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MALTA COMMAND - January-December 1941


Transcribed by Don Kindell

HM Submarine Ursula (Photo Ships, click to enlarge)

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Note: "Cucumbers" - mines similar in  size to an 18" torpedo and designed to fit the same dropping gear as the 18" Mark XI torpedo. Weight was about 1,500 lbs, with a 750 lbs explosive charge.


Date……...16th February 1941        Malta No. 62/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean
With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st – 31st January 1941 is forwarded:


6th Jan    UNIQUE arrived to join First Submarine Flotilla

8th Jan    GLOUCESTER and SOUTHAMPTON arrived with Military draft from the  Middle East, disembarked personnel and sailed on completion to join Senior Officer Force H for Operation M.C. 4.  JANUS remained for quick    docking

9th Jan    Operation M.C. 4 in progress.

10th Jan    Fleet was attacked by German dive bombers and ILLUSTRIOUS suffered damage.  ILLUSTRIOUS arrived at Malta after dark with the steering gear  out of action, and was towed in berth at Parlatorio Wharf.  H.T. ESSEX  and convoy M.W. 5 ? (comprising S.S. CLAN MACAULAY and H.M.S. BRECONSHIRE) arrived safely.

11th Jan    BONAVENTURE and GRIFFIN arrived escorting MOHAWK towing GRIFFIN, the bows of the latter having been blown off.  GRIFFIN sailed  p.m. leaving BONAVENTURE and JAGUAR.  The last two were to have returned to the westward but were retained at Malta pending developments.

12th Jan    TRIUMPH and UPHOLDER arrived to join First Submarine Flotilla.

14th Jan    Vice Admiral, Light Forces, Mediterranean, in ORION and PERTH arrived with the Military personnel ex convoy EXCESS from the Piraeus.  ORION,  BONAVENTURE, and JAGUAR sailed at dusk to join the Mediterranean Fleet, leaving PERTH to repair boilers.  After dark ROVER arrived from  patrol with a defective battery.

16th Jan    Very heavy air raid on Dockyard by JU 87 and 88 German dive bombers.   ESSEX was hit in the engine room and severely damaged, but her  importation cargo of guns, ammunition, torpedoes, and other service stores were happily untouched.  ILLUSTRIOUS received another hit on  the quarter deck and PERTH suffered some underwater damage from a  near miss.  PERTH sailed after dark to the eastward.

17th Jan    USK arrived to join First Submarine Flotilla

18th/19th Jan    Heavy dive bombing attacks on the aerodromes and the Dockyard in which much damage was done.  The enemy, however, suffered severe  losses.  ILLUSTRIOUS suffered further damaged from a near miss abreast the engine room, and was further damaged.  Naval and Military  working parties has to be used to unload ESSEX as the Maltese stevedores would not work.

22nd Jan    JERVIS, JUNO, JANUS, and GREYHOUND arrived as escort for  ILLUSTRIOUS.

23rd Jan    ILLUSTRIOUS sailed to the eastward escorted by JERVIS, JUNO,  JANUS, and GREYHOUND.  No further enemy attacks took place after that of the 19th and H.M. Dockyard, was, therefore, able to repair  ILLUSTRIOUS damaged sufficiently to make her seaworthy.

25th Jan    Air operations were commenced again convoys between Tunis and Sicily,  reconnaissance generally being carried out by Sunderland aircraft and  830 Squadron standing by as a striking force.

27th Jan    An enemy convoy was reported at 1350 G.M.T. in position 34-18N, 11- 43E steering south, in a suitable position for attack.  6 Swordfish, escorted by 2 Fulmars, were despatched.  One merchant vessel was sunk, the  second was missed by torpedoes, and the Armed Merchant Cruiser acting as escort was near missed by bombs.

29th    URSULA arrived to join First Submarine Flotilla.



(a)    Raids recorded in Dockyard Log totaled 58 (including 6 night raids).
(b).    Number of blank days, 10
(c).    Total time from “Air Raid Warning” to “Dockyard All Clear”, 31 hours, 35 minutes.  Average time per raid, 32.7 minutes.
(d).    Total time from “Raiders Passed” to “Dockyard all clear”, 3 hours, 54 minutes.  Average time per raid, 4.03 minutes
(e).    Total time from “Air Raider Warning” to Raiders Passed”, 27 hours, 41 minutes.  Average time per raid 28.6 minutes

Report on raids 225 A and B:  ESSEX at Hamilton Wharf was hit in the engine room.  About 30 casualties.  No. 2 Boiler ship partially wrecked.  Penstock No. 2 Dock wrecked.
ILLUSTRIOUS hit and damaged aft.  Larger crater on road on Sawmills Wharf.  Flying debris and splinters caused damaged to surrounding windows.  Bakery straddled.  Manager, Engineering Department’s residence unsafe owing to near miss.  Corner of Bastion, St Angelo Slave Quarters damaged.  Unexploded bombs in Gun Mounting Store.  Lower Joiner’s shop and several in creeks.  Communications with Fortress, R.A.F. and Valletta – out of action.
Report On raids 233 A and B:  
Section 1:  Bomb fell on edge of Bakery Wharf.  Wooden D/C hut demolished.  Archway at entrance to Wharf badly damaged.  Electric and telephone communications in this area – out of action.
Section 2:  Two bombs fell in S.W. area of depot.  One bomb made crater on cordite burning ground.  Another fell between Laboratory West and Electric Sub Station, cutting hydraulic leads from station.  All power cranes out of action in this area.  W 8 Laboratory Room badly damaged.  Stores 76 – 84 on Parlatorio Wharf partially demolished.
Section 3:  Large bomb fell outside Superintending Electrical Engineer’s main offices.  Large carter was formed, causing severance of all electrical leads in the vicinity.  Part of stairway to Superintending Electrical Engineer’s offices demolished and tower over stairs badly cracked.  Breech was made in Dockyard wall on to the street behind Superintending Electrical Engineer’s Offices.  Fleet latrines, No. 10 Motor Generator House and Manager, Constructive Department’s S/L Lay Apart Store demolished.  Submarines in this area undamaged.  A bomb entered roof of sail loft, passed through floor into No.’s 10 and 11 Stores.  Back of these stores which contain iron bars and rivets, blocked by debris.
Section 4:  No. 3 Dock Penstock received a direct hit.  Bomb between No. 49 Refuge and 2 and 3 Dock Pumping Station.  Two sheds containing workmen’s boxes partially demolished.  Some damage to 2 and 3 Dock Pumping Station through blast and debris.  Parapet wall over No. 40 Refuge hit.  Damage to various stores nearly.  Large bomb exploded in No. 2 dock (unoccupied and one third full at the time).  Small crater in bed of dock.  BERYL damaged by near miss.  Underwater fittings fractured and hull damaged.  Several near misses to ILLUSTRIOUS but no direct hits.
Section 5: Side of No. 3 Dock hit abreast of fo’cale of IMPERIAL on starboard ship.  Debris fallen to bottom of dock.  No damage to IMPERIAL.
Section 6: One bomb burst in Superintending Civil Engineer’s Cement Store.  Store demolished and road temporarily blocked.  Bomb burst in road at back of Factory near Tool Store.  Slight damage to windows and light structure in the vicinity.
Canteen Wharf:  Bomb burst on disposal ground outside entrance to Oil Fuel Pipe Ling tunnel.  Superficial damage only.
Report on Raid 235
Section 1:  No damage
Section 2:  Large crater outside Spencer’s Magazine Tunnel, blocking wharf.  Hydraulic crane dislodged.  Bomb struck cliff behind main Offices.  Foreman of Stores’ Officer and Laboratory Store damaged.  Bomb burst in Laboratory Area, demolishing Case Cleaning Room, Electric Boiler Room, and Laboratory Officers.  Direct hit under Lighter No. 118.  Some damage to CARBINE and CROSSBOW.  All electric, water, and telephone leads severed.
Section 3: Considerable damage to Expense Accounts Office.  Large fall of debris on Carpenter’s Shop at back of 7 b Store.  Damage to Chart depot and fittings by blast
Section 4:  Further damage caused near No. 3 Penstock.  A 1500 lb A.P. bomb failed to explode on Hamilton Wharf.
Section 5:  No damage
Section 6:  Manager, Engineering Department’s Factory received a direct hit.  Considerable damage to lathes, machinery, etc.  Room was blown out and fractured by black.  Inspector’s Office in North end of factory was demolished.
Corradino:  Two unexploded bombs were rendered safe.

  (sgd)  W.T.R. Ford
       Vice Admiral, Malta

Med 0415/94/22
  Forwarded for the information of Their Lordships.
16th March 1941.        (sgd) A. B. Cunningham


Date……...8th March 1941        Malta No. 93/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean
With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st – 28th February 1941 is forwarded:


Feb 2nd/3rd    Under cover of a cruiser force engaged on another operation, DECOY, sailed on completion of damage repairs and DEFENDER arrived for refit.

Feb 15th    German aircraft in moonlight laid first lot of parachute mines in entrance to Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour.  Harbours closed temporarily.  Three exploded on land, causing much damage to houses.

Feb 17th    Drifter PLOUGHBOY with skid sweep and firing Lewis Gun into water detonated one mine off Breakwater.

Feb 18th    Two mines in Grand Harbour entrance and two in Marsamxett entrance detonated without sweeping in rough weather.  This cleared entrances.

Feb 20th    H.M.S. BRECONSHIRE and H.T. CLAN MACAULAY sailed for Alexandria at dusk escorted by HOTSPUR and HAVOCK.  These two destroyers had completed damage repairs and had been fitted with bow protection gear for use in special operations.

Feb 21st    ORION, GLOUCESTER, AJAX, MOHAWK, NUBIAN, and DIAMOND arrived at dawn with two battalions of infantry to reinforce garrison, and sailed at dusk leaving DIAMOND to refit.
  This movement was possibly unobserved by enemy aircraft.

Feb 27th    Two mines detonated off Sliema and later two off St Julians, the latter blowing up a Gozo boat.

Feb 28th    Enemy aircraft laid mines at first light in entrance to Valletta Harbours and some in Grand Harbour.  Harbours temporarily closed while positions of mines was being fixed from observations received.



Jan 28th    H.M.S. UPHOLDER        32-54N,
12-50E    DUISBERG class M/V    sunk            
Jan 30th    H.M.S. UPHOLDER        32-53N,
12-45E    6000 ton M/V   sunk                

Feb 8th    830 Squadron
Fleet Air Arm         Tripoli        5 Cucumbers in approach covered by bombing (one aircraft force landed Tunisia)

Feb 12th    H.M.S. UNIQUE        34-44N
, 11-53E    6000 ton M/V   Probably sunk

Feb 12th    H.M.S. UTMOST        33-00N
, 12-10E     8000 ton M/V    badly damaged aft.

Feb 13th/14th    830 Squadron 
Fleet Air Arm       35-00N, 12-24E    one M.V. in convoy   Believed sunk

Feb 15th/16th    830 Squadron
Fleet Air Arm        35-47N, 11-18E    one M.V.    sunk               

Feb 22nd    H.M.S. URSULA        35-47N,
11-16E    Sicilia Class Transport   sunk                

Feb 23rd    H.M.S. UPRIGHT        34-25N,
11-48E    Fanny Brunner class M/V    Burnt out and sank

Feb 25th    H.M.S. UPRIGHT        34-34N,
11-44E    warship believed Condottiere A cruiser   believed sunk     

  (i). In addition, TRUANT and REGENT each sank one medium sized merchant vessel in the area Northwest of Tripoli.
  (ii). There was an average of three to four submarines on these routes  continuously.
  (iii). Escorts, both destroyer and air were noticeably strengthened as a result of these sinkings.
  (iv), One 10,000 ton transport was observed beached outside Tripoli Harbour,  presumably mined.


  (a).  Raids recorded in Dockyard lot totaled 107, including 28 night raids.
  (b).  In raids 314 and 366, parachute mines were dropped.
  (c).  Total time from “Air Raid Warning” to “Dockyard all Clear” – 56 hours, 47 minutes.  Average time per raid 31.8 minutes.
  (d).  Total time from “Raiders Passed” to “Dockyard all Clear” – 5 hours, 20 minutes.  Average time per raid 3.0 minutes.
  (e).  Total time from “Air Raid Warning” to Raiders Passed” – 51 hours, 27 minutes.  Average time per raid 28.9 minutes
  (f).  Number of blank days – 1
In raid 314, two parachute mines landed in Senglea and detonated on impact.   The resulting shower of masonry caused damage to panes and frames in the roof of the Bottle Ship on Boiler Wharf.
 Casualties in the Dockyard since February – NIL

  (sgd) Sir W.T.R. Ford

Med. 247/94/22

  Forwarded for the information of Their Lordships.
H.M.S. WARSPITE        (sgd) JH. Edelstein
9th April 1941        For ADMIRAL


Date………10th April 1941    Malta No. 123/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean
With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st – 31st March 1941 is forwarded:


March 1st    REGENT arrived from patrol off Tripoli with some damage from a depth charge attack, having sunk a merchant vessel
  Drifter PLOUGHBOY towing a skid and operating a Kango Hammer exploded two or three mines at the entrance to Grand Harbour.  One  exploded close under PLOUGHBOY which was seriously damaged and had to be beached.  One rating was killed and nine injured.

March 4th    UTMOST returned from a special mission in the Gulf of Hammanet

March 5th    As a result of a signal of an air reconnaissance carried out by aircraft from Libya of the approaches to Tripoli it was decided to sail UPRIGHT and  UTMOST at once for offensive patrols on the Tripoli convoy routes. TRUANT also sailed for coast patrol in the Gulf of Sirte

March 8th    Drifter JUSTIFIED towed a skid exploded two magnetic mines close to the Marsamxett boom.

March 15th    A Gozo Boat, taking an unauthorized short cut in the Grand Harbour exploding a mine off Marino Pinto.  Four were killed; the remainder   wounded

March 16th    An acoustic mine close by the Floating Dock was exploded with a Kango Hammer.

March 18th/19th    ABINGDON and FERMOY carried out a searching sweep north of  the Hurd Bank to see if that area had been mined.  No mines were observed.  Opportunity was taken of sweeping out REGENT and   UPHOLDER.

March 21st  DEFENDER was bombed while exercising off Delimara Point.  Some splinter damage.

March 22nd    RORQUAL arrived to embark mines for operations northwest of Sicily

March 23rd    Convoy M.W. 6 and escort arrived at dawn using the searched channel north of Hurd Bank.  The escort left at dusk to proceed to Alexandria.  The  convoy was apparently not sighted at sea, but reconnaissance aircraft  which came over the island as they were berthing located them.  Severe  dive bombing attacks were made on Grand Harbour followed which  damaged CITY OF LINCOLN and PERTHSHIRE and caused slight  splinter damage to BONAVENTURE and GRIFFIN.  The enemy lost at least fifteen aircraft.



March 9th    H.M.S. UTMOST    30-10N,
11-12E   8000 ton transport    Sunk (Day Attack)

March 10th    H.M.S. UNIQUE    36-12N
, 12-36E    Italian FENICE    Sunk (Dawn Attack)

March 19th    830 Squadron    4 Cucumbers in approach to Tripoli Harbour, covered by bombing attack (one ship observed  hit by bomb; one aircraft force landed Tunisia)

March 28th    H.M.S. UTMOST    35-40N,
11-19E    12,000 ton transport  & 6000 ton transport. Night attack on convoy believed taking German troops and stores.  Both ships probably sunk.

(i).  In addition, RORQUAL operating in Tyrrhenian Sea from Malta sank Italian tanker LAURA CORRADO on 30th March and an Italian U boat of CALVI class on 31st March.  In addition, Italian auxiliary TICINO was a casualty in one of RORQUAL’s minefields, and they may have been more.
(ii).  Two or three U class submarines were always on patrol
(iii).  All the merchant ships sunk were southbound the fully laden.



(a).  Raids recorded in Dockyard log, totaled 105, including 22 night raids
(b).  Total time from “Air Raid Warning” to “Dockyard All Clear” – 55 hrs, 33 mins.  Average time per raid – 31.7 minutes
(c).  Total time for “Raiders passed” to “Dockyard All Clear” 5 hrs, 31 mins.  Average time per raid – 3.2 minutes
(d).  Total time from “Air Raid Warning” to “Raiders Passed – 50 hrs, 2 mins.  Average time per raid 28.6 minutes
(e).  Number of blank days – nil



(a).  Raid 378.  5/3/1941.   As a result of a dive bombing attack on Hal Far, damage was caused to Naval Stores at the Fleet Air Arm Store Depot, Hal Far.

(b).  Raid 386.  7/3/1941.  One H.E. bomb on 54 store and North end of Boat Hose, which caused a small fire in Nos. 53 and 54 Stores on Boat House Wharf, and road block at North End of Corradino Tunnel.  Stores 53, 53a, 54, 54a, and 55a were demolished.  3 hits (1 big and 2 small) on ESSEX (at Hamilton Wharf, bows south) caused her to list to port.  One bomb on Hamilton Wharf caused slight splinter damage to IMPERIAL in No. 2 dock.

(c).  Raid 401.  10/3/1941.  No 1 Generating Station was severely damaged by three direct hits and all 4 engines were put out of action.  Road to Burmole Gate blocked by masonry.  Roof of Ship Fitting Shop and Joiners Shop damaged by masonry from Cospicua.  Direct hit on factory.  Tool Store and North East Corner of Foundry wrecked and part of dividing wall on East side of Foundry collapsed on machines in fitting shop.

(d).  Raid 406.  11/3/1941.  One H.E. bomb fell in the new M.T.B. Officer Block at the R.N. Torpedo Depot, Msida.  This block and Gyro Adjusting Room – completely demolished.  Joiners Shop and D/C Station – severely damaged.  Roof, skylights, and windows of Main Workshop – considerably perforated.  All workshop equipment for gyros and pistols – wrecked.  Various delicate instruments, small tools, and spare parts which were buried in the debris were later recovered and found to have suffered very little damage.

(e).  Raid 439.  22/3/1941.  One H.E. Bomb on Boiler Tube shop, behind Margharita Arches.  Severe damage to Store.  Small fire due to wood and oil drums in the vicinity.  50 kg. H.E. bomb produced camouflet crater in soft ground at R.N. Hospital, Bighi.  A similar bomb exploded on boundary wall near Surgeon Rear Admiral’s residence, and a third 50 kg. Unexploded bomb was recovered from the garden at the back of Surgeon Rear Admiral’s residence at Bighi.

(f).  Raid 443.  23/3/1941.  Heavy bomb on south east corner of No. 2 Dock.  No apparent damage to IMPERIAL (in No. 2 Dock).  Demolished a shed and damaged masonry at edge of Dock.  Heavy bomb North East Corner of No. 2 and 3 Dock Pumping Station.  H.E. bomb northeast side of Smithery started a small fire.  Heavy bomb south east corner of Smithery.  Plumbers Shop hit, seven persons who were sheltering in the Plumbers Shop Refuge being injured.  Bombs inside and outside Isola Gate damaged residence of Chargeman of Docks, and blocked road outside Isola Gate.  Heavy bomb outside Armament Depot, West Gate, caused damage to buildings.  Two suspected unexploded bombs at South Corradino Gate proved to be exploded bombs having produced camouflet craters.

(g).  Raid 444.  23/3/1941.  3 H.E. bombs (1 large and 2 small) fell on and near Latrines near No. 1 Electric Sub Station, Hamilton Wharf, causing large crater.  Cables damage, affecting:
  (i). Lighting in that area
  (ii). Dockyard syrens
  (iii). Two cranes at Hamilton Wharf.
Splinters damaged one shore crane and caused many holes on port bow of BONAVENTURE.  H.E. bomb fell on capstan at Boiler Wharf damaging power supply to Isola Point pom-pom.  Bombs in South End of No. 3 Boiler Shop near brick crushing machine caused large crafter and blast damage.  Bombs fell on Marsa Oil Fuel Jetty, severely damaging one diesel oil fuel outlet, No. 4 to No. 6 furnace oil fuel outlets, and a valve shed.  A Diesel road tank wagon was perforated.  One partially detonated 50 kg. German H.E. bomb recovered from No. 20 latrine, Hamilton Wharf.

(h).  Raid 445.  24/3/1941.  Three or four H.E. bombs on Boiler Wharf, south west corner of Boiler Shop damaged, and road blocked.  ADIGE at Boiler Wharf was damaged by blast and flying masonry.

 (sgd) W.T.R.  Ford
       Vice Admiral, Malta
Med 438/94/22
  Forwarded for the information of Their Lordships
H.M.S. WARSPITE         (sgd) R. Shelley
6 May 1941  for ADMIRAL


Date………22nd May 1941    Malta No. 171/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean


With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st – 30th April 1941 is forwarded:

3rd April    ABINGDON while carrying out routine minesweeping was attacked by German dive bombers and sustained slight damage

4th April    RORQUAL arrived en route for Alexandria after minelaying operation off Western Sicily

8th April    Mooring Vessel MOOR mined and sunk inside Grand Harbour by aircraft laid mine.  Only one survivor.

9th April    As a result of information of the movement of German troop and supply convoys sailing for Tripoli all available submarines were sailed to take up positions on the convoy route:  CAPE BON – KURIAT – KERKENAH – TRIPOLI

10th April    One southbound convoy located by Air Reconnaissance.  830 Squadron despatched after dark but failed to intercept.

11th April    JERVIS (Captain D. 14) with JANUS, MOHAWK, and NUBIAN arrived for operations against Tripoli convoy route.  After fuelling destroyers sailed to intercept southbound convoy located by aircraft between Lampion and Kerkenah Bay and reported as steaming at 15 knots.  Destroyers failed to intercept and from a subsequent signal from UNIQUE, which failed to get through by W/T, it was apparent that the convoy’s speed had not exceeded 9 knots.

12th April    Aircraft located yet another southbound convoy off the entrance to the Gulf of Hammanet.  This was a fast 15 knot convoy and to assist the destroyers a Swordfish was despatched to intercept at dusk and shadow.  About 1 ? hours after dark, realising it was being shadowed, turned north and retired at high speed passing to the west of Pantelleria at 0230.  830 Squadron striking force attacked at 2300; no hits were scored and two aircraft were lost.  In the meanwhile, Captain (D) was to the southward and, hoping the convoy reported to the northward was a northbound convoy being shadowed by mistake, held on to Kerkenah Bank area.  At about 0230, the fast convoy was sighted by UPHOLDER who turned it back by firing star shell.  By the time Captain (D) received UPHOLDER’s report that the convoy was turning back, he was on his way back to Malta.  He was dived bombed at dawn in the Comino Channel.

15th April    Aircraft located another southbound convoy at 1357 in position 36-36 North, 11-11 East.  A later sighting gave the convoy speed at 8 knots and the 14th Destroyer Flotilla was sailed under cover of rain and low cloud at 1800.  The convoy was intercepted between Numbers 3 and 4 Buoys, Kerkenah and five medium sized merchant vessels and one small destroyer were sunk or driven ashore on fire, for the loss of MOHAWK torpedoed.  The destroyers returned under cover of low cloud at 1000 16th April.

16th April    Three aircraft of 830 Squadron were despatched to attacked ships anchored off Tripoli, but ships were swung bows on to the entrance in an impossible position.

17th April    REGENT sailed for Kotor to attempt to bring off Mr. Campbell, British Minister to Yugoslavia.

19th April    Convoy M.E. 7 (CITY OF LINCOLN, CLAN FERGUSON, CITY OF MANCHESTER, and PERTHSHIRE) sailed for Alexandria escorted by JERVIS, JANUS, NUBIAN, and DIAMOND.  The last named had completed a refit at Malta.

21st April    BRECONSHIRE, loaded with aviation spirit, oil fuel, and general supplies, arrived with ENCOUNTER under cover the Fleet movement to bombard Tripoli.
  Many mines in Grand Harbour which was closed, but Marsamxett Harbour remained open.

22nd April    JERVIS (Captain D 14) with JUNO, JAGUAR, and JANUS returned for Tripoli convoy operations.  Another heavy night bombing and minelaying attack by aircraft.

23rd April    Destroyers sailed to intercept a southbound convoy covered by a force of two cruisers with destroyers.
  On the way out, a northbound transport of about 4000 tons was sunk but the convoy, which was possibly warned by this action and took evasive action, was not located.

24th April    GLOUCESTER arrived to support the destroyers.  A heavy bombing and minelaying attack after dark, GLOUCESTER being near missed.

26th April    REGENT returned from the visit to Kotor which she found in Italian hands.  After being in harbour nine hours, submarine was dive bombed and sailed hurriedly, leaving one Officer behind and bringing an Italian Army Officer hostage.  Submarine had suffered severe damage to battery.

27th April    Operation DUNLOP, bringing additional Hurricane aircraft from Force H to Malta, was successfully carried out.

28th April    Operation SALIENT was successfully carried out.  DIDO and ABDIEL arrived and sailed after unloading certain important stores.
  Destroyers of the 14th Destroyer Flotilla with IMPERIAL (which had completed repairs after being mined in October 1940) sailed with BRECONSHIRE for Alexandria.
  Captain (D), Fifth Destroyer Flotilla, arrived and remained with six destroyers of his flotilla and GLOUCESTER as the Malta Force.
  JANUS remained for docking and repairs.

29th/30th April    Two very heavy night attacks with mines and bombs on the harbours (60 to 70 aircraft each night).  FERMOY, ENCOUNTER, CORAL all in dockyard hands seriously damaged.  Drifter TRUSTY STAR, the only LL sweeper in action, was sunk.  Much damage to docks, etc.



31st March    UPRIGHT    32-38 North,
12-40 East       5000 ton Merchant Vessel      Probably sunk         
12th April    URSULA    36-40 North,
11-12 East         One ship in fast convoy       Possible  hit

15th/16th April    Fourteenth
Destroyer Flotilla    Off Kerkenah Bank       German ADANA, ARTA,  ISERLOHM, AEGINA, Italian SAB – AUDIA (sunk),  Destroyers LUCA TARIGO, One FOLGORE class, One SPICA class, Possibly another

23rd/24th April    Fourteenth
Destroyer Flotilla   South of Lampedusa        4000 ton transport       Sunk
25th April    UPHOLDER    34-55 North,
11-47 East      5000 ton Merchant Vessel          Sunk


(a).  Raids recorded in Dockyard log……………..90
  Night Raids………………………………….25
  Dawn Raids…………………………………...1
  Dusk Raids……………………………………1
(b). Total time for “Air Raid Warning” to “Dockyard All Clear:…..69 hrs., 51 minutes
    Average per raid………………………………………………………46 ? minutes
(c). Total time from “Raiders Passed” to “Dockyard All Clear)……8 hrs, 15 minutes
  Average per raid…………………………………………………………5 ? minutes
(d). Total time from “Air Raid Warning” to Raiders Passed”………61 hrs, 6 minutes
  Average per raid…………………………………………………………41 minutes
(e). Number of blank days………………………………………..4



Damage was sustained in the Dockyard and Naval Establishments during the following raids:

No. 513:  Slight damage to small buildings on Somerset Wharf.  Slight damage to tug ANCIENT and lighter.  Tug HELLESPONT sunk at Somerset Wharf by direct hit.  S.S. MARGIT hit, caught fire, an sunk in Kalkara Creek.

No. 525:  Slight damage to front of Painters’ Shop and Saw Mills.  Considerable damage to roof of Joiners’ Shop.  Petrol Lighter C. 218 sank at Saw Mills Wharf.  No. 80 Store, Parlatorio, damaged.  No. 8 Store, Laboratory Wharf, and G/D Station demolished in N.A. Depot.  Rifle testing range outside Ghain Dweili Gate demolished.
  Two motor lorries badly damaged, but repairable.

No. 530:  S.E.E.’s drawing office hit.  This and neighbouring offices caught fire.  Damage to No. 1 Dock pumping Station.  Stores Wharf blocked by craters either side of Church Tunnel.  CORAL sustained some damage through near miss.  Two craters on Parlatorio Wharf near N.A. Depot Gate

No. 538:  Two hits on No. 1 Ship Fitting Shop, demolishing office and causing considerable damage to roof.  Damage to upper Joiners’ Shop and roof thereof.  Some minor damage in the Victualling Yard, to No. O Store and Tennis Courts.

No. 548:  Some small bombs in Victualling Yard and Tennis Courts, but no appreciable damage.  Two bombs on ST ANGELO caused very little damage.  Officers’ Mess at R.N. Hospital received a direct hit.  Mess and ante-room wrecked.  Considerable damage was caused to No. 13 Store, on Stores Wharf, which contained furniture, granulated cork, etc, and to structure of adjacent Stores, by a bomb which pierced sail loft.
  Dockyard fire engine was sent to assist at fire at Bonded Store, Marsa.  On arrival, however, the engine was not required.

No. 549:  Further hits were sustained on the Tennis Courts.  No. 2 Dockyard Terrace, occupied at the time by details of the Cheshire Regiment was hit and the back part of the house demolished.  The residence of the Senior Foreman of the Yard was damaged by a hit on the annex to Master Riggers’s House.  Considerable structural damage to Nos. 10 and 11 Stores on Stores Wharf, containing nuts and bolts.
  Melita Road blocked near Smithery by two craters.  Smithery Machine Shop in No. 2 Ship Fitting Shop severely damaged by direct hit.  No. 8 O.F. Tank, Corradino (empty) received direct hit.  Part of structure blown out.

No. 553 – 555: Stores 7 A to 7 C completely demolished, together with officers over them. Stores Wharf blocked by debris.  Nos. 10, 11, and 11 A Stores again damaged.  No 4 Boiler Shop, abreast No. 2 dock, severely damaged.  ENCOUNTER in No. 2 dock damaged by splinters.  A hole was later blown in her bottom by a bomb which penetrated through the forecastle and burst inside the shop.  An oil fuel fire occurred in the bottom of the dock.  No. 2 Dock Caisson pierced by splinters.  No 4 / 5 dock pumping station hit and temporarily out of action.  FERMOY in No. 5 dock hit by bomb which apparently went through the hull from the bridge.  Numerous hits and craters in Nos. 4 / 5 Dock Area.  Direct hit by a small bomb on Transit Store at Burmola Wharf.
  Direct hit on M.E.D. gun mounting Shop, causing much damage and fire.  Mooring Lighter No. 15 was sunk at Somerset Wharf.  Dockyard fire engine was sent to assist civil fires in Valetta.

No. 556:  In this “snap” raid several bombers were dropped on ST ANGELO both upper and lower forts.  Damage not extensive.

No. 559:  Bombs fell on the Boat House Slipway, causing severe damage to several steam picket boats and other craft there.  The Police Lodge at South Corradino Gate received slight damage.

No. 560:  A stick of bombs fell along Garden Reach.  The Submarine lay apart store was demolished and a small fire started.  C.O. 2 Plant received a direct hit.  No.s 19 – 20 Stores at the entrance to St Theresa Tunnel were hit and their fronts badly damaged.  The debris blocked the road at this point.  The road outside East Gate was also blocked by a large crater and debris from a fallen house.

No. 561:  The inflammable stores at the oil Wharf received a direct hit.  A large fire was started, which was not extinguished until well on the following forenoon.  There was considerable loss of stores (cotton waste and calcium carbide) here.
  The road was blocked at this position by a big crater.  The end of S.E.E.’s Machine Shop  received a direct hit and the road at this end of St Theresa Tunnel was blocked.  A large bomb or mine exploded on the east side of No. 2 Dock, demolishing buildings in the vicinity and further damaging ENCOUNTER.  No. 3 Dock Caisson received a direct hit.  The dock flooded, and with it CORAL, which was open forward.
  TRUSTY STAR was sunk at Machinery Wharf.  Baulk Timer Store received a direct hit, causing much damage to the roof.
  FERMOY in No. 5 Dock received further damage and sank.  A bomb struck close to the S. Ventilation Shaft in Corradino Tunnel.  The tunnel was temporarily blocked by debris.
  The Boat House received four or five small bombs, not all of which exploded.


The following number of unexploded bombs have been dealt with in Admiral Property, including R.N. Hospital and Manoel Island, during the month
(i). Unexploded bombs
  (a).  26 – 50 kg S.C. bombs  (general purpose bombs)
  (b).  6  - 50 kg. S.D. bombs   (armour piercing bombs)
  (c).  2 – 500 kg S.C. Bombs  (general purpose bombs)
  (d).  1 – 750 kg S.C. Bomb (general purpose bomb)
(ii). Partially detonated bombs
  (a). 1 – 50 kg. S.C. Bomb
  (b).  1 – 500 kg S.C. Bomb
(iii). Total Number of bombs dealt with during month:  37

 (sgd)    W.T.R. Ford
         Vice Admiral Malta
Med. 701/94/22
  Forwarded for the information of Their Lordships
Office of the Commander in Chief, Mediterranean Station
10th June 1940
         (Sgd) J.H. Edelstein (for ADMIRAL)


Date………12th June 1941    Malta No. 202/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean


With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st – 31st May 1941 is forwarded:

1st May    TRUANT arrived from patrol having sighted various coastal traffic off Tripolitania and sank a caique full of explosives.  Owing to danger from night minelaying, she was sailed for Gibraltar at 2000.  GLOUCESTER and destroyers sailed to attack convoy, but weather was unfavourable and no contact was obtained.

2nd May    JERSEY mined and sunk at entrance to Grand Harbour.  GLOUCESTER, KIPLING, and KASHMIR which were mined out of the harbour, sailed for Gibraltar at dusk.  KELLY (Captain (D) 5) remained with JACKAL and KELVIN.

3rd May    Heavy minelaying and bombing raids on Grand Harbour and Valletta.  FERMOY sunk in dock.  JADE near missed.  Operations to clear the wreck of JERSEY from Grand Harbour entrance were successfully commenced.

4th May    UNION arrived to join Malta Force Submarines, and a mine (probably acoustic) exploded with 1 ? cables of her, causing no damage.

5th May    Information received that one Merchant Vessel blew up and one Merchant Vessel burnt out at Tripoli, while 830 Squadron were laying mines.  It was possible that a flare from a Swordfish landed on the ship unloading petrol and ammunition as no bombs were dropped.
6th May    USK 72 hours overdue and was given up as lost.  6 mines were exploded off Grand Harbour (3 J.U.’s  shot down confirmed, and 1 probable)

7th May    830 Squadron operated again small convoy already attacked by Blenheims, inside Lampedusa.

9th May    Convoys M.W. 7 A and 7 B, consisting of BRECONSHIRE, four Merchant Vessels, and two tankers arrived safely.  GLOXINIA and SWONA arrived to clear the entrance of mines before convoys entered.  Destroyers from Operation TIGER and M.D. 4 arrived, fuelled, and sailed.  Captain D (5) in KELLY with KELVIN, JANUS, JACKAL, KASHMIR, and KIPLING sailed to join TIGER.  UTMOST and convoys were attacked by German bombers off entrance to Grand Harbour.  No damage to ships and 1 J.U. shot down.  Bad visibility was of great assistance in ensuring safe arrive of M.W. 7 convoys

10th May    FORESIGHT arrived for repair of defects.

12th May    Captain (D) 5 in KELLY, KIPLING, JAGUAR, KASHMIR, and KELVIN returned from Operation M.D. 4, having carried out a successful bombardment of Benghazi.  830 Squadron (1 Flare Dropped and 4 with torpedoes) left at 2100 and successfully attacked a convoy sighted by a Glenn Martin at 1638 in position 34-56N, 12-42E, course 186 degrees, 10 knots.

15th May    CACHALOT arrived from U.K. with 16 tons of special stores on board.  5 Swordfish took off on a search for convoy.  NIL report.  “G” mines dropped by aircraft in entrance to Grand Harbour – Harbour closed.
21st May    A large number of Hurricanes and Fulmars arrived safely from Force H Aircraft Carriers (Operation SPLICE).  FORESIGHT left for Gibraltar at 2000 and Fifth Destroyer Flotilla sailed fro Cretan Operation.



1st May    UPHOLDER        34-38N, 11-30E    REICHFELS Class Merchant Vessel    sunk
1st May    UPHOLDER        34-40N
, 11-40E    DUISBERG Class Merchant Vessel    Damaged in first attack   Sunk

3rd / 4th/ 5th May  830 Squadron    minelaying approaches to Tripoli Harbour

12th May    830 Squadron        1 Destroyer, 
1 5000 ton Merchant Vessel    Both probably sunk                     
14th May    UNBEATEN        32-58N,
13-55E    1000 ton Schooner  probably sunk

15th May     UNBEATEN        KHOMS    800 ton schooner    gunned and damaged

19th May    UNBEATEN        32-46N,
14-06E    5000 ton Merchant vessel    Probably hit

20th May    UPHOLDER        37-57N
, 15-40E    4000 ton tanker    probably hit
20th May    URGE        35-46N,
11-54E   7000 ton tanke & 9000 ton troopshipr        both believed sunk

21st May    URGE        35-30N
, 12-25E    One destroyer (part of  covering force)   sunk
23rd May    UPHOLDER        37-55N,
15-39E    CAPITAINE DAMIANI    probably  sunk

24th May    UPHOLDER        46-45N,
15-42E    CONTE ROSSO    sunk      

(i). Three or four submarines continuously on patrol
(ii). 830 Squadron had only five flying crews throughout the month
(iii). Blenheims of special Anti Ship Bomber Squadrons reported successful attacks on twelve merchant vessels and two destroyers.
(iv). Secret sources reported one Italian ship blew up and a second was burnt in Tripoli on 5th May.  This was observed by 830 Squadron laying cucumbers, and may have been started by an unburnt out aircraft flare.



(a).  Raids recorded in Dockyard Log………………………97
  Including:  Night Raids……………………………….26
  Own planes arriving…………………………………….3
(b). Total time from “Air Raid Warning “ to “Dockyard All Clear”…….    60 hours, 4 mins
  Average time per raid……………………………………………..………….37 mins
(c). Total time from “Raiders Passed” to “Dockyard All Clear”…………4 hours, 39 mins
  Average time per raid…………………………………………………………..3 mins
(d).  Total time from “Air Raid Warning” To “Raiders Passed”……….55 hours, 25 mins
  Average time per raid……………………………………………..…………..34 mins
(e).  Number of Blank Days………………………………………………………….2
  (Actually three, but a warning was sound on 31st for own plane arriving)



Raid No. 570.  2055 on 3rd May 1941
The boundary wall at the back of the Naval Bakery was extensively damaged, and also the arcade in the back yards.  There was also some structural damage to the Bakery, and to conveyors and spouts under the silos.
S.E.E.’ s Battery Shop (East) received some damage from the partial explosion of one 50 kg. and one 500 kg bomb.
S.C.E.’s Store above this shop was wrecked and other offices damaged.
S.E.E.’s Battery Shop (South) received some damage, the roof being partially demolished.  A large crater was formed in the roadway outside this shop.
Some damage was caused by small calibre bombs in M.C.D.’s Painters’ Shop and M.E.D.’s Foundry.
A large crater was formed in the road on Oil Wharf, which partially collapsed.  Some damage to the facades of the adjacent stores.  Lighter No. 367, loaded with stone, was sunk here.
A small crater was formed in the roadway outside the Joiners’ Shop.
FERMOY in No. 5 Dock was struck port side amidships, flooded and sank off the chocks.

No. 578.  2035 on 6th May 1941
S.C.E.’s Smith’s Shop received a direct hit and was extensively damaged.
At Bull Nose, the Composition Shed and the Docking Gear Store were both badly damaged, and part of the stores destroyed.  The wharf and Capstan were also damaged.
S.E.E.’s Yard Machinery Workshop and Stores, between No. 1 S.F. Shop and the Joiners’ Shop received extensive damage, with some loss of stores.

No. 595.  2053 on 11th May 1941
Superficial damage to the gates of the coal yard at Marsa.  No. 1 Oil Fuel Tank was punctured by splinters.

No. 603.  2153 on 12th May 1941
A heavy bomb caused extensive collapse of the roadway at Garden Reach.  This, and the subsidence of the group, partially broke down the walls, under reconstruction, of the N.S.O.’s cotton waste store.  It is understood that the wharf rests on a soft bed, and further subsidence may be expected.
At the Royal Naval Hospital, a large bomb exploded between the Laundry Superintendent’s House and the Police Sergeant’s House at the gates of the hospital.  Both buildings were badly damaged, and also the mortuary.
The Laboratory and Administrative Blocks were also affected by blast.

No. 620.  0314 on 16th May
A bomb on Hamilton Wharf caused structural damage to No. 2 Sub generator Station and Latrines.  The capstan in this position is damaged beyond repair.  M.V. AMERIKA at Hamilton Wharf received superficial damage.
ENCOUNTER in No. 2 Dock received a direct hit in No. 2 Boiler Room, causing considerable damage.
On 16th May, “B” Hanger at Hal Far (n.b. recorded as HALL FAR), containing at the time unserviceable F.A.A. Stores was badly damaged by a near miss.



The following were removed during May from Admiralty Establishments by Bomb Safety Officer:
9……………..50 Kg. General Purpose Bombs
4……………..50 kg. Armour Piercing Bombs.
One 50 kg. and one 500 kg. General Purpose Bombs were removed from the Battery Shop after Raid No. 570.  These were previously reported in error for the month of April.

  (sgd) W.T.R. Ford

Med 897/00208/2
  Forwarded for the information of Their Lordships
Office of Commander in Chief
Mediterranean Station
2nd July 1941         (sgd) A.B. Cunningham


Date………15th July 1941    Malta No. 237/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean


With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st to 30th June 1941 is forwarded:

3rd/4th June    830 Squadron made two unsuccessful attempts in poor visibility to intercept southbound convoys passing to the westward of Lampedusa.

5th June    UTMOST returned after carrying out successfully another special mission in the Gulf of Hammanet

8th June    An attempt was made by 830 Squadron to fire the large amount of oil floating in Tripoli Harbour.  Flame floats were dropped in large numbers without result.

10th June    830 Squadron failed to intercept a northbound convoy between Pantelleria and Marittimo Island

13th June    JADE while searching for a crashed Hurricane aircraft was attacked at night by two Italian E Boats 17 miles south of Cape Passero, Sicily.  Both boats fired torpedoes which missed and a spirited encounter took place at close range.  JADE sustained one casualty from machine gun fire.

17th June    830 Squadron left to attack enemy A/S vessels in Lampedusa, but were forced to turn back owing to bad weather.

24th June    All available submarines including those just returned from patrol (n.b. URGE, UNBEATEN, UPHOLDER departed Malta) were sailed to patrol positions south of Messina and North East of Tripoli to intercept an important convoy which it believed was proceeding through Straits of Messina to Tripoli.

25th June    The important convoy of four large liners (n.b. departed Naples 25 June with ESPERIA, MARCO POLO, OCEANIA, and NEPTUNIA) was sighted south of Messina and attacked at dusk by Maryland aircraft with bombs and 830 Squadron with torpedoes.  Two torpedo hits were claimed and the convoy turned towards Taranto.
  This encounter was seen and heard by the submarines on surfacing, but weather was very hazy and they were unable to close to attack.

26th June    Reconnaissance of Taranto Harbour in the forenoon showed two liners in harbour, but afternoon reconnaissance showed a convoy of four large ships steering south off Taranto.

27th June    A convoy of four liners (n.b. same as  departed Naples 25th June) arrived in Taranto, but it is not known whether these were the original four.  These were later attacked in harbour by Blenheim aircraft which claim to have damaged ESPERIA and NEPTUNIA.  (n.b. ESPERIA sustained slight damage)

28th June    All available submarine sere again sailed (n.b. UNION, UPRIGHT, UNIQUE, UPHOLDER) to patrol East of Messina this time to intercept French (Vichy) vessels thought likely to proceed to support Syria.
Remarks.  Enemy air activity was slight during the month thanks to the absence of the German Air Force.  Good progress was made in clearing the corners of the harbours and the dangerous area of the North East Coast of enemy mines.



1st June    830 Squadron         Four cucumbers in coastal route

3rd June    UNIQUE        Lampedusa 
Harbour       1000 ton ship   Destroyed
7th June    830 Squadron    Tripoli         Cucumbers in entrance

16th June    UNBEATEN        37-51N,
15-20E         20,000 ton A.M.C.    two probable hits
22nd June    UNION        36-09N,
11-07E        2800 ton Ship   sunk
25th June    830 Squadron    west of
Sicily    liner transport convoy    hits on two large vessels claimed

26th June    UTMOST        38-07N
, 14-37E        6000 ton ship    sunk
29th June    URGE        37-55N,
15-35E    Cruiser  (believed GORIZIA)  two hits claimed followed by large explosion
(i).  830 Squadron carried out bombing attacks on ships in Tripoli Harbour and quays on 8th June, 12th June, and 26th June.
(ii).  Bleinheim striking force claimed sinking two and damaging three large ships during the month.



(a).  Total number of raids……………………………67
  Including:  Night Raids………………………..25
  Own planes…………………………….11
(b). “Warning” to “All Clear”…………………….. ……32 hours, 2 minutes
  Average…………………………………………28.7 minutes
(c).  “Raiders passed” to “All Clear”………………….3 hours
  Average…………………………………………2.7 minutes
(d).  “Warning” to “Raiders Passed”………………….29 hours, 2 minutes
  Average…………………………………………26 minutes
(e).  Blank days………………………………………….7


Damage.  Little damage was sustained during the month

Raid No. 672.  One bomb fell in Corradino Road and one outside M.E.D.’s tool shop.  Superficial damage only

Raid No. 678.  Five bombs of small calibre fell over and near Manoel Island Oil Fuel Tanks.  Superficial damage only.
  There were no casualties in the Dockyard during the month.

  (sgd) W.T.R. Ford
       Vice Admiral, Malta

Med. 1289/00208
  Forwarded for the information of Their Lordships
Office of the Commander in Chief
Mediterranean Station
10th August 1941        (sgd). A.B. Cunningham


Date………12th September 1941    Malta No. 299/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean


With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st to 31st July 1941 is forwarded:

2nd July    8 Swordfish bombed and laid 6 cucumbers off Tripoli.  All returned.

3rd July    OTUS (n.b. in reality OSIRIS) arrived from Gibraltar and unloaded 70 tons of bulk petrol in Marsaxlokk.
  UTMOST returned from special operations north of Sicily – blew up a railway tunnel and sank a 6000 ton ship.

4th July    URGE returned from patrol south of Messina having sunk cruiser believed to be BOLZANO, obtained one hit on a 9000 ton M.V., and blown up a train in a tunnel.

6th July    Mine detonated in Floating Dock.
  P. 33 arrived from Gibraltar
  8 Swordfish bombed and laid 5 cucumbers off Tripoli.  All returned.

8th July    UPHOLDER returned from patrol south of Messina, having sunk a fully laden west bound M.V. of 6000 tons (LAURA C.).
  8 Swordfish bombed and laid 5 cucumbers at Tripoli.  All returned.

9th July    C.308, ST ANGELO, and JUSTIFIED landed troops for a military exercise.

10th July    RORQUAL proceeded on patrol, but returned with engine defects at 2200.
  4 Swordfish left to attack Tripoli, but returned as weather was unsuitable.

11th July    URSULA and P.33 sailed at 1700 to intercept convoy west of Lampedusa.

12th July    URSULA returned to harbour with defective generators.
  TRIUMPH arrived fro damage repairs from patrol off Benghazi.
  RORQUAL sailed at 1900 for Alexandria, with stores and passengers.

13th July    6 Swordfish left to intercept convoy southbound – failed owing to poor visibility.

14th July    UNION sailed at 0100 for position 10 miles south of Pantelleria to intercept northbound convoy.
  6 Swordfish left to look for convoy leaving Tripoli, but returned owing to poor visibility and low clouds.

15th July    5 Swordfish left to locate convoy off Kerkenah Bank.  Failed to sight, but torpedoed wreck off Kerkennah Bank mistaking it for a ship of the convoy.
  2 mines off Tigne and 1 off Viaduct and breakwater successfully countermined.

16th July    P.33 made E.T.A. and arrived at 1230, having suffered hull damage during counter attack of 116 depth charges, and being forced deep after obtaining two hits on northbound convoy.
  4 Swordfish attacked Tripoli, hitting one tanker with torpedo and causing explosion on Spanish Quay.

17th July    UTMOST sailed for Operation SUBSTANCE.

19th July    UNBEATEN returned from coastal patrol west of Tripoli – sank 2 schooners by gunfire.
  UPHOLDER sailed at 2200 for Operation SUBSTANCE.

20th July    OTUS arrived from Gibraltar and discharged petrol and R.A.F. Stores at Marsaxlokk.
  UPRIGHT and UNIQUE sailed for Operation SUBSTANCE.

21st July    4 Swordfish left at 1910 to attack convoy but failed to intercept.

22nd July    5 Swordfish left to attack convoy of 1 tanker 7000 tons, 1 Destroyer, and 1 small M.V. intercepted S.W. of Lampion.  Hit tanker with 2 torpedoes and claimed sunk, one hit with torpedo on stern of destroyer was also secured.  All aircraft returned.

23rd July    Convoy M.G. 1 escorted by ENCOUNTER and GLOXINIA sailed at 0500.  S.S. SVENOR fouled boom and rammed breakwater.  Returned to harbour and docked with damage to bow.

24th July    Operation SUBSTANCE arrived safely, less LEINSTER, who had run ashore at Gibraltar.  SYDNEY STAR torpedoed, but arrived safely, drawing 40 feet forward.  FARNDALE remained behind with condenser trouble.  Captain Wright, Royal Navy, sailed for United Kingdom.
  830 Squadron maintained continuous A/S patrol over SUBSTANCE from daylight.  1 Swordfish force landed in sea, and was lost, but crew were picked up.

25th July    At 2300, enemy ship was detected on the plot and approached to within 14 miles of Malta.

26th July    Dawn attack on Grand Harbour and Marsamxett by enemy E and smaller M boats.  Attack decisively defeated, believed a total of 15 boats sunk by harbour defences and R.A.F.  18 prisoners collected.  St Elmo Viaduct torpedoed (our only casualty!).
  CACHALOT sailed for Alexandria with stores and personnel.

28th July    UPRIGHT returned from patrol, having obtained 2 hits on a 500’ Floating Dock.
  URGE returned from patrol. (C.O. sick)
  5 Swordfish left to intercept convoy, but turned back owing to high oil temperatures of engines.

30th July    PARTHIAN arrived with stores and kerosene from Alexandria.

31st July    P.32 arrived from United Kingdom.
  UPHOLDER arrived from patrol off Marittimo, having sunk a 6000 ton M.V. laden, and obtained 2 hits on a Condottiere “D” cruiser.
  5 Swordfish left to intercept convoy of 4 M.V.s and 5 destroyers southbound.  Owing to poor visibility, convoy was located by A.S.V.  2 torpedoes were fired and 1 hit obtained (doubtful)



The most important events during the month have been:
(i). The safe arrival of convoy SUBSTANCE
(ii). The departure westward of M.G. One
(iii). The attack on Malta harbours by Italian midget craft
(iv). The operations of the Malta Force Submarines and 830 Squadron.

(i).  SUBSTANCE CONVOY.  This convoy consisting of MELBOURNE STAR, SYDNEY STAR, CITY OF PRETORIA, DEUCALION, DURHAM, and PORT CHALMERS entered harbour with its escorting warships on 24th July.  SYDNEY STAR had been damaged by torpedo but was able to enter under her own steam and it was not found necessary for her to be docked immediately.  All night shifts were worked to unload her cargo as quickly as possible.
  All ships of the convoy had completed unloading, except for coal, by 12th August.

(ii). M.G. ONE CONVOY.  This convoy, consisting of S.S. AMERIKA, TALABOT, HOEGH HOOD, THERMOPYLAE, SETTLER, and SVENOR, together with H.M.S. BRECONSHIRE and ENCOUNTER sailed to the westward on 23rd July.  SVENOR hit the breakwater on sailing and had to return for a quick docking but was able to sail on 24th July.

(iii). ATTACK ON VALLETTA HARBOURS BY ITALIAN MIDGET CRAFT.  A ship, afterwards found to be the carrier of midget torpedo craft, was detected on the plot on the night of 25th July, approaching Malta from the Northeastward.  This was expected to develop into a cruiser bombardment and when the ship had approached to 14 miles, the air raid alarm was sounded.
  Just out of range of the coast defence guns, the ship turned north.  The first intimation of the attack on the harbour was the heavy explosion under the St Elmo Viaduct although the sound of motor boat engines had been heard at intervals before this took place.  Immediately after the explosion the Defence lights were switched on and the guns opened fire on the craft then visible in the illuminated area.  All craft seen were destroyed.  As dawn broke, the guns again opened fire on a few surviving craft who then became visible.  Hurricane aircraft swept to the northward and sank or disabled 2 M.A.S. and 2 other craft which were retiring.
  It was found that the explosion under the viaduct had been successful in destroying the net but had also dislodged the trellis work bridge on top which had fallen down and reblocked the entrance.
  One “one man” torpedo craft was captured intact.  One M.A.S. was captured only slightly damaged and one “two man” submarine was salved.
  Three officers and fifteen ratings were captured together with confidential documents and operation orders.

(iv).   ATTACKS BY SUBMARINES.  Malta submarines have carried out 13 patrols during the month.
  Four ships of approximate total of 16.200 tons were claimed as sunk.  A further two ships of approximately 7500 total tonnage were probably sunk.
  In addition, two hits each were obtained on a Condottieri “D” class cruiser and on a 500 foot floating dock.

(v). ATTACKS BY 830 SQUADRON.  Three torpedo attacks were carried out on shipping.
  One hit was made on a tanker off Tripoli.  Two hits were made on a tanker off Lampedusa.
  The total tonnage of these two ships is estimated at 10,000 tons.  One or both may have been sunk but of this there is no definite evidence.
  In the third attack, a hit was obtained on the stern of a destroyer and a heavy explosion was observed in a ship of about 6000 tons.  This ship may have been sunk but the evidence is inconclusive.



(a).  Total number of raids………………………..72
  Including:  Night raids…………………….53
  Own planes…………………………………4
(b). “Warning” to “All Clear”……………………..52 hours, 18 minutes
  Average……………………………………53.5 minutes
(c). “Raiders Passed” to “All Clear”…………….3 hours, 39 minutes
  Average……………………………………3 minutes
(d). “Warning” to “Raiders Passed”……………..48 hours, 39 minutes
  Average…………………………………….40.5 minutes
(e). Blank Days……………………………………..7

Raids affecting Dockyard and Naval Establishments

Damage Sustained

Raid No. 739.  One bomb in Dockyard Officers’ Tennis Courts and one in Superintendent, H.M. Victualling Yard’s garden.  Only slight structural damage.

Raid No. 765.  Three bombs in H.M. Victualling Yard, damaging cooperage and colonnade outside this and No. 6 Store.  Unexploded bomb pierced roof of Gun Mounting Store, causing slight damage to floor.  The bomb, an Italian 100 kg. G.P. , was removed from the Gun Mounting Store by the Bomb Disposal Party.

Raid No. 796.  Two bombs on H.M.S. ST ANGELO Parade Ground, demolishing three mess rooms.  Three persons very slightly wounded.  One bomb in French Creek, between Parlatorio and Floating Crane.

    There were no casualties in the Dockyard

     (sgd) W.T.R. Ford
             VICE ADMIRAL, MALTA


Date………15th September 1941    Malta No. 305/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean


With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st to 31st August 1941 is forwarded:

2nd August    Operation STYLE successfully completed.  FARNDALE returned with defects.

3rd August    UTMOST arrived from patrol north of Messina, having sunk a 4000 ton ship and blown up a train.

4th August    UNIQUE arrived from patrol south of Messina, having wrecked two trains.

5th August    6 Swordfish attacked Augusta with bombs.  All returned.

6th August    7 Swordfish left to attack convoy of 6 destroyers and 6 M.V.s southbound in vicinity of Kerkenah Bank.  All aircraft returned claiming at least 2 hits with torpedoes.  2 M.V.s observed in a sinking condition.

9th August    4 Swordfish left to attack large M.V. at Syracuse.  One torpedo was fired.  Result unobserved, although pilot reported torpedo running true, when seen 1000 yards from target.

10th August    THUNDERBOLT sailed for Alexandria.  
    4 Swordfish carried out night search of East Sicilian coast and eventually released 3 torpedoes at a 7 – 10,000 M.V. in Syracuse.  Two hits claimed.

12th August    RORQUAL arrived from Alexandria with petrol and stores.
  P.32 sailed for patrol east of Tripoli.

13th August    6 Swordfish left to bomb Augusta.  Visibility poor.  Chose individual targets and dropped their bombs mainly at Syracuse, causing fires and explosions.

14th August    9 Swordfish made a very successful attack on a southbound convoy of 5 destroyers and 5 M.V.s.  Hits with torpedoes claimed on 1 Destroyer and 3 M.V.s.  All aircraft returned.

15th August    OSIRIS arrived from Alexandria and berthed in Marsaxlokk to discharge petrol.

16th August    5 Swordfish carried out a successful bombing raid on Catania Port.  All aircraft returned safely.

17th August    7 Swordfish attacked southbound convoy of 6 M.V.s and 6 destroyers, claiming 1 large M.V. sunk, 1 M.V. hit by torpedo and subsequently beached at Lampedusa, and 1 tanker hit by torpedo and left on fire.

18th August    UNBEATEN and URGE sent out to intercept convoy north of Pantelleria.

19th August    2 Swordfish carried out A.S.V. search for southbound convoy in vicinity of Pantelleria without result.

20th August    OTUS arrived with petrol and stores from Alexandria.
  URGE returned from patrol having sighted convoy, but was prevented from attacking by counter attacks.

21st August    TAKU arrived from Alexandria en route to United Kingdom; discharged bulk kerosene.
  UNBEATEN returned from patrol, having obtained 1 hit on convoy or escort, results unobserved owing to counter attack.
  P.33 did not arrive at 0700 as ordered.
  S.S. DURHAM sailed independently for Gibraltar.
  9 Swordfish made unsuccessful attack on northbound convoy of 3 large M.V.s.  Released 2 torpedoes.  No hits claimed.

22nd August    P.33 reported as overdue

23rd August    UNIQUE returned from patrol northwest of Tripoli, having sunk 14,000 ton ESPERIA.
  5 Swordfish took off to attack M.V. off Tunisian coast but turned back with overheated engines.

24th August    P.32 reported overdue
  4 Swordfish searched area East Coast Sicily but failed to find target.
  FARNDALE completed refit and carried out sea trials.

25th August    TAKU sailed for Gibraltar and United Kingdom.

26th August    DEUCALION sailed at 1100 for Gibraltar.
  FARNDALE sailed at 2000 for Gibraltar.

27th August    UPHOLDER returned from patrol off Marittimo, having sunk a ship thought to be Italian Fleet Auxiliary TARVISIO, a 2000 ton M.V., and obtained an extremely doubtful hit on a cruiser.
  9 Swordfish left to attack convoy near Lampedusa.  Owing to weather, only 1 torpedo was fired, which was thought to be a hit, as red glow was observed by other aircraft.  One Swordfish crashed on taking off.  Crew safe.

29th August    UPHOLDER and URSULA brought to short notice and sailed to intercept convoy east of Tripoli.
  9 Swordfish despatched to attack convoy of 6 Destroyers and 3 M.V.s south of Cape Spartivento.  Owing to effective smoke screen only 1 torpedo was released which was believed to hit an 8000 ton M.V.

30th August    5 Swordfish attacked M.V. of 1500 tons, 20 miles west of Lampedusa, steering N.W.  One torpedo hit and one probably hit.

31st August    UTMOST returned from patrol on Calabrian coast.  Unsuccessful attack on a convoy and blew up a railway bridge.  
    5 Swordfish carried out search off Syracuse, but failed to find target.



The chief events during the month have been:

(i). The increasing success of the attack on the Italy to Tripoli shipping route.
(ii). The successful completed of Operation STYLE
(iii). The attempt to pass ships, ex SUBSTANCE convoy, to the westward without escort

(i). Attack on Italian Shipping

(a).  By Submarines.  During the month, 12 patrols were carried out by the 10th Submarine Flotilla (and TRIUMPH).  During the course of these patrols, the following successes were obtained.
  6 ships totaling 50,000 tons (approximately) are believed to have been sunk.
  1 cruiser – almost certainly BOLZANO – was damaged and subsequently seen to be beached near Messina.
  1 ship – the AQUITANIA, 4971 tons, was damaged and reported in tow.
  1 destroyer was probably hit.
  In addition, two successful train wrecking operations were carried out from one of which, unfortunately, some of the landing party failed to return.
  The above results were not achieved without serious loss, and P.32 and P.33 of the Flotilla, and CACHALOT on passage from Malta to Alexandria were sunk.

(b). Swordfish of 830 Squadron.  16 sorties were carried out during the month.  In the course of these operations, 6 ships of estimated 43,000 tons were claimed as sunk.  One of the ships of 13,000 tons may have been a hospital ship.  In addition, a further 3 ships totaling 17,000 tons and a destroyer, were claimed as damaged.  No aircraft were lost due to enemy action.

(ii). Operation STYLE
  At 1000 on August 2nd, (n.b. crossed out:  Vice Admiral Commanding 15th Cruiser Squadron in) HERMIONE with ARETHUSA, MANXMAN, and destroyer escort arrived bringing Army and Air Force reinforcements who had been left behind at Gibraltar as a result of the H.T. LEINSTER grounding and being unable to take part in Operation SUBSTANCE.  On passage, H.M.S. HERMIONE had rammed an Italian submarine.
  The Force, together, with H.M.S. FARNDALE, sailed again to westward at 1630, but FARNDALE developed further defects and had to return.

(iii). Two ships ex SUBSTANCE convoy, S.S. DURHAM and S.S. DEUCALION were sailed on the 21st and 26th respectively, to the westward unescorted.  The latter was covered to some extent by H.M.S. FARNDALE who was sailed later on the same day at higher speed.  Both merchant ships were routed through Tunisian waters and both ships caught and exploded antennae mines in their paravanes during this part of their passage.  DURHAM was holed but DEUCALION was not and although both ships were damaged, neither suffered any marked reduction in speed.
  DEUCALION was unsuccessfully attacked next day by torpedo aircraft and had the satisfaction of shooting down one.  Both ships arrived safely at Gibraltar but in view of the attention they had received from Italian forces, it was considered that both route and method were compromised and further sailings were therefore cancelled.



(a).  Total number of raids……………………30
  Including night raids…………………..18
(b). “Warning” to “All Clear”…………………18 hours, 38 minutes
  Average……………………….38 minutes
(c). “Raiders Passed” to “All Clear”…………1 hour, 0 minutes
  Average………………………..2 minutes
(d). “Warning” to “Raiders Passed”…………17 hours, 38 minutes
  Average………………………..36 minutes
(e). Number of blank days……………………15

Raids affecting Dockyard and Naval Establishments

Damage Sustained

Raid No. 806  One H.E. bomb fell off the roadway at the back of No. 55 Store, North Entrance to Corradino Tunnel.  Crater about 15’ by 4’, damaging main drains.  Superficial damaged to Storehouses 55 to 59A.  Damage to electric and telephone services in this area was remedied by the following day.  A bomb at Polversita Gate damaged E.H.T. Cables to Rinella.  Repairs completed by the following day.

Raid No. 813  Duty Tug, No. 2 Fire Float, and one Dockyard Fire Engine were sent to attend at an outbreak of fire at 12 Bridge Wharf, Marsa.  The Fire Engine gave assistance in extinguishing the fire.  The Tug and Fire Float were not required.

Raid No. 824 Five small incendiaries fell in Dockyard area.  Small fires were quickly extinguished and there was no appreciable damage.

Raid No. 826 About 35 small incendiaries fell in the Dockyard area, including R.N. Victualling Yard, Boiler Wharf, and the back of the N.A. Depot.  Damage caused was negligible, as the incendiaries were quickly dealt with before they had time to start fires.  About a dozen fell in the Marsa area, which were similarly dealt with.

About 50 unexploded or partially burnt small incendiaries were recovered from the Dockyard and Marsa after Raids 824 and 826.

There were no casualties during the month.

  (sgd)  W.T.R. Ford

Med. 1737/00208
  Forwarded for the information of Their Lordships

Office of the Commander in Chief
Mediterranean Station,
25th September 1941        (sgd) A.B. CUNNINGHAM

With reference to Part II, para (iii) (b), the Enemy Shipping Losses Assessment Committee have made the following assessments for the Naval Air Actions during September 1941:

  SUNK                                 1 Ship           6338
  SERIOUS DAMAGED        7 ships        43,000
  DAMAGED                         2 ships        14,000



Date………10th October 1941    Malta No. 349/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean


  With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st to 30th September 1941 is forwarded:

1st Sept.    5 Swordfish searched area to eastward fro northbound convoy without success.
  UPHOLDER returned from interception of convoy east of Tripoli.  Convoy sighted and attacked without success.

2nd Sept.    URSULA returned from interception of convoy east of Tripoli.  Escort only sighted.
  TRIUMPH returned from operations on north coast of Sicily.  Viaduct blown up and 6 Italian fishermen brought to Malta after their craft had been mistaken for an E boat and sunk.  One hit claimed on a cruiser at northern entrance of Messina Straits.
  9 Swordfish carried out sweep east of Cape Spartivento.  Located convoy 7 Destroyers and 5 M.V.s.  One ship claimed sunk and 2 damaged.  8 torpedoes released.  All Swordfish returned.

3rd Sept.    3 Swordfish left for Tripoli and released one torpedo and bombs at Destroyer outside harbour.  One hit claimed with torpedo and one with bombs.

4th Sept.    UNBEATEN returned from patrol in Straits of Messina (S) having sunk a schooner Q ship.  Vichy convoys and hospital ship sighted but nothing else.
  3 Swordfish, two with torpedo and one with mine, left for Tripoli.  Mine laid outside.  Torpedoes not released.

5th Sept.    OSIRIS sailed for Alexandria with stores and passengers.
  Defensive minelaying in Marsaxlokk completed.

6th Sept.    7 Swordfish took off to attack northbound convoy of 3 M.V.s and 3 destroyers.  Found convoy 30 miles north of Pantellaria at 2346.  One M.V. claimed as sunk, and one damaged.  5 torpedoes released.

7th Sept.    4 Swordfish left to sweep for tanker off Augusta, but failed to find her.

9th Sept.    Operation STATUS Phase I completed, but only 1st Flight arrived.  2nd Flight did not start, owing to failure of guiding Blenheim to appear.

10th Sept.    2 Swordfish searched to west of Malta without result.

11th Sept.    7 Swordfish left to attack convoy of 6 M.V.s and 7 destroyers off Tunisian coast.  5 torpedoes were fired.  Results claimed are 1 M.V. 6000 tons, sinking, and 1 M.V. 8000 tons damaged.

12th Sept.    Operation STATUS Phase II (postponed)
  7 Swordfish left to attack convoy attacked previous night.  6 torpedoes fired claimed at least 2 hits.  
    UTMOST proceeded to search for missing Blenheim’s crew.

14th Sept.    UTMOST returned, having rescued Blenheim’s crew.

16th Sept.    URSULA, UNBEATEN, UPHOLDER, UPRIGHT proceeded for interception of fast convoy to east of Tripoli.
  TRIUMPH sailed for special service and patrol in Adriatic.
  7 Swordfish laid 6 mines in entrance to Tripoli harbour.

17th Sept.    6 Swordfish attacked southbound convoy in vicinity of Marittimo.  3 torpedoes were fired and 1 probably hit claimed.

18th Sept.    8 Swordfish attacked a northbound convoy with torpedoes and bombs.  4 torpedoes were fired, but results were unobserved owing to bad visibility.

19th Sept.    EMPIRE GUILLEMOT arrived safely. (Operation PROPELLER)
  5 Swordfish carried out a sweep off Kerkenah.  (rest of paragraph lined out:  The convoy was located but owing to bad visibility and the smoke screen results were not clearly observed.  Three possible hits are claimed, resulting in one merchant vessel probably and one possibly being damaged.

20th Sept.    URSULA, UNBEATEN, UPHOLDER, UPRIGHT returned from convoy interception east of Tripoli.  UPHOLDER sank one ship of NEPTUNIA class and damaged a second whose fate is not known.  URSULA got one hit on VULCANIA.

21st Sept.    6 Swordfish left to attack convoy in visibility of Lampedusa.  Two torpedoes were fired, but the target proved to be Lampion Rock.  The convoy was not located.  One Swordfish crashed on landing.  Crew were all killed.  Swordfish and torpedo were completely wrecked.

22nd Sept.    5 Swordfish attack convoy stopped off Kuriat.  Two torpedoes fired and 2 hits on two separate M.V.s were claimed.

24th Sept.    6 Swordfish with mines and one with flares proceeded to Tripoli where mines were successfully laid off the entrance to the harbour.

26th Sept.    S.S. MELBOURNE STAR sailed for Gibraltar at 1130.
  4 Swordfish laid mines off the Entrance to Palermo Harbour

27th Sept.    PORT CHALMERS and CITY OF PRETORIA sailed for Gibraltar at 1100.

28th Sept.    Operation HALBERD successfully completed, with the exception of the loss of IMPERIAL STAR in Skerki Channel.  No casualties.


(n.b. remainder of pages for September 1941 not in file)


Date………22nd November 1941    Malta No. 421/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean

  With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st to 31st October 1941 is forwarded:


1st    THRASHER arrived from patrol in Gulf of Sirte.  Carried out two unsuccessful attacks.  Much A/S and minelaying activity off Benghazi.
  SOKOL arrived from Gibraltar.

2nd    TRUSTY and UPHOLDER returned from patrol off Cape Vito and Naples.  Enemy battle fleet not sighted.

3rd    UTMOST returned from patrol north of Messina.  Enemy cruisers were sighted, but UTMOST was nearly rammed by a destroyer and could not attack.  5000 ton M.V. hit off Marittimo.
  3 Swordfish left to attack enemy M.V. west of Lampedusa but returned owing to weather.

4th    UPRIGHT (n.b. shown as UPHOLDER, but corrected) returned from patrol off Rasocolino, sank a small destroyer and sighted two U boats.
  REGENT sailed at short notice to intercept convoy east of Tripoli.
  SOKOL also sailed at short notice to search for crew of missing Blenheim.
  Two Swordfish carried out A/S patrol for enemy submarines reported in vicinity of Malta, but without result.
  Seven Swordfish attacked convoy off coast of Tripoli.  Five torpedoes were expended and two M.V.s of 8000 to 10,000 and 6000 tons, respectively were left sinking.  One M.V. of 5000 tons damaged.

6th    URSULA returned from patrol south of Messina.  TRENTO and seven destroyers passed north through the Straits out of range, but enemy report broadcast was never received.
  SOKOL returned having failed to locate missing Blenheim’s crew

7th    Five Swordfish carried out search for M.V. and 2 destroyers reported earlier in day, but without result.

8th    PERSEUS arrived from patrol off Benghazi, for docking and repairs.  Two small supply ships sunk.
  P.34 arrived from United Kingdom and Gibraltar.  
    Four Swordfish attacked northbound convoy of one M.V., one schooner, and two trawlers.  Three torpedoes were dropped, two hits being claimed on the M.V. which sank.

9th    UNIQUE, SOKOL, and UPHOLDER sailed at short notice for convoy interception between Pantellaria and Lampedusa.  UPHOLDER returned with generator trouble.
  Seven Swordfish attacked southbound convoy of four M.V.s and five destroyers.  Six torpedoes were dropped and three hits claimed.  Two M.V.s were left stopped.  A second attack was carried out by the same seven Swordfish on two M.V.s and four destroyers of same convoy.  Five torpedoes were expended and one hit seen.  1 M.V. left stopped.

11th    Five Swordfish left to attack two M.V.s and one destroyer southbound off Marittimo.  The leader lost contact with the torpedo aircraft, who returned to base with torpedoes.  The leader located the convoy and bombed the leading M.V.

12th    RORQUAL arrived from minelaying in the Aegean.
  SOKOL returned from patrol off Lampedusa, having seen aircraft attack on convoy at long range.
  Eight Swordfish took off to attack convoy in area of Pantellaria, but failed to locate target, owing to A.S.V. breakdown.

13th    THORN left on patrol and Alexandria.
  Seven Swordfish attacked convoy one M.V., one destroyer and one escort vessel south of Lampedusa.  Five torpedoes dropped.  Two hits claimed on M.V., which was low in the water when last seen.

14th    UNBEATEN, URGE, UPRIGHT sailed at short notice for operation off Cape Passero.
  Five Swordfish took off to attack one M.B. damaged, being towed by tug on a southerly course in vicinity of Kerkenah Bank.  One torpedo dropped, result not observed, but 30 minutes later only the tug was visible.

15th    Seven Swordfish carried out search south east of Sicily without result.

16th    TRUANT arrived from Gibraltar and U.S.A.
  CLAN MACDONALD and EMPIRE GUILLEMOT sailed independently for Gibraltar at 1000.  EMPIRE GUILLEMOT returned later with engine trouble, remained off Filfola for the night.
  Three Swordfish on A/S patrol sighted nothing.
  UNBEATEN, URGE, UPRIGHT returned from Cape Passero, having sighted nothing but a hospital ship.

17th    PORPOISE arrived from Gibraltar and United Kingdom.
    URSULA, P.34, and RORQUAL sailed fro operations off Kuriat, but RORQUAL returned with defects.
  Seven Swordfish located convoy 15 miles south of Pantellaria.  Three torpedo dropped.  Two hits claimed.

18th    TRUANT proceeded on patrol in Adriatic.
  RORQUAL left for minelaying thence to Gibraltar.
  Six Swordfish attacked convoy of four M.V.s and four destroyers on a course of 090 degrees in position 34N, 12-48E.  Four torpedoes were dropped and three hits observed.  Uncertain whether one or two M.V.s were hit, owing to bad visibility.
  828 Squadron of eleven Albacores arrived, ex operation CALL BOY.

19th    URSULA returned to reload, having hit one M.V. and sunk another in convoy.

20th    P.31 arrived from Gibraltar and United Kingdom.
  PORPOISE sailed for Alexandria with stores and personnel.
  Four Swordfish carried out search east of Kerkennah without result.

21st    UNIQUE returned from patrol off Naples having sunk a “CITTA” A.M.S.
  AURORA, PENELOPE, LANCE, and LIVELY (Force K) arrived.

22nd    EMPIRE GUILLEMOT, DUNEDIN STAR, and CITY OF LINCOLN sailed for Gibraltar at 1000.

24th    TETRARCH arrived from Alexandria with stores and kerosene.
  CLAN FERGUSON sailed independently for Gibraltar.

25th    THUNDERBOLT arrived from patrol for docking.
  CLAN FERGUSON was recalled owing to her being attacked by enemy aircraft sixty miles west of Malta.  Entered harbour at 0900.  No damage sustained.
  Force K sailed to intercept three enemy destroyers.  
    Five Swordfish carried out search for tanker and escort vessel in vicinity of Kerkennah, without result.

26th    Force K returned to harbour.  Nothing sighted.

28th    URGE returned from patrol off Kuriat having sunk a 1500 ton M.V. and broken the back of a 4000 ton M.V. anchored off Kuriat.
  URSULA returned from patrol off Calabrian coast.  No ships were sighted, but a spirited bombardment of a railway bridge was carried out in the face of opposition from two machine guns and two riflemen.  The appearance of an armoured car from the local garage, a flying boat and the fact that the gun jammed caused URGE to withdraw.
  Seven Albacores attacked Comiso with bombs.  Hits were caused on hangers and officers’ mess.  One Albacore failed to return.

30th    Three Albacores attacked the railway junction at Conicalli, with bombs.  One failed to locate target and dropped bomb on main road east of Palermo.  
    Another four Albacores dropped bombs on the sulphur factory at Licate with good results.



(i). The arrival of Force K (consisting of AURORA (Senior Officer), PENELOPE, LANCE, and LIVELY)
(ii). The heavy losses inflicted on enemy convoys up to the 18th October by air and submarine attacks.
(iii). The complete cessation of enemy convoy traffic to Tripoli after the 18th October.
(iv). The arrival of 828 Squadron, consisting of eleven Albacores.

(i). The Arrival of Force K
  Force K arrived from westward on October 21st, after an uneventful passage.  The force is now based at Malta to intensify the attack on the Libyan convoy route.  They carried out one abortive sweep during the month.

(a).  Submarines.  During the month fourteen patrols were carried out by submarines of the Tenth Flotilla and seven by submarines of the First Flotilla sailing from Malta.
  During these patrols, twelve ships were sunk and a further our damaged.  Of these, the five sunk by the Tenth Flotilla totaled approximately 12,000 tons and the two damaged 10,800 tons.
  (b). Air Attacks.  During the month, 830 Squadron made fifteen sorties and 828 Squadron two bombing raids.
  As a result of 830 Squadron raids eight merchant ships totaling 48,000 are claimed as sunk and five merchant ships totaling 34,000 tons are claimed as damaged.  The bombing raids carried out by 828 Squadron were in the nature of night flying training.

(iii). After the convoy – which presumably left Naples on 15th October – had been very heavily mauled on its passage south, the Italians appear to have stopped all traffic between Italy and Tripoli.
  The arrival of Force K at Malta may also have been a weighty argument in leading them to this decision.

(iv). The arrival of 828 Squadron.  828 Squadron, consisting of eleven Albacores, was sent from England to reinforce 830 Squadron.  
    Unfortunately, owing to their lack of training in night flying and particularly night torpedo dropping, they are at present of no value in this respect.



(a).  Total number of raids 859 – 914 = 56
  Including night raids    24
  Own planes     3
  Blank days    7
(b).  Total time, “Warning” to “All Clear”        29 hours, 34 minutes
  Average per raid         32 minutes
(c).    Total time, “Raiders Passed” to “All Clear”    2 hours, 32 minutes
  Average per raid         3 minutes
(d).    Total time “Warning” to “Raiders Passed”    27 hours, 2 minutes
  Average per raid         29 minutes

Raids Affecting Dockyard and Naval Establishments

Damage in Dockyard.  The only damaged sustained was in No. 879, when an H.E. bomb exploded at the southwest corner of Club House Stores, causing some structural damage to surrounding walls and windows in Naval Armament Depot

(b).    Number 2 Fire Float was sent to Marina Pinto during Raid No. 905 to attend a small fire.  The Fire Float was not required and returned.

(c).    During Raid No. 909 a stick of H.E. bombs struck Fort San Salvatore, causing a heavy fire in the kerosene dump there.  Dockyard Police Fire Brigades, assisted by the Army and Civil Police, worked on the fire for four days.
  Remarks:  A special whistle was institutes in the Dockyard to give warning to “Take Cover” during daylight raids.  This procedure was stared on October 16th.

     (Sgd) W.T.R. Ford
             Vice Admiral, Malta

Noted.  October 1st to 18th was one of the peak periods of 830 Squadron’s activities.  The following were attributed to 830 Squadron in the earlier period March to September 1941 inclusive, by the Anti Shipping Assessment Committee:

Number of ships attacked:  67
Number of ships sunk:       15 (80,849 tons)
Number of ships damaged: 23 (151,000 tons)

  (sgd)   Director of Naval Air Division
       26 January 1942


Date………6th January 1942    Malta No. 6/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean
With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st to 30th November 1941, is forwarded:


1st    Six F.A.A. aircraft took off to attack convoy to westward but failed to locate.  One aircraft failed to return due to engine failure.

2nd    Four Albacores sent to attack sulphur factory at Licata with results.

3rd    UTMOST returned from special service in Gulf of Hammammet and patrol off Kuriat, where the only target was M.V. aground after URGE’s attack.  As work of unloading seemed to be going on a torpedo was fired (which hit the bottom) and 50 rounds of H.E. were fired.
  SOKOL returned from patrol off Naples, having obtained hit on CITTO DE PALERMO and destroyed a 4000 ton M.V.  off Vito by gunfire.

4th    TRUSTY returned from patrol off Cephalonia, having sunk one ship and gathered much useful information.

5th    Five Albacores bombed Augusta and Licata – 6000 lbs of bombs and 80 lbs. Incendiaries being dropped.

6th    Five Albacores attacked submarine base at Augusta with good results.

7th    UPHOLDER sailed to patrol off Cephalonia, and sank a U boat on the way.  
    Four Swordfish attempted to attack one M.V. east of Malta but failed to find target.

8th    Force K sailed at 1730 to intercept convoy in Ionian Sea.
  Five Swordfish attacked Submarine Base at Augusta.  Large fire started.

9th    PORPOISE arrived from Alexandria with naval armament stores and kerosene.
  Force K returned to harbour, having sunk two destroyers and damaged one destroyer, and ten M.V.s (n.b. amended in pen, having sunk one destroyer and damaged two destroyers, and 7 M.V.s).  No casualties or damage on our side.
  Five Albacores attacked Augusta with good results.

10th    UPHOLDER arrived, having sunk one submarine and two destroyers (amended in pen, submarine not confirmed and one destroyer (LIBECCIO).
  Four Albacores attacked Catania aerodrome.  One aircraft machine gunned Ragusa.
  Eight Swordfish carried out search in vicinity of Messina, without result.

11th    Three Albacores despatched Catania returned with engine trouble without reaching target.
  Seven Swordfish left to attack convoy to westwards.  Three returned early with engine trouble, and four failed to return at all.

12th PORPOISE sailed for Alexandria with passengers and stores.

13th REGENT arrived from Alexandria with passengers, stores, and kerosene.  (n.b. REGENT’s starboard engine out on 12 November.  She arrived only on port engine.)

18th    PERSEUS returned with defective hydroplane gear.
    Force K sailed as a diversion for Operation CHIEFTAN.
  Four Swordfish laid mines in vicinity of Marsala Point, Sicily.

19th    OSIRIS arrived having hit a ship off Candia.
  Force K returned to harbour at 0700

20th    URSULA returned from patrol off Misurata, having unsuccessfully attacked a small convoy.
  Six Swordfish laid mines outside Tripoli Harbour and at the same time, three Albacores created diversion with bombs and three other Albacores laid mines.

21st    URGE returned from patrol off Cephalonia, having unsuccessfully attacked two escorted M.V.s at long range.
  Operation LANDMARK commenced – convoy and Force K sailed at 1300.
  Four Albacores carried out A/S patrol south of Malta.
  Four Swordfish and four Albacores attacked convoy and escort 12 miles east of Cape Spartivento.  Four torpedoes were dropped and one hit claimed on a cruiser and one on a M.V. of 7000 tons.

22nd    Operation LANDMARK completed.  Convoy and Force K arrived in harbour at 0700.
  Six Albacores attacked Tripoli, two with bombs and four with mines.  The mines were dropped along the coast west of Sicily, as aircraft failed to locate correct target.

23rd    Force K sailed by Admiralty orders to intercept enemy convoy.

24th    “ASIA” put into force on receipt of an aircraft report of fifteen vessels forty miles west of Gozo steering towards Malta.  All officers and men recalled from leave.  Reverted to normal at 1700.  Aircraft report probably Lampedusa or fishing boats.

25th    Force K arrived, having sunk two tankers (CAT).  Force K sailed again at 1800.

26th    Force K arrived at 1730 having failed to intercept any enemy M.V.s

27th    UTMOST returned from patrol off Del Armi, having sunk TRIESTE.
  SOKOL returned from patrol off Navarino having got two hits on a small destroyer inside the harbour, and two hits on a convoy after they left harbour.
  Five Albacores attacked Castel Benito aerodrome.

28th    Force K sailed at 1400.
  Five Albacores attacked Castel Benito aerodrome.

29th    Force B (AJAX (C.S. 7), NEPTUNE, KINGSTON, KIMBERLEY) arrived.
  Force K arrived.

30th    OLYMPUS arrived from Gibraltar with petrol and stores.
  URSULA and REGENT sailed for Gibraltar and United Kingdom to refit.
  Forces B and K (less LANCE) sailed on operation at 0500.



(i).    The highly successful operations of Force K against enemy shipping.
(ii)    The continued success of submarines operating from Malta
(iii)    The absence of suitable targets for torpedo bomber attack.
(iv)    The arrival of Force B
(v)    Operation LARK (n.b. correct in pen to LANDMARK)

(i).  Operations of Force K
  Force K made seven sorties during the month.  Of these two were in the nature of diversions and of short duration.  Two were abortive.  One was sill in progress at the end of the month.  The remaining two sorties were extremely successful, ten merchant ships at least being sunk, together with two destroyers in the operation of the 9th/10th November and two important merchant vessels in the operation of the 24th November.

(ii)  Submarine Operations
  Twelve patrols were carried out during the month by the Tenth Flotilla and four by the First Flotilla operating from Malta.  In these patrols, the Tenth Flotilla claim to have sunk seven ships, consisting of 1 cruiser TRIESTE class, 1 cruiser class unknown, 3 destroyers, 1 submarine, and 1 merchant vessel of about 2000 tons.  The size of the merchant ship sunk by the First Flotilla Submarine is not known.

(iii)  Fleet Air Arm attacks
  During the month, 828 and 830 Squadrons made fifteen and two sorties, respectively, but only one attack by each squadron was a torpedo attack.
  828 Squadron carried out ten bombing, four mining, and one torpedo operation and 830 one torpedo and one mining operation.  The results of the torpedo attack are not definitely known, but it is believed that hits were obtained on one cruiser and at least one merchant ship.

(iv)  Force B
  Force B, consisting of H.M.S. AJAX, flying the flag of Rear Admiral H.B.T. Rawlings, Commanding Seventh Cruiser Squadron with NEPTUNE, KINGSTON, and KIMBERLEY arrived Malta on 29th November.

(v)  Operation LANDMARK
  A convoy consisting of BRECONSHIRE, SYDNEY STAR, CLAN FERGUSON, and AJAX, escorted by Force K and GLOXINIA was sailed to the southward at 1300 21st November to simulate an expedition leaving for the Tripolitanian coast.  They returned at dawn the following day.  There is no conclusive evidence that they were sighted by the enemy.



(a).  Total number of raids (915-990) = 76
  Including night raids        40
  Blank days        6
  (note:  several of these alarms were for “own planes” but not recorded as such)

(b).  total time, “Warning’ to “All Clear”        35 hours, 13 minutes
  Average time per raid        28 minutes

(c). Total time “Raiders Passed” to “All Clear:    1 hour, 30 minutes
  (to raid 955)
  Average per raid        2 minutes

(d). Total time “Warning” to “Raiders Passed”    33 hours, 43 minutes
  Average per raid         26 minutes

(e). Raids affecting Dockyard and Naval Establishments
Raid No. 916    Furniture in store at Manoel Island (No. 6 Store, Cavalier) sustained damage.  The majority of this was on deposit from the Dockyard school.

Raid No. 926    A bomb exploded in Msida Creek near the Torpedo Depot, causing damage to windows, skylights, and roofs.  This bomb struck a heavy mooring spar, which probably accentuated the black effect through the earlier detonation.

(f). No casualties were sustained and there was no damaged in the Dockyard.

(g).  Telephones between R.A.F. operations Room and Area Headquarters, Dockyard, were reorganised on November 20th.  As a result, Dockyard now received Observed, Warnings, and Raiders Passed on a Concentrator Line from “Vex” exchange.  This arrangement is very satisfactory.
  When this came into force, Dockyard no longer waited for an official “All Clear” but gave a local “All Clear”, provided no damage had been reported.

  (sgd)   W.T.R. Ford


Date………22nd January 1942    Malta No. 49/0702/19/13
To…………Commander in Chief, Mediterranean
With reference to Med. 94/22 of 3rd February, 1940, the following Diary of Events in the Malta Command from 1st to 31st December 1941, is forwarded:


1st    Force B arrived, having had no luck and sighted nothing.

2nd    Force K arrived, having intercepted and sunk one destroyer, one tanker, and one M.V.
  Four Albacores left for operations, but returning owing to weather.

3rd    OLYMPUS sailed for Gibraltar with stores and passengers
  UPHOLDER returned from patrol off Colonne, having unsuccessfully attacked returning cruisers and MANTOVANI.

4th    P.31 returned from patrol off Colonne, having most probably sunk a cruiser.

5th    EDDY detonated a “Red” mine in position 45 degrees St. Elmo ? mile.
  BRECONSHIRE, escorted by KINGSTON and KIMBERLEY, sailed fro Alexandria at 1700.
     AJAX, NEPTUNE, and LIVELY sailed on operations at 2000.

6th    Five Albacores attacked Castel Benito aerodrome with bombs and incendiaries

7th    Three Swordfish left to attack one M.V. west of Malta, but failed to locate target.

8th    Force B – also, KANDAHAR and JAGUAR, and P.34 arrived.  The latter reporting having hit with one torpedo a 4000 ton M.V. in entrance to Straits of Messina on 5th December.  Counter attack by 38 depth charges.

9th    NEPTUNE, AURORA, PENELOPE, JAGUAR, and KANDAHAR sailed to intercept enemy forces at 1830.
  Seven Swordfish and five Albacores searched for two enemy cruisers but failed to locate.

10th    NEPTUNE and Force K returned, nil result, enemy having turned back.

11th    Four Swordfish carried out search for shipping in vicinity of Messina, but sighted nothing.
  Albacores bombed Castel Benito aerodrome.

12th    SOKOL, UPHOLDER, P.31, and P.34 sailed at short notice for patrol in Central Ionian.  
    Seven Swordfish and three Albacores carried out shipping search between Cape Bon and Pantellaria.  One Albacore witnesses action between our destroyers and enemy force, and attacked half (n.b. as recorded) an enemy cruiser.

13th    SIKH, LEGION, MAORI, ISAAC SWEERS arrived from Gibraltar, having sunk the Italian cruisers ALBERTO DI GUISSANO and ALBERICO DA BARBIANO, and probably one torpedo boat, having heavily hit another torpedo boat.

15th    UNIQUE arrived from patrol off Cape Del Armi, her attack on a battleship frustrated by heavy counter attack.
  Six Swordfish in shipping search to the west made no sightings.

16th    Group I sailed for Alexandria at 1100.
  Force K sailed to rendezvous with BRECONSHIRE at 1800.
  Five Albacores bombed Catania aerodrome, while five Swordfish with torpedoes attacked and it a M.V. of 4000 tons, escorted by one destroyer in position 098 degrees Malta, 60 miles.

17th    NEPTUNE, KANDAHAR, and JAGUAR sailed at 1500 on operations.
  Two mines exploded by SWONA in fairway to Grand Harbour.
  Four Swordfish located a tanker with destroyer escort, and hit the former with two torpedoes.

18th    UPRIGHT returned from patrol having sunk certainly one and probably two northbound M.V. in Gulf of Taranto.
  Forces K and B, DECOY, HAVOCK, and BRECONSHIRE arrived.
  Six Albacores attacked a convoy of three cruisers and three M.V.s approaching Tripoli.  One Albacore did not return.
  Five Swordfish (n.b. pen notation.  These were Albacores)  left to attack same convoy, but failed to locate target.  One Albacore crashed on landing.  Crew hurt.

19th    UTMOST returned from patrol in Gulf of Taranto, having obtained a hit on a GARIBALDI class M.V.
  AURORA, PENELOPE, HAVOCK, LANCE, and LIVELY arrived.  PENELOPE and AURORA both damaged by mines.  NEPTUNE sunk 30 miles off Tripoli and KANDAHAR sinking.  JAGUAR sailed to rescue survivors.

20th    JAGUAR arrived with KANDAHAR’s survivors.
  URGE returned from patrol in Straits of Messina.  Battleship hit, did NOT pass to eastward after attack.

21st    OLYMPUS arrived with petrol and stores from Gibraltar

22nd    Four Albacores bombed Castel Benito aerodrome.

23rd    Four Swordfish and five Albacores carried out shipping search without result.

24th    Group II arrived from Gibraltar, minefield off Grand Harbour being swept by all sweepers available.  
    Headquarters, Lascaris, near missed by two heavy bombs.
  Three Albacores and four Swordfish laid mines off Tripoli

25th    Three Swordfish and four Albacores laid mines off Tripoli

26th    OLYMPUS sailed for Gibraltar with passengers and stores.
M.E. 8, consisting of M.V.s AJAX, SYDNEY STAR, CITY OF CALCUTTA, and CLAN FERGUSON, escorted by Rear Admiral Commanding, Seventh Cruiser Squadron in AJAX, DIDO, LANCE, LIVELY, GURKHA, ARROW, FOXHOUND, and NESTOR sailed fro Alexandria art 1830.
Four Albacores laid mines off Zuara.

27th    Three Albacores laid mines off Tripoli

29th    URGE, UPHOLDER, and BERYL having machine gunned by M.E. 109s.  Commanding Officer (LT Norman) of UPHOLDER wounded and BERYL rendered unfit for sea with minor damage and about six wounded.  Gozo boat set on fire and sunk in St George’s Bay.
  Three Albacores laid mines outside Zuara.

31st    ABINGDON machine gunner by M.E. 109s.  Six wounded.



(i). The operation which resulted in the loss of H.M. Ships NEPTUNE and KANDAHAR
(ii) The sinking of two Italian cruisers by Group II (ink correction to Group I)  destroyers on passage to Malta from Gibraltar.
(iii). The sailing of BRECONSHIRE to Alexandria and her return to Malta.
(iv). The sailing of M.E. 8 to Alexandria
(v). The increased sale of enemy air attacks at the end of the month.
(vi). The Operations of 830 and 828 Squadrons
(vii) The Operations of the Tenth Submarine Flotilla.

(i). Operation resulting in loss of H.M. Ships NEPTUNE and KANDAHAR. 18th-19th December 1941
  H.M. Ships NEPTUNE (Captain R. O’Conor, Senior Officer), AURORA, PENELOPE, KANDAHAR, LANCE, LIVELY, and HAVOCK were despatched at nightfall of 18 December to intercept an important Italian convoy which had been sighted early, heading for Tripoli.  It was appreciated that if the convoy was not delayed it was likely to be at the entrance to Tripoli before out force could intercept, but it was hoped that attacks by torpedo bomber and bomber aircraft, which were arranged to take place during the night, would have the usual effect of delaying the enemy.
  A special Wellington was cooperating to lead our air and surface striking force on to the convoy.
  The enemy’s convoy and escorting warships were discovered and reported by the Wellington split into groups and covering many miles of water to the eastward of Tripoli.
  Albacores and Swordfish aircraft were sent to attack.  Although it is believed that only one ship was damaged by them, their attack had the expected result of disorganising and slowing up the Italian convoy.  As a result, and also probably because of mines which had been laid in the entrance to the harbour, the convoy did not enter Tripoli till late the following day.
  Unfortunately, the information regarding the position of the convoy did not reach NEPTUNE before disaster had overtaken out force.  Having proceeded at maximum speed towards a point east of Tripoli when they had just eased down on reaching the 100 fathom line when NEPTUNE struck a mine and was brought to a stop.  The remaining ships sheered off to port and starboard and then turned back to get clear of the minefield.  Whilst engaged in getting clear, AURORA and PENELOPE both struck mines but were able to steam.  
    AURORA, who was fairly badly damaged, set course for Malta at her best speed of 16 knots, escorted by HAVOCK and LANCE, whiles PENELOPE stood by to tow NEPTUNE when she had drifted clear of the minefield.
  KANDAHAR entered the minefield and attempted to close NEPTUNE to take off personnel, but whilst engaged in this, struck a mine and had her stern blown off.  NEPTUNE meanwhile had drifted down onto more mines, and when the third or fourth mine exploded under her, she turned turtle and sank.
  Nothing could be done to approach KANDAHAR through the minefield and PENELOPE with LIVELY reluctantly returned to Malta.
  The following day signals were received from KANDAHAR stating that she was still afloat, and she was also sighted by reconnaissance aircraft.
  At nightfall on the 19th, JAGUAR was despatched to endeavour to rescue survivors and, if conditions were favourable, tow KANDAHAR back to Malta.  In spite of the assistance of a special Wellington, it was not until 0400 that JAGUAR found went alongside KANDAHAR, bow to bow
  By this time the sea had become very rough and after a very few moments, it was apparent that this method of rescuing survivors must be abandoned.
  JAGUAR then lay off from KANDAHAR and the crew of the latter swam across.  KANDAHAR was then sunk by torpedo and JAGUAR returned to Malta with eight officers and 157 ratings of the ship’s company, including the Captain, Commander W.G.A. Robson, D.S.O.

(ii) Sinking of the Italian Cruisers
  H.M.S. SIKH (Commander G.H. Stokes, Senior Officer), LEGION, GHURKHA, and Royal Netherlands ship ISAAC SWEERS on passage from Gibraltar to Malta fell in with two Italian cruisers accompanied by two torpedo boats in the vicinity of Cape Bon and sank both the cruisers and one or both of the torpedo boats.
  As the British force was approaching Cape Bon from the westward during the night of 12th/13th December they observed the signalling lights of ships – which, on the information received, they assumed to be hostile – passing to the southward behind the high land of Cape Bon.  SIKH led the destroyers round Cape Bon keeping as close as possible to the shore and as they turned south round the point they were astonished to find the Italian force returning to the northward.  There was no sea room to allow of a swing to starboard to fire torpedoes, and all fire had to be withheld whilst the two forces rapidly closed one another on opposite courses at very close range.  SIKH fired her torpedoes at the leading cruiser, and, as her torpedoes hit, opened fire with her gun armament at the second cruiser.  Our force was well hidden against the background of Cape Bon and the Italians appeared to have been taken completely by surprise; one salvo from the second cruiser which whistled over our line and struck the foreshore near Cape Bon lighthouse being their only reply to the crash of our torpedoes and the hail of fire from our line.
  The leading cruiser blew up as a result of the torpedo hits and the second cruiser was first smothered by gunfire and then struck by several torpedoes.  Both ships were left sinking, burning furiously from end to end.  In addition, one torpedo boat was sunk and one seriously damaged.

  H.M.S. BRECONSHIRE proceeded to Alexandria on 5th December and returned with oil and stores on 18th December.

(iv) Convoy M.E. 8
  This convoy of empty ships consisting of SYDNEY STAR, CITY OF CALCUTTA, AJAX, and CLAN FERGUSON was sailed to Alexandria, escorted by all available forces from Malta on 26th December.

(v). Increased enemy air activity.
  Towards the end of the month, the scale of air attack on Malta greatly increased and daylight raids became common.  Several determined attacks were made on the dockyard but fortunately without doing any major damage.  The attacks on the aerodromes were more successful and a considerable number of aircraft were burnt out on the ground.

(vi) Operations by Naval Aircraft

  (a) 828 Squadron carried out eleven operations during the month.  Of these five were bombing attacks on the aerodromes, five were minelaying operations and there was one torpedo attack on a convoy.  From this last attack, one aircraft, of which the observer was the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander D.E. Langmore, D.S.C., Royal Navy, failed to return.  Lieutenant G.M. Haynes, R.A.N., assumed command of the squadron.

  (b) 830 Squadron carried out thirteen operations during the month.  Of these three were minelaying, eight were torpedo operations and the others were A/S patrols or searches for missing personnel.
  In only two of the torpedo operations was a target located but both these were successful:  one tanker of 4 – 5000 tons was almost certainly sunk and a ship of 4 – 5000 tons hit twice and set on fire.

(vii) Operations of Submarines
  During the month twelve patrols were carried out from Malta resulting in the probably sinking of four merchant vessels (totaling 21,300 tons) and one six inch cruiser and hit his being obtained on a battleship of the LITTORIO class.



(a).  Total number of raids 1159 – 991 = 169
  Including night raids        100
  Blank days      1

(b). Total time, warning to raiders passed    191 hours, 07 minutes
  Average per raid         68 minutes

(c). Total extra time, between raiders passed and All clear in dockyard
             35 minutes

(d).  Raids affecting Dockyard and Naval Establishments

No. 1064    Some bombs in water of Marsa near BRECONSHIRE

No. 1068    Garage of old A.R.P. School on Corradino demolished

No. 1069    Bomb exploded in road over No. 54 Refuge.  Stevedores’ Store near Baulk Timber Store demolished.  Damaged to roof of Baulk Timber Store, Oxygen Plant, Garage, and adjacent buildings.  Superficial blast damage to ROWALLAN CASTLE in No. 4 Dock.  TRUSTY STAR at Sawmills Wharf sustained near miss.

No. 1093    (i).  Damage to roof buildings of Lascaris Barracks through explosion of bomb on Upper Barracca.
  (ii).  S.S. AJAX at No. 8 Grand Harbour hit through counter above water.  Bomb exploded under water.

No. 1094    Bomb fell on corner of wall above No. 72 Store near Canteen.  No. 72 Store buried in debris.  Damage to 73, 74 Stores, Manilla Spring Store, Fleet Latrines 40 and 41, Mess of B Company The Cheshire Regiment, and other buildings in vicinity.

No. 1109    Superficial blast damage near South Gate

No. 1119    Superficial blast damage along Stores Wharf

No. 1147    Direct hit on No. 31 A Latrine, head of No. 5 Dock, causing some casualties among some dockyard workmen who were sheltering there, instead of their proper refuge.

No. 1150    Superficial blast damage (windows, etc) to buildings near Sheer Bastion, through stick of bombs in Dockyard Creek.  Vittoriosa pontoon of ferry sunk

No. 1140    BERYL attacked by enemy fighters off Delimara.
No. 1157    ABINGDON attacked by enemy fighters off Delimara.
(e).  Casualties in Dockyard

No. 1147    One killed, nine injured, through direct hit on No. 31 A Latrine.  Also one seaman wounded in H.M.S. AURORA in No. 5 Dock through bomb splinters.

(f).    REMARKS
  (i).  A very marked increase in aerial activity is shown during the month.
  (ii).  Raid No. 995 marked the commencement of the long night raids with periods of six hours or more before Raiders Passed
  (iii).  The “Take Cover” whistle was sounded during forty day raids.

  (sgd) R. Leatham
             VICE ADMIRAL, MALTA

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