fusiliers

  • 45 enemy fighters and bombers use cloud cover to launch 14 air raids in 19 hours
  • Civilian and military casualties
  • Heavy bombs on Luqa and Hal Far: Hurricane destroyed – Maryland and Blenheim shot down – 2 enemy fighters destroyed
  • Hal Far and Ta Qali runways still waterlogged

RE Bomb Disposal dig for UXB at bus station (NWMA Malta)

UNEXPLODED BOMB CLOSES MAIN BUS STATION FLORIANA

At 1340 hours this afternoon attackers dropped a stick of heavy bombs between Floriana and Valletta, leaving large craters scarring the formal gardens and avenues.

Civil defence officers find evidence of a possible unexploded bomb in the middle of the road at the heart of the main bus station outside Kingsgate (Porta Reale).  All bus movements into the area are brought to a halt and an urgent message is telephoned through to Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal.

Lt T W T Blackwell, RE arrives to confirm traces of a large unexploded bomb.  The area is sealed off until further notice and excavations begin.  It takes several hours and over 12 feet of digging before the bomb is – a 500 kg – can be defused and removed. (1)

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 13 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Weather: cold wind SW; bright periods, thundery showers.

0347-0510 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north, dropping bombs in the Mellieha and St Paul’s Bay areas, in Birzebbuga and in the sea off Ghar Hassan.  Heavy Ack Ack fire three immediate barrages.

0836-0913 hrs  One unidentified bomber and six plus fighters approach from the east.  The bomber crosses the coast over Kalafrana dropping bombs between Zeitun and Zabbar while the fighters remain over the sea.  Barrages are fired from Luqa and Harbour guns.  No Hurricanes are airborne.

0959-1030 hrs  One JU88 approaches from the west, crossing the coast near Dingli and dropping bombs between Sheleili Tower and Safi Strip, killing two Other Ranks and injuring six Other Ranks of A Company, 1st Bn The Hampshire Regiment. Four more bombs fall between Marsa and Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages; no Hurricanes are airborne.

1113 hrs Fifteen enemy aircraft – three JU 88s plus fighters – approach the Island from the north in three formations.  Both Heavy and Light Ack Ack guns engage, firing nine barrages.

1133 hrs   Three JU88s and fighters in three formations bomb the Hal Far and Safi areas. 

1200 hrs Four JU 88s and eight ME 109s attack Hal Far.  Two bombs are dropped on the aerodrome.  One Hurricane is a write-off, and two damaged.  No casualties.

1210 hrs  [Guns] Sandwich and Shoreham of 225th Light Ack Ack Battery engage one JU 88.

1239 hrs   All guns of 225th Light Ack Ack Battery engage at intervals ME109s at heights from 200ft to 600ft and at 3,500ft.  Sandwich claims one hit on a ME 109.  Ack Ack Light Machine Guns from Battalion HQ engage two ME 109s. FAS at Harrow position is rendered useless by enemy aircraft.

1245 hrs  One Maryland aircraft returning from a shipping search engages an ME 109 in a dogfight seven miles off the Malta coastline.  The pilot, Wing Commander John Dowland, GC, succeeds in shooting down the Messerschmitt, only to be shot down himself by two enemy fighters.  The Maryland crashes 40 feet from the coastline at Tigne, killing Wing Commander Dowland and Wireless Operator PO Robert Gridley. Observer PO Arnold Potter has managed to bail out and survives.  One of the Messerschmitts is also brought down, by Light Ack Ack fire.

1315-1418 hrs  Enemy formations totalling three JU 88s plus eleven fighters approach from the north.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage, firing six barrages and shooting down one ME 109. A 500kg bomb explodes just outside HQ of the 1st Bn The Cheshire Regiment, blowing out all the windows and damaging a wall.  No casualties, apart from a few minor cuts from broken glass sustained by orderly room staff.

1340 hrs A stick of bombs fall on the main highway between Valletta and Floriana, killing two and injuring eight.  Other bombs fall in Corradino and in the sea.  No Hurricanes are airborne.

1522 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by two ME 109s approach from the north; the ME 109s cross over the south east corner of the Island and skirt the south coast while the JU 88 crosses the coast near Madliena and drops bombs near Naxxar.  The Harbour and Luqa Barrages cause the bomber to recede.

1539-1554 hrs One JU88 approaches from the west and drops bombs on the Pembroke Ranges, causing casualties among a firing party.

1615-1652 hrs  Two JU 88 and four ME 109s approach from the north.  One JU 88 crosses the Island at 15000 feet, probably on reconnaissance.  A second JU 88 dives over Grand Harbour and drops bombs near Hal Far from 7500 feet.  No Hurricanes are airborne.

1733-1800 hrs  Three ME 109s approach from the west at 8000 feet and carry out a sweep round the Island – at times down to 500 feet above sea level.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.

1949-2012 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the south east, drops bombs in the sea off Delimara, out of range of the guns, and then recedes.

2032-2049 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north over St Georges [Bay].  Three barrages are fired.  Bombs are dropped in Kalafrana Bay.

2112-2133 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north over St Paul’s Bay, crossing over Ta Qali and receding over Gozo, dropping bombs in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack fires six barrages.

2211-2225 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north over Ricasoli, dropping bombs near Zabbar and the Palace which do not explode.  Heavy Ack Ack fires two immediate barrages.

2238-2254 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north west over Mellieha, crosses over Ta Qali and recedes north from Spinola.  Bombs fall near Zebbug.  Heavy Ack Ack fire three immediate barrages.

2312-0017 hrs  Five aircraft approach the Island during this period.  One raid fails to locate the Island and recedes.  Other raids cross the coast between Grand Harbour and Madliena, dropping bombs west of Birkirkara and in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack fires two jmmediate barrages.

Night  Seven air raids involving a total of 22 bombers damage houses.  Ack Ack engages several times.

Civilian casualties  Siggiewi Censu Farrugia, age 24; Wigi Schembri, age 3.

Military casualties  Wing Commander John Dowland, GC, Pilot, Royal Air Force, 69 Squadron; Pilot Officer Robert Gridley, Royal Air Force, 69 Squadron; Pilot Officer John Hilton, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR); Pilot Officer Roderick Huggins, Royal Air Force; Sergeant John Lait, Royal Air Force (VR).  Private John Brandreth, 1st Bn The Hampshire Regiment; Private Henry Chant, 1st Bn The Hampshire Regiment.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: TUESDAY 13 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals six Blenheims, one Mosquito from Gibraltar. Five Hudsons to LG224; two Blenheims to Helwan.

LUQA 69 Squadron  Two Marylands search for shipping.  40 Squadron  Three Wellingtons on bombing mission.

TA QALI  Two fighter Blenheims carried out patrols.  P/O Huggins and two crew of one machine failed to return – presumed shot down.  Six airmen attached 242 Squadron from Luqa and Kalafrana.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3; dealt with 1 (500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

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

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Posted by on January 13, 2017 in 1942, January 1942

 

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12 January 1942: Round the Clock Raids Sap Morale

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“No other place of such a few square miles of land has taken such a battering as Malta in the last 5 weeks, says the British United Press correspondent on the Island.  He adds that during that time there have been 93 day and 120 night alerts, some of the night raids lasting nine hours…”  (1)

The Poor House, Luqa, Mess Hall & Barracks (NWMA Malta)

ALL NIGHT UNDER ALERT

Conditions over Malta have caused the enemy to revise their tactics.  Instead of mass raids by large formations, the Axis have embarked on a round the clock campaign of attacks by individual aircraft.  The tactic leaves the Island’s occupants under air raid alert for hours at a time.  Constant ‘nuisance raids’ during the night are forcing civilians to remain in shelters for up to eight hours at a time, and depriving the military of much-needed sleep.

RAF SQUADRON BIDS FAREWELL TO MALTA

The final detachment of Blenheims from 107 Squadron RAF leaves Malta today after five months on the Island, during which they have successfully attacked Axis targets in Italy, Sicily and North Africa.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 12 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Cold wind from the west; showers, heavy at times.  Bright periods between showers.

0230-0330 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

0911-0932 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the south west, crosses the south coast and drops bombs near Luqa.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not intercept due to weather conditions.

1017-1039 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north.  No Hurricanes are airborne.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage and the raider turns towards Luqa, dropping bombs in the Pumping Station Wied il Kebir, near the Experimental Farm at Marsa.  An unexploded bomb is also reported near the Poorhouse searchlight position.  Royal Engineers attend to deal with UXB Report No 1451 immediately: the bomb is a 250kg SC. 

1050-1106 hrs  Air raid alert.

1218-1237 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north west, crosses the south coast and drops bombs on Luqa, damaging one Wellington aircraft and leaving a number of craters along the runway.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages.  Two Hurricanes give chase but weather prevents contact.

1308-1334 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north west, crosses the coast over Tigne and drops bombs in the Zebbug area.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages; no Hurricanes airborne.

1435-1456 hrs  One unidentified aircraft crosses the south coast and drops bombs near Verdala Palace.  Heavy Ack Ack fire one barrage.

1604-1734 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by six ME 109s carry out four raids.  One JU 88 approaches from the west and drops bombs in the sea while being chased by Hurricanes.  One JU 88 approaches from the west and drops bombs in the sea off Ghain Tuffieha: Hurricanes engage the aircraft without result.  The third JU 88 escorted by six ME 109s crosses the coast over St Paul’s Bay, presumably on reconnaissance as no bombs are reported.  The fourth raid recedes without crossing the coast.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages.

2102-2133 hrs  One aircraft crosses the Island from south to north, dropping bombs in the sea off Ghar Lapsi.  Guns do not engage.

2220-0318 hrs  Six aircraft approach from the north singly during this period, each aircraft remaining in the vicinity of the Island for a considerable time.  Bombs are reported in the areas of Safi Strip, Zabbar, Gozo (near Rabat), in the sea off Tigne and in Kalafrana Bay.  Heavy Ack Ack fire 13 immediate barrages.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: 12 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  six Hudsons, two Blenheims from Gib. Departures  five Blenheims to Helwan; five Blenheims, one Beaufighter to 108 MU; one Clare to Cairo.

HAL FAR  Night 12/13th  Four Swordfish despatched on shipping search.  Nothing sighted.

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Maryland SF16 patrol.  40 Squadron  One Wellington attacked aerodrome at Catania; three Wellingtons despatched to attack shipping in Tripoli Harbour.

TA QALI  Two fighter Blenheims carried out operations: saw nothing.  Aerodrome unserviceable for fighters.  Army exercise cancelled. Raids during the night: no damage.  Seven airmen ceased attachment Hal Far.

2ND BN DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Private A Bennett commended for action when schooner Marie Georgette was attacked by enemy aircraft.  Malta Fortress Order No 34 of 21/1/42.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  0930 hrs  Working party continues at Luqa.  Several raids in area: no casualties.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  1030 hrs  Six guns engage three JU 88s at 5-6000 feet, firing a total of 30 rounds of 40mm.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 5; dealt with 3 (2 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1) The Argus, Melbourne, Monday 12 January 1942

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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in 1942, January 1942, Uncategorized

 

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11 January 1942: Church Bells Warn of Invasion

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CHURCH BELLS SILENCED PENDING GENERAL ALARM

St Publius Church

Malta’s church bells will no longer signal the ‘All Clear’ but will instead only be used to raise a ‘General Alarm’, such as for an invasion.  Since the onset of war, bells have been silenced except when required for the war effort. 

The ‘Alert’ will now be signalled by a warbling note on a siren or the firing of three petards.  The ‘Raiders Passed’ signal will be a steady note from the siren.

ARMY LABOURS THROUGH HEAVY WEATHER

Army working parties are continuing the construction of dispersal facilities at Luqa and Safi, despite appalling weather conditions.  Heavy showers and gales are making the ground heavy to work and affecting progress on these essential facilities.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 11 JANUARY 1942

Weather   Cloudy, cold and windy; heavy showers.

0901-0904 hrs  Raid does not materialise.

0914-0940 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the south and drops bombs in the sea, receding before guns can engage.  Two Hurricanes give chase but do not make contact.

1247-1302 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and crosses the coast near Kalafrana, dropping bombs at Hal Far, Gudja and San Pietru where slight damage is caused at a Heavy Ack Ack (HAA) gun position.  HAA fire barrages.

1409-1429 hrs  Three bombers approach the Island from the north east but none crosses the coast.  Bombs are dropped in the sea ten miles east of the Island.

1517-1535 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north, crosses the coast near Dingli at 13000 feet, descends to 9000 feet and drops bombs on Luqa – causing no damage.  Heavy Ack Ack engages but a barrage is not possible due to friendly aircraft over Luqa.

Military casualties  CSM John Busuttil, 1st Bn, King’s Own Malta Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Luqa  Rosina Vella, age 47.

1615-1654 hrs  Raid does not materialise.

2252-2353 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and carries out a patrol to the east of the Island, dropping bombs in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack fire immediate barrages.

Night  Two nuisance raids only. Bombs dropped in the sea.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: SUNDAY 11 JANUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals two Beaufighters, one Blenheim from Gibraltar.  Departures: four Blenheims, one Beaufighter to 108 MU; two Blenheims to El Adem; one Catalina to Cairo.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF15 patrol.  40 Squadron  Five Wellingtons attacked shipping in Tripoli Harbour.

TA QALI  Aerodrome unserviceable: no scrambles.  61 airmen posted from Luqa for maintenance of fighter Blenheims.  Army exercise for defence posts asked for and arranged for 12 January.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3; not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

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Posted by on January 11, 2017 in 1942, January 1942, Uncategorized

 

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