Attacks on Malta intensify

Sergeant Camilleri, 11th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.

Sergeant J Camilleri won the Military Medal for his part in the defence of Malta:

On several occasions between 3 April 1942 and 11 April 1942, a Heavy Anti-Aircraft position was heavily bombed when Sergeant J Camilleri, of the 11th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery, was acting as Gun Position officer. His calmness in giving orders under fire was an inspiration to the men.

On the 4 April 1942, at about 6 o'clock in the evening the position was attacked by several JU87s, many bombs falling a few yards away from the Command Post. Despite the fact that all on the position were blinded by dust, he kept the guns firing at the enemy with great effect.

In the raid on the evening of the 22 April 1942, an ammunition dump on the position was set on fire by a direct hit. Sergeant Camilleri promptly rallied some gunners, led them to the dump and managed to extinguish the fire.

The situation was being closely monitored in London where it was recognised that the relief of Malta was a priority, even if that now meant planning a major operation.

Enemy bombing of the Island was intensified, the number of sorties reaching the unprecedented total of 1,562. The heaviest attack was on 7th April, when 318 enemy aircraft were engaged.

Attacks were concentrated on Grand Harbour and Valetta, on the aerodromes at Hal Far, Luqa and Takali, and on the seaplane base at Kalafrana. The damage was extensive and included considerable destruction of civilian property. Seven aircraft were destroyed on the ground and eleven others damaged. It was noticeable, however, that there was a marked decrease in the accuracy of the enemy bombing.

The small number of available fighters intercepted the enemy on every possible occasion and destroyed 14 enemy aircraft, probably destroyed nine more and damaged 25 others, with very few losses to themselves. In addition, anti-aircraft fire destroyed 25, probably destroyed another and damaged 18 more.

From the Air Situation Report for the week as reported to the British War Cabinet.

Heavy air raids on Malta on the 4th, 5th and 8th caused the following casualties :—

On the 4th the Greek Submarine Glaucos was sunk and H.M. Cruiser Penelope, H.M. Destroyer Lance and H.M. Minesweeper A bingdon were damaged.

On the 5th H.M. Destroyers Gallant and Kingston were damaged; the former had to be beached. H.M. Ships Lance and Abingdon were again seriously damaged. There was considerable damage to the dockyard.

On the 8th there was extensive damage to the harbour area. Kingston received a direct hit, which did not explode, a tug was sunk and an Admiralty oiler and two minesweeping trawlers damaged. Admiralty House was largely demolished.

From the Naval Situation Report for the week as reported to the British War Cabinet.

see TNA CAB 66/23/34. Daily progress of the campaign can be followed at Malta GC at 70.

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