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13 December 2017 Military Aviation » Accidents - Military » 1940 - 1949  
 

1940-1949

An additional source for WWII-era incidents, but not caused by combat situations/conditions, is the web site www.Maltagc70.com

Use the above link whenever “source: www.Maltagc70.com” appears in the notes.
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
05.01.40 DH82B Queen Bee   L7762 Shot down into sea off Malta.
30.01.40 F. Swordfish     Being flown from Kalafrana to Hal-Far, when it crashed into sea of Filfla island, crew rescued.
13.03.40 DH82B Queen Bee   P4709 Bounced on landing Hal Far. Transferred to Admiralty?
05.07.40 Latecoere    
Aircraft arrived at around 22:00 hours, with all navigation lights on. It sent the word FRANCE in morse code as it circled over Marsaxlokk Bay, landing at Kalafrana 5 minutes later.

The crew, identified as Adjutant Duvauchelle and Wireless Operator Mehauas, had escaped from Bizerta in Tunisia. Both stated they wished to serve with the Royal Air Force.

Prior to the French armistice with the Axis, it appears a message was issued inviting French planes to join Allied forces in the Mediterranean, including Malta. However, in view of attacks on Gibraltar by French aircraft, all French planes are now automatically regarded as hostile, unless and until they prove themselves friendly. Source: www.Maltagc70.com.
02.08.40 H. Hurricane 66   Engine failed on approach, causing the aircraft to crash. No fatalities, Pilot/Sergeant F N Robertson, taken to Marfa Military Hospital suffering from abrasions and a slight concussion.

Aircraft was one of twelve aircraft (Operation Hurry) sent to Malta on board the carrier HMS Argus to boost the island's defenses. The aircraft departed the carrier in two groups of six, guided by a Skua. The remaining 11 Hurricanes landed safely.

Stores and personnel for the Squadron were transported by submarines Proteus and Pandora for passage to Malta. Source: www.Maltagc70.com.
02.08.40 B. Skua     Aircraft was leading the second formation of six Hurricanes (see above). The Skua approached for a landing after the Hurricanes, were it was seen to 'wobble', landing heavily on one wheel, skidding along its port wing, coming to a stop after 200 yards when it crashed over/into the air raid shelter near the control tower. No injuries, aircraft deemed repairable. Source: www.Maltagc70.com.
26.08.40 B. Blenheim   T2058 Aircraft was en route from Gibraltar to the Middle East via Malta, when it crashed into the sea 55 miles from Malta. It is thought the pilot, Warrant Officer G H Cluley, may have ran out of fuel close to Pantalleria, and may have attempted to land there.

Immediate searches by a Swordfish and Sunderland aircraft, and HMS Nubian failed to find any trace of the pilot. Further searches by other aircraft also drew a blank, and the pilot was listed as missing. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
26.09.40 M. Maryland 22/69 AR712 Undercarriage collapsed on landing, destroyed by an incendiary bomb on the 27th.
13.10.40 S. Sunderland R.A.A.F.   Aircraft brought the British Secretary of State for War, Rt Hon Anthony Eden. Inclement weather delayed the aircraft's departure. Source: www.Maltagc70.com.
15.10.40 Loire 130     A Loire 130 defected from Bizerta, Northern Tunisia, landing at the Kalafrana sea base. It is in perfect condition, having done only 35 hours since new, and it is fully armed.

The French air crew have been named as 2nd Maitre Sergeant George Blaize, pilot, 2ndMaitre Sergeant Raoul Gatien, mechanic and 2nd Maitre Sergeant Henri Romanetti, naval airman.

This is the first time Maitre Sergeant Blaize has flown a Loire 130. Despite this they had a very good flight, although his landing was described as ‘a bit shaky’.

The aircraft were meant to fly to Morocco, then to Dakar, Senegal, were they would join the battleship Richelieu.

Actually two Loire 130s had defected, but the crews ran into thick cloud near Pantelleria were they lost of each other; it is though that they missed Malta and may have landed in the sea. The other pilot had also not flown a Loire before – though he did have a proper wireless operator with him.

A Swordfish was sent to try and locate the missing Loire, without success.

Their escape from Tunisia were aided by the fact that a) Sergeant Henri Romanetti, who was on guard duty with the aircraft, instead of raising the alarm at their actions, went aboard with the flight crew. And b) the flying boats were due to set off in the morning. Source: www.Maltagc70.com.
16.10.40 F. Swordfish 830, F.A.A.   Aircraft ditched in the sea due to engine trouble whilst on patrol from Malta. A 230 squadron Sunderland on patrol asked to divert to locate the Swordfish at 10:13 hrs, picking up the crew at 12:05 hrs. Source: www.Maltagc70.com.
17.10.40 S. Sunderland     Heavy swells at Kalafrana prevent aircraft from conducting their Easterly areas patrols until the 20th. Source: www.Maltagc70.com.
18.10.40 G. Martin     Northern area patrols are cancelled due to bad weather. Source: www.Maltagc70.com.
23.10.40 F. Swordfish 830, F.A.A.   The aircraft was returning from patrolling the Ionian Sea. Aircraft forced to land in the sea within sight of Malta (reason not stated), the crew being rescued by a trawler.

A recovery vessel was sent to try and retrieve the aircraft, but after a thorough search, nothing was found, leading to the presumption the aircraft had sunk. Source: www.Maltagc70.com.
03.11.40 V. Wellington     Aircraft was part of a flight departing on a bombing raid on Naples. It failed to gain height, and crashed shortly before 23.30 on open ground near Tal Handaq. Source: www.Maltagc70.com.
03.11.40 V. Wellington     Took off from Luqa ten minutes after the above aircraft, also failing to gain height, and crashing on two houses on the outskirts of Qormi village, despite attempts by the pilot to avoid buildings. Two civilian, and at least four RAF fatalities.

An inquiry concluded that both aircraft were carrying too heavy a load for operations from Luqa airport. Source: www.Maltagc70.com.
17.11.40 H. Hurricane x8     Part of a 12-aircraft formation to bloster Malta's air defences, these eight aircraft ditched in the sea, after running out of fuel. See report below. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
        
 

Accident Report

Code-named "White", this operation was a repeat of Operation "Hurry" conducted in August.

The twelve aircraft took-off from HMS Argus in two formations of six aircraft each, one hour apart, each formation guided by a Skua aircraft. First take-off was at 06:15. On approaching to Galleta Island, where a Malta-based Sunderland flying boat would take over from the Skua, and guide them to Malta.

A little after 09:00, two Hurricanes were observed ditching in the sea by the Sunderland. The pilot landed on the water, and rescued one of the pilot, Sergeant R. A. Spyer, who reported that he had run out of fuel. The remaining four Hurricanes and the Skua landed safely at Luqa at 09:20.

The second formation fared even worse, all seven aircraft and their crews going missing. Also, the Sunderland meant to guide them in suffered a technical fault preventing it from taking-off, being substituted by a Glenn Martin bomber, who was unable to make contact with the incoming flight. Searches by anti-submarine trawlers off the sister island of Gozo were equally fruitless.

An immediate inquiry has been launched into the loss of nine aircraft flown off HMS Argus for Malta on Sunday. Reporting to the War Cabinet, the First Sea Lord outlined the initial findings of the emergency investigation into the loss.

According to the report, the first flight of six Hurricanes, led by a Skua, flew, where they were met by a Sunderland flying boat to be guided onward to Malta. The second flight of one Skua and six Hurricanes also flew off Argus. They were due to rendezvous with a Sunderland flying boat which was unable to take off owing to a defect. A Glenn Martin was sent instead to meet the seven delivery aircraft instead. However, the weather deteriorated and the Glenn Martin failed to make contact with the second flight.

The report’s firm conclusion was that in both flights the machines were carrying a very small margin of fuel. The investigation had established that five of the aircraft in the first flight arrived at the rendezvous with very little fuel left in their tanks. Two force-landed in the sea; one pilot was picked up by the Sunderland flying-boat.

The second flight asked for a direction-finder bearing from Malta, which was given. At that time they were in a position due west of the Island. It is not known whether their signal had been picked up. Despite a thorough search, none of the pilots was located.

The distance from the point at which the aircraft flew off Argus for Malta was 385 miles. This was 40 miles further west of Malta than the last time a similar operation was carried out. It is believed that the early take-off was ordered when an Italian naval force was detected approaching the convoy. This would appear to be critical given the findings regarding low fuel readings in the surviving aircraft.
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
01.01.41 M. Maryland 431 Flight   Reconnaissance flight over Taranto cancelled due to bad weather. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
01.01.41 M. Maryland 431 Flight   Reconnaissance flight over Pantelleria cancelled due to engine problems. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.01.41 S. Sunderland x4     Gale force winds and heavy seas damaged four Sunderland aircraft moored in Marsaxlokk Harbour this evening. Force 8 gales whipped up waves to 15 feet within the harbour, subjecting the seaplanes to heavy pounding.

One Sunderland broke its main pennant and anchor chain simultaneously and was in danger of being destroyed. Its Wireless Operator sprang into action, and single-handedly managed to start the outboard engines. He skilfully manoeuvred the plane out of danger and held it steady until help arrived from another boat which managed to take a line and make fast to another mooring.

Three other Sunderlands broke their main pennants but crews kept their engines kept running to ease the strain on the anchor chains. All four flying-boats became unserviceable, but repairable. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
07.01.41 M. Maryland 431 Flight   Two reconnaissance flights (by different aircraft) over Catania & Tripoli cancelled due to bad weather. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
19.01.41 S. Spitfire PR Mk.1D   P9551 Aircraft, from RAF Benson in England, was on a photo-reconnaissance sortie over Genoa, Italy. Insufficient fuel to return to the UK forced the pilot, F/Lt Corbishley DFC, to continue to Malta and land at Ta' Qali airfield. The aircraft remained in Malta and used locally, until such time that wind conditions would enable the aircraft’s return to the UK.

First sortie from Malta was on the 21st over Sicily. Shot down by flak when on a recce flight over Genoa on 02.02.41, the pilot being taken prisoner. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
25.01.41 Cant Z501   106 Squadron/93 Group The aircraft was first spotted by Malta’s early warning systems some thirty miles off. Having circled at some distance for around 45 minutes, it approached and flew over the north coast of Malta showing navigation lights, leading coastal units to believe it was friendly. Thinking this could be a free French flying boat, the order was given for beach lights at St Paul’s Bay to be illuminated to enable it to alight offshore. The aircraft duly came down safely just off the coast of Comino.

However, the pinnace from St Paul’s bay is sent out to the flying boat, which is identified it as an Italian. The seaplane’s four-man crew are placed under guard and taken back to shore. When interrogated, the Italian pilot explained that they were lost and running low on fuel. They had signalled to what they thought was their base, asking for searchlights to aid their return. It was by chance that Malta’s searchlights were exposed at the critical moment, prompting the Cant to land. The flying boat’s crew were based at Augusta in Sicily.

It was later reported that a heavy swell had broken the float of the seaplane forcing it capsize and sink. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.04.41 H. Hurricane Mk. II     Aircraft crashed on landing at Luqa. No injuries, and aircraft damage repairable.

This was part of Operation Winch one of several Hurricanes that had taken off from the Ark Royal to reinforce the island’s defences, together with nine Fulmar fighters of 800 squadron.

The Hurricanes flew in two formations, initially guided by two Skuas. From Malta, a Maryland and Sunderland aircraft were waiting to guide them the rest of the way, but the first formation failed to make contact with the Maryland, although the Sunderland had no problems in making contact with the incoming Hurricanes.

A RAF high speed launch, stationed 40 miles off Malta in case of forced water landings was fired upon by Italian fighters. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.04.41 S. Skua 800 FAA   Two Skuas, which had taken off from Ark Royal (see above), and meant to return to the carrier had to land in Malta due to adverse weather. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
14.04.41 M. Maryland 69   Flying Officer Adrian Warburton took off from Luqa in the morning for a test flight prior to a reconnaissance mission planned for later in the day.

Shortly afterwards, Hurricanes were scrambled to intercept an incoming force of Ju.88s escorted by Me-109s. The Maryland was mistaken for an enemy aircraft, and fired upon, damaging the starboard engine and undercarriage.

F/O Warburton was forced to crash-land at Luqa, emerging unscathed from the encounter.
Source: www.Maltagc70.com
14.04.41 M. Maryland 69   Reconnaissance sortie over Tripoli had to be abandoned after developing engine trouble, necessitating an immediate return to Malta. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
15.04.41 M. Maryland 69   Reconnaissance sortie over Palermo unsuccessful due to low cloud and rain. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
02.05.41 H. Hurricane     Aircraft crashed, but not due to enemy action. One fatality. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
02.05.41 H. Hurricane     Aircraft crashed from altitude on approach to Hal-Far airfield, bursting into flames. One fatality. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.05.41 B. Beaufighter     Crew took off for a test flight during an air raid, ignoring signals not to take off. As he heads for a Sunderland aircraft moored at Kalafrana, he is intercepted by Hurricanes and fired upon, before being recognised as a “friendly”. Damage to the undercarriage resulted in aircraft making a crash landing, but no injuries to crew. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
06.05.41 M. Maryland     Departed for Middle East, but returned with compass trouble having reached as far as Crete. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
08.05.41 M. Maryland   AH298 Reported missing on a ferry flight to Malta.
17.05.41       Air raid alert for one Ju-88 bomber, escorted by three ME 109 fighters, which was on a reconnaissance mission over Malta. Aircraft (Hurricanes?) were on a standing patrol, but wireless trouble prevents interception. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
20.05.41 H. Hurricane     Aircraft crashed on landing at Hal-Far, no injuries. Report does not state whether it was the result of combat or “normal” mechanical failure. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
21.05.41 H. Hurricane     One of 46 Hurricanes taking-off from HMS Ark Royal and HMS Furious as part of Operation “Splice”, the delivery of aircraft to the Middle East via Malta. Aircraft crashed off Cape Bon. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
21.05.41 H. Hurricane     Purpose of flight as above. Reported missing. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
09.06.41 F. Swordfish 830   One of two engaged in SAR missions for a Hurricane pilot and an Italian SM-79 bomber, this aircraft had to make an emergency landing in the sea. The crews of all three aircraft are rescued. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
12.06.41 F. Swordfish x2 830   Six Swordfish aircraft depart o a bombing mission of Tripoli harbor and quays. Two are forced to abort and return due to engine trouble. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
12.06.41 Fulmar     Aircraft ditches in the sea under unknown circumstances, crew picked up and returned to Hal-Far. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
14.06.41 B. Bombay     Aircraft crashed in the sea off Marsaxlokk, no survivors. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
14.06.41 H. Hurricane     Forty-seven Hurricanes were to be delivered to Malta in four separate formations by the carriers HMS Victorious and Ark Royal, as part of Operation “Tracer”. Four Hudson aircraft departed Gibraltar to rendezvous and escort them to Malta. Some of the Hurricanes were for onward delivery to the Middle East.

This particular aircraft was seen leaving its formation and heading for North Africa, landing at Blida, Algeria with a fuel leak. Pilot successfully destroyed the aircraft by fire before being taken prisoner. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
14.06.41 H. Hurricane 260   The fourth formation encountered navigational problems, leading to low fuel levels. This aircraft crashed in the sea after running out of fuel, with the loss of its pilot. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
14.06.41 H. Hurricane   Z4317 Crashed in Wied il-Kbir as a result of fuel shortage. One fatality. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
16.06.41 V. Wellington     One of four Wellingtons expected on this day (a second failed to show), the aircraft developed technical problems on the approach to Hal-Far airfield, crashing in Kalafrana Bay. No survivors. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
18.06.41 H. Hurricane 261   One of six Hurricanes scrambled to intercept two formations of Italian Macchi 200 fighters. Aircraft catches fire due to glycol leak, crashing over Mosta. Pilot killed after bailing out at too low an altitude. Report doesn’t make clear whether this was a malfunction, or the result of enemy action. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
18.06.41 B. Beaufighter 69   Aircraft crashed on take-off, no injuries. Pilot was the famed P/O (later Wing Commander) Adrian “Warby” Warburton. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
25.06.41 H. Hurricane     Aircraft catches fire during re-fueling at RAF Ta’ Qali, cause and extent of damage unknown. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
27.06.41 H. Hurricane 260 Z4356 ? One of 21 delivered by HMS Ark Royal as part of Operation “Railway” (the 22nd failed to reach Malta, reported missing), the pilot overshot the runway on landing at Ta Qali airfield, hitting a wall. Extent of damage unknown, no injuries. Serial needs confirmation. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
29.06.41 B. Blenheim 82   Six Bleiheims left to attack merchant ships in Tripoli Harbour. This aircraft had to return with engine trouble. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
30.06.41 H. Hurricane     Aircraft was one of 42 aircraft being delivered by the carriers HMS Air Royal and Furious as Phase 2 of Operation “Railway”.

This was the tenth aircraft to take off from Furious, but during its take-off run, hit the bridge of the carrier, starting a fire which killed three Fleet Air Arm officers, damaged five other Hurricanes and injured their pilots. The two carriers immediately turned round and headed back for Gibraltar. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
02.07.41 H. Hurricane x2     Two Hurricanes collided during landing at RAF Ta’ Qali. Both are badly damaged. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
04.07.41 H. Hurricane IIA 126 Z3055 Aircraft took off from Safi strip but, probably due to engine problems, dived into the sea. Pilot never found.

Aircraft was discovered at a depth of 40 meters off Wied Iz-Zurrieq in 1993, and brought to the surface two years later. It has since been restored and is on display at the Malta Aviation Museum at Ta’ Qali. (Additional information below.) Source: www.Maltagc70.com
        
 

Onward to Malta

From the web site https://scarfandgoggles.wordpress.com/tag/tom-neil, I found the following information.

Hurricane Z3055 was built in early 1941, one of the fifth production batch of 1,000 aircraft built at Kingston. It was delivered from the factory to No. 48 Maintenance Unit at Hewarden on 27 February 1941 and prepared for squadron service. Over the next few months the Hurricane was shuttled between. It was transferred to Abbotsinch and No. 5 Maintenance Unit at Kemble. It was delivered back to Abbotsinch on 18 May, for shipment to Malta as part of the convoy known as Operation ROCKET.

To start this, the seventh ‘Club Run’ (as the Royal Navy christened the Malta convoys), the converted Edwardian cruise ship HMS Argus was loaded with 29 cased Hurricanes on the Clyde, and sailed with the cruiser HMS Exeter to join convoy WS 8B to Gibraltar, arriving on May 31st. A day later the carrier HMS Furious, a converted WW1 battle cruiser, also arrived in Gibraltar, upon which were 48 pre-assembled Hurricane Mk. II aircraft including Z3055, which were transferred to HMS Ark Royal as she lay at anchor in Gibraltar.

This was a repeat of the previous Club Run, Operation SPLICE, which had taken the elite 249 Squadron to Malta a fortnight earlier. Among the pilots who made that journey was 249 Squadron’s top-scoring ace Tom Neil, who memorably described the voyage in his memoir Onward to Malta:

“In the warm and sultry blackness of the Mediterranean night, Gibraltar was a blaze of light, a stirring and nostalgic sight for those of us who had lived in conditions of blackout for almost two years. Gathering our meagre belongings we bade farewell to the Furious and stumbled along the debris-strewn dockside towards the Ark. Above us, planks had already gone down and the first of our aircraft were being trundled across.”

The Argus then made a stern-to-stern transfer of her completed aircraft to Furious, while the remaining cased airframes were landed on Gibraltar for assembly. Although the scene was one of furious activity for many engineers, stevedores and sailors, the same could not be said for the pilots. Their job was still to come, and Gibraltar provided an ideal interlude:

“From our hosts we learned that we would be sailing as soon as the transfer of aircraft had been completed,” Tom Neil wrote.

“Later, much later, with pink gins fairly slopping around inside I returned to my cabin, my morale restored absolutely by the sophistication of my surroundings and the courtesy of my new-found friends. Then, in the wee small hours, tremors and subdued grumblings started up somewhere underfoot and, in a cosy, gin-induced stupor, I concluded that we were once more heading seawards. . . Good ol’ Navy, I thought; Cap’n Bligh, or whoever, would probably know the way. Two points to starboard, if you please, Mister Christian! Dear God! If only the sides of this cabin would keep still.”

On Operation ROCKET, Ark Royal and Furious set off eastwards late on June 4th, escorted by Force H of the Mediterranean fleet: the battle cruiser HMS Renown, the cruiser HMS Sheffield and the destroyers HMS Faulknor, Fearless, Foresight, Forester, Foxhound and Fury .

Early in the morning of June 6th the carriers launched a total of 44 Hurricanes from their regular point close to the Balearic Islands. The Hurricanes would rendezvous with eight Blenheim bombers that had taken off from Gibraltar and fly the regular supply route towards Cap Bon on the northeast tip of Tunisia then skip round the hostile islands of Pantelleria, Lampedusa and Linosa before arriving over Malta.

The route was difficult and potentially dangerous – Italian, German and Vichy French aircraft were all in range of the Hurricanes, which were unarmed and over-laden with fuel for the flight and supplies for the island such as cigarettes and toothpaste, stowed where the ammunition should be. There was also, for the pilots, the new and daunting prospect of taking off from a ship.

The experience was recorded by Tom Neil, who was not in the best of spirits when he had to make his great leap into the unknown.

“Silent and yawning, we went in single file to one of the deserted dining rooms and were each handed a fried breakfast by one of the kitchen staff whose bare and bulging arms were liberally garnished with red-and-blue pictures referring to Love, Mother and a lady called Doris. . .”

Although there was considerable trepidation among the young men who would fly off, catastrophes were thankfully rare on these convoys. The mighty Ark Royal in particular could summon up 30 knots into wind, giving the over-burdened Hurricanes all possible help to take off despite the short runway of her deck.

All 44 of the Hurricanes got away safely on Operation ROCKET but one was forced to return to the Ark Royal due to engine problems and made an unheard-of deck landing – all the more remarkable when laden with long-range fuel tanks and stowed equipment. The remaining 43 Hurricanes and the eight Blenheims from Gibraltar arrived safely in Malta.

At this time the war in Malta had quietened down significantly. The Luftwaffe had only days before withdrawn from Sicily in order to make its way to the Russian border, where soon Operation BARBAROSSA would launch Hitler’s offensive to the east.

Tom Neil would recall it as: “a delightful period of my life. Here I was on a nice warm Mediterranean island, surrounded by friends and decent aeroplanes to fly… what we had was a private war between three squadrons of Hurricanes and the Italian air force in Sicily, which was very much a comic opera affair . . . The Italians were not really interested in this war. They did not bother us much.”

As a result Z3055 was held in reserve until July 1st when she was taken on charge by 126 Squadron. On July 4th she took off before daybreak from the reserve airstrip at Safi before dawn with Sergeant Tom Hackston at the controls. For some reason Hackston got into difficulties and crashed into the sea and was killed, with Z3055 ending her marathon journey to Malta in ignominious fashion.
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
05.07.41 B. Blenheim     The aircraft was leaving for the UK when it crashed as soon as it got airborne. Two fatalities, another two crew members were rescued. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
08.07.41 H. Hurricane x2     Eight Hurricanes took from RAF Ta’ Qali for the Middle East. Two returned after colliding in mid-air. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
12.07.41 ?     Aircraft en route to the Middle East crashed at Safi Strip. One fatality. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
12.07.41 V. Wellington     Crashed after getting airborne from Luqa. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
14.07.41 F. Fulmar     Aircraft took off from Hal-Far for Catania and Gelbini, but was forced with a glycol leak. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
19.07.41 H. Hurricane 126   Aircraft involved in take-off accident. One fatality. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
31.07.41 V. Wellington x3, B. Bleinheim x4     Formation leader had engine problems, all aircraft returning to Malta. The report doesn’t make clear if the seven aircraft were departing as one formation, or two separate ones. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
08.08.41 H. Hurricane 185   Hurricanes are scrambled for three incoming Ju-87, but no engagement takes place as the 87s turn north without releasing bombs. Hurricane suffers engine failure out at sea. Pilot rescued by float-equipped Swordfish. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
10.08.41 M. Maryland 69 AR739 Crew had been on a reconnaissance flight over Catania. Starboard engine failed during the return flight, the aircraft crashing short of the runway. Two instant fatalities, a third crew member passing away the following day.
17/18.08.41 H. Hurricane     Eleven aircraft are scrambled to intercept a formation of six enemy aircraft spotted 60 miles north of Malta. Three develop various troubles and have to land. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
23.08.41 F. Swordfish 830   5 aircraft took off to attack a merchant ship off the Tunisian coast but all of the 5 suffered from overheating and developed engine trouble. Forced to return to base. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
27.08.41 F. Swordfish 830   One of nine aircraft sent to attack a convoy 37 miles north west of Lampedusa. This aircraft crashed on take-off; crew safe. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
31.08.41 S. Walrus Mk. I RAF Seaplane Rescue Flt. Kalafrana. L2182 Nosed over in sea after hitting a swell. Written off.
06.09.41 F. Fulmar     2 Fulmars are sent to patrol Catania and Gerbini, but developed engine trouble (report does not state whether it is one or both aircraft). Before returning to Malta, aircraft went to Comiso and dropped incendiaries. Crew/s returned to Malta, changed aircraft, and took off again at 00:01 hrs for Catania, where they dived and machine-gunned the airfield, damaging three aircraft. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
13.09.41 H. Hurricane     Aircraft crashed on take-off from HMS Furious killing the pilot. One of 45 meant to bolster Malta’s air defences. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
13.09.41 H. Hurricane x2     2 of 45 Hurricanes meant to bolster Malta’s air defences. Damaged during landing at Malta’s airfields. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
21.09.41 F. Swordfish 830   One of six aircraft returning from an attack on a convoy near Lampedusa Island. One swordfish, with torpedo still attached, crashed on landing, causing the missile to explode, resulting in one fatality and one serious injury. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
21/22.09.41 HE 115A-2 Z Flight RAF (Malta) BV185 Captured German aircraft was being used for clandestine missions. Aircraft crashed into the sea after losing power, 20 miles off the Maltese coast. Three British fatalities.
22/23.09.41 B. Bleinheim     A Blenheim pilot landed his badly damaged aircraft at Luqa airfield today after a tense 218-mile flight across the Mediterranean. Sergeant Williams’ Blenheim was one of six sent to attack German barrack blocks and fuel dumps at Homs in North Africa. During the attack Pilot Wing Commander D W Scivier AFC made a sharp turn, coming up underneath Sgt Williams, whose aircraft propellers sliced through the fuselage of W/Cdr Scivier’s Blenheim, which plunged into a steep dive and crashed with the loss of the entire crew.

Sgt Williams’ Blenheim was also badly damaged in the collision. He managed to keep the plane airborne and nursed it gently back to Malta. Sgt Williams and his crew, observer Sgt R Scholefield and wireless operator/air gunner Sgt A. Tuppen were treated for shock. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.11.41 F. Fulmar     Two aircraft, on an offensive patrol over the Linosa area, are forced to turn back owing to engine trouble. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
09.11.41 H. Hurricane Malta Night Fighter Unit   Pilot took off at 22:00hrs, but bailed out of the aircraft at 400 feet after engine failure. (See report below.)
        
 

Shortest flight of my life.

"Another night was memorable for the shortest flight of my life. I scrambled to intercept a raid and took off from Ta' Qali with everything normal. I had just got my wheels up when my engine stopped dead."

This was how Flt Lt Donald "Dimsie" Stones recorded one of his experiences during his defence of Malta at night shortly after the setting up by the Royal Air Force of the Malta Night Flight Unit in World War II.

The meagre fighter force in Malta at the start of the war put up a formidable defence of the island but it was a different matter at night.

The defence deficiencies are brought to light in an article by Robin J. Brooks in this month's edition of Britain's top-selling aviation monthly Flypast.

Flt Lt Stones wrote that after he parachuted out of the plane the canopy "cracked open above me, something burned inside my left thigh and I landed almost at once on a stone wall, cushioned by a thorn bush.

"My poor Hurricane was burning brightly in the next field about 50 yards away. Getting out of my parachute, I started to walk towards the fire when I was surrounded by some Maltese waving sticks at me, convinced I was the German for whom the air raid sirens had sounded.

"I tore off my Mae West and opened my overalls to reveal my RAF uniform and wings. This partially convinced the Maltese but just then my Hurricane's full load of ammunition started exploding in the inferno, followed by the oxygen bottles which sounded like bombs to the Maltese and (it was) certain lynching for me.

"Mercifully, a British gunner appeared from one end of the airfield defence batteries and helped to save my bacon. In return I treated him to a rather large Scotch back at the airfield."

The Malta Night Flight Unit was set up to make up for the lack of night-time defensive capabilities by Sqn Ldr George Powell-Sheddon with the allocation of eight Hawker Hurricane IICs and four IIBs. The unit was based at Ta' Qali. Sqn Ldr Powell-Sheddon, affectionately known as "Polly", was charged with gathering other pilots from the fighter squadron stationed in Malta.

The first priority was to paint the planes black and "Polly" had decided that the Hurricanes would fly in pairs hand in hand with local searchlight units.

Double batteries of searchlights were placed at each end of the island. The intention was for the Hurricanes to circle these until the radar plotted enemy aircraft approaching about 24 kilometers out.

On December 2, 1941, the MNFU was renamed 1435 Flight and around the same time, their operations were extended to night intruder patrols around enemy fields in Sicily.

Routine flying tests were done at dusk to ensure serviceability of the aircraft. The planes were parked on the edge of the Ta' Qali airfield.

Six pilots would be at readiness all night. The unit was finally disbanded on May 9, 1945.
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
11.11.41 F. Albacore x3 F.A.A.   All Three aircraft had to return from a mission due to engine trouble. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
11.11.41 F. Swordfish x7 830, F.A.A.   These seven aircraft dispatched to attack a convoy. Three are forced to return due to engine trouble, whilst the remaining four never return. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
12.11.41 H.Hurricane     In the early morning, Blenheims set out on a special mission, to guide in a new delivery of Hurricane aircraft flying off the aircraft carriers Argus and Ark Royal as part of Operation Perpetual. A total of 37 Hurricanes set off for Malta that morning; 34 aircraft arrived safely.

The above Hurricane, piloted by an American pilot, had to make a wheels up landing at Hal-Far, damaging the aircraft. The fate of the other two aircraft is unknown to this writer.

Their mission successfully completed, the aircraft carriers turned westwards along with the rest of the convoy, Force “H”. Next afternoon Ark Royal was hit by an enemy torpedo. With the valiant efforts of the accompanying destroyers, the carrier was brought within sight of Gibraltar before she finally sank on the morning of 15 November.
Source: www.Maltagc70.com
20.11.41   Malta Night Fighter Unit   Took off from Ta’ Qali (where the unit was based) but crashed on the Attard to Rabat following engine failure. No injuries.
24.11.41 M. Maryland   LB427 Aircraft departed from Ta’ Qali on patrol, but nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off, and neither did it return to base. Four fatalities.
29.11.41 Wellesley x2     The two aircraft were inbound from Heliopolis. One crashed in the sea; the crew was saved. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
11.12.41 B. Blenheim 107   Three aircraft are dispatched to attack Argostoli but leader suffered engine trouble, all three aircraft returning to Malta. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
11.12.41 M. Maryland 69 AR750 Belly landing at Luqa.
13.12.41 M. Maryland 69 AR751 Overshot runway at Luqa.
13.01.42 DH Mosquito PR1 69 W4062 Stalled and crashed following engine failure. Scource: http://www.planetrace.co.uk/1940-1949_28.html.
15.01.42 M. Maryland 12 SAAF/39 AH288 Collided with bomb trolley, blowing up.
24.01.42 F. Albacore     Aircraft was being ferried from North Africa to Malta, but never arrived, presumed crashed in the sea. Two fatalities.
09.02.42   249   Aircraft crashed during a test flight. One fatality. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
11.02.42 H. Hurricane     Aircraft on an intruder raid on Comiso. Forced to return to Ta’ Qali due to a vibrating engine. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
15.02.42 M. Maryland   AR725 Crashed on ferry flight to Malta.
22.02.42 M. Maryland 21   Two aircraft take-off one a mission, but are forced to return due to a hatch blowing off. Departed again but were attacked by Me-109s and forced to return to Luqa. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
22.02.42 V. Wellington     Forced to return due to engine oil problems. Continued with mission after repairs were effected. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
23.02.42 F. Albacore 830   Three Albacores take-off from Hal-Far on a night-time anti-ship bombing sortie. One of the Albacores crashed after take-off, no fatalities. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
24.02.42 M. Maryland 69 AH397 Crashed on landing.
03.03.42 H. Hurricane Malta Night Fighter Unit   Aircraft suffered engine failre, pilot managing to bail out. Aircraft crashed and burnt out. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.03.42 M. Maryland 69   Aircraft was an SF 2A patrol, but was forced to return to Malta early due to engine problems. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.03.42 V. Wellington     Aircraft arrived from Gibaltar. Overshot the extension of the runway at Ta’ Qali. No damage reported. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
05.03.42   Night Fighter Unit   Aircraft crashed at Ta’ Qali airfield after the undercarriage collapsed on landing. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
05.03.42 V. Wellington 37 Z9038 Collided during an air raid with DV483 (below) on the runway at RAF Luqa, both aircraft bursting into flames. Bombs & mines on board both aircraft One aircraft was taking off, the other was taxying on the same runway in the opposite direction, but report doesn’t state which aircraft was taxying/taking off. At least three fatalities.

Four RAF Luqa personnel were awarded the George Medal for their actions in trying to save the aircraft’s crews. The citation in the London Gazette reads:

“One night in March, 1942, two aircraft, carrying bombs, collided on an aerodrome in Malta and burst into flames. Squadron Leader Hill (the station medical officer), Flight Lieutenant Williams and Leading Aircraftmen Boarman and Sumray immediately proceeded to the scene. Shortly afterwards the bombs began to explode and enemy aircraft began to bomb the area. Despite the great danger, Squadron Leader Hill, assisted by Flight Lieutenant Williams and the two airmen, successfully extricated four members of the crews from the wreckage. The prompt and gallant action of these officers and airmen undoubtedly saved the four lives. Squadron Leader Hill has invariably performed exemplary work in dealing with casualties during heavy bombing raids and both he and Flight Lieutenant Williams have set a magnificent example which has done much to maintain a high standard of morale on the station. The bravery shown by Leading Aircraftmen Boarman and Sumray has been an inspiration to others.” Source: www.Maltagc70.com
05.03.42 V. Wellington 37 DV483 See above. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
12.03.42 F. Swordfish     The three aircraft left to attack a merchant vessel and destroyer in the vicinity of Pantelleria, which had been sighted by an Albacore. Swordfish were forced to return when the leader developed engine trouble. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
14.03.42 F. Swordfish x2 830   The two aircraft were dispatched to attack enemy shipping. Forced to return early due to engine trouble, but report doesn’t make clear whether it was one or both aircraft. (see below.) Source: www.Maltagc70.com
14.03.42 F. Albacore x5     The five aircraft were dispatched to attack enemy shipping, but two aircraft were forced to return early due to engine trouble. The rest of the formation made a thorough search of the area indicated and confirmed no shipping in locality. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
18.03.42 F. Swordfish     Aircraft had been on a shipping search with another Swordfish and two Albacores without success. Aircraft crashed on landing at Malta, no injuries/fatalities. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
21.03.42 S. Spitfire x7     These seven aircraft were meant to take off from the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle as the escorting Blenheim didn’t show up. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
23.03.42 F. Albacore     Aircraft was on a shipping search but nothing sighted. Due to bad weather, the aircraft landed in the sea. Three crew, two fatalities. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
25.03.42 F. Albacore     The Royal Navy aircraft was on a shipping search mission east of Malta without reporting any sightings. Aircraft crashed on landing at Malta, no fatalities. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
30.03.42 B. Blenheim     Aircraft was on a delivery flight to the Middle East. Departed RAF Luqa at 01:10, but failed to arrive at its destination. Presumed lost at sea, cause of crash unknown.
31.03.42 L. Hudson   V9025 On a delivery flight to the Middle East via Gibraltar and Malta. Stalled on the approach to runway, four fatalities.
04.04.42 V. Wellington   BB512 Being delivered by OADU. Collided on the flare path with Wellington and Z8575 of 1443 Flight from Harwell. See "Additional Information" below.
        
 


Additional information

I have received the following information from Mr. Teasdale about this incidence.

I was compelled to visit Malta a few years after my father died in 1992 because I knew he had served with the RAF throughout WWII in and around the Mediterranean and North Africa.

I did spend some time speaking with staff at the (Malta Aviation) museum and I recall leaving my father's flying log book for a few days so that they could record anything of interest, which they did and returned the log safely back to me before I returned to the UK.

It appears from the flying logbook that after lengthy training in the UK, the BB512 story began on 27th March 1942 at FTF (RAF) Harwell UK. My father was assigned to 37 squadron RAF. As an air gunner, he crewed BB512 with a Sgt. Pearce as the pilot. Of course, the rest of the crew are unknown. I summarise the entries as follows;

27.03.42 15:50 Consumption test (2hrs 40mins)

28.03.42 12:00 Cross country and air firing (4hrs 20mins)

30.03.42 12:45 General test (0hrs 45mins)

01.04.42 11:00 Delivery flight to St. Eval (2hrs 10mins) This was in Cornwall I believe, now gone.

02.04.42 07:00 Delivery flight UK to Gibraltar (9hrs 05min)

04.04.42 13:00 Delivery flight Gibraltar to Malta (9hrs 07mins) (crashed into A/C on flarepath)

There is no indication which squadron would have received BB512, or that my father served with the OADU, but he was in 37 Squadron for the entire war with over 250 flying hours.

I have seen a record on your website of an incident on 4th April 1942 which coincides with contents of the log book. My father Sgt. J. R. Teasdale 1196412 was the rear gunner in BB512 which 'crashed into aircraft on flare path'. I recall that whilst he did not talk of the war for many years, at some point he did tell me that his plane 'landed on top of another one' (his words) and that he was stranded in Malta for a few weeks. I am sure he said that a court of inquiry took place in Cyprus, but I could be mistaken because there are no records of this. The incident in your record indicates that the collision was with Wellington Z8575. My father never mentioned the subsequent recorded incident on 5th April 1942 when an unspecified departing Wellington collided with the previous day's wreckage and was destroyed by fire. He must have known about this because he was there. The log shows that he left Malta in another Wellington ES991 on 14th April as passenger on a delivery flight to El Faioum.

He went on to see further action in North Africa, particularly Tobruk and El Alamein, and on 9th July 1942, his plane made a forced landing in the desert north of Birket Quarin. On 14th July yet another forced landing south west of Fuqa. Both were as a result of operations over Tobruk. He and his crew walked 160 miles through enemy lines, and contacted British troops on the 9th day. He was reported missing in action (my grandparents were informed by telegram), but once back with his unit, he was bestowed with the honour of member of the 'late arrivals club'. We still have his certificate and silver flying boot badge.

        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
04.04.42 V. Wellington 1443 Flight Z8575 Aircraft came in to land at Luqa without instructions colliding with Wellington BB512 on the flare path. One aircraft is pulled clear, but the other cannot be moved.
05.04.42 V. Wellington     Ran into the wreckage of one of the above Wellingtons at the side of the runway while taking off at 01:12 and was burnt out. One pilot is injured.
06.04.42 B. Beaufort     Aircraft burst into flames after overrunning the runway after landing, crew killed. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
07.04.42 Swordfish     “Special search” along Tunisian coast had to be abandoned after fuel pressure trouble was experienced. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
09.04.42 H. Hurricane     Aircraft suffered engine failure after take-off from Hal-Far. Pilot manages to land at Safi strip on its undercarriage, but hits a wall, badly damaging the aircraft. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
10.04.42 L. Hudson   AE524 Crashed on take-off on its way to the Middle East. One fatality, five seriously injured.
20.04.42 V. Wellington     Aircraft crashed on landing. Not nown if the crash was the result of combat or mechanical failure. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
20.04.42 S. Spitfire     American pilot had taken off from the USS Wasp, one of several Spitfires being delivered to Malta. Pilot altered course for North Africa, and belly landing on the Atlas Mountains. He contacted the US Consul, and, claiming he was a civilian pilot, was repatriated.
20.04.42 S. Spitfire     Flew off the USS Wasp, but crashed into the sea, probably due to running out of fuel.
28.04.42 H. Hurricane 229   Aircraft crashed during a test flight, catching fire. Pilot killed. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
30.04.42 S. Spitfire     Four aircraft from 126 squadron (RAF Luqa) and another four from 603 (RAF Ta’ Qali) are scrambled to engage an incoming raid. One of the Spitfires suffers from engine trouble and is forced to land at Luqa. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
01.05.42 L. Hudson     Aircraft crashed on landing. No injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
02.05.42 B. Beaufort     Aircraft, which had arrived from Gibraltar, crashed at Luqa during landing. No injuries, but aircraft a total write off. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.05.42 S. Spitfire     A Spitfire is airborne to conduct a cannon test. A second Spitfire was also airborne in a protective role, but which suffered damage on landing back at Luqa. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.05.42 L. Hudson     Aircraft, which had arrived from RAF Gambut, Libya, crashed on landing at Luqa. Aircraft written off, but no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.05.42 V. Wellington     Aircraft suffered damage after crash landing at Luqa after arrival from Gibraltar. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
04.05.42 S. Spitfire     Aircraft overshot the run way on landing after arrival from Gibraltar. Slight damage the aircraft. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
04.05.42 V. Wellington     Aircraft arrived from Gibraltar, but stalled on landing at Luqa and crashed. Aircraft written off, but no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
05.05.42 V. Wellington     Aircraft taxied into a bomb crater, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
06.05.42 S. Spitfire     Aircraft airborne at 09:29 on a photo-reconnaissance mission over Italy and Sicily but returned at 09:34 with cockpit trouble. Airborne again at 11:00 but landed almost immediately due to engine trouble. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
09.05.42 S. Spitfire     Flew off the USS Wasp. Crash landed at Malta. One fatality.
10.05.42 H. Hurricane     Aircraft taxied into a bomb crater. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
12.05.42 S. Spitfire x2     Two Spitfires collided during a scramble, no injuries to pilots. Level of damage to aircraft unknown. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
14.05.42 L. Lodestar     Aircraft crashed on take-off, crew injured. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
17.05.42 V. Wellington     Aircraft crashed on take-off. Unknown number of injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
18.05.42 F. Fulmar x6     17 Spitfires and six Fulmars were flown off the HMS Eagle and Argus. Whilst the seventeen Spitfires made it to Malta, the Fulmars experienced problems, and had to return to the carrier Eagle. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
18.05.42 F. Albacore x2     Four Albacores take off from Hal-Far to attack a convoy, but two are forced to return due to mechanical trouble. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
21.05.42 B. Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit   Airborne at 03:10 on patrol, but returns after 15 minutes with radio transmitter failure. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
23/24.05.42 V. Wellington     The aircraft was on a delivery flight. Crashed on landing, with one serious injury, with other minor injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
25.05.42 B. Beaufort     Crashed on take-off, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
25.05.42 B. Blenheim     Aircraft is damaged during taxying, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
27.05.42 S. Spitfire 126   One of four scrambled to engage incoming enemy aircraft. One pilot is forced to return early due to oxygen trouble. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
27.05.42 B. Beaufighter     Aircraft scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft, but develops engine problems, with part of the propeller flying off. Pilot safely returns to Luqa. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
28.05.42 F. Albacore x3     Part of a formation two Swordfish and a fourth Albacore airborne from Hal-far to attack a convoy, these three aircraft had to return early with engine trouble. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
29.05.42 V. Wellington 104   Aircraft was returning from a bombing mission over Sicily. Crashed over the village of Attard, shot down by anti-aircraft crews who mistook it for an enemy aircraft Source: www.Maltagc70.com
30.05.42 V. Wellington 104   Three aircraft sent on a bombing mission over Messina. One aircraft is forced to return with engine trouble. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
31.05.42 S. Spitfire 603   Aircraft falls into a bomb crater, breaking its back, no injuries to pilot. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
01.06.42 V. Wellington     Aircraft overshot runway on takeoff, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
02.06.42 L. Hudson     One of seven that arrived from Gibraltar. Aircraft crashed on landing, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.06.42 S. Spitfire     Fifteen of the type delivered by RN aircraft carrier. This aircraft crashed on landing, breaking the undercarriage. (Another Spitfire was shot down when attacked by flight of Me-109s.) Source: www.Maltagc70.com
04.06.42 H. Hurricane     Aircraft suffered from brake failure on landing, pilot safe. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
25.06.42 L. Hudson 1444 Ferry Training Flt FH230 Crashed on landing in Malta.
29.07.42 Cant Z.506B Italian AF MM45432 This aircraft was transporting a Beaufort crew from Greece to Italy. When in the vicinity of Malta, the crew, Lt E. T. Strever (SAAF), Plt Off W. M. Dunsmore (RAF), Sgt J. A. Wilkinson (RNZAF) and Sgt A. R. Brown (RNZAF) of No. 217 Squadron, overpowered the Italian crew and landed at Malta. See Accident Report below.
        
 

Accident Report

Wing Commander Patrick Gibbs, DSO, DFC and Bar, gives additional details about this incident in his book Torpedo Leader on Malta pp 150-151.

During the attack Ted’s aircraft had been hit in the port wing. At first the damage appeared to be slight, but soon the port engine was showing unmistakable signs of imminent failure, and Ted, with no hope of completing the three hundred mile return flight, was left with no alternative but to turn back in an attempt to reach the Greek coast. In this he failed, being forced to alight on the sea some five miles from land, where he and his crew had remained floating in the dinghy for several hours before being picked up by an Italian flying boat. Then they were flown to a seaplane base, and after being questioned by some Italian Intelligence Officers were made surprisingly comfortable in the Mess, were they were warmly entertained. The description of the food and wine consumed that evening drew involuntary sighs from several rather hungry Malta defenders. Apparently the Italians, although friendly, had volunteered very little information, but I was interested to hear that not only were our aircraft mistaken for Blenheims, but our last attack was believed to have come from Egypt. From my point of view, the evening’s entertainment reached a climax when a message was delivered to the captured crew from no less a personage than an Italian Admiral, congratulating us on the execution of the attack! The playing of comic opera was, it appeared, still an Italian accomplishment.

The next morning the prisoners had been re-embarked in a flying boat which was to take them to Taranto for further interrogation. This aircraft was curiously under-staffed; in the cockpit two pilots shared the flying and navigation, supported by a Flight Engineer, while a single soldier guarded the four prisoners in the cabin.

Entertainment in Greece was one matter, the approaching interment in a prison camp in Italy quite another. Ted Strever was six feet tall and built in proportion, his wireless operator was of similar size and the rest of the crew capable of looking after their interests; but the guard had a gun of some sort. However the unfortunate Italian soldier had, it appeared, never flown before and soon fell a victim to air sickness, turning olive green beneath his southern tan and becoming very unhappy. The captives exchanged meaningful glances, Ted hit the Italian very hard and the gun changed hands. The plot of the comedy unfolded a step further when it was immediately found to be unloaded. With this omission rectified, further steps were taken which led towards the cockpit, and soon the pilot felt the gun‘s barrel pressed firmly against the back of his neck. All had then not proceeded quite smoothly, and the disagreeable situation which developed resulted in the necessity of knocking out the second pilot. For a short time afterwards Ted himself took over the controls, while his navigator tried to ascertain their position, but eventually the atmosphere became more amicable and the Italian pilot agreed to relieve Ted of the difficulties of coping with a strange collection of foreign instruments.

By this time the navigator had found his position to be in the Gulf of Taranto, and the pilot was persuaded to turn round and start the long flight southward down the two hundred mile stretch of Italian coastline. The crew, unthinking in the heat of action, became understandably nervous as the venture settled down to cold-blooded execution; not one of them relished the possibility of recapture and a reception which would certainly be less cordial than before. Anxiety was further increased by a complete ignorance of what demands might be made of them in the way of recognition signals, but after nerves had been frayed almost to breaking point it became apparent that the Italian markings on the aircraft were sufficient; Junkers 88s and ME109s passed within sight without showing any signs of suspicion, and the most southerly point of Sicily was reached with no more serious injury than several cases of near heart failure which had occurred when a ‘friendly’ Italian aircraft for a few minutes joined formation with the flying boat!

But the unknown dangers of the flight within sight of enemy territory seemed over-estimated when they came to be compared with the known perils of the approach to Malta, and relief at leaving behind the Sicilian coast turned to reasonable apprehension as the Island drew near. The most anxious moment of the whole flight occurred within sight of friendly land, when half a dozen Spitfires sighted the unescorted flying boat and dived to attack. The pilot had been flying in case of this very emergency, and on Ted’s orders landed promptly on the smooth sea, while white handkerchiefs were waved frantically in surrender. A horrible moment passed while the crew waited helplessly for the chatter of machine guns to break out over the roar the diving aircraft, but the Spitfire leader held his fire and disaster was averted. A launch sent out to capture what was thought to be a hostile aircraft brought Ted home triumphant with a captured flying boat in tow and three prisoners.
        
 

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
12.08.42 M. Maryland 203 AH364 Overshot landing at Luqa.
21.08.42 B. Beaufighter Overseas Aircraft Delivery Unit   Aircraft had departed Malta on delivery to the Middle East, when it developed engine trouble, the pilot electing to return to the island. Unable to maintain height, the pilot made a successful ditching the sea, the crew managed to exit the aircraft, eventually being rescued by High Speed Launch 128.
28.10.42 V. Wellington Special Duties flight HX441 Crashed on landing at Luqa after several attempts. See below.


        
 

Accident Report

Not all of the aircraft lost during WWII were the result of enemy action. As this extract from Dennis Cooke’s article “The Flying in-mates of Luqa's poor house – 1942”, (Malta Flypast - 6) not everyone could handle the war in Malta. Ron Gillman, in his book The Ship Hunters – about his time in Malta with a Beaufort squadron – also makes reference to such servicemen, which could lead to them being charged with lacking moral fibre - cowardice in the face of the enemy!

With replenished fuel supplies our squadron was able to increase the number of anti-shipping strikes but the extra strain was having an ill-effect on many crews. With the stress of night flying, the constant daily bombing and poor diet our health was in jeopardy, Jim our second-pilot suffered a nervous breakdown and left the crew to be replaced by FI Sgt Rowe. The majority of our crew thought the skipper was heading the same way. We had lost confidence in him and this was confirmed on 28 October when in Wellington HX441 we took-off on a convoy strike.

Our Wimpy had been flying normally for over an hour when the skipper reported a loss of power from the port engine. He announced gravely that we were in danger of rapidly losing height and gave instructions to jettison our bomb-load and return to Luqa. Brian handed me a note giving our latitude and longitude position and calmly said:

"Send a distress signal". It was my first experience of transmitting an SOS message on 'ops' and I was overjoyed to get an instant acknowledgement from Malta.

We slowly lost height and were down to 200 feet when Malta loomed in sight. Viv hastily lowered the undercart and flaps and made a direct approach to Luqa airfield but was too high for a safe landing. A red flare shot up from the ground warning us to abort. Viv's second attempt was worse. He was still too high. He was losing control of himself and the aircraft when he made a third attempt to land. I was taking my turn in the rear turret at the time and was alarmed to see the runway disappearing behind us. After what seemed an age we finally overshot the runway and landed with a great thump before careering across rocky ground and finishing nose down in a shallow quarry. We were badly shaken, bruised, but not seriously hurt. The CO referred us to St Paul's Rest Centre for a few days to recover. Viv Hodnett was posted back to the U.K.
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
27.11.42 V. Wellington II 104 W5550 Aircraft departed the UK for delivery to Malta. Ditched off the Isles of Scilly.
17.12.42 HP Halifax 138 DT542 Aircraft landed at Malta on a transit flight from the Middle East. Took off for Gibraltar after re-fuelling carrying 11 military passengers. Crashed after take-off on open ground, limits of Zejtun. Flown by a six-man Polish crew.
25.04.43 S. Walrus ASR & Comm Flt W3012 Crashed with wheels up, serviceable by 7th May.
27.04.43 DH Mosquito NF Mk. II 23 DD681 Undercarriage collapsed after swinging on landing, DBR.
12.05.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. P5718 Practice "pick-up", locating a dinghy, landing (on water) to do the pickup. On take-off, the pilot swung the aircraft damaging port float and wing tip, and having to taxi to Kalafrana.
13.05.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. P5718 Aircraft was being used for circuit training, which had to be curtailed because of engine trouble.
03.06.43 B. Beaufort Air Sea Rescue Flt. DW836 Had to abandon SAR due to engine trouble. On air tested on 10th.
05.06.43 DH Mosquito NF Mk. II 23 DZ702 Engine failure on approach, two fatalities.
10.06.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ677 DBR after suffering engine failure on landing, swinging and hitting an obstruction.
14.06.43 B. Beaufort Air Sea Rescue Flt. DW836 Circuit landing training had to be abandoned due to oil pressure gauge trouble. Repaired by 16th, but u/s again the same day when fire extinguisher shorted and operated.
04.07.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. W3012 Aircraft was to fly Monastir to escort four Stinson a/c to Malta via Lampedusa. Had to return to Malta to have accumulators changed as electrician had left the radio filaments switched on all night. Returned on the 6th.
09.07.43 D. Dakota 267 FD774 Ditched 40 miles SSE of Malta.
13.07.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk. VI 60, SAAF HJ672 Undercarriage collapse at Luqa, written off.
13.07.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk. VI 60, SAAF HJ673 Undercarriage collapse at Luqa, written off.
14.07.43 DH Mosquito NF Mk. II 23 HJ724 Undershot landing, hitting a pole. Written off.
22.07.43 D. Boston     Aircraft crashed into the sea, shortly after taking off from Hal-Far. Walrus aircraft from the Air Sea Rescue unit airborne within ten minutes, but crew had already been picked up by a fishing boat crew.
25.07.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. R6558 Aborted SAR after getting airborne on due to technical problems, replaced by W9506.
07.08.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. W2757 Air-sea rescue to pick up downed 185 squadron Spitfire pilot, but pilot was unable to take-off in 5-6 foot glassy swell, forced to taxi back to Kalafrana, arriving there after 4 hours and 20 minutes. Spitfire pilot was suffering from slight burns. This was the first actual rescue carried out by the flight. Take-off had been at 08:07, entry at Kalafrana at 13:10.
09.08.43 Baltimore IIIA 21 Sqdn, SAAF FA173/P Aircraft was to be ferried by a No.4 ADU (Aircraft Delivery Unit) crew to 216 group, Libya, for an engine change. Aircraft stalled and crashed on take-off from Hal-Far. Three fatalities.
01.10.43 V. Wellington Air Sea Rescue Flt. DV561 Aircraft was to transport six Naval Staff officers to Taranto but engine suffered a large magneto drop, postponing take-off by two hours. After take-off, engine trouble forced a diversion to Gerbini, the staff officers continuing by DC-3. On returning to Malta, the aircraft was placed as unserviceable.
17.10.43       Roof of dispersal hut at Ta Qali blown away by strong wings on, ruining everything inside.
19.10.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. Z1813 SAR on cancelled because of undercarriage trouble, aircraft returned to service on the 21st.
22.10.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. Z1779 Early morning recce landed in St. Paul's Bay with engine trouble, caused by water in petrol. Problem solved, and crew tried taking off in the afternoon, but hull and port float were so water logged take off was impossible. Aircraft taxied to slipway and out of the water for the night.

Crew returned on the 23rd, were the hull and float was drained, enabling takeoff. Aircraft placed as unserviceable to enable inspection to be carried out.
25.10.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. Z1813 Early morning recce on but returned with engine problems. Problem solved, aircraft being air tested the same afternoon.
11.11.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. Z1813 Took off for sea water recce but returned after 10 minutes with undercarriage lock problems.
13.11.43       Flying cancelled at Ta Qali on due to adverse weather.
16.11.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. P5718 Sea recce on but had to return with u/c problems.
28.12.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.IV 256 DZ357 Missing off Malta on an air test. One occupant, fatality.
17.01.44 BP Defiant TT Mk. I 728 RN DS133 Written off in heavy landing at Ta’ Qali.
28.01.44 Caproni 100 Air Sea Rescue Flt. GA-2 Aircraft damaged both wing tips on landing at Hal-Far due to high winds.
28.01.44 V. Wellington Ic   LB213 Aircraft was on a Search & Rescue mission when it had to return to Malta after 40 minutes due to engine problems. Landed at Luqa at 04:00, the pilot taking off for ta’ Qali at 09:20.
05.02.44       Bad weather, almost gale force winds, cancelled flying at Hal-Far. Hangar roof torn off, but no damage to aircraft. Same on 6th, but slightly better.
10.02.44 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. Z1813 Departed for Sicily on delivery to D.A.F. (Advanced) but returned after ten minutes at 11:25 with u/s A.S.I. & V.H.F. Departed again at 14:00.
01.03.44 BP Defiant TT Mk. I 728 RN DS156 Dived into sea out of cloud. One fatality.
05.03.44 A. Anson Air Sea Rescue Flt. MG751 Departed for Catania but forced to return after 45 minutes due to weather.
09.03.44 A. Anson Malta Comm. Flight MG751 Aircraft was on the daily “Sicily run”. Sitting at dispersal at Catania airport, one of the tires burst, a spare tire & tube being delivered by Argus FS651. Anson returned to Malta on the 12th.
19.03.44 S. Spitfire Air Sea Rescue Flt. BR498 Departed for Catania at 11:00 but returned after 20 minutes with VHF trouble, leaving again at 11:30.
27.03.44 Wellington X Air Sea Rescue Flt. HZ181 Departed for Pantalleria but returned with engine trouble.
29.03.44 Wellington X Air Sea Rescue Flt. HE539 Crashed at Pantalleria after arriving from Malta.
02.05.44 DH Mosquito NF Mk.XIII 108 HK418 Overshot landing, ending up in a quarry. Two fatalities.
17.05.44 V. Wellington ASR & Comm Flt AD650 Starboard undercarriage collapsed whilst taxying.
30.06.44 A. Anson Malta Comm. Flight MG683 Aircraft had departed for Sicily, but forced to return due to engine problems.
28.07.44 B. Beaufighter 108 ND201 Crash landed at Safi strip on a test flight from Hal-Far. Safi strip had closed down on 08.11.43.
08.09.44 S. Spitfire Vc Malta Comm. Flight JK230 Aircraft airborne o a metrological flight. Upon returning for landing, the pilot was unable to lower the undercarriage, and a belly landing had to be carried out. No injuries.
04.10.44 H. Hurricane ASR & Comm Flt KZ845 Damaged whilst landing.
25.11.44 BP Defiant TT Mk.1 727 FRU AA576 DBR (Damaged Beyond Repair) after a forced landing following engine failure.
02.12.44 DH Mosquito NF.XIII 4 Fu HK434 Missing on a ferry flight to Italy.
06.12.44 V. Wellington     Aircraft was being ferried from UK to India by a Yugoslav crew. Swung on take-off, hit one of the old aircraft pens, crashed into a quarry, and was totally destroyed by fire. No fatalities or injuries.
26.01.45 DH Mosquito NF.XIII 256 HK511 Undercarriage leg collapsed on landing at Hal-Far. Written off.
01.02.45 A. York C.1   MW116 Navigational error resulted in aircraft missing Malta, and ditching in the sea. 12 fatalities.
21.06.45 S. Spitfire M.C.F. JK777 Aircraft airborne on a metrological flight, the flaps becoming u/s. In the ensuing high speed landing, the aircraft ended up on its nose at the end of the runway, necessitating an engine change. First recorded flight after incident being on 9th July.
02.07.45 S. Spitfire M.C.F. ER136 Aircraft returned from a met. flight with a glycol leak, necessitating an engine block change.
30.07.45 V. Wellington X M.C.F. LN387 Aircraft departed for Catania on the daily “Sicily run”, but returned after 10 minutes with engine trouble. The same aircraft took-off in the afternoon, but couldn’t lower the undercarriage. Captain decided to return to Hal-Far, and after several orbits, managed to lock down the undercarriage, making a safe landing. First recorded flight on 6th August.
27.08.45 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 73   Belly landing at RAF Qrendi due to hydraulic problems.
18.10.45 V. Wellington X 135 MU MF133 Taxied off runway on to soft ground and tyre burst; swung and tipped over.
21.10.45 V. Wellington X 2 Ferry Unit NC532 Went missing on a ferry flight from Benina Libya to Malta. No cause of crash was established or wreckage/crew members ever found.
19.11.45 DH Mosquito B.25 162 KB468 Swung on take-off and undercarriage collapsed; caught fire; 1 killed.
25.02.46 H. Tempest VI   NX255 Aircraft was being ferried UK-Fayid. Departed w/Tempest NX131 escorted by Mosquito RG308. Engine cut out at 8,000ft, pilot rescued 8.5 hours later by HMS Virago.
21.03.46 DH Mosquito FB.26 No. 1 Ferry Unit KA181 Swung on take-off and undercarriage collapsed; caught fire.
24.03.46 DH Mosquito FB.6 1 FU TE692 Swung on landing and undercarriage collapsed.
26.03.46 V. Wellington 765, RN HZ470 Crashed after losing power on starboard engine during takeoff from Hal-Far.
04.04.46 DC-3 Royal AF KJ864 Aircraft had arrived from Algiers, flight number 337. There was the following note about one of the passengers.

Mr Lamb Frank left Malta by an aircraft of Communications Flight on the 1st April 1946. His departure was not reported neither to the police nor at this office. Communications have been duly warned by Transport police to report all ______ departures and arrivals.
05.04.46 V. Wellington X 765, RN HE274 Airborne from Hal-Far, cashed onto the village of Rabat. Four crew, 16 civilians dead, 12 injured.
08.04.46 Anson C.12 Air Ministry PH696 Overshot landing; swung off runway and undercarriage collapsed.
__.04.46 C-47 Royal AF __491 Went u/s at Istres, France. Replaced by __416, which arrived from the same airfield on the 12th as UL145.
15.04.46 DH Mosquito FB.6 No. 1 Ferry Unit TE762 Brake failure on landing, aircraft ended up in a quarry, on the Mqabba side of the airport. Crew suffered slight injuries. A quarry worker, startled by the noise, also fell in the quarry, suffering some leg injuries.
18.04.46 V. Wellington X M.C.F. LN387 A trip to Pomigliano was cancelled after 30 minutes due to very high oil temp in starboard engine. First recorded flight on the 27th.
09.06.46 DH Mosquito PR.34 540 RG289 Swung on take-off, ground-looped, with the undercarriage collapsing. No injuries, and emergency services were able to extinguish the fire.
31.08.46 V. Wellington Mk.10 Malta CF LP805 Throttle lever broke off on take-off; swung into ditch to avoid quarry.
03.09.46 DH Mosquito     Aircraft crashed after takeoff from Hal-Far. Two fatalities. Crewed by Fleet Air Arm pilots.
02.12.46 Avro York C.1 511 MW268 Undershot landing and undercarriage collapsed.
08.12.46 C-54 KLM NL-310 Scheduled to land for re-fuelling, but also suffered from an “engine defect”.
18.12.46 Avro Lancaster 49 PA450 One of 19 Lancasters staging through RAF Luqa on their way to Shallufa in Egypt to take part in Exercise 'Sunbronze', a regular task for Bomber Command units, enabling crews to acquire tropical experience. 'Ran away' at Luqa, but returned to service a few days later.
23.12.46       Violent storm hit Malta. RAF Luqa forced to shutdown to enable runways to be cleared of oil drums and sheets of corrugated metal sheets.
23.12.46 S. Spitfire   EN199 Lifted by strong winds during a storm, and blown against a wall. Struck off charge 30.01.47. Restored, and on display at the Malta Aviation Museum.
03.01.47 D. Dakota Royal AF __674 Arriving from Almaza, Egypt. Note in Custom’s file: All the above persons had to jettison their baggage on pilot’s instructions. A/c was in difficulties. 1 engine u/s. Landed at Hal-Far.
07.03.47 S. Spitfire F.XVIII 800 SX357 Stalled in sea.
15.05.47 Anson C.19 MECS PH863 Undercarriage jammed up; overshot belly landing at night.
24.05.47 Avro York C.1 242 MW190 Caught in down draught over quarry on approach and undershot runway.
10.06.47 S. Spitfire F.XVII 805 SX187 Crashed in sea shortly after take-off from HMS Ocean.
22.07.47 Martinet TT.1 728 RG911 Ditched in the sea following engine failure after take-off from Hal-Far.
12.08.47 S. Spitfire Mk.IX 73 MJ891 Flew into ground during approach at Ta’ Qali.
15.08.47 S. Spitfire Mk.IX 73 MJ247 Engine failure on take-off from Ta’ Qali.
19.08.47 S. Spitfire Mk.IX 73 PT477 Belly landing at Ta’ Qali.
01.09.47 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 73 NH198 Emergency landing at Ta’ Qali, after aircraft lost part of the propeller blade.
03.09.47 Gr. F8F-1B Bearcat VF8A 95237 Based on the USS Leyte. Pilot, Ens. T.M. Spencer, was unable to release the tow target and was ordered to land at Ta Kali, but stalled 20 feet above the runway. Aircraft written off, no injuries. Information supplied by George Kernahan.
05.09.47 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 73 MH979 Belly landing with a jammed undercarriage at Ta’ Qali.
08.09.47 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 73 MK158 Engine failure on take-off from Ta’ Qali.
28.09.47 F. Firefly 804 VT435 Aircraft stalled and crashed into the sea on the approach to HMS Ocean. One fatality.
__.10.47 DH Mosquito FB.VI   HR339 Aircraft was on delivery to the New Zealand Air Force. Crew had left RAF Pershore on October 16, 1947, and were forced to remain in Malta until an unserviceable engine could be replaced.
04.12.47 D. AD-1 VA1B 09236 Took off from Hal Far for flight back to USS Midway. Engine failed just after becoming airborne and aircraft ditched 1 mile south of airfield. The pilot, Lt(jg) R.H. Reeb, was rescued uninjured. Info by George Kernahan.
28.03.48 V. Wellington Mk. X 765 HZ470 Crashed during take-off, possibly from Hal-Far, where the squadron was based.
05.04.48 V. Wellington Mk. X 765 HE274 Engaged in an exercise with 73 Sqdn Spitfire IX NH484. Failed to pull out of dive, crashing into a building. Four crew and 20 civilian deaths.
11.04.48 DH Mosquito   HR190 Arrived on delivery to Turkey, departing on the 13th. Aircraft arrived without a log book.
11.04.48 S. Spitfire   NH214 Arrived on delivery to Turkey, departing on the 13th. Aircraft arrived without a log book.
14.04.48 Sea Otter Hal-Far Station Flight RD885 Ran in difficulties during a water landing, and sunk. Hal-Far Station Flight was an off-shoot of 728 squadron.
04.07.48 Avro York 99 MW248 Departed Malta with six crew and Sir Edward Gent the British High Commissioner for Malaya. Involved in a mid-air collision over Northolt, London with an SAS airlines DC-6, SE-DBA. 39 fatalities.
25.08.48 DH Vampire F.3     Stalled above the runway at RAF Luqa, suffering a collapsed undercarriage. Aircraft repaired.
__.10.48 F. Firefly NF1 812 PP555 Aircraft was practicing Deck landing Trails (DLT) and ended up in the barrier. Put ashore at Kalafrana for repairs.
25.10.48 NA Harvard IIA Royal Navy EZ406 Collided with 73 Sqdn Vampire over Ta’ Qali. Crashed in fields, two fatalities.
25.10.48 DH Vampire F.3 73 VT808 Collided with Harvard EZ406. No fatalities/injuries.
30.10.48 DH Mosquito Mk.35 14 TJ141 Left Malta for Marseilles, but encountered bad weather. Crashed off Xlendi Gozo. Crew’s bodies were never recovered.
¬¬__.11.48 F. Firefly NF1 812 PP618 Crashed in barrier during night time landing on HMS Ocean. No casualties.
30.12.48 S. Seafire FR47 804 VP439 The following is a description of the accident as related by Peter Cook, in the article The 14th Carrier Air Group, Malta & the Mediterranean 1948-1950 Malta Flypast issue 8. Our sister ship, HMS Triumph, had been in the Mediterranean when we arrived and it was getting time for her to return to the UK. She had on board the 13th CAG, consisting of 800 NAS, with Seafire F17s and 827 NAS with Firefly FR1s. On returning to the UK 800 NAS was to re-equip with the Seafire FR47, so to familiarise her pilots with the new mark they would soon be receiving, we detached three of our Seafire FR47s to Triumph. An unusual accident occurred aboard Triumph on 30 December when a Seafire FR47 (VP439) on loan from Ocean landed on and was taken down on the forward lift to the hangar below. But before it could be removed from the lift, a Seafire F17 (SX333) of 800 NAS landed on and taxied forward and fell into the lift-well on top of VP439. Although there were no injuries to either pilot both aircraft were written-off and it proved some logistical puzzle how to retrieve the F17. Eventually the flight deck Jumbo crane did the job.
30.12.48 S. Seafire F17 800 SX333 See VP439 above.
__.12.48 F. Firefly FR5 812 VT462 Crashed into St. Paul’s Bay during dummy RP dives. Pilot ejected, suffering some injuries, but rear seat occupant, flying as a passenger, perished with the aircraft.
16.01.49 H. Tempest FB.6 No. 1 Ferry Unit NX137 Overshot approach. Undercarriage was raised in an attempt to stop. Aircraft later Struck Off Charge(SOC).
14.02.49 H. Sea Fury FB.11 807 TF264 Ditched in St. Paul’s Bay flying from Hal-Far.
15.02.49 F. Firefly AS.5 812 VT366 Forced landing at Qrendi strip after engine trouble, totally destroyed by fire.
09.03.49 Martinet TT.1 728 RH114 Severe engine vibration after one hour target towing, emergency landing at Hal-Far.
26.03.49 DH Mosquito PR.16 728 NS531 Forced to ditch into the sea off Delimara Point as it was returning from Algiers, after suffering an engine failure. Air-Britain's Aeromilitaria gives point of departure Rome, Italy on a mail flight.
26.03.49 DH Sea Otter ASR.2   JM880 Sent to pick up crew of Mosquito NS531 (above) but after landing on water, heavy swell carried the aircraft to the rocks, suffering extensive damage.
19.05.49 S. Sea Otter ASR.2 Ship’s Flt. JN182 Aircraft was landing on HMS Ocean, missed arrestor wires, striking island and cranes on take off, crashing in the sea. Peter Cook, The 14th Carrier Air Group, Malta & the Mediterranean 1948-1950 gives the serial as JN183. Malta Flypast No.8
30.05.49 S. Seafire FR47 804 VP436 The following is a description of the accident as related by Peter Cook, in the article The 14th Carrier Air Group, Malta & the Mediterranean 1948-1950 Malta Flypast issue 8. Another unusual accident took place on 30 May with a Seafire FR47 while landing. The aircraft crossed the flight deck diagonally after touch-down and although it had collected an arrester wire, went over the port side level with the ships VHF aerial. Once the wire had run its full length the aircraft hung over the side, not even touching the water. The ships sea-boat was quickly launched and the pilot retrieved unhurt, but getting VP436 back on board was a trickier proposition. Despite our best efforts we were forced to return to Grand Harbour with the aircraft still sus¬pended from the arrester wire - red faces all round - and have it lifted back on board with one of the dockyard float¬ing cranes before we could reset our arrester wires and carry on flying.
08.07.49 NA Harvard T.3 Station Flight, Hal-Far E2288 Overturned during violent braking from instrument landing practice.
26.07.49 S. Seafire 728 SX224 “Malta: An Aviation History” reports this aircraft as being “smashed up”, no other cause being given. Aeromilitaria gives the date as 27 July.
28.09.49 S. Seafire 728 SX226 Crashed. No other info available.
23.09.49 DH Vampire F.3 73 VT809 Based at Ta’ Qali. One of four aircraft that crashed after running out fuel 50 miles south of Brescia, Italy. Formation was visiting Italy to give displays.
23.09.49 DH Vampire F.3 73 VT813 As above.
23.09.49 DH Vampire F.3 73 VT855 As above.
23.09.49 DH Vampire F.3 73 VV204 As above.
09.10.49 DH Mosquito TT.39 728 RV295 UP switch for undercarriage selected, instead for flaps when aircraft on the ground. The tail wheel retracted damaging the guard wire support.
20.10.49 H. Sea Fury FB.11   VW695 Entrance to Grand Harbour, fell into the sea. ?!
08.11.49 B. Expeditor 728 FT994 Departed from Hal-Far for Fayid, Egypt via Benina & El Adem, both in Libya. 30 minutes from Benina, a/c had complete electrical failure. Night stop to allow fault investigation and battery charging. Continued on the 9th, but engine lost power 50 miles from Fayid. Landed at Egyptian airfield Bilbeis (?), problem caused by water in tanks. Another hour spent convincing base commander there was nothing illegal about the flight. Left for Fayid, landing at 13:05 local. In the evening ground crew removed water & sediment from tanks, and ran up the engines w/o placing the brake on. Aircraft swung 180 degress, breaking the tip of the s/board prop, cutting a slit in the fuselage, demolished the starting accumulator and damaging the tail. Test flight on the 12th, started the return journey, landing in Malta on the 13th.
14.11.49 S. Seafire XVII 728 SX294 Returned early from exercise with RN destroyer due to petrol in cockpit.
15.11.49 M. Martinet 728 NR665 Test flight canx. Quote in ORB: “At run up however, the exhaust pipe fell to pieces. Any moment now for the fuselage to follow suit.”
15.11.49 S. Seafire XVII 728 SX294 On exercise with HMS Newcastle, pilot lost 50-gallon fuel tank. Quote from squadron’s ORB: Headache for somebody if it hit him.
15.11.49 F. Fairefly AS.5 812 WB289 Went down the starboard side of HMS Ocean after missing the wires in too fast a landing.
24.11.49 S. Seafire F.17 728 SX241 Engine cut out during take-off from Hal-Far. Pilot selected gear up, and landed on “goat track” at western end of 09/27, no injuries.
06.12.49 S. Seafire XVII 728 SX294 Quote from squadron’s ORB: Lt. Taylor carried out – or should have carried out – an air test on SX294. He got into the air, made a rapid circuit, landed and said ‘Throw it away.’
08.12.49 H. Sea Fury FB.11 804 VW709 Crashed at Hal-Far.
        
 
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