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21 May 2024 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 DH-82B Queen Bee 3 AACU L7762 Shot down into sea off Malta.
30.01.40 F. Swordfish     Aircraft, which had disembarked from HMS Glorious and operating from Hal-Far, was practicing a night torpedo attack. Crashed in the sea between Filfla and Malta. Crew eventually rescued by High Speed Launch. Aircraft sank, and was not recovered.
11.03.40 F. Swordfish 812 K8371 Aircraft took off at 20:00hours from Hal-Far for night deck landing training by means of sector and pillar lights, and deck outline lights.

The first approach was somewhat low and was given a negative signal by the Officer i/c Flare Path. A second approach was again judged to be too low. Because by now it was judged that the pilot was flying in an erratic manner, the decision was taken to illuminate the chance flood light. The aircraft again made a low approach, a negative signal with the red lamp was made, but the aircraft hit the ground around 200 yds outside the airfield boundaries.

Three fatalities.
13.03.40 DH82B Queen Bee   P4709 Bounced on landing Hal Far. Transferred to Admiralty?
18.03.40 Saunders-Roe A.27 London   K9683 Arrived from Gibraltar on the 8th, and was returning via Algiers, but had to return to Kalafrana due to W/T failure. Departed on the 19th.
24.05.40 Saunders-Roe A.27 London   L7038 Aircraft had arrived on the 18th from Gibraltar. The flying-boat was returning when it was forced back to Malta due to engine trouble.
16.06.40 G. Gladiator Hal-Far Fighter Flight N5531 Suffered engine trouble during a patrol.
18.06.40 B. Blenheim 4 Ferry Pilots Pool L9263 One of twelve Blenheims being ferried to the Middle East via France, Tunisia, and Malta. Pilot suffered engine failure during take-off from Marigrane, France, the aircraft being abandoned there. (See accident report at the bottom of this table for additional info for accidents dated 18th and 19th June.)
18.06.40 B. Blenheim IV 4 Ferry Pilots Pool L9314 Crashed near Prunieres, France, on delivery to the Middle East via France, Tunisia and Malta.
18.06.40 B. Blenheim IV 4 Ferry Pilots Pool L9315 Crashed near Prunieres, France, on delivery to the Middle East via France, Tunisia and Malta.
18.06.40 B. Blenheim IV L9317 Crashed near Prunieres, France, on delivery to the Middle East via France, Tunisia and Malta. Three casualties.
18.06.40 B. Blenheim L9318 Aircraft was one of twelve being ferried to the Middle East as above. Crashed in France. Three casualties.
18.06.40 B. Blenheim 4 Ferry Pilots Pool L9351 Aircraft crashed in France
18.06.40 H. Hurricane I 4 Ferry Pilots Pool P2626 Aircraft involved in landing accident. Remained in Ussel, France.
19.06.40 B. Blenheim 4 Ferry Pilots Pool L9934 One of twelve Blenheims being ferried to the Middle East via France, Tunisia and Malta. Crew tried landing in the sea, but the aircraft flipped over, taking the crew down with.
19.06.40 H. Hurricane 4 Ferry Pilots Pool P2650 Aircraft, along with one Blenheim and two other Hurricanes, was being ferried to Malta. Unable to find the landing ground in Tunisia, the crews elected to land in the water.

On hitting the water, the Hurricane overturned and sank, sadly taking the pilot down with it, who drowned.
19.06.40 H. Hurricane 4 Ferry Pilots Pool P2625 One of twelve Hurricanes being ferried to Malta, the pilot crashed during departure from Tunisia.
        
 


Accident report

A formation of 12 Hurricanes and 12 Blenheims departed from Tangmere, UK to reinforce Malta and the Middle East on 18.07.40. Despite the bad weather, the urgency of the situation necessitated the flight. Off these 24 aircraft, six Blenheims and one Hurricane would be lost in thunderstorms between the UK and France.

Because of bad weather over France, the formation broke up, and P2650, with five other Hurricanes, proceeded in formation with a Blenheim, and managed to land at Ussel. Some of the aircraft got bogged down, although only one Hurricane was damaged.

The following day, the 19th, led by the Blenheim, the five Hurricanes left for Marigrane, to re-fuel and a night stop because of the bad weather. But the formation leader, receiving news (later proven to be false) that advance units of the German army were closing in, decided to take off rather than risk being captured.

Sometime after departure, two of the Hurricanes had to return to France with engine trouble.

During their flight to North Africa, the formation got separated, the aircraft reaching the Tunisian coast in darkness, during a thunderstorm.

Because the French Forces had not received prior notice of their arrival, the British aircraft were mistaken to be hostile and fired at them, although apparently not hitting them. The formation, abandoning any hope of finding an aerodrome, decided to land in the sea near Ferry Ville.

        
 

 

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
21.06.40 Gl. Gladiator Hal Far Fighter Unit N5522 Aircraft made a violent uncontrollable swing to the right and crashed into obstruction during take-off from Hal-Far. Pilot uninjured, but aircraft deemed a write-off. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
21.06.40 Gl. Gladiator Hal Far Fighter Unit N5524 Aircraft lost a wheel after striking a packing case on take-off and overturning on landing. Pilot suffered some injuries, but aircraft was considered a write-off. Source: www.Maltagc70.com

Courtesy of http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/malta.htm comes the following information – “Both aircraft were deemed non-repairable and one Gladiator had sustained damage to the front of the fuselage and the other was damaged at the rear. The Command Engineering Officer, Squadron Leader A. E. Louks, assessed the damage and considered one good aircraft could be constructed out of the two wrecks. He said: ”…a hybrid was born out of two corpses.” The aircraft that was repaired was N5524.
23.06.40 G. Gladiator Hal Far Fighter Unit N5531 Aircraft collided with a De Havilland Queen Bee target drone during landing at Hal-Far. Level of damage unknown.

Information courtesy of http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/malta.htm.
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 G. Gladiator Hal Far Fighter Flight N5529 Aircraft broke a wheel on landing. Aircraft repaired by the following day.
02.08.40 H. Hurricane   N2700 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
27.08.40 S. Sunderland 230 L8159 Aircraft was on a reconnaissance patrol of Kithera. Crew forced to land and detained by the Greeks. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.09.40 V. Wellington     Two Wellingtons crash during take-off. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
17.09.40 S. Sunderland   _____/P One of three aircraft that departed for Alexandria, but had to return with engine trouble. Spares were flown in by a 230 squadron Sunderland, L5803, on the 20th , this aircraft departing on the 22nd. Departure date of ‘P’ unknow.
23.09.40 V. Wellington     One of three arriving at Luqa, this particular aircraft crashed on landing. Passengers escaped with without injuries, but the aircraft couldn’t be repair with materials available on the island at the time. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
23.09.40 F. Swordfish 830   Aircraft was returning from a reconnaissance flight of the Ionian Sea. Pilot suffered engine failure leading to the ditching the aircraft in the sea within sight of Malta. Crew were rescued by a trawler. 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.
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQUADRON SERIAL NOTES
15.10.40 Loire 130     A Loire 130 defected from Bizerta, Northern Tunisia, landing at the Kalafrana sea base. It was in perfect condition, having done only 35 hours since new, and was fully armed.

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

This was the first time Maitre Sergeant Blaize had 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.
03.11.40 V. Wellington   T2743 It is practically certain that this is one of the above mentioned 2 Wellingtons. RAF records, however, list as crashing over/at the village of Zebbug, which is approximately 1.5km due west of Qormi. The Qormi/Tal-Handaq areas are underneath the r/w 13/31 flight path. To have crashed over Zebbug, the aircraft would have taken off from the wartime r/w 27, and turning right (i.e. Northerly) after take-off.
04.11.40 Wellington Wellington Flight R1094 Crashed after take-off. Three fatalities, one major injury, one minor injury.
06.11.40 Wellington Wellington Flight T2877 Overshot runway after landing from an operational sortie. Two minor injuries.
09.11.40 M. Martin 431 flt AR719 On delivery from Thorney Island to Malta, but never arrived. Reason unknown, although the possibility of attacks by Axis fighter based at Pantellaria, or Bizerte, Tunis, couldn’t be excluded.

(431 Flight was formed as a detached flight from No. 22 squadron, for the purpose of transporting Maryland aircraft to Malta.)
17.11.40 H. Hurricane   V7413 One of a six-aircraft formation on a delivery flight from the HMS Argus. Ditched in sea after running out of petrol.
17.11.40 H. Hurricane x8   V7374 As above. A second formation of six Hurricanes, also flown off the Argus would all be lost at sea. See report below.

Sunderland L5803 was on escort duty for Hurricanes and rescued one downed pilot.

Sunderland L5807 was also on search patrol for Hurricanes w/o success. (This aircraft would be destroyed in a strafing mission on 27.04.41 by Me-109s, which set the aircraft on fire, eventually sinking.)
17.11.40 B. Skua L2987 This aircraft, along with six Hurricanes had been launched from HMS Argus as part of Operation White, the delivery of Hurricanes mentioned above. Due to worsening weather the flight of seven aircraft failed to see the Galite Islands off the Tunisian coast. Having also failed to rendezvous with their escort to Malta, and unsure of their location, the Hurricanes began to run out of fuel and ditch into the sea.

The skua crew, unsure of their position flew west before turning North hoping to find Malta. Instead he approached Sicily, and with insufficient fuel to turn towards Malta, made a crash landing at Syracuse, the crew becoming PoW’s.
        
 


Accident Report - Operation White

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 off, 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
28.11.40 V. Wellington 148 T2894 Aircraft was one of six that arrived from the UK in the morning on 25.11.40. Departed for the Middle East at 09:01. After its departure, an air raid warning was sounded and the remaining aircraft were prevented from taking off. T2894 was last seen heading towards a convoy being attacked by Italian AF bombers. Six fatalities. Weather conditions normal.
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
11.01.41 H. Hurricane 261 N2622 At 20,000 ft the pilot reporting running out of oxygen. He was advised by his section leader to “pancake”, i.e. dive almost vertically, levelling out close to the ground.

According to witness at Luqa airport, they first saw the aircraft when at 9,000-10,000ft diving quite fast, emitting white and black smoke. At 2,000ft, it pulled out slowly, half-rolled and dived out of sight behind rising ground, but hearing the crash, four miles from Luqa. One fatality.
19.01.41 S. Spitfire PR 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 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
05.02.41 V. Wellington 3 Group Training Flight R1385 Aircraft departed from RAF Stradishall, UK on delivery to Malta, but never arrived on the island. Six crewmen missing.
09.02.41 F. Swordfish     Aircraft was being loaded up with “cucumber” explosives. One exploded, killing 7 naval and 1 civilian.
21.02.41 V. Wellington 37 T2575 Aircraft was dispatched to aid the defence of Malta from Shallufa, Egypt, on 20.02.41. Landed at El Adem, Libya, then to Malta on the 21st. Crew on board another aircraft reported seeing the aircraft explode, and subsequently saw oil and wreckage on the water. Exact location unknown, six casualties.
03.04.41 H. Hurricane 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
09.04.41 V. Wellington IC 148 T2952 Aircraft departed Kabat for Malta via El Amryah at 14:15GMT. At 00:15 GMT, HMS Warspite reported receiving an SOS “running short of petrol”. The aircraft was carrying 890 gallons of fuel, sufficient for 12 hours flying. At the time of the report, the crew had been airborne for ten (10) hours. It is believed that the aircraft had developed a higher than normal fuel consumption. Six crew members missing.
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
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQUADRON SERIAL NOTES
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 II 261 Z3054 * Pilot took off in a formation of Hurricanes on a fighter patrol, but was forced to return to have his oxygen turned on as he was unable to do it himself, departing again immediately after this task was done. He climbed to around 8,000 feet, when his aircraft was observed to go into a vertical dive, and crashed on the edge of the Hal-Far airfield, killing the pilot.

* Serial number has been confirmed.
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
07.05.41 Hurricane 261 V7365 Mid-air collision with another Hurricane (see below). Pilot survived with injuries.
07.05.41 H. Hurricane 261 V7548 Pilot was acting as a rear-end “weaver”. On a port-to-starboard “weave”, the pilot descended too low, chopping off the leaders’ fin and rudder. The “weaver’s” aircraft entered into a spin from which the pilot was unable to recover, subsequently crashing in the village of Naxxar. One fatality.
08.05.41 M. Maryland   AH298 Reported missing on a ferry flight to Malta.
10.05.41 B. Beaufighter I 252 T2339 Crew failed to return from a sea patrol. Body of one crew member washed ashore on Zaoma beach, Tunisia.
16.05.41 V. Wellington 15 OTU T2572 Aircraft crashed on a beach 3 miles north of Sao Pedro De Muel, Portugal, as a result starboard engine trouble. Crew interned, but by 04.06.41, all had escaped. (See report below.)
        
 

Accident report - by Pilot Officer C. F. Hart on his treatment in Portugal.

On May 17th 1941 our Wellington aircraft, T2572, was forced to land on the beach at S. Pedro del Moel in Portugal due to failure of the starboard engine. No member of the crew was injured in the landing.

It was fully thirty minutes after landing before anyone appeared, as we were about a mile and a half from the village. Eventually, however the police appeared, and seemed very relieved when they discovered we were English, because the large majority of the Portuguese are pro-English. We were then taken to the town of Marinha Grande, where we were given breakfast by the major, under whose custody we were placed, pending the arrival of the International Police.

One would have thought we oddities by the way the people came to look at the English Aviators, but as there are very few Portuguese in uniform we were quite a spectacle to most of the villagers. The Major arranged lunch for us, and, I might add, gave us far too much to eat.

About six o’clock, the International Police arrived, and questioned us each in turn. Name, Number, Rank and where we were from and our destination;- the latter to questions were unanswered. They were extremely nice about the questioning, and it didn’t appear that they were terribly thorough in their examination, but I would suppose that if they gave a superficial report to their H.Q. it would be sufficient. I immediately after the International Police had finished with us, we had a talk with the British Air Attaché, - Wing Commander Schreiber, - from Lisbon, who gave us some money to cover incidental expenses. We were then taken to Nazare by motor, and given rooms in the hotel. From that point we never saw the International Police again, but were asked not to go outside the village limits.

The following day we discovered that two plain-clothes policemen had been sent to keep an eye on us, but they never really bothered.

Sunday, the Naval Attaché, Lt. Cmdr. A.C. Walch, at Lisbon brought us civilian clothes and suggested that we should try to arrange some picnics, so that the villagers would get used to the idea of us being away for several hours at a time. This scheme was put into operation on Monday afternoon, when we walked down the beach about five miles, and stayed away for about five hours. The same procedure was followed on Tuesday and Wednesday, and no notice of it was noticed by the plains-clothes men.

Wednesday evening, the Naval Attaché came to pay us a visit to see if everything was going smoothly, and instructed us to be at a certain point outside the village limits on the Sunday afternoon at four o’clock.

Thursday, there was a “fiesta” in the village, and people from all around the countryside came for this gala occasion. As per schedule we set out in the early afternoon to locate our rendezvous, but much to our surprise we were stopped by one of the plain-clothes men just as we were about to crosse the village limits. This episode was duly reported to the Naval Attaché, who informed us that he didn’t think we would be bothered any more. This proved to be the case, because the plain-clothes men disappeared on Friday evening.

Their disappearance caused quite a lot of speculation among the villagers, because they couldn’t figure out quite why we were still there when our “guards” had gone, and several of them suggested various way we could escape, such as having a flying-boat land in the bay, or to take a fishing boat and set out to sea.

Their were several people who could speak French or English treating us to drinks, etc, but here I must add that the behaviour of all the crew was above reproach and each one did his part.

We had to be very careful in our talk because a hint was dropped that there were some German agents in the village; however, even though we were suspicious of a couple of people they did not obtain any information from us. Books and newspapers were sent to us by the Naval Attaché, which helped us to pass the time.

Sunday, we prepared for our departure. We arrived at our rendezvous at four o’clock and were picked up by three cars, two of us in each one. These cars were driven by Portuguese, and we were taken to Lisbon, where we embarked on a tug which took us outside the three-mile limit to a pre-arranged spot where we were met by an English patrol vessel, (The “Scottish”.) We were then taken Gibraltar, and from there returned to England by flying-boat.

The following Portuguese aided us in our escape:-

Lt. Jose Martius Contreiras, who appeared to be the organiser from the Portuguses side and is in the Naval Reserve.

Major Dias Leite,an Officer in the Portuguese Air Force.

Dr. Calual d’Andrade.

Fernando Farinha Gereira, Shell agent at Alicantes.

Dr. Farinha Gereira. These last three were the drivers of the motor-cars.

Lt. Commander E.W.B. Leake was also very kind, and acted as a liaison between Commander Walch and ourselves. Everyone spoke very highly of Commander Walch, particularly the Portuguese mentioned above, and they say they will do everything they can to help him anytime.

(Signed) Chas F. Hart, P/O, June 4th. 1941.

        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQUADRON SERIAL NOTES
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
21.05.41 B. Blenheim 82 V6165 One of six aircraft being delivered from Gibraltar to, or through, Malta. The other 5 aircraft landed safely, and reported V6165 crashing into the sea at 37.03 N, 01.42E. Navigator rescued.
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
11.06.41 H. Hurricane II 46 Z2480 Aircraft was observed diving into the sea after attacking enemy aircraft. Rest of the squadron didn’t report any return fire from the enemy a/c.
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
15.06.41 H. Hurricane x7     Two Wellingtons departed for the Middle East, leading a formation of 28 Hurricanes. These seven returned to Malta after losing the Wellingtons in clouds.
15.06.41 Hurricane II 260 Z4317 Aircraft crashed on landing at Luqa, outside of airport perimeter. One casualty.
15.06.41 V. Wellington N2803 Crashed in Algeria, five casualties, one survivor. The rear machine gunner was thrown out of the aircraft, suffering a fracture of the left leg near the ankle, and a number of contusions on the body. (His foot was later amputated.) Although semi-conscious, he attempted to crawl back to the aircraft to render assistance to the other crew members, and burn sensitive papers, which is when he suffered severe burns. Attracted by the sound of the crash and explosion, members from a close by village arrived on the scene and prevented the crewman from continuing going further into the aircraft.

(It would appear that the, or some of the, papers survived the fires, as a message from the American consulate in Algeria stated that “Plane partially burnt. French Air Authorities have all papers.”)

Cause of the crash was the aircraft hitting a hill called Col de Guellal, near a place called Fedj-M-Denis, about two miles from the village of Laverdure, Algeria.
16.06.41 V. Wellington 15 OTU K3293 One of four Wellingtons expected on this day from Gibraltar. (a second failed to show), the aircraft developed technical problems on the approach to Hal-Far airfield, crashing in Kalafrana Bay at 01:15 GMT. Six fatalities, but one body never recovered. The Air H.Q. Malta ORB gives the arrivals as 2 Wellingtons and 2 Blenheims, arriving from Gibraltar.
18.06.41 H. Hurricane I 261 Z4058 One of six Hurricanes scrambled to intercept two formations of Italian Macchi 200 fighters.

Pilot was coming in to land, when the aircraft developed a glycol leak, which lead to overheating and engine seizure, and a fire. Upon impact with the ground, the engine was thrown clear of the airframe. Four big-ends had passed through the crank case.

According to witnesses reports, the aircraft was observed circling over the airfield at 5,000 feet streaming a considerable amount of glycol. The aircraft was gliding, and when at 800 yards at approx. 700 feet, flames were observed from the underside of the engine.

The pilot exited the aircraft, but was unfortunate in that the parachute opened when he hit the ground near Mosta. The pilot was found to be alive but unconscious when picked up, but died on the way to hospital.
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
20.06.41 V. Wellington IC Z8723 Aircraft was one of four that had departed Hampstead Norris for Gibraltar on the 19th at 21:50hr GMT. The routing was to be Bridport, Cape Finisterre (Spain) – DR (dead reckoning) position at sea about 3 miles west of Lagos, Portugal, then Gibraltar. The crews were to approach the French coast of Brest at 9,000 ft, then proceed for the rest of the journey below 4,500 ft, the weather being predicted good conditions and a cloudless sky.

The French coast was sighted at 23:50hrs at 7,500ft. Observing what the captain though to be anti-aircraft fire over Brest, he swung on a more westerly course, until the coast was no longer visible. At this point, they changed course for Cape Finisterre, but shortly afterwards, what was thought to be anti-aircraft fire was again observed on both port and starboard side of the aircraft. At this point, the pilot, thinking he was still over France, again changed course on to a more westerly direction. Within fifteen minutes, the crew were caught in a severe electrical storm, realising that this was the “anti-aircraft fire” seen earlier.

By D R calculations, the pilot picked up a course for Cape Finisterre, the storm continuing for two hours, the wireless became unserviceable, and by daybreak, seeing they were still over the sea, picked up a south easterly course for Spain, having assumed that, because of the storm, they were west of Spain.

By this time, the wireless had become serviceable, and two loop bearings were taken from a beacon in France and another in Spain. However, fuel levels were getting rather low, preventing the crew from flying the original route. A decision was taken to fly over Spain direct to Gibraltar. However, on reaching the Spanish coast, it was realised that fuel levels were so low, it was decided to make a landing on the water at 11:00hrs, 1.5 miles off Aguilas, Spain.

Having been forced to abandon a leaking dinghy, the six-man crew were picked by two fishing boats, being handed over to the military authorities.

It was deemed that the main cause of this incident was lack of operational experience by the crew.
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
01.07.41 V. Wellington   Z8730 Departed Malta at 20:13 on ferry to the Middle East. Never arrived at destination, Seven missing, believed dead.
02.07.41 H. Hurricane x2     The two aircraft collided on landing at Ta Qali, both aircraft being badly damaged.
05.07.41 B. Blenheim IV 82 Z9575 Crashed near Gudja after take-off on a non-operational flight, the result of the port engine failure, which was heard misfiring during the take-off run. Two fatalities, two serious injuries.
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 V. Wellington     Aircraft en route to the Middle East crashed at Safi Strip. One fatality. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
12.07.41 V. Wellington   D8775 Aircraft was on delivery, probably by 15 OTU. Departed at 22:15, but crashed on take-off into Safi strip, indicating a departure from runway 14. 7 fatalities, including 1 passenger. Cause of the crash is believed to be too early retraction of flaps.
13.07.41 V. Wellington 15 OTU Z8780 Aircraft left Harwell for Gibraltar. The aircraft was heard and seen circling over Esposendes, 20 miles north of Oporto, Portugal. It was observed to dive steeply, climb into the clouds, and then dive again into the sea, 300 meters from shore.

The weather was described as being very bad, with sea mist, low clouds, heavy rain and strong winds with gusts. The aircraft exploded on impact with the water, the six-man crew being assumed dead from the impact.

A fishing boat sailed out to the scene of the crash for possible crew rescue. All they found were a rubber dinghy, a mackintosh, 2 parachutes, later on a wheel. On the 14th, the body of the wireless operator washed ashore, together with hundreds of letters destined for Malta.
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
17.07.41 Wellington   D9277 Aircraft went missing on a flight from Malta to Egypt. Rubber dinghy with some of the crew were found and rescued, but pilot and second crew member had swum away from the dinghy a few hours previously and were never found.
23.07.41 B. Blenheim 110 One of four aircraft on a shipping strike in Trapani Harbour, it was forced to return early for unknown reasons.
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
31.07.41 H. Hurricane IIC 249 Z3492 Pilot experienced engine problems shortly after take-off, possibly due to fuel starvation. Suffered some injuries in a subsequent forced landing.
06.08.41 H. Hurricane II 185 Z2479 Aircraft bounced on landing at Hal Far. Pilot opened the throttle but the starboard wing dropped, the aircraft dropping heavily on the starboard undercarriage, which collapsed. Aircraft slide for a distance. As a result, the aircraft slid for some distance, coming to rest on the radiator and underside of the cowling. Damage to prop, starboard mainplane and undercarriage. Pilot suffered slight injuries.
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 I 69 AR739 Crew had been on a reconnaissance flight over Catania. Starboard engine failed during the return flight 20 minutes from Malta but stalled on the approach, approximately a quarter mile from the airfield boundary, whilst carrying 2, 500lb bombs, which fortunately didn’t explode. 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
26.08.41 H. Hurricane II 126 X3498 Aircraft, for unknown reasons i.e. mechanical or enemy action, failed to return from an interception flight.
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 I RAF Seaplane Rescue Flt. Kalafrana. L2182 Nosed over in sea after hitting a swell. Written off.
01.09.41 L. Hudson   N7324 Departed Luqa on a reconnaissance flight, but forced to land near Tunis after being attacked and damaged by RN planes. One crew member suffered injuries in his arms and legs. The four crew members were interred.
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
12.09.41 V. Wellington II 15 OTU Harwell W5596 Aircraft, which had departed OADU Hampstead Morris at 23:30GMT of the 11th, was on a delivery flight direct to Malta, not via Gibraltar. Crashed in sea for unknown reasons. The body of a crew member was washed ashore, and buried by the German authorities at Quiberville Cemetery, France, on 1st November. Remaining five crew members never recovered.
12.09.41 H. Hurricane IIA 126 BV173 Pilot was blinded by dust stirred by previous aircraft during take-off from Ta’ Qali, and failed to clear the perimeter barbed wire, which got entangled with the undercarriage. Aircraft came to rest at the bottom of a 15-foot drop at the edge of the aerodrome surface. Pilot hospitalised with slight injuries.

The aircraft suffered from a twisted fuselage, complete wreckage of the undercarriage, both main planes damaged beyond repair, engine and engine bay separated from the airframe and suffering from multiple defects as a result of the crash, all propellor blades fractured at the roots with the hub being badly damaged.

As a result of this incident, pilot were advised to either keep well upon the leader, or allow for dust to settle before taking off.
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
16.09.41 V. Wellington _9685 Aircraft caught fire, caused a bomb to explode, killing an airman attending on fire crew duty.

There is some confusion as to whether the first letter is “D” or “Z”.
21/22.09.41 F. Swordfish 830 L7660 One of six aircraft returning from an attack on a convoy near Lampedusa Island. Aircraft must have suffered a malfunction, as it returned with its torpedo still attached. Pilot was judged to approach too fast, bouncing on touchdown. Undercarriage collapsed, causing the missile to explode, resulting in one fatality and one serious injury. Source: www.Maltagc70.com and the RAF Kalafrana Operations Records Book (ORB).
22.09.41 HE 115A-2 Z Flight RAF (Malta) BV185 Aircraft arrived in Malta on 23.06.41 being used for clandestine missions. Damaged on unknown date by bomb splinters, but repaired, the first sortie being on 18th September. 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
23.09.41 V. Wellington Z8335 Aircraft, on a delivery flight from the UK to the Middle East, departed Luqa at 23:00GMT on 22.09.41. The aircraft failed to reach its destination, and no news was ever received about it, or the crew’s fate. Seven casualties.
23.09.41 S. Sunderland 230 L5806 This appears to have been a landing or taxying mishap at Kalafrana Bay, the report stating “bad airmanship”. One slight injury to the 12-man crew.
26.09.41 H. Hurricane I Station Flt. Z4356 Departed for 108MU, but never arrived. Pilot had been captured and became a PoW. Reason why aircraft never arrived at its destination, i.e. mechanical or shot down, unknown. Pilot had arrived from No. 1 P.D. Wing, RAF Wilmslow, together with another six pilots, to ferry Hurricanes from Malta to the Middle East.
30.09.41 H. Hurricane 185 Z2514 Aircraft was one in a formation which departed Malta for an offensive patrol over Sicily. This was the only aircraft that failed to return, believed to have crashed in the sea 10-15 miles of Sicily. The crash does not appear to be the result of enemy action.
06.10.41 B. Beaufighter 248 T4658 Two-man crew made a forced landing near Beja Tunisia, and interned there. Aircraft had left Gibraltar earlier that morning for Malta.
13.10.41 Sunderland 230 T9050 Aircraft, which was carrying 8 passengers, landed safely at Kalafrana, having lost a propellor, as well as suffering damage to its controls. It isn’t known this damage was the result of an attack by an Axis aircraft. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
16.10.41 B. Blenheim 107 Z7511 Aircraft, airborne on a W/T test, crashed at Kirkop. Two fatalities, one slight injury.
22.10.41 V. Wellington Z8411 Cause and nature of accident unknown. One fatality, one dangerous injury, two slight injuries.
29.10.41 B. Blenheim III 88 Z7979 Aircraft, in transit from Malta to the Middle East, came down in the sea, 10 miles north of Ras Engela, Tunisia, at 37 degrees, 23 minutes N, 9 degrees, 44 minutes E.
03.11.41 V. Wellington IC 15 OTU Z1040 Aircraft went missing between Gibraltar and Malta. The captain sent a request for a bearing to the island at 06:18 GMT. At 07:06, he again sent a message requesting an escort, but also reported he was having trouble with his receiver set. Two formations of two Hurricanes each were scrambled to assist the Wellington crew, but were unable to make contact, despite flying a distance of 65 miles.

Another Wellington, Z8990, was also en route to Malta, and presumably made it safely to Luqa.
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
04.11.41 V. Wellington IC 44 Grp X9991 Aircraft was coming to land at first light on a delivery flight. With the aircraft’s nose over the runway threshold, the aircraft sank rapidly, causing the rear end of the fuselage and tail to strike the low airfield boundary wall. This led to the tail rising suddenly forcing the aircraft to fly into the ground, collapsing the undercarriage.

This resulted in the rear portion of the fuselage, tail oleo and underside of the rear turret to be torn away, leading to the aircraft becoming a write-off.

Caused of accident was deemed to be pilot error, who made too low an approach, who should have either used more engine power, or aborted approached and gone round again.
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 F. Swordfish 830 V4295 Went missing during a patrol, searching for enemy convoys, ditching near Palermo. Reason for ditching, mechanical or enemy action, not known. All three crew members were captured and taken as pow’s after ten hours in a dinghy on the water.
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 road following engine failure. No injuries.

The RAF Ta Qali ORB lists the day as the 21st.
23.11.41 V. Wellington 1C X9662 40 Bomb exploded on board aircraft when on the ground. One fatality, two injuries with various injurious.
23.11.41 V. Wellington IIc Z8432 Aircraft was forced to land at Portela da Sacavem, Lisbon Portugal due to port engine problems, preventing him from landing at Gibraltar.
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.
24.11.41 B. Beaufighter 604 X7639 Aircraft was in transit from RAF Portreath, UK to the Middle East. Aircraft had left Gibraltar for Malta, but crashed, for unknown reasons, near Cape Serrat, Tunisia. Crew survived crash, and interned there.
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
06.12.41 H. Hurricane 126 Z5118 Aircraft overshot runway at Ta Qali, no injuries.
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.
13.12.41 B. Blenheim IV 110 Z7958 Aircraft was in transit to the Middle East. Fuel starvation caused the starboard engine to fail, causing the aircraft to crash on landing at Luqa. Slight injuries to crew members.
20.12.41 B. Beaufort I N1036 Aircraft on a delivery from the UK to Malta. Pilot unable to draw fuel from overload system, leading to engines stopping as a result of fuel starvation. Crew were forced to land in the sea 3 miles from Gibraltar.

Cause of fuel starvation appears to have been the result of all cocks and balance cocks being in the open position when the overload system was in use, and likely resulted in an air lock.

Pilot claimed that he had been unable to obtain definite information on the fuel system in the UK. One slight injury.
26.12.41 B. Blenheim IV OADU Z7972 Aircraft on delivery to Malta. Pilot lost an engine 5.5 miles east of Gibraltar. Despite dumping fuel to try to lighten the load, and going into a rich fuel mixture, he was unable to fly the aircraft on one engine, and crashed in the sea. Two slight injuries, one casualty (by drowning).
28.12.41 V. Wellington IC 15 OTU DV416 Aircraft was on a delivery flight from Gibraltar to Malta. Owing to bad weather and radio failure, the crew were unable to locate Malta. Running short of fuel, the crew were forced to land in Sicily near Ragusa. No injuries, crew taken prisoner.

On 08.02.44, one of the crew was shot dead trying to escape.
28.12.41 B. Blenheim IV 21 Z7924 Aircraft, on delivery to the Middle East, crashed in the sea, 440 yards east of Gibraltar. Engine cut after take-off for Malta (from Gibraltar) and made a return to airport, but mistakenly selected flaps instead of undercarriage. Two injuries, with one missing, presumably drowned with aircraft.
__.12.41 Gl. Gladiator Hal-Far Fighter Unit N5520 Aircraft sustained heavy damage after ground looping during landing at Hal Far on returning from a meteorological flight. The aircraft was repaired but this ended the Gladiator flying from Malta during 1941.

The last known flight of this aircraft was on the 28th, so this accident must have occurred either on this day, or from the 29th onwards.

LAC Kenneth Cox of 185 Squadron witnessed the accident. “At the time of the crash I was waiting on the runway ready to refuel N5520, painted silver all over, Flight Sergeant Jolly came out of it in one piece. We then righted the aircraft by lifting the tail up as low as possible, and pulling it over with a length of rope that already been attached. The Gladiator was in a sorry state. Both wings sagging down to the ground we had quite a job pushing it the 200 yards or so to a place between two damaged hangars. The engine fitted to N5520 then was a Blenheim’s Mercury, with a three bladed variable-pitch propeller.”
29.12.41 H. Hurricane IIB 249 BD834 Pilot failed to return from an interception flight. Reason, whether mechanical or enemy action, not known.
29.12.41 H. Hurricane IIA 185 Z4943 Pilot was returning to airfield after intercepting enemy aircraft. Aircraft spun over for unknown reason/s and crashed on the airfield. One fatality.
29.12.41 H. Hurricane IIC 242 BE343 Aircraft was part of a formation on a fighter patrol, when for unknown reasons, collided with Hurricane BE344. Both aircraft crashed into the sea, but only the pilot of 344 managed to bale out. One casualty.
29.12.41 H. Hurricane IIC 242 BE344 Aircraft involved in air-to-air collision with BE343 above. Pilot managed to bale out.
04.01.42 B. Blenheim Z9676 One of six aircraft that departed Libya for Malta in two formations of three aircraft each. 100 miles out, the formations encountered inclement weather with zero visibility, which resulted in the aircraft losing sight of each other. Four diverted to El Adem, but this aircraft, and Z7689 weren’t seen again.

The confusion arose as to who was responsible for the reporting of crews missing in transit between subordinate Command within Middle East Command, this being the first time this problem had arisen. It was deemed that, strictly speaking, Malta should have been responsible for the aircraft, but the pilots had not “ . . . been brought on the books of AHQ Malta”.

On the other hand, the Base Personnel Staff Officer in Egypt hadn’t been informed of the missing crews either. Due to the July emergency, records had been destroyed, and it was no longer possible to check on had been responsible for this failure.

An inquiry revealed that “ . . . . here had been a lack of definite instructions as to the reporting of casualties on ferry flights, resulting in a division of responsibility”. As this anomaly was corrected, it wasn’t considered necessary to hold a Court of Inquiry.

This explains why the crews weren’t reported missing until the end of August.
07.01.42       Bad weather has forced Malta's Air Officer Commanding to send two squadrons of Wellington aircraft to the Middle East, until hard standings can be constructed in waterlogged dispersal areas. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
07.01.42 B. Blenheim IV 18 Z7652 Aircraft was on a reconnaissance mission for enemy convoys. This would have entailed flying up to the eastern Sicilian coast up to the Messina Straits, then turn on a south-eastern track well into the Ionian Sea, turning back towards the Gulf of Taranto, before performing another U-turn into the Ionian Sea, before turning back towards Malta.

The crew never returned to base, and it assumed that they either crashed or ditched in the sea following mechanical trouble, or shot down by enemy fighters in the vicinity off Sicily. Three fatalities.
08.01.42 L. Hudson III 89 AE539 The aircraft, which had a crew of four plus a passenger, had arrived from RAF Thorney Island on the 6th. Nothing was heard from the crew after their departure. A two-day layover during the height of the war could be indicative of mechanical problems.
13.01.42 DH Mosquito PR1 1 PRU W4062 Aircraft was being delivered from RAF Portreath, UK to Malta. Port engine cut on landing, leading to aircraft crashing at Luqa airport. One crew member injured.
13.01.42 B. Blenheim IV Z7790 Aircraft from the Mideast pool was reported as going down 50 miles south of Lampedusa. Three fatalities.
15.01.42 M. Maryland 69 _1624 Aircraft was being taxied from one dispersal to another at Luqa. For some reason, the aircraft left the taxi-way, and with the propellor hit a stack of 500-lb bombs, which exploded, causing the destruction of the aircraft. Three fatalities. Three personnel on the ground also suffered injuries.

The aircraft was previously listed as belonging to 12 SAAF/39, serial number AH288.
17.01.42 V. Wellington 15 OTU Z9030 Aircraft had departed from RAF Portreath to Gibraltar, then Malta and the Middle East. The crew departed Gibraltar at around midnight, but crashed near Ras-el-Hadid, Mechta Saoula Algeria. Five casualties, with one survivor, the rear gunner.
18.01.42 L. Hudson 59 V9126 Aircraft, on delivery to Solluch, Libya, crashed at Siggiewi at 06:00. Three fatalities, one serious injury.
18.01.42 Ju-88     Aircraft crashed 400 yards from, and 20 minutes after the crash of the Hudson above. Like the Hudson, the cause of the crash is unknown, especially as the aircraft was not being fired at by AA gunners. Three fatalities. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
19.01.42 B. Bleinheim 21 Z7271/J Forced to abandon mission of Catania due to icing up.
09.02.42 H. Hurricane IIb 249 Z5326 Aircraft took off on a non-operational flight. A few minutes after take-off, the engine suddenly cut, the pilot tying to return for a “dead stick” landing. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful, and ended up crashing at/near Bidnija, the pilot dying in the crash.
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
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQUADRON SERIAL NOTES
11.02.42 B. Beaufighter 1 248 T4879 Departed Malta on delivery to the Middle East, but failed to arrive.
11.02.42 B. Beaufighter I 236 T4915 Departed Malta for the Middle East, but never arrived. Cause of disappearance unknown. Two missing, believed dead.
11.02.42 B. Beaufighter 236 T4896 Departed Malta for the Middle East but never arrived. Two crew missing. Messages later received that the crew were serving with 252 sqd, Middle East command. Cause of misinformation unknown.
15.02.42 M. Maryland 203 AR725 Crew took-off from Burg El Arab (Landing Ground 39) for Malta, but never arrived at Luqa. Crew are believed to have crashed in the sea.
17.02.42 V. Wellington IC 21 OTU DV458 Aircraft, which had departed from Gibraltar on delivery to the Middle East, crashed in Garaet Archkel lake near Ferryville, Tunisia. Four badly injured crew members were rescued, but other two not seen, and presumed to have drowned. (One body later recovered and buried.)
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.
27.02.42 B. Beaufighter 2 OTU T4894 Aircraft was on a delivery flight to the Middle East. Departed Malta, but never arrived at destination for reasons unknown. Two crew missing.
27.02.42 V. Wellington IC 99 DV510 Aircraft was on a delivery flight to the Middle East. Departed from Gibraltar for Malta, but ended up crashing landing in Sicily. Crew probably lost their bearing after flying through an electrical storm. Six PoWs.
03.03.42 H. Hurricane Malta Night Fighter Unit   Aircraft suffered engine failure, 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
09.03.42 V. Wellington IC 37 DV483 Aircraft received take-off clearance for take-off at 00:30 LT. Almost airborne, it collided with Wellington IC Z9038 which had taxied forward without permission. There was no moon, and due to the risk of enemy bombing, aircraft were not using navigational lights.

As there was no perimeter track, Z9038 had to backtrack the runway, leading to a head-on collision between the two aircraft. There is some confusion as to whether the captain of DV483 had, or had not, received permission to take-off. On impact the bombs and mines being carried started to explode.

Three casualties, and three injured.

A message from CAS Ottawa, dated 16.03.42, asked if Luqa is situated in Malta.
09.03.42 V. Wellington IC 37 Z9038 Four uninjured, one fatality, and one missing, never recovered.

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.” Information about citation courtesy of 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
19.03.42 B. Beaufort II 22 AW339 Aircraft was part of formation that departed from Gibraltar for Malta with four crew on board. The formation was destined for the Middle East.

When 5 miles west of Linosa Island, the aircraft’s starboard engine cut due to a faulty petrol feed. Falling behind, and struggling to catch up, the crew were attacked by two Me-110s, resulting in the rear gunner being wounded in the left shoulder. The attack was broken off after 10-15 minutes, the formation continuing to Hal-Far, arriving with practically no petrol.

A green very light, fired from the ground was mistaken for permission to land, and on touchdown, the starboard undercarriage leg collapsed, the aircraft crashing into a wall. No further injuries to the crew.

The other Beauforts are believed to be N1100, X8924, W6543, A291?
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 IV   Z9832 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.
30.03.42 V. Wellington 21 OTU BB511 Aircraft, on delivery to the Middle East, was lost between Gibraltar and Malta. Six missing.
31.03.42 L. Hudson OADU V9025 On a delivery flight to the Middle East via Gibraltar and Malta. Aircraft arrived overhead Luqa a minute past midnight local time. After a normal circuit, the aircraft stalled on the approach and crashed into a wall, bursting into flames killing all four onboard, the aircraft becoming a total write-off.
        
 


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.
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.
05.04.42 V. Wellington   DV519 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 wass injured.
05.04.42 B. Beaufort   AW338 Went missing without any further information.
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.
11.04.42 L. Hudson   V9175 Crash landed, no injuries.
19.04.42 H. Hurricane IIC 229 BM275 Aircraft had arrived at Ta Qali on delivery from Gabut. Pilot overshot airfield, and hit some sand bags, causing the aircraft to overturn. Officially, it was deemed that although the pilot was somewhat inexperienced, and was landing at a new aerodrome after a 4.5 hour flight, it was judged that an element of carelessness was involved. Pilot suffered injuries.
20.04.42 V. Wellington   ES995 Aircraft crashed on landing. Not known 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.
20.04.42 S. Spitfire PRU __907 Departed Gibraltar for Malta, never arrived.
24.04.42 Wellington IC Harwell 15 OTU DV565 Crew arrived in Wellington ES983, departing for the Middle East in DV565. Initially listed as missing, they were discovered as being safe, the aircraft having landed 5 miles North of Khatatba, Egypt.
25.04.42 S. Spitfire VbT BR850 Crash landed near Siggiewi following a glycol leak.
28.04.42 H. Hurricane 229 BE555/HB-U Pilot had been complaining that engine had not produced full emergency boost on its last flight. A ground run was conducted, and the engine appeared to perform satisfactorily. It was then suggested that the pilot should perform a test flight, which lasted for around ten minutes.

According to witnesses, the pilot’s attempt to land failed and opened the throttle for another attempt. He made a left-hand circuit, wheels and flaps down, and tried another downwind landing. He touched down on the main gear, but bounced and wobbled badly, the pilot again opening the throttle to get airborne for another attempt, raising the wheels. As the aircraft came in for another approach, the engine appeared to start “cutting”. As the aircraft came in a gliding angle with the undercarriage raised, an emergency panel was seen to fall from the aircraft. At the this point, the aircraft appeared to lose flying speed, stalled, and crashed to the ground. On hitting the ground, the aircraft “turned turtle”, the engine being torn loose from the airframe, the latter continuing moving forward, until coming to a stop down the main road, bursting into flames, preventing anyone from approaching it for any possible rescue work.
28.04.42 H. Hurricane IIC BN905 Pilot took off at 01:00hrs and proceeded north on a night interception until well over Sicily. He was last heard from when approx. 100 miles from Malta, apparently turning back towards Malta. Aircraft crashed in the vicinity of Gerbini. Cause of crash, whether mechanical or enemy action, unknown.
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 III   V9227 Aircraft crashed on landing. No injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
02.05.42 B. Beaufort I   N1104 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. No injuries. See ”NOTES” section of entry below. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.05.42 V. Wellington Ic     Crashed on landing, no injuries. The A.H.Q. Malta ORB gives the serial numbers for two Wellingtons which crashed on landing for this day. These were HF839 and HF864.
04.05.42 S. Spitfire     Aircraft overshot the run way on landing after arrival from Gibraltar. Slight damage to the aircraft. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
04.05.42 V. Wellington   HF861 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 S. Spitfire Vd PRU   Crashed on landing, no injuries.
05.05.42 V. Wellington     Aircraft taxied into a bomb crater, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
05.05.42 Wellington Ic     Crashed on landing, no injuries. The A.H.Q. Malta ORB lists these two Wellingtons for the same date, DV540 (a Ic) and BD702 (a IIb). It is possible that one of these is the one listed above as taxying in a bomb crater.
05.05.42 Wellington Ic     Crashed on landing, no injuries.
06.05.42 H. Hurricane     Crashed on landing, no injuries.
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
06.05.42 Spitfire Vc   BR112 Landed with undercarriage retracted, no injuries.
09.05.42 V. Wellington VIII 221 Z8712 Aircraft, of the Special Duties Flight, took off on an operational flight, but never returned, nor any messages received. Seven crew missing, presumed dead.
09.05.42 S. Spitfire     Flew off the USS Wasp. Crash landed at Malta. One fatality.
10.05.42 H. Hurricane IIc   Z2982 Aircraft taxied into a bomb crater. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
11.05.42 S. Spitfire Vc 603 BP964 Collided with Spitfire BP991, in attempting to engage with an Me-109. Slight injuries to both pilots.
11.05.42 S. Spitfire Vc 603 BP991 Collided with Spitfire BP964, in attempting to engage with an Me-109. Slight injuries to both pilots.
12.05.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BP953 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
12.05.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR136 Collided with Spitfire BR350 during a scramble, no injuries to pilots. Level of damage to aircraft unknown. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
12.05.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR350 Collided with Spitfire BR136 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 Ic   BB490 Aircraft crashed on take-off. No 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
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQUADRON SERIAL NOTES
18.05.42 B. Beaufort II 5 OTU AW376 Aircraft, which had arrived the previous day, departed Malta for the Middle East, but, developing engine problems, the pilot decided to return to Malta. Unfortunately, the crew were forced to ditch in the sea, 40 miles SE of Malta. Navigator wasn’t seen again and presumed to have gone down with the sinking aircraft. The remaining three crew members survived, and were picked up by a German float plane, and became prisoners of war.
21.05.42 Blenheim   BA365 Crashed in the sea, enroute to Malta, but cause of crash unknown.
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
24.05.42 B. Blenheim V OADU BA371 On delivery from RAF Portreath to the ME via Gibraltar and Malta. Crashed in Bay West, RAF North Front, Gibraltar. Three crew suffered slight injuries. Mail bags destined for Malta fished out of the water.
24.05.42 V. Wellington II   Z5554 The aircraft was on a delivery flight. Crashed on landing. Pilot killed, remainder of crew all suffered various injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
25.05.42 B. Beaufort     Crashed on take-off, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
25.05.42 Beaufort I   DD877 Crashed on take-off, no injuries.
25.05.42 B. Blenheim V   BA328 Aircraft is damaged during taxying, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
27.05.42 S. Spitfire V 126 BP870 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 Z8366 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

Files at the National Archives, Kew, give the cause of crash as engine failure. Four fatalities, one serious injury, one suffering from shock.
30.05.42 V. Wellington II   Z8582 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
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
30.05.42 V. Wellington II   Z8366 Returned from mission with engine trouble, crashed and burst into flames. Four fatalities, 2 injured. The A.H.Q. Malta ORB lists this Wellington as returning from a mission, not aborting i.e. abandoning the mission altogether. For this reason, it is listed as a separate entry. If anyone can prove whether these were two different accidents or not, this writer would be interested in hearing from them.
30.05.42 V. Wellington IC 15 OUT HX369 Aircraft crashed near Licata, Sicily on a delivery flight from Gibraltar to Malta. All crew survived without injury. Crew included a Swedish national. All became PoWs.
31.05.42 V. Wellington VIII 15 OTU HF919 Aircraft crashed after an air test. Three crew on board, two injured.
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 Ic   HF845 Aircraft overshot runway on takeoff, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
01.06.42 Wellington IIc   Z8513 Crashed in sea after operations, no injuries. Cause of crash unknown, i.e. if the result enemy action or not.
01.06.42 Wellington IIc   Z8357 Crashed on landing after a mission, no injuries. Cause of crash unknown, i.e. if the result enemy action or not.
02.06.42 L. Hudson III   FH302 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 a flight of Me-109s.) Source: www.Maltagc70.com
03.06.42 H. Hurricane 229 Z2982 Aircraft departed Malta on delivery to the ME, but failed to reach their destination.
03.06.42 H. Hurricane 229 Z4005 As above.
03.06.42 H. Hurricane 229 BE642 As above.
04.06.42 H. Hurricane IIb   BE110 Aircraft suffered from brake failure on landing, pilot safe. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
09.06.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BP869 Aircraft crash landed on landing, no injuries. Not clear if this was one of 32 Spitfires flown off the carrier HMS Eagle. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
10.06.42 B. Beaufighter VI 235 X8076 Aircraft departed from RAF Lyneham, UK for the Middle East via Gibraltar and Malta. Departed Gibraltar, but never arrived in Malta.
10.06.42 S. Spitfire     Pilot undershoots on landing at RAF Ta’ Qali, and crashes near the western dispersal area. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
12.06.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR301 Crashed on landing, no injuries. allspitifrepilots.org also gives this aircraft as being “damaged by Me-109 landing at Ta Qali 02.08.42”.
12.06.42 L. Hudson 24 AE579 Aircraft was on a shuttle service between Gibraltar-Malta. On landing in darkness, tail damage was sustained and remained in Malta for a week, departing on the 18th.
13.06.42 B. Beaufighter 235 T5006 Pilot made an unauthorised runway beat up at Hal-Far at 200 feet. On reaching the southern boundary, the pilot turned the aircraft in a vertical turn to the right, the aircraft stalling as the rate of turn increased, the wing striking the ground before the pilot could make a full recovery. Aircraft began to burn, the debris then striking a car, also setting it ablaze, the debris spreading over a two-hundred yard area. Pilot was on a non-operational flight. Two fatalities.
13.06.42 V. Wellington 38   Two aircraft took off on a strike mission against a naval convoy in co-operation with other Wellingtons. Aircraft due to act as a flare carrier crashed on take-off, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
14.06.42 M. Baltimore I   AG700 Aircraft crashed on landing from a mission. Cause of crash unknown, no injuries.
15.06.42 B. Beaufort I   DD975 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
15.06.42 B. Beaufort I   AW377 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
15.06.42 S. Spitfire Vc 249 BR126 Four aircraft airborne on convoy patrol, but forced to return early due to engine trouble. The Air H.Q. Malta ORB lists this aircraft as “crash landed due to a glycol leak”. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
15.06.42 S. Spitfire     Aircraft crashed at Luqa after returning from a photo-recce sortie over Taranto Harbour. Crash probably due to a burst tyre on take-off, no injuries. The Air H.Q. Malta lists another Spitfire crash landing on the 15th, BR364, a Vc. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
15.06.42 S. Spitfire 603   One of eight airborne from Ta Qali on patrol, without making contact with the enemy. The undercarriage of one aircraft collapses on landing, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
15.06.42 Baltimore I 69 AG715 Aircraft had departed from Luqa for a sea patrol, but never made it back. No communications were received from the aircraft and exact cause for disappearance unknown. Four fatalities.
16.06.42 S. Spitfire Vc 603 BR198 Pilot landed without lowering the undercarriage, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
17.06.42 V. Wellington VIII   HF919 Aircraft crashed due to engine failure. Pilot safe, but crew suffered from various injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
19.06.42 V. Wellington VIII   HX376 Aircraft crashed during take-off, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
20.06.42 L. Hudson III   FH248 Aircraft was on a direct flight from Gibraltar to the Middle East, but near the North African coast was chased by enemy fighters. In attempting to evade and escape, the pilot used more petrol than anticipated, and decided to divert to Malta. The pilot crashed between Gudja and Safi whilst attempting to land at Luqa at 02:00hrs. One casualty, two injuries, and one safe crew member.
23.06.42 V. Wellington Ic   HX451 Aircraft involved in taxying accident, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
23.06.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BP908 Aircraft crashed on take-off, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
23.06.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BP362 Aircraft crashed on landing, no injuries. No details if this was the same aircraft which had arrived from Gibraltar. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
25.06.42 V. Wellington VIII   HX372 Aircraft crash-landed, no injuries. This was probably one of three Wellingtons which arrived from Gibraltar, as only two departed for LG224. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
25.06.42 L. Hudson III 1444 Ferry Training Flt FH230 Crashed on landing in Malta due to engine failure. Two fatalities, rest of crew injured. Aircraft had arrived from Gibraltar, on delivery to Matruh, Egypt. Information courtesy of www.Maltagc70.com
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQUADRON SERIAL NOTES
03.07.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BP564 Aircraft suffered engine failure in flight, pilot being forced to ditch in the sea, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
04.07.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR414 Crash landed, no injuries. Cause of crash, whether mechanical or the result of enemy action.
04/05.07.42 L. Hudson 24 AE581 On returning to Gibraltar, aircraft experienced compass and propellor trouble, and further shuttle flights to Malta had to be abandoned.
06.07.42 Spitfire 249   Aircraft, Luqa-based, landed at Ta Qali with a “dead prop”. No injuries, but aircraft declared a Cat.2 damage.
06.07.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR845 Crashed on landing, no injuries. Cause of crash, whether mechanical or the result of enemy action. The RAF Ta Qali ORB mentions a Spitfire of 603 squadron (no serial given) being badly damaged during combat, and making a belly landing at Ta Qali.
08.07.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR295 Crashed on landing, no injuries. Cause of crash, whether mechanical or the result of enemy action.
09.07.42 S. Spitfire 249   Aircraft crashed at Ta’ Qali due to running out of fuel. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
11.07.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR347 Crashed on landing, no injuries. Cause of crash, whether mechanical or the result of enemy action, not known.
12.07.42 L. Hudson 24 FH455 Aircraft departed Gibraltar for Malta, but was forced to return by engine trouble. Another attempt on the 14th also failed because of engine problems.
14.07.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR379 Crashed on landing, no injuries. Cause of crash, whether mechanical or the result of enemy action, not known.
15.07.42 S. Spitfire     A total of 32 Spitfires were to be flown off the carrier HMS Eagle in Operation Pinpoint. This aircraft crashed in the sea after getting airborne from the carrier. Pilot was rescued. The remaining 31 aircraft landed safely in Malta. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
15.07.42 V. Wellington VIII   HX391 Aircraft caught fire on landing, crew safe. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
17.07.42 S. Spitfire Vc 229 EN954 Aircraft force-landed with engine failure, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com

Aviation Safety Network gives cause of accident as “spinning from a climbing roll and crashed”.
19.07.42 S. Spitfire 249   Pilot felt ill when airborne on patrol and forced to return to base. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
19.07.42 S. Spitfire 249   Pilot taxied into a hole, damaging the aircraft. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
19.07.42 S. Spitfire 249   Pilot experienced undercarriage problems and returned early from patrol. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
19.07.42 S. Spitfire x2 249   Aircraft were airborne to provide air cover for an air sea rescue launch sent to pick up a pilot from the sea. Both aircraft had to return to base due to radio problems. Two 603 squadron Spitfires were scrambled to replace them. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
19.07.42 S. Spitfire Vc 185 BR305 Aircraft landed downwind at Hal-Far. Pilot overshot, and with the wind blowing diagonally across the runway, forced the aircraft off the runway onto the wall of a readiness pen. Pilot suffered slight injuries.
20.07.42 S. Spitfire   AB264 On landing, the pilot’s seat slid forward, forcing the pilot to push the column forward, tipping the aircraft on its nose. Pilot wasn’t injured. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
21.07.42 S. Spitfire     On 2nd July, 32 Spitfires were shipped from the UK to Gibraltar. 30 of them were loaded on board HMS Eagle for delivery to Malta as part of Operation Insect. This particular aircraft developed defects which prevented from getting airborne. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
21.07.42 S. Spitfire     One of the 30 Spitfires delivered from HMS Eagle. This aircraft had a problem with its fuel system and ditched in the sea. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
23.07.42 H. Hurricane IIb   Z2825 Aircraft crashed on landing due to engine failure, one fatality.
23.07.42 H. Hurricane IIb 229 BZ110 Engine cut out during take-off from Hal-Far. Aircraft burnt out in the subsequent crash, killing the pilot.
25.07.42 Co. Catalina 240 Should have left for Malta, but had engine trouble. Dep Gibraltar on the 26th for Malta, then on to India.
26.07.42 B. Beaufighter VI   T5138 Aircraft skidded on landing, no injuries.
27.07.42 S. Spitfire 603   Eight Spitfires were scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft but seven were forced to return with engine problems. The remaining Spitfire didn’t make contact with the enemy. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
28.07.42 S. Spitfire 603   Eight Spitfires were scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft. This aircraft was forced to return with radio problems. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
28.07.42 S. Spitfire 603   Eight Spitfires were scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft. This aircraft was forced to return with engine problems. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
28.07.42 S. Spitfire Vc   EP257 Flap failure on landing, no injuries.
29.07.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR115 Crashed on landing, no injuries. Cause of crash, whether mechanical or the result of enemy action, unknown.
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.

        
 


A different angle.

Additional information comes from the web site www.maltagc70.com.

As the apparently hostile aircraft neared the Island, it triggered the air raid alert and six Spitfires of 603 Squadron Ta Qali were scrambled to intercept. Three of them attacked the floatplane as it approached St Paul's Bay. Lt Strever ordered the Italian pilot to land immediately on the water. One of his crew then pulled of his shirt and his vest, to wave as a white flag as they scrambled onto the wings.

Puzzled, the Spitfire pilots ceased firing and radioed for the air sea rescue launch, circling overhead until it arrived. The crew of HSL 107 were bemused to find four RAF airmen waiting for them on the floatplane's wings, along with its crew of five Italians.

Air Sea Rescue commander J S Houghton recalled: "The Cant...was towed by HSL 107 to St Paul's Island. It was then passed over to our Seaplane Tender and taken to a buoy off St Paul's Pier, where the five Italians and four Commonwealth airmen were taken ashore. A very strong Army guard was provided to prevent the locals from attacking the Italians. The South African captain, who had led the hijack, brandished his revolver, leaving no doubt as to what he would have done if the Italians had been harmed."

Lt Strever returned his previous captors' hospitality before seeing them in turn taken prisoners of war. For their actions Lt Strever and P/O Dunsmore were awarded the DFC and Sgts Brown and Wilkinson the DFM.

        
 

From prisoners ..... to Captors

Yet additional information about this episode comes from an article which appeared in Air Britain’s Aeromilitaria, Vol. 28 Issue 111, Autumn 2002. It was written by Nicola Malizia, and translated from Italina by Frank McMeiken, whilst readers of the magazine sent in further information.

This is not the entire article.


Under threat from the Beretta Mod.34 9mm pistol liberated from Vice Brigadiere Scarciella, Tenente Mastrodicasa and Marescialfo Chifari were forced to comply with their captors' requests, although the Italian officer pilot warned that they would be attacked by fighters airborne from Malta. In fact, at that very moment, at Ta Kali airfield, a flight of four Spitfire Vb’s from 603 Squadron was being scrambled. The formation was led by Flying Officer Dicks-Sherwood, who spotted the Italian Cant Z.506B about ten miles from the Maltese coast.

Considerable panic broke out inside the seaplane amongst both hijackers and captives and the first machine gun bursts began to approach the aircraft. Skillful and energetic manoeuvring by the Italian pilots negated the first attack, while the white-faced hijackers ran to the cabin windows and waved arms and uniforms in the hope of alerting their attackers. It was not enough. The 603 Squadron formation rolled in for another attack, and this time a burst fired by Sergeant Bill Young, who coincidentally was a personal friend of Strever, ripped through the starboard wing.

At this point, despite rocking their wings, Tenente Mastrodicasa and Marescialfo Chifari had no option but to dive down and make a quick forced landing, despite the range from Malta, as an unmistakable sign that the Cant Z.5068, which had not fired a shot in return, had a serious problem. Luckily, the four Spitfires understood and ceased fire. After making a couple of passes over the seaplane, static in the middle of the sea, they set course for Malta, explaining on the radio to their Fighter Controller exactly what had happened.

Around half an hour passed, and then, on the horizon, appeared Air Sea Rescue Launch HSL 107, whose crew, noticing the 'singularity' of the occupants of the Cant, set about towing the aircraft (191-13, the 13 suffix obviously bringing not a little luck], to Malta, where it was tied up in St. Paul's Bay.

The Italian crew thus changed from guards to captives, a unforeseen condition, almost a tragi-comedy, and certainly unusual. The fame and glory that attached itself to Lieutenant Strever and his crew can be easily imagined; nevertheless, he was careful to treat his former captives with equal respect and kindness, even to the extent of posing for a similar photograph to the one taken in Greece. Once they had arrived in Malta, and the menacing Beretta 9mm pistol of the now-bewildered Vice Brigadiere Scarciella had been put away, the British and Italians became 'friends' again. In fact, Strever and his crew had exercised one of the rights, permitted by the Geneva Convention, which enables any prisoner to attempt to escape from captivity.

The Cant Z.506B soon received RAF codes and colours, and Maresciaflo Alessandro Chifari was charged with converting a few Malta-based pilots on to the type. The island Command wanted to use the elegant and functional Italian seaplane to recover survivors from the open sea, but the life of poor 139-13 was destined to be brief. Despite the abundant British markings and codes, and the awareness of the aircraft's operations by the islands radar centres, on more than one occasion Spitfire pilots operating around Malta threatened the aircraft, recognising the unmistakable profile of one of the most numerous trimotors serving with the units of the Regia Aeronautica.

The 139 Squadriglia R.M. crew was tried in Italy, in their absence, and found guilty for surrendering themselves and an aircraft to the enemy. The former captives, however, were decorated: the two officers, Strever and Dusmore, received the DFC, while the NCOs, Brown and Wilkinson, were awarded the DFM ...a strange outcome for victors and losers.

Dave Vincent has commented on the article on the hijack of a CANT 506B. The two wop/gunners were New Zealanders. Harry Coldbeck, a PR pilot, recorded another aspect of the story in his book Wings of War. He relates that the Italian crew agreed to show the RAF how to handle the 506 on the understanding it would only be used for lifesaving.

At this time, there were no ASR seaplanes available on Malta. One search with an RAF crew was for an Allied crew in a dinghy. The radio was not receiving R/T messages which made liaison with the escorting Spitfires impossible. Just at that moment, along came a Luftwaffe Do 24 which landed alongside the dinghy, collected the crew and whisked them off to captivity.

Coldbeck was given a package about this time by AHO Malta. He was told to drop it on Catania airfield the next time he was returning from a PR sortie. It was addressed to the Regia Aeronautica and apparently contained family letters and personal items belonging to the Italian crew, including, optimistically, their lottery tickets. Catania seemed a strange choice as it was heavily defended; some quieter spot would have been preferable. The ground staff at Luqa made up some streamers to be attached to the package and Coldbeck set off in BP915 for Messina and Naples. On return, he made for Catania and, feeling very self-conscious, tossed out the package when overhead, with no reaction from the defences.

Unfortunately, Coldbeck was shot down off Augusta on 10 November. After being questioned he asked whether the package had been received. He was told that it had but no details were forthcoming. While the Italian crew had been tried in their absence for losing their aircraft, we wonder what happened to them when, a year later, a large part of the Regia Aeronautica followed their lead by co-operating with the RAF.

        
 

 

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
31.07.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR562 Engine cut on landing, no injuries.
03.08.42 V. Wellington VIII OADU HX515 The crew of this particular aircraft were deemed to have above average experience and had been chosen to be based at Malta for operational duties. Aircraft crashed into the sea close to Malta, cause/s unknown.
03.08.42 V. Wellington VIII   HX532 Overshot on landing, no injuries.
09.08.42 S. Spitfire 249   One of four that were scrambled without making contact with the enemy. This aircraft was “knocked sideways” on landing, resulting in the undercarriage leg collapsing. No injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
10.08.42 F. Albacore Navy Air Service   Aircraft was returning from a failed mission to locate a submarine. Crashed on landing, aircraft being destroyed. No injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
10.08.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR368 Unknown taxying accident, no injuries.
11.08.42 B. Beaufighter I   X7748 Crashed in sea as a result of engine failure. Cause of crash, whether mechanical or the result of enemy action.
11.08.42 S. Spitfire Vc   EP697 “Misjudgement on runway”, no injuries.
11.08.42 S. Spitfire     38 Spitfires were to be flown off the carrier Furious as part of Operation Bellows. The carrier, along with Eagle and Indomitable was part of an escort for the convoy sailing to Malta as Operation Pedestal, known in Malta as the Santa Maria convoy.

One Spitfire develops mechanical problems and lands on Indomitable. Another Spitfire is slightly damaged on landing at Hal-Far.

It was on this convoy that Eagle was hit by four torpedoes and sunk. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
11.08.42 B. Beaufighter     Aircraft suffered engine problems in flight and crashed into the sea, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
12.08.42 M. Maryland I 203 AH364 Overshot landing at Luqa, due to a hydraulic system failure. No injuries.
12.08.42 B. Beaufighter Vic   T5143 Forced landed, no injuries.
12.08.42 V. Wellington Ic 221 DV542 Aircraft crashed after overshooting from approach and trying to go for another attempt to land. Rear gunner was trapped in his turret, and subsequently died. From reports of the crew, it would appear the cause of the crash to have been flaps not operating correctly, but whether this was the result of anti-aircraft fire, or pulled up by mistake by the pilot remained unknown. Five injuries, one casualty.

Aircraft was part of a detachment for 221 squadron.
13.08.42 B. Beaufighter 248   One of four aircraft sent out on convoy patrol. This aircraft is damaged after failing to get airborne. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
13.08.42 B. Beaufighter     Wing Commander Wyatt was observing the aircraft taking off from his car at night. Aircraft was forced to abort, and was turning back for another attempt. Pilot failed to see the car, the propeller ripping into the car. The Wing Commander was admitted to hospital with slight injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
13.08.42 B. Beaufighter 248 From the RAF Ta Qali ORB: “Aircraft suffered an engine fire, crew baled out. Pilot transmitted last message “Cheerio, good luck, baling out, port engine on fire””.
13.08.42 S. Spitfire Vc 185 BR292 Aircraft was part of the second wave being scrambled from Hal-Far. The pilot swung into his leader’s slipstream, probably the result of a burst tyre. To avoid hitting a dispersal pen, pilot pulled back sharply on his stick in an attempt to get airborne. Aircraft stalled and crashed. Pilot suffered from a concussion, not remembering the take-off sequence.
13.08.42 S. Spitfire VcT 249 BR246 One of four aircraft on convoy patrol. Engine blew up in flight. Pilot baled, being picked up by rescue launch unhurt. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
16.08.42 S. Spitfire 229   Aircraft was one of eight scrambled on a possible enemy raid, but made no contact. After landing, pilot taxied into a stationary Spitfire, damaging both aircraft, but no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
16.08.42 S. Spitfire 229   Two aircraft on patrol. One develops radio and engine problems, both aircraft returning to Malta. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
16.08.42 S. Spitfire     Aircraft hit an obstruction on landing, injuring the pilot. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
16.08.42 S. Spitfire 185   Aircraft had undercarriage problems. Pilot uninjured. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
17.08.42 V. Wellington VIII   HF895 Crashed on airfield, no injuries.
17.08.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR842 Aircraft hit an obstruction on landing, no injuries.
17.08.42 S. Spitfire Vb 126 EP546 Aircraft crash-landed at Luqa due to engine problems, aircraft frame and engine being badly damaged. Pilor suffered serious injuries. Cause of engine problems, mechanical or combat damage, unknown.
19.08.42 B. Beaufort I   DD892 Forced landing as a result of engine failure, no injuries.
20.08.42 B. Beaufighter VI   X8034 Crashed in the sea for unknown reasons, one survivor, one missing.
21.08.42 B. Beaufighter VI   X8063 Tyre burst, no injuries. The RAF Ta Qali ORB mentions six Beaufighters of 248 squadron taking off as protection for Beauforts on a strike near Corfu. One aircraft, coded ‘Y’ (no serial given), returned with undercarriage trouble.
21.08.42 B. Beaufighter 248 _____/O Aircraft went down into the sea with a smoking starboard engine. Crew survived.
21.08.42 B. Beaufort I 42 DW805 In transit to the Middle East. Crashed in sea due to engine trouble 1 mile off Grand Harbour. One slight injury.
21.08.42 B. Baltimore I 69 AG751 Crew were returning to base from a mission. Pursued by enemy fighters, pilot had to use full boost, which resulted in a higher fuel consumption. Evading the Axis fighters, the aircraft unfortunately ran out of fuel on the approach to Luqa for landing, the aircraft crashing. Two slight injuries. Crew were attached to 69 squadron from Middle East Command.
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.
22.08.42 H. Hurricane IIb   EG770 Unknown accident on airfield, no injuries.
24.08.42 B. Beaufort   DD957 Aircraft tyre burst and crash landed, no injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
28.08.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR488 Airscrew failure, crashed on landing, pilot injured.
29.08.42 S. Spitfire Vb   EP196 Pilot overshot on landing, aircraft undercarriage sunk in a hole in the airfield. Level of damage unknown. No injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
01.09.42 S. Spitfire Vb   __541 Aircraft tyre burst on take-off, being forced to crash land. No injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
01.09.42 B. Beaufighter   V8263 Undercarriage collapsed on landing, no injuries to crew. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
01.09.42 S. Spitfire     Aircraft had gotten airborne from Hal-Far on an air test. Tyre had burst on take-off, and had to make a wheels-up landing. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
02.09.42 L. Hudson III 24 V9230 Aircraft crashed and burnt out as a result of a tyre bursting during take-off. No injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com

From the squadron’s ORB comes the following description.

The beginning of the take-off was quite normal until a speed of 75-80 knots. The aircraft then swung to the left. Right rudder was used to correct the swing, but it soon became impossible to hold a straight course.

In view of this, the throttles were closed and the aircraft then swung to the right. The port undercarriage leg broke, the aircraft skidded off the runway and began to burn. It was afterwards learned from the Flare Path Party and Officer Commanding transit unit, that a tyre was heard to burst shortly after the take-off run was started.

A full report was made to the Officer Commanding Transit Unit, who decided in view of the evidence at hand a Court of Inquiry was unnecessary. No injuries were sustained by the crew.
04.09.42 S. Spitfire     Seven Spitfires airborne from Hal-Far to conduct a sweep over Sicily. Formation leader developed radio problems, and broke formation to return to Malta. Due to a misunderstanding, the remaining six pilots followed him, abandoning the mission. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
04.09.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR534 Force landed after experiencing engine trouble. No injuries.
05.09.42 S. Spitfire 249   Aircraft was one of eleven scrambled to meet an incoming enemy formation. Pilot forced to return due to a blown hood. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQUADRON SERIAL NOTES
05.09.42 S. Spitfire     Spitfire entered into a spin at 3,000 feet, crashing into a field near Luqa, destroying the aircraft and killing the pilot. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
06.09.42 V. Wellington VIII   HX532 Ran off the runway during take-off, crashing into a Beaufighter X7832. No injuries to crew. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
07.09.42 C. Catalina 240 VA720 Test flown on after suffering damage from a water landing, but again suffered damage when landing after test flight. Arrival and eventual departure date unknown.
12.09.42 B. Beaufort   X8070 Aircraft swung off the runway during the take-off run. No injuries. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
13.09.42 L. Hudson 24 FH460 Aircraft arrived from Gibraltar at 00:30. Nothing in the squadron’s ORB about any mechanical problems, but a test flight was conducted on the 14th between 13:30-13:50, with the aircraft departing on the 16th at 01:20.
13.09.42 S. Spitfire Vc 185 BR374 Pilot appeared to have entered into a spin, which he was unable to control, crashing into the ground, the aircraft being destroyed by fire. One fatality.
14.09.42 B. Beaufighter VI   T5107 Aircraft ran off runway during the take-off run, no injuries.
14.09.42 S. Spitfire Vc   __376 Tyre burst on take-off, no injuries.
22/23.09.42 B. Beaufort   39 One of nine aircraft, escorted by 7 Beaufighters of 227 squadron, to torpedo a 6,000-ton tanker, located 10 miles west of Antipaxos, Greece. This aircraft crashed into the sea after colliding with a Beaufighter. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
25.09.42 L. Hudson 24 AE581 Aircraft was on a shuttle service between Gibraltar and Malta. Forced to return to Luqa by engine problems. Departed on the 26th.
26.09.42 S. Spitfire Vb   EP701 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
27.09.42 B. Beaufighter 89   The aircraft was one of two which had to return early from a patrol to intercept enemy raiders. As they approached, the Island’s anti-aircraft positions were on ‘Guns Tight’, orders to shoot only at aircraft once they had been identified.

However, the guns covering the approach to Luqa airfield were still on ‘Guns Free’ – ready to fire at any aircraft.

Spotting an unidentified aircraft heading for Luqa, the gunners opened fire. The pilot took evasive action, turning away from the airfield and looping back to make another attempt at landing. But the aircraft had lost too much height and had to crash land, bursting into flames. The pilot escaped from the top hatch as Royal Artillery personnel rushed to the scene, managing to rescue the observer, who was badly burned. Despite suffering relatively minor burns the pilot died later in hospital from shock. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
27.09.42 Cant 100     Captured Italian aircraft. Performed test flight, but damaged float after landing when it collided with a launch.
04.10.42 B. Beaufighter VI 227 X8077 According to a crew member who survived, the aircraft (part of a formation of four) experienced a decrease in speed, followed by a command from the pilot to jettison the two bombs. As soon as he had completed this task, he felt the aircraft again reducing its speed, then crashing into the sea 76 miles east of Malta, and sank within 8 seconds, taking the pilot with it. It is thought that the pilot may have hit his head against the gun sight, rendering him unconscious. It was known that there had been other cases of Beaufighters crashing and pilots suffering head injuries.

Four similar aircraft from the same squadron, were sent to locate the ditched aircraft. The observer on one of the aircraft, seeing the observer struggling in the water, threw him his own dinghy and Mae West. (Observer from X8077 had been unable to release the dinghy before it sank.)

Meanwhile another of the aircraft developed engine problem and was forced to ditch in the sea, both crew members managing to exit the aircraft. All three men were rescued by high-speed rescue launch. Source: www.Maltagc70.com
28.10.42 V. Wellington Special Duties flight HX441 Crashed on landing at Luqa after several attempts. See article at bottom of this table.
29.10.42 S. Spitfire Vb 229 EP329 One of four aircraft getting airborne from Ta Qali for a patrol. This aircraft hit a steamroller at the end of the runway, and ended up crashing in an aircraft pen. Aircraft classified as Cat. 3, but pilot suffered severe injuries, from which he died sometime later in hospital.
29.10.42 S. Spitfire Vb 249 AR488 Aircraft was being scrambled on an intercept mission, but pilot hit a lorry during his take-off run, killing the civilian driver. Pilot injured, aircraft damage judged at Cat. 3.
31.10.42 Co. B-24 Liberator 511 AL561 Aircraft had arrived the previous night. Forced to fly to Egypt due to bad weather at Gibraltar. The crew returned for a brief stop on 2nd November, depart for Gibraltar on the 3rd.
01.11.42 S. Spitfire Vb   EP138 Crash landed, pilot killed.
06.11.42 B. Beaufort I   L9802 Taxied into bomb crater, no injuries.
06.11.42 B. Beaufighter I   T4932 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
06.11.42 Co. B-24 Liberator 511 AL561 Violent braking was necessary in the absence of a head wind and port brake failure. As the brakes couldn’t be repaired at Malta, the pilot flew to LG224 *, Egypt. After repairs were completed, the aircraft was delayed four days by foul weather at both Malta and Gibraltar, the crew departed on the 14th. After landing at Malta at 21:55hrs, the weather at Gibraltar had improved sufficiently to allow a landing. The crew departed Malta on the 15th at 01:45hrs.

* LG – Landing Ground. To maintain wartime secrecy, airfields were identified as LGs.
07.11.42 V. Wellington II   Z8590 Crashed on land, crew killed.
08.11.42 S. Spitfire Vb 185 EP609 Crashed at Hal-Far, pilot seriously injured.
10/11.11.42 L. Hudson 24 FH455 Aircraft was meant to fly on a mail/freight run to Malta, but was forced back to Gibraltar by engine trouble.
12.11.42 B. Beaufighter I   T.5088 Overshot runway on landing, crew escaped without injury.
12.11.42 B. Beaufighter I   T.4986 Overshot runway on landing, crew escaped without injury.
12.11.42 B. Beaufort I   DE116 Aircraft crashed on landing, no injuries.
12.11.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BR387 Belly landed at Luqa, no injuries.
13.11.42 B. Beaufighter I   T4050 Crash landed at Luqa, no injuries.
14.11.42 L. Hudson 24 FH455 Aircraft departed for Malta on a shuttle service, but was forced to return to Gibraltar due to engine trouble. Following a test flight on the 17th, the crew returned to the UK on the 18th.
18.11.42 B. Beaufighter VI   X8083 Crashed and collided at Luqa, no injuries. What it collided with is not known.
19.11.42 S. Spitfire V   EP260 Crashed in sea following engine trouble, pilot missing.
19.11.42 S. Spitfire Vc   BP952 Crashed in sea following engine trouble, pilot drowned.
19.11.42 S. Spitfire Vb   EP823 Crashed in sea following engine trouble, pilot drowned.
21.11.42 F. Swordfish   V4587 Crashed in sea, crew rescued uninjured.
21.11.42 B. Beaufighter I   T5215 Crash landed on airfield, crew escaped without injury.
21.11.42 S. Spitfire LF Vb 229 EN954 Spun from a climbing roll and crashed. One fatality.
22.11.42 B. Beaufighter I   T5080 Crash landed on airfield, crew escaped without injury.
23.11.42 F. Swordfish   V4587 Crashed in sea following engine failure, crew rescued.
26.11.42 M. Baltimore II   AG827 Struck a vehicle on landing, no injuries.
30.11.42 V. Wellington VIII   HX632 Crash landed, no injuries.
01.12.42 B. Beaufighter I   X7809 Crash landed due to engine failure, crew suffered slight injuries.
02.12.42 V. Wellington II   Z8659 Made a force landing, no injuries.
03.12.42 V. Wellington Ic   X395_ Bombs exploded during taxying, killing two crew members.
05.12.42 M. Baltimore II   AG937 Aircraft suffered engine failure, overshooting the airfield, no injuries.
05.12.42 V. Wellington II   W5582 Collided with another aircraft during landing, no injuries.
06.12.42 V. Wellington VIII   HX572 Overshot aerodrome on landing, no injuries.
07.12.42 V. Wellington Ic 148 HF887 Aircraft had departed from ALG 167 for relocation to Malta. Swung on approach, bounced, stalled, and hit a dispersal pen, killing two crewmen, 2 passengers and injuring 3 crew and 4 passengers.
07.11.42 H. Hurricane IIb   Z2394 Forced landing, no injuries.
11.12.42 M. Baltimore I   AG734 Crash landed, no injuries.
14.12.42 S. Spitfire   BR662 Crashed in sea, pilot rescued uninjured.
15.12.42 B. Beaufighter I   X7759 Crash landed after undercarriage failed to lower, no injuries.
16.12.42 S. Spitfire Vc   AR565 Collided with Spitfire AR496 during landing, no injuries.
16.12.42 S. Sunderland   EJ136 Arrived from Gibraltar on delivery to the Middle East, but ordered to remain at Kalafrana. Airborne on anti-submarine patrol for a convoy on the 18th, but returned with engine trouble. Aircraft eventually left for Aboukir on the 29th.
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. Crew and passengers killed.
20.12.42 L. Hudson 24 FH460 Departed from Gibraltar to Malta on a mail/freight run, but forced back by the weather. Made it to Malta three days later.
22.12.42 B. Beaufighter VI   T4066 Crash landed, no injuries.
22.12.42 L. Hudson 24 FH307 Departed from Gibraltar to Malta on a mail/freight run, but forced back by the weather. Made it to Malta the following day.
23.12.42 DH Mosquito 23 DD799/U Crashed at Gibraltar on delivery to Malta. Cat. 3 damage.
23.12.42 L. Hudson 24 FH307 Started the second shuttle service (having operated a flight the previous night), but forced to return to Gibraltar due to bad weather.
25.12.42 V. Wellington Ic   BV538 Force landed in the sea, cause unknown. Crew rescued, no injuries.
27.12.42 DH Mosquito II 23 DD691/YP-O During the ferry flight to Malta, the pilot lost an engine some eighty miles from Malta. The undercarriage did not lock down, forcing the pilot to crash land. Cat. 3 damage. Crew uninjured.
28.12.42 M. Baltimore II   AG821 Aircraft overshot on landing, one injury.
28.12.42 L. Hudson 24 V9177 Departed from Gibraltar to Malta on a shuttle run, carrying mail, freight and passengers, but was forced back by the weather. Made it to Malta the following day.
31.12.42 L. Hudson 24 FH369 Departed from Gibraltar to Malta on a shuttle run, carrying mail, freight and passengers, but was forced back by the weather. Made it to Malta the following day.
        
 


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.

        
 


Undated accidents, December 1942 – Februay 1943

The following accidents, for the three-month period from December 1942 to February 1943, are lacking in day and serial numbers. It is possible that these incidents have already been listed, but without the date and serial for proper confirmation, I have decided to list them separately in this table.

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
__.12.42 V. Wellington 69   Pilot overshot on landing, colliding with obstacle on end of runway, damaging fuselage and mainplane.
__.12.42 M. Baltimore 69   Pilot landed too far down the runway, brakes failed to function and lack of knowledge of hydraulic system prevented pilot from retracting undercarriage and so avoiding collision with parked aircraft. Log book endorsed.
__.12.42 S. Spitfire 185   Pilot taxied into obstruction on runway, damaging wing tip. Reproved.
__.12.42 S. Spitfire 249   Aircraft dropped from a considerable height, damaged tail wheel and swung off runway. Pilot’s log book endorsed.
__.12.42       Pilot landed to soon after his formation leader, colliding with him on the runway. Pilot’s log book endorsed and pilot removed from squadron establishment.
__.12.42 V. Wellington 104   Unable to throttle back starboard engine, pilot nevertheless attempted normal landing procedure at night, resulting in an uncontrolled swing and damage to two parked aircraft.
__.12.42 S. Spitfire 249   Pilot stalled aircraft too high, dropped it heavily and collapsing undercarriage – suspected eye trouble. Pilot boarded.
__.12.42 M. Baltimore 69   Pilot was attempting a forced landing owing to engine failure caused by fuel shortage, over shot and ground looped at end of run.
__.12.42 H. Hurricane     Pilot was attempting a forced landing and overshot, hitting perimeter fence at low speed at end of run.
__.12.42 S. Spitfire 229   Landing in cross-wind, aircraft developed an uncontrolled swing which pilot could not correct, damaged undercarriage.
__.12.42 S. Spitfire 249   Strong cross wind caused aircraft to swing on landing. To avoid collision with parked aircraft, pilot ground looped, damaging undercarriage.
__.12.42 V. Wellington 40   Loop bearing treated as Q.D.M.. Aircraft eventually received Q.D.M., but meanwhile ran out of fuel and forced to ditch, crew rescued, investigations continuing.
__.12.42 V. Wellington 148   Badly distributed load upset trim of aircraft when throttled back, causing a stall on landing approach. Four killed, seven injured.
__.12.42 V. Wellington     Aircraft had returned from a raid and landed, when “hung up” bomb became loose and exploded. Front and rear gunners killed.
__.12.42 V. Wellington 69   Aircraft returned owning to engine trouble, brakes did not function.
__.12.42 B. Beaufighter 272   Port engine seized at 300 ft shortly after take-off. Pilot jettisoned bombs and land straight ahead in first suitable field.
__.12.42 B. Beaufighter 272   Pilot was attempting to go around again on landing aircraft but lost height and crashed.
__.12.42 DH Mosquito 23   Coolant leak caused engine failure (during delivery flight), pilot carried on to Malta, on one engine and landed on the flare path.
__.12.42 S. Spitfire 185   Internal glycol leak led to engine failure, forcing the pilot to return to base, and was forced to land with undercarriage retracted.
__.01.43 S. Spitfire 229   Pilot misjudged strong cross wind, touching down at the extreme edge of the runway, hitting a petrol bowser. The bowser couldn’t be moved owing to burst tires.
__.02.43 V. Wellington     Pilot landed out of wind and off flare path at night, due to an error of judgement under difficult lightning conditions. Aircraft burnt out, crew safe.
__.02.43 V. Wellington 458   Pilot overshot on night landing, made no attempt to go around again. Crashed and burnt out, 5 fatalities.
__.02.43 M. Baltimore 69   Pilot didn’t correct excessive swing on landing, causing to aircraft to veer off the runway, and the wheels to collapse. Pilot error.
__.02.43 S. Spitfire 249   Pilot made a heavy landing causing collapse of undercarriage. Accident deemed pilot’s fault.
__.02.43 S. Spitfire 249   Pilot selected gear up before being fully airborne. This could be EP188 on 1st February, also list as “crashing on take-off”.
__.02.43 B. Beaufighter 227   Pilot made a bad attempt during a night practice flight. Making no attempt to go around, the pilot ground looped at the end of the runway, writing off the undercarriage, damaging mainplane and one engine. Accident deemed the result of pilot carelessness.
__.02.43 B. Beaufighter 227   Same pilot made another bad landing during night practice flying, damaging tail oleo attachments. Pilot removed from squadron.
__.02.43 V. Wellington 221   Pilot taxied into another stationary aircraft at night time in conditions of total darkness. Aircraft was judged to be parked to close to runway, and pilot was cleared of any blame.
__.02.43 S. Spitfire 249   Only one wheel lowered as pilot was coming in to land. Attempts to raise that wheel and trying lowering both undercarriage were unsuccessful, and pilot was forced to land on one wheel only, with minimum damage to airframe. Pilot was commended by A.O.C., and commendation recorded in pilot’s log book.
__.02.43 S. Spitfire 229   Undercarriage jammed in the ‘UP’ position. Attempts to dislodge it, the pilot was forced to make a belly landing.
__.02.43 B. Beaufighter 227   Pilot overshot during a practice night landing. On opening the throttles the starboard engine failed to respond, leading to the aircraft stalling and damaging the undercarriage.
__.02.43 M. Baltimore 69   Brake unit burnt out during take-off. During landing, a slight swing couldn’t be corrected, which resulted in the undercarriage collapsing.
__.02.43 S. Spitfire 185   Suffered engine failure in flight. Pilot attempted to bail out, but for some reason was not successful.

        
 


1943

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
02.01.43 V. Wellington Ic   HE107 Force landed, two crewmen slightly injured.
06.01.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DD792/YP-B Took off at 04:10 hrs for an intruder mission over Western Sicily but forced to return early with VHF problems.
07.01.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DZ236/YP-F Took off at 20:35 hrs for a Night Intruder mission over Pantellaria, northwest of Malta. Forced to make an early return due to VHF problems.
08.01.43 B. Beaufighter I   V8333 Crash landed, no injuries.
08.01.43 V. Wellington VIII   HX511 Undercarriage collapsed on take-off, no injuries.
08.01.43 V. Wellington VIII   HX561 Undercarriage collapsed on landing, no injuries.
09.01.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DZ237/F Crashed on landing, resulting in Cat.3 damage. Cause of crash unknown. Crew killed.
Aviation Safety Network gives crashing after take-off from RAF Luqa on a mission to Sfax and Gabes (Tunisia).
09.01.43 V. Wellington Ic   HX446 Ditched in sea after running out of petrol. Crew rescued without injuries.
10.01.43 S. Spitfire Vc   BP870 Crashed on landing, pilot suffered injuries.
10.01.43 Co. B-24 Liberator II 511 AL547 Crashed on landing at Luqa at 21:30hrs, being seriously damaged, but no injuries to crew and passengers. This crash caused the shuttle service between Gibraltar and Malta to be shut down for the month of January.
11.01.43 S. Spitfire Vc   AR464 Tyre burst on landing, no injuries.
15.01.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DD792/YP-B Returned early from a mission to Gabes - Tripoli due to electric failure and cannon stoppage.
17.01.43 M. Baltimore II   AG730 Undercarriage collapsed, no injuries to crew.
17.01.43 B. Beaufighter I   V8222 Tyre burst on landing, no injuries.
17.01.43 B. Beaufighter VI   T5112 Ditched in the sea following engine failure, crew rescued safely.
17.01.43 S. Spitfire Vb   EP460 Ditched in the sea after running out of petrol. Pilot rescued.
21.01.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DZ228/ YP-D Took off after midnight for a night mission over Sicily but went missing. Cause/s unknown.
22.01.43 S. Sunderland   EJ131 Aircraft had arrived from Gibraltar on 28.12.42, and like other crews, probably forced to remain in Malta for a while. Was conducting an anti-submarine patrol over friendly naval forces, but forced to return early due to engine problems on. Remained in Malta until 13.03.43, when it left for Cairo.
23.01.43 S. Spitfire Vb EP691 Ditched off Malta following engine failure.
25.01.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DZ233/YP-T Took off at 17:43hrs for a mission over Eastern Sicily but was hampered by bad weather conditions forcing an early return. After landing, the pilot taxied into a parked Beaufighter. Accident considered pilot’s fault.
28.01.42 DH Mosquito II 23 DD798/YP-S Took off at 18:05 hrs for mission to East Sicily. Engine trouble and bad weather forced an early return for a single engine landing.
28.01.43 B. Beaufighter VI   X8080 Ditched in the sea following engine failure, no injuries.
28.01.43 S. Spitfire Vb   EP691 Ditched in sea for unknown reasons, pilot rescued with injuries.
30.01.43 S. Spitfire Vc 1435 AR561 250lb bomb, with two foot nose rod, hung up. After repeated attempts to get rid of the bomb, the pilot was ordered to abandon the aircraft over the sea owing to the danger of the bomb exploding on landing. Pilot rescued without injuries.
01.02.43 S. Spitfire Vb   EP188 Crashed on take-off, no injuries. allspitifrepilots.org gives ultimate fate for this aircraft as “Missing from fighter sweep Marzamemi, Sciliy, 30.04.43”.
02.02.43 B. Beaufighter VI   EL234 Undercarriage collapsed on landing, no injuries.
03.02.43 V. Wellington VIII 458 LA990 Failure of starboard engine led to the pilot making a belly landing. The crew managed to exit the aircraft safely, which was consumed by fire.
04.02.43 S. Spitfire Vc   BR107 Crashed in sea as a result of engine failure.
05.02.43 B. Beaufighter I   T5085 Undercarriage collapsed on landing, no injuries.
08.02.43 B. Beaufighter I   T3353 Undercarriage collapsed on landing, no injuries.
13.02.43 V. Wellington VIII 458 HX726 Overshot on night landing and made no attempt to go around. Crashed into a quarry. Five fatalities, one injury.
14.02.43 B. Beaufighter I   T4897 Crashed in the sea as a result of engine failure, crew killed.
21.02.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DZ232/YP-P Overshot on landing from a mission and crashed, no injuries.
23.02.43 B. Beaufighter VI   V8629 Brakes failed on landing, crashing into another aircraft, no injuries.
25.02.43 V. Wellington VIII   HX686 Crashed on landing. Three injuries.
26.02.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DD795/YP-J Forced to returned early from a night intruder mission to Sicily with VHF radio failure.
28.02.43 L. Hudson 24 AE588 Aircraft was on the following multi country trip: departed RAF Hendon on 18.02.43 for PORTREATH (UK) – GIBRALTAR – BLIDA – MALTA - GIBRALTAR – BILDA - MALTA – GIBRALTAR – MAISON BLANCHE – MALTA – GIBRALTAR – MAISON BLANCHE – MALTA.

On at 22:29 at estimated position 33.22N & 12.49E, the Hudson was attacked by a night fighter. The attack was preceded by the extinguishing of lights in Tripoli Harbour, and light anti-aircraft fire ensued. Two attacks were made by the (enemy) aircraft – one from astern and one from the port quarter. A number of hits were registered on both attacks. The damage resulted in two passengers wounded; wireless, trimming-tabs and petrol tanks rendered unserviceable resulting in the loss of approximately 100 gallons (378.54 litres) of petrol; as well as general damage to aircraft (including flaps), caused by explosive bullets. The fighter was eventually shaken off after violent evasive action, and reducing height to sea level.

On approaching Malta, the searchlights were extinguished, the reason being that AE588 had been plotted as an enemy aircraft, I.F.F. having been rendered unserviceable. When five miles from Malta the colours of the day were fired off, and a landing was made at Malta, shortly after midnight on 1 March. Temporary repairs were carried out, taking seven days. On the last day, a local air test was made from Malta, the crew proceeding to Maison Blanche the following day, eventually landing back at Hendon on 14.03.43.
01.03.43 S. Spitfire Vc   BR534 Crashed in sea following engine failure, no injuries.
02.03.43 V. Wellington VIII   T2979 Overshot on landing, crew uninjured.
03.03.43 V. Wellington VIII   HX768 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
03.03.43 S. Spitfire Vb   EP706 Crashed in sea, pilot rescued uninjured.
03.03.43 S. Spitfire Vb   EP140 Crashed on landing, pilot suffered injuries.
03.03.43 M. Baltimore I   AG702 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
03.03.43 B. Beaufort II   DD899 Crashed in sea, crew rescued, one injured.
07.03.43 S. Spitfire V   BP932 Ended up in a quarry after overshooting runway, no injuries.
10.03.43 V. Wellington VIII   HX511 Crashed on take-off, no injuries.
16.03.43 S. Spitfire Vc   BR337 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
17.03.43 B. Beaufighter VI   T5174 Force landed in the sea after engine failure, crew rescued uninjured.
        
 

 

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
20.03.43 L. Hudson 24 FH406 Departed Luqa for Gibraltar at 06:45, but at 11:30 suffered engine failure and forced landed near Touegart, North Africa at 12:00. Of the six people on board, only the navigator and wireless operator suffered slight injuries.) Aircraft had been on a multi-country trip in the Mediterranean area, which started from the UK on the 14th.
20.03.43 V. Wellington VIII   LB182 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
20.03.43 S. Spitfire Vc   BP571 Crashed in sea for unknown reasons, pilot rescued uninjured.
23.03.43 M. Baltimore I   AG726 Crashed on test flight, crew killed.
24.03.43 S. Spitfire Vc   BP961 Crash landed, pilot injured.
25.03.43 S. Spitfire Vb 241 EP965 Crashed at Hal-Far, but cause unknown.
27.03.43 S. Spitfire Vc   EP122 Crash landed due to engine failure, pilot injured. www.allspitfirepilots.org gives Gozo as location.
27.03.43 M. Baltimore II   AG781 Crash landed due to engine failure, no injuries.
29.03.43 B. Beaufighter VI   X8074 Undercarriage collapsed on landing, no injuries. The RAF Ta Qali ORB mentions a 272 sqd Beaufighter (no serial given) crashing on landing on returning from convoy escort duties. Not enemy-related.
30.03.43 S. Spitfire Vb   EP436 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
31.03.43 B. Beaufighter I   V8373 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
__.__.43 DH Mosquito 23 DZ708 Aircraft was being ferried to Malta, but crashed at Gibraltar. Date would have been late March/early April.
__.__.43 DH Mosquito 23 DZ699 Aircraft was being ferried to Malta, but went missing en route, cause unknown. Date would have been late March/early April.
01.04.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DZ234/YP-Y Aircraft and crew went missing over Sicily due to causes unknown.
03.04.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DZ233/YP-T Aircraft and crew went missing over Sicily, cause/s unknown.
04.04.43 V. Wellington VIII   HF910 Crashed in sea for unknown reasons. Four crew members rescued uninjured. Two crew members and passenger missing.
06.04.43 M. Baltimore II   AG779 Crashed in Hudson on landing, two injuries.
06.04.43 L. Hudson   FK384 Crashed into by Baltimore. One killed, four injured.
09.04.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DZ238 Patrol over Western Sicily aborted because of engine failure.
10.04.43 B. Beaufighter II   T5169 Crashed for unknow reasons, crew injured.
11.04.43 Co. B-24 Liberator   124310 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
11.04.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DZ703 Aircraft and crew went missing from a mission over Sicily, although cause of disappearance unknow.
11.04.43 S. Spitfire Vb   EP716 Crashed in sea for unknown reasons, pilot missing.
13.04.43 S. Spitfire IX   EN146 Swung on landing, crashing into Spitfire BR656, pilot injured.
13.04.43 S. Spitfire IV   BR656 Swung on landing, crashing into Spitfire EN146, pilot injured.
14.04.43 V. Wellington VIII   LB142 Crashed in sea for unknown reasons. Four crewmen rescued, two missing.
16.04.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DD798 Another patrol aborted because of engine failure, returning on one engine.
17.04.43 V. Wellington VIII   HX592 Crashed on take-off, no injuries.
17.04.43 F. Albacore   X9362 Crashed in sea following engine failure. Crew uninjured.
21.04.43 M. Baltimore II   AG506 Crashed in sea for unknown reasons, crew missing.
25.04.43 V. Wellington XII   MP599 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
25.04.43 S. Walrus ASR & Comm Flt W3012 Crashed with wheels up, serviceable by 7th May.
26.04.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DZ710 Took off at 21:35 hrs for intruder mission over W. Sicily but was reported missing for unknown reasons.
27.04.43 DH Mosquito NF II 23 DD681/YP-K Came in to land at Luqa after a Night Flying Test but undercarriage collapsed after swinging on landing, DBR.
28.04.43 DH Mosquito II 23 DZ693/YP-Q Took off at 00:07 hrs for intruder mission over W. Sicily but was reported missing for unknown reasons.
03.05.43 F. Albacore   BF676 Forced landed in the sea due to engine failure. Crew slightly injured.
04.05.43 M. Baltimore I   AG725 Crashed on take-off, crew killed.
05.05.43 B. Beaufighter IVF 108 V8651 Aircraft suffered from an engine failure during take-off, crashing as a result.
06.05.43 S. Spitfire Vc     Engine failure following glycol leak, aircraft crashed in sea, pilot rescued uninjured.
06.05.43 Co. B-24 Liberator 511 AL561 Arrived from Gibraltar carrying 8,126lb (3685.9kg) of freight. Crashed on landing at Luqa, no injuries.
06.05.43 Co. B-24 Liberator   42-40112 Aircraft was hit by flak during a bombing mission over Sicily/Italy, forcing the captain to ditch into the sea. One missing, one injured, eight uninjured.
06.05.43 S. Spitfire VbT 185 EP554 Abandoned after engine failure 30 miles NW of Gozo.
08.05.43 B. Beaufighter VI   EL521 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
08.05.43 B. Beaufighter VI   EL529 Crashed in sea due to fuel shortage, crew reported missing.
09.05.43 M. Baltimore II   AG937 Crashed on take-off, no injured.
10.05.43 B. Beaufighter VI   EL234 Hit by explosion of its own bomb during practice. Crashed in sea, crew killed.
11.05.43 B. Beaufighter I   T5085 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
12.05.43 S. Spitfire Vc   EP709 Bomb fell off and exploded as aircraft was landing. No injuries.
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.
21.05.43 S. Spitfire Vb   EP842 Crashed in sea due to engine failure. Pilot baled out, rescued uninjured.
22.05.43 V. Wellington X   HE765 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
23.05.43 B. Beaufighter VI   JL646 Undercarriage collapsed on landing, no injuries.
29.05.43 S. Spitfire IX   EN551 Collided with lorry after landing, no injuries.
31.05.43 B. Beaufighter VI   EL531 Stalled on landing, undercarriage collapsed, no injuries.
31.05.43 V. Wellington X   HX175 Tyre burst on landing, no injuries.
        
 

 

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
01.06.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vb   ES313 Pilot baled out after aircraft suffered unknown engine failure, rescued.
02.06.43 V. Wellington Mk.Ic   AD603 Crashed on landing due to burst tyre, no injuries.
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/YP-L Crew was returning from a mission over the Taranto area with one engine faulty. (Unknown is whether the crew had to abandon the sortie because of engine trouble, or engine failure was the result of enemy action.) The second engine stopped whilst on the approach to RAF Luqa, the aircraft crashing near the airfield. Two fatalities.
06.06.43 B. Beaufighter Mk. VI   EL472 Aircraft in sea for unknown reason, crew killed.
08.06.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   ER914 Unknown taxing accident, no injuries.
09.06.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ674/YP-B Crew was returning from a mission over the Taranto area with a faulty engine. Cause of engine trouble, but landed safely.
10.06.43 S. Spitfire Mk. IX   EN204/FL-X Crashed into stationary Spitfire during its take-off run, pilot injured. www.allspitfirepilots.org gives swinging on take-off and hitting a truck at Ta Qali as cause of accident.
10.06.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ677 Crew returned from a mission over Italy on one engine. The remaining engine cut on landing, forcing the aircraft to swing on landing and hit an obstruction at RAF Luqa. Aircraft declared a write-off
10.06.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ727/YP-X Returned early from a mission due to failures in the electrical system.
12.06.43 B. Beaufort Mk. II   DD943 Swung on take-off and crashed, no injuries.
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.
16.06.43 V. Wellington Mk. X   HE647 Crashed on landing and burnt out. Crew escaped without injuries.
18.06.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   ES355 Force landed in the sea for unknown reasons, pilot missing.
19.06.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ727/YP-X Returned early from a mission due to engine problems. Landed safely shortly after midnight.
22.06.43 DH Mosquito Mk. II 23 DZ230/YP-A Aircraft suffered engine problems during a dusk patrol and was forced to return to Malta. The aircraft overshot on landing, but there were no injuries.
23.06.43 S. Spitfire Mk. VIII   JF352 Missing from an air test, pilot missing.
27.06.43 DH Mosquito Mk. VI 23 HJ738/YP-W Crash landed after returning from a mission, but cause of crash, enemy action or mechanical, unknown. No injuries.
27.06.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vb   JK230 Crash landed, no injuries.
28.06.43 S. Spitfire Mk. IX   EN519 Unknown taxying accident, no injuries.
28.06.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ682/YP-O Night time departure for a mission over Sicily. Mission had to be aborted due to a combination of bad weather and electric system trouble, but crew made a safe landing.
30.06.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JK345 Involved in collision Spitfire JK103 during its take-off run, no injuries.
30.06.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JK103 Hit by Spitfire JK345 (above) during its take-off run, no injuries.
01.07.43 DH Mosquito Mk.II 23 DZ236/YP-Z Returned early from a mission over Western Sicily due to engine coolant trouble but pilot made a safe landing on one faulty engine.
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.
04.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vb   ER716 Crashed on take-off no injuries.
04.07.43 DH Mosquito Mk.XII 256 HK130 Crash landed after engine failure but cause, enemy action or mechanical, unknown.. No injuries.
04.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. IX   EN481 Undercarriage collapse after landing, no injuries.
07.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   LZ871 Mid-air collision with JK104. Pilot baled out and rescued, no injuries.
07.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JK104 Mid-air collision with LZ871. Crash landed, but no injuries.
07.07.43 V. Wellington Mk. II   MP594 Port tyre burst on take-off, pilot made a belly landing, no injuries.
09.07.43 H. Hurricane IIc 73 HV135 Aircraft was one of nine that had been sent to Malta on 08.07.43 on a temporary detachment to shoot up searchlights in Sicily. Pilot issued a distress call some 15 miles from Malta when returning from a mission. Nothing else was heard from the pilot.
09.07.43 H. Hurricane IIc 73 HW242 One pilot circled over Malta before disappearing. He was eventually spotted in his dinghy from a Baltimore aircraft on the 18th.
09.07.43 DC-3 267 FD774 Ditched 40 miles SSE of Malta.

The squadrons’ ORB has the following description of this accident.

Dakota 1 FD774 force landed in the sea 35 degrees 20 minutes North, 12degrees East at 13:25 hours as a result of engine failure due to petrol starvation, the cause of which is not known. The aircraft remained afloat for 20 minutes but owing to the very rough sea and strong wind, very great difficulty was experienced in launching dinghies, two being lost owing to no cord being attached.

One of the crew F/S (W/O) J.J. Smith (Nav.) got into the sea somehow and could not swim to the device owing to the roughness of the sea and being hampered by his Mae West. F/S Hannon (W/OP) very courageously and without thought to his personal safety, dived in and swam to his assistance, but neither of them could get back to the aircraft. F/S Cargill (Pilot) managed to launch the third dinghy and jumped into it just as the aircraft was about to sink. All his endeavors to paddle the dinghy to Smith and Hannan failed owing to the strong wind which was blowing in the opposite direction to his current.

After the aircraft went down Cargill could not see the other two N.C.O.s and he drifted for 11 hours before landing on the island of Chergui *.

He got back to the squadron on the 10th July. At a subsequent Court of Inquiry held by No. 216 Group, F/S Cargill was exonerated from all blame. F/S Hannon (W/Op) is being considered for an award for his courageous act. Up to the end of July, no further news have been heard of Smith and Hannan and they must therefore be presumed lost.

* This island is situated off the Tunisian coast, east of Sfax.
09.07.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.II 23 DZ236/YP-Z Night mission over Western Sicily aborted due to engine trouble, the pilot making a single engine landing on what apparently was a faulty engine.
10.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vb   ER585 Overshot runway on landing, no injuries.
10.07.43 S. Spitfire IX EN315 Overshot landing after engine failure and hit rocks at Luqa.
10.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vb   ER706 Pilot ran out of fuel over the sea. Pilot baled out and rescued, no injuries.
10.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. IX   EN402 Port undercarriage leg failed to lock down on landing. No injuries.
11.07.43 M. Marauder     Crash landed at Safi, one US crew member taken to sick quarters.
11.07.43 Cu. Kittyhawk Mk. II   FL293 Flew into slipstream of proceeding aircraft and crashed, no injuries.
12.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JG771 Force landed due to shortage of petrol, no injuries.
12.07.43 B. Beaufighter Mk. VI   V8886 Force landed in the sea. Pilot rescued, but observer missing.
12.07.43 Cu. Kittyhawk Mk. III   FR514 Crashed in sea following a mid-air collision with FR510, pilot missing.
12.07.43 Cu. Kittyhawk Mk. III   FR510 Crashed in sea following a mid-air collision with FR514, pilot rescued uninjured.
12.07.43 V. Wellington Mk. II   HZ308 Pilot overshot on landing, no injuries.
        
 

 

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
13.07.43 Cu. Kittyhawk Mk. III   FR784 Overshot on landing and overturned in a quarry, no injuries.
13.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JK672 Unknown taxying accident.
13.07.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk. VI 60, SAAF HJ672 Took off from RAF Sabratha in Libya (west of Tripoli) at 07:45 hrs for a passenger flight to Malta. Undercarriage collapse at Luqa, written off.
13.07.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk. VI 60, SAAF HJ673 This aircraft must have left in formation with HJ672 above. Took off from RAF Sabratha in Libya (west of Tripoli) at 07:45 hrs for a passenger flight to Malta. Undercarriage collapse at Luqa, written off.
14.07.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ724YP-D Aircraft was returning from a night- test flight but undershot on landing and hitting a pole. Aircraft declared a write off.
14.07.43 DH Mosquito Mk. VI   HJ728 Undershot and made a belly landing. Crew uninjured.
14.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vb   JK186 Unknown accident during take-off.
15.07.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ717 Aircraft departed for a night mission over Sicily. It would appear that the crew returned safely, but bent the propellors, but the pilot righted the aircraft in time to avoid further damage.
17.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JL125 Engine failure in flight, pilot baled out.
18.07.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ737/YP-R Returned early from a mission over Taranto due to engine trouble.
19.07.43 S. Spitfire Mk. PRXIT   MB786 Unknown taxying accident.
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.
23.07.43 S. Sunderland   JM673 Aircraft arrived for repairs at Kalafrana on. Departed on 08.08.43 but forced to return with engine trouble. Departed again on the 9th.
23.07.43 D. Boston Mk. III   HK873 Aircraft crashed after tyre burst during take-off, two fatalities, one injury.
25.07.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. R6558 Aborted SAR after getting airborne on due to technical problems, replaced by W9506.
23.07.43 DH Mosquito Mk.XII 256 HK112 Took off for a patrol off the W coast of Sicily, but failed to return for reasons unknown.
26.07.43 DH Mosquito Mk.XII 256 HK133 Took off for night patrol but never returned for reasons/s unknown.
26.07.43 S. Sunderland   W4021 Aircraft arrived for repairs at Kalafrana on. Departed to Bizerta on 04.08.43 but forced to return with engine trouble. Departed again on the 5th.
30.07.43 B. Beaufighter Mk. VIc   EL499 Aircraft crashed after undercarriage collapsed during take-off, crew survived.
30.07.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ676 Aborted mission because of engine trouble after take-off.
30.07.43 DH Mosquito Mk.II 23 DZ709 As with HJ676 above, the pilot had to abort mission due to engine problems after take-off.
30.07.43 D. Boston Mk. III   Z2222 Aircraft made a belly-landing after tyre burst during take-off, no injuries.
31.07.43 F. Albacore   BF678 Aircraft crashed after undercarriage collapsed during landing. No injuries.
01.08.43 S. Sunderland   EJ143 Aircraft arrived for repairs to its hull. Departed for Alexandria on 01.09.43 but forced to return with engine failure. Attempted to depart again on the 4th at 06:15 but again forced to return with engine problems. Tried departing again the same day at 09:54, but was again forced to return with engine problems. Finally departed on the 16th.
02.08.43 B. Beaufighter Mk. VI   JL758 Crashed into the sea after attacking a schooner and hitting a mast. Crew missing.
03.08.43 S. Spitfire Mk. IX   MA300 Undershot runway on landing, pilot injured.
03.08.43 V. Wellington Mk. XII   MP537 Engine failure in flight, crashed in sea. Crew rescued by HSL (high Speed Launch), two injuries.
04.08.43 V. Wellington Mk. XII   HF114 Tyre burst on take-off, aircraft crashing. No injuries.
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.
12.08.43 S. Spitfire Mk IXe   EN520 Crashed in sea after engine failure. Pilot rescued unharmed.
14.08.43 B. Beaufighter Mk. VI   V8871 Engine caught fire in flight. Crew rescued after bailing out.
14.08.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ682/YP-O Returned early from a night patrol over Foggia airfield in Italy due to engine trouble.
14.08.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ737/YP-R As above.
15.08.43 V. Wellington Mk. VIII   LB225 Crashed and burnt out after overshooting on landing. One of fire crew killed, three injured by exploding depth charges.
16.08.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   TM819 Crashed after engine cut during landing, pilot injured.
17.08.43 D. Boston Mk. III   HE869 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
18.08.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JG882 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
18.08.43 S. Spitfire 1435   Aircraft crashed at Safi strip, no further details.
18.08.43 S. Spitfire 1435   Aircraft crashed at Safi strip, no further details.
19.08.43 B. Beaufighter 272   Diverted from RAF Luqa to Safi Strip due to engine failure.
28.08.43 B. Beaufighter Mk. VI   __385 Forced landed following engine trouble, no injuries.
29.08.43 DH Mosquito Mk. XII 256 HK160 Undercarriage collapsed after pilot taxied into a hole. Unknown is whether it was departing for a mission or returning from one.
02.09.43 M. Baltimore Mk. IV   FA456 Collided with Spitfire EN507 on the approach. Crew killed.
02.09.43 S. Spitfire Mk. XI PRU EN507 Collided with Baltimore Mk. IV FA456 on the approach. Pilot killed.
02.09.43 S. Spitfire Mk. XI PRU HD772 Crashed on landing after starboard undercarriage failed to lock down. No injuries.
02.09.43 V. Wellington Mk. XI   HF804 Overshot on landing, no casualties.
07.09.43 V. Wellington Mk. XI   MP653 Undershot on landing due to port engine trouble, no injuries.
09.09.43 DH Mosquito Mk. VI   KJ739 Starboard tyre burst on take-off, leading the aircraft to crash on landing.
10.09.43 S. Spitfire Mk. VIII   JF419 Aircraft tipped on nose whilst landing, slight injuries to pilot.
12.09.43 S. Spitfire Mk. XI   EN678 Starboard undercarriage wheel collapsed on landing, no injuries.
13.09.43 S. Spitfire PRU EN674 Overshot on landing, no injuries.
13.09.43 S. Spitfire PRU   Hit by another aircraft taking-off.
        
 

 

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
14.09.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk.VI 23 HJ675/YP-V Mission to Foggia airfield had to be aborted due to engine trouble, the pilot making a single engine landing at RAF Luqa.
15.09.43 S. Spitfire Mk. IX   EN456 Ground looped in order to stop aircraft over shooting, no injuries.
18.09.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JK616 Starboard undercarriage wheel collapsed on landing, no injuries.
01.10.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   EF555 Hit top of pen wall on landing, pilot suffered serious injuries.
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.
02.10.43 V. Wellington Mk. II   MP397 Force landed in the sea, no injuries, crew rescued by naval craft.
06.10.43 DH Mosquito FBMk. VI 23 HJ788/YP-F Port tyre burst during take-off, no casualties.
09.10.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JK391 Undercarriage collapsed during landing, pilot injured.
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.
19.10.43 S. Spitfire Mk. IX   EN523 Engine cut during take-off, pilot killed.
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.
24.10.43 V. Wellington Mk. XIII   HZ754 Crashed during take-off, cause unknown. One fatality, the remaining crew members suffered various injuries.
24.10.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JK122 Pilot collided with a bowser whilst taxying, no injuries.
25.10.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. Z1813 Early morning recce but returned with engine problems. Problem solved, aircraft being air tested the same afternoon.
26.10.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   RF615 Crashed on landing, killing the pilot.
27.10.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JK529 Ran off runway, no casualties.
28.10.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JM887 Brakes failed on landing, no injuries.
30.10.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk. VI 23 HX813/YP-F Crashed on take-off, crew escaped.
07.11.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JK820 Unknown taxying accident, no casualties.
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.
15.11.43 DH Mosquito Mk. VI   HK858 Swung off end of runway in bad visibility, no casualties.
16.11.43 S. Walrus Air Sea Rescue Flt. P5718 Sea recce on but had to return with u/c problems.
18.11.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   ES345 Unserviceable flaps led to aircraft overshooting on landing, pilot uninjured.
21.11.43 DH Mosquito Mk. XII 256 HK116 Undercarriage collapsed after the aircraft swung on landing, no injuries.
21.11.43 B. Beaufighter Mk. VI   EL50_ Undercarriage failed to lockdown for landing, no injuries.
23.11.43 M. Baltimore Mk. IV   FA513 Crashed on take-off, crew survived.
25.11.43 Mosquito Mk. XII   HK114 A C-47 taxied into this aircraft, which was stationary, without crew.
30.11.43 B. Beaufighter Mk. XI   JN231 Port tyre burst on landing, no injuries to crew.
02.12.43 M. Baltimore Mk. IV   FA506 Aircraft crashed on landing due to strong crosswinds, no injuries.
06.12.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   JG955 Oleo leg broke on landing, no injuries to pilot.
13.12.43 B. Beaufighter Mk. IVF 108 KV929 This is how Aviation Safety Network described the accident. Aircraft was returning from a Night Test Flight and attempting to land at RAF Luqa with the starboard airscrew feathered. It also appeared that the selection of the undercarriage in the down position was late and that the Pilot being uncertain whether the carriage had locked, attempted to orbit again. The aircraft swung to starboard after passing over the end of the runway and crashed. It was found that the flaps were not in the down position. One serious injury.
17.12.43 V. Wellington Mk. XIII   HZ962 Crashed on landing, no injuries.
19.12.43 Blenheim Mk. V   EH312 Aircraft ran into soft ground on landing, no injuries.
20.12.43 S. Spitfire Mk. IX   EN482 Burst tyre on take-off, no injuries.
21.12.43 B. Blenheim Mk. V   BA950 Burst tyre on take-off, no injuries.
22.12.43 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc   BF533 Tail oleo strut collapsed on landing no injuries.
23.12.43 M. Baltimore Mk. IIIA   FA119 Port undercarriage failed to lock down for landing, pilot performed a belly landing, no injuries.
28.12.43 DH Mosquito FB Mk. IV 256 DZ357 Missing off Malta on an air test. One occupant, missing.
        
 


1944

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
__.01.44 B. Beaufighter     Aircraft was up on an air test. At 4,000 feet, the pilot stopped and feathered the starboard engine and propeller. After some turns, the aircraft lost considerable height, and at 1,500 feet, the pilot attempted to unfeather the propeller, without success. The aircraft continued to lose height, eventually ditching into the sea. Prior to ditching, the navigator switched the I.F.F. to distress, and opened the hatch.

After the aircraft came to a stop, the aircraft began filling with water. The navigator climbed out on to the wing. The passenger exited the aircraft through the front hatch without his Mae West, followed by the pilot. The navigator and passenger attempted to help the pilot out of the aircraft, but by this time, the aircraft had rapidly filled with water, and slid beneath the waves, nose first, taking the pilot and passenger down with it.

From the navigator’s report, the pilot hadn’t given adequate warning of his intention to ditch the aircraft and therefore a proper ditching procedure wasn’t carried out. The passenger drowned, because he wasn’t wearing his Mae West, despite instructions that Mae Wests are to be worn at all times.

The navigator got into his dinghy and looked around for the pilot and passenger, without success. He was rescued by a fisherman’s boat after twenty minutes.

It is not known if this is the same aircraft reported on 13.01.44, but with the crew being listed as missing.
07.01.44 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 229 EN468 Crashed on landing after engine failed, killing pilot.
09.01.44 H. Hurricane Mk. IIc 87 KW961 Engine failure led to pilot making a belly landing, no injuries.
13.01.44 B. Beaufighter Mk. IVF 108 ND144 Crashed into the sea for unknown reasons, crew missing.
16.01.44 V. Wellington Mk. XIII 221 HZ590 Starboard engine failed on take-off, making a belly landing, crew escaped any injuries.
17.01.44 BP Defiant TT Mk. I 728 RN DS133 Written off in heavy landing at Ta’ Qali.
24.01.44 M. Baltimore Mk. IV 69 FA626 Port tyre burst on take-off, no injuries.
24.01.44 V. Wellington Mk. XIII 458 MP704 Aircraft crashed in to the sea after engine failure. Three crewmen rescued, three others missing.
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 DH Mosquito Mk.XII 256 HK402 Crew took off for a training/GCI practice flight but crashed 25 miles south of Malta for unknown reasons.
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.
05.02.44 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc 229 JK848 Unknown taxying accident.
07.02.44 Fairchild Argus Malta Communications Flight FS613 Engine cut out during take-off, no injuries.
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.
18.02.44 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc 87 JK763 Struck obstruction on take-off, pilot slightly injured.
25.02.44 V. Wellington Mk. XIII 221 JA270 Port tyre burst on landing, no injuries.
25.02.44 H. Hurricane Mk. IIc 221 KZ884 Damaged port main plane on landing, no injuries.
28.02.44 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 185 JK650 Port oleo leg collapsed on touch down, no injuries.
28.02.44 P. Proctor Mk. I Malta Communications Flight P6116 Starboard undercarriage collapsed on landing, no injuries.
29.02.44 S. Spitfire VcT MA346 Date when aircraft was struck off charge but cause unknown.
01.03.44 BP Defiant TT Mk. I 728 RN DS156 Dived into sea out of cloud. One fatality.
03.03.44 B. Beaufighter 108 KV970 Damaged stern frame whilst being towed.
05.03.44 A. Anson Air Sea Rescue Flt. MG751 Departed for Catania but forced to return after 45 minutes due to weather.
08.03.44 B. Beaufighter 108 KW157 Aircraft swung off flare path during night take-off from Luqa. Hit two Wellingtons, bursting into flames, killing the crew.
08.03.44 V. Wellington X 221 HZ880 Burnt out after being crashed into by Beaufighter KW157.
08.03.44 V. Wellington X 221 JA378 Damaged after being crashed into by Beaufighter KW157.
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.
14.03.44 DH Mosquito Mk. XII 108 HK127 Crew suffered slight injuries after a take-off was abandoned.
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.
22.03.44 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc 185 BP866 Swung off runway when landing at Hal-Far due to structural failure. No injuries.
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.
29.03.44 V. Wellington XIII 221 HZ980 Belly landing after tyre burst during take-off, no injuries to crew.
14.04.44 S. Spitfire Vb 137 MU ES143 Pilot failed to remove pitot head cover and run up before attempting to take-off from Safi. Throttled back but ran out of runway. No injuries.
17.04.44 B. Beaufighter VI 108 ND276/C Aircraft crashed when in the circuit for Luqa, following the failure of the starboard engine. Two crew, one passenger killed.
19.04.44 V. Wellington XIV 458 HF243 Aircraft flew into ground near Luqa. Four fatalities, 2 injuries.
19.04.44 V. Wellington XIV 458 HF288 Starboard undercarriage collapsed on landing at Luqa. No injuries, pilot cleared of any blame.
19.04.44 V. Wellington XIV 458 HF343 Pilot undershot at Luqa, being forced to land in strong crosswinds with a faulty starboard engine.
23.04.44 S. Spitfire Mk. IX   EN196 Pilot overran runway after flap-less landing due to flap failure.
24.04.44 V. Wellington Mk. XIV 458 MP799 Tyre burst on take-off, starboard undercarriage collapsed, no injuries.
02.05.44 DH Mosquito NF Mk.XIII 108 HK418 Crew had an engine failure whilst on a convoy patrol. They were accompanied by the squadron’s C.O. whose patrol had finished. The 150 miles trip was accomplished successfully on the starboard engine but he came in too fast and did not touch down until too far down the runway, overshooting the runway and crashing into a deep ravine, bursting into flames, killing the crew immediately.
06.05.44 DH Mosquito Mk. XIII 108 MM443/N Crashed on landing at RAF Luqa on returning from Catania. A.S.I. had stuck at 150 m.p.h. on the approach and stalled about 40 feet above the runway, bursting the port tyre in the process, the aircraft being declared a write off. No injuries.
06.05.44 DH Mosquito Mk. VI 108 HJ728 Aircraft was airborne on an air test, but experienced failure in both R/T and A.S.I., both becoming u/s. Pilot returned to circuit and after carrying out all tests made a visual approach. As one wheel had not locked down, the undercarriage collapsed, the aircraft being declared a complete write off. No injuries.
06.05.44 DH Mosquito Mk. XIII 108 HK511 A.S.I. indicated 150 m.p.h. on approach an attempt to reduce speed resulted in the aircraft stalling with damage to tail, starboard wheel, and starboard wing tip. No injuries.
        
 

 

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
11.05.44 V. Wellington Mk. XIV 458 HF362 Overshot at Luqa, no injuries.
13.05.44 V. Wellington Mk. XIV 458 HF353 Overshot at Luqa, no injuries.
17.05.44 V. Wellington ASR & Comm Flt AD650 Starboard undercarriage collapsed whilst taxying.
04.06.44 S. Spitfire Mk. V 185 JG955 Tail oleo broke after heavy landing at Hal-Far, no injuries.
11.06.44 V. Warwick Mk. I 283 BV231 Undercarriage collapsed due to a tyre burst when landing at Hal-Far. No injuries.
18.06.44 B. Beaufighter Mk. VI 108 KV934 Crashed on take-off from Luqa, being burnt out in the process. Crew killed.
29.06.44 NA P-51B-7-NA Mustang 334 Squadron/4th Fighter Group 43-6746/QP-X This was one of four aircraft that left Poltava, Ukraine, to Foggia, Italy. Two of the pilots had made the proper preparations for the flight, and landed safely in Italy.

The pilot of this aircraft, a Lt. Hofer, who wasn’t known for his navigational skills, failed to plot a proper course, and consequently missed Foggia. His wingman eventually managed to crash land in Sicily, but Lt. Hofer flew on, until he was intercepted by two 185 squadron Spitfires, MA249 & MA464 and guided for a landing at Hal-Far. The Mustang landed with very low fuel levels. See additional reporting about this incident at the end of this section.
30.06.44 A. Anson Malta Communication Flight MG683 Aircraft had departed for Sicily, but forced to return due to engine problems.
04.07.44 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc 185 JK122 Undercarriage collapsed on landing, no injuries.
13.07.44 B. Beaufighter Mk.VI 108 KW202 Aviation Safety Network has the following description of the accident. Took off for Training flight /Air to sea firing. Crashed in the Mediterranean Sea near Filfla Rock (off Malta) while on a non-operational air firing flight. The aircraft was engaged in the normal practice of test firing the guns into the sea. It was then seen to dive gently towards the sea about 6 miles out from the shore but did not pull out of the dive until very low. The aircraft was then seen to turn, during which its wing tip struck the water and it crashed into the sea at high speed. The crash site was approximately one and a half miles southeast of Filfla Rock. Air Sea Rescue craft were quickly on the scene, but no trace of the crew could be found. The aircraft had disintegrated and sunk in very deep water.
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.
__.08.44 S. Seafire MK.IIc 879 MB293 This aircraft appears to have been dumped overboard the aircraft carrier HMS Attacker, following a serious engine fire, when the carrier was exercising off Malta in preparation for the invasion of Southern France on the 15th August 1944 (Operation 'DRAGOON').

The wreckage of was recovered from Ramla Bay off Gozo, Malta on 25.04.94, relatively complete except its outboard wings and propeller. It was recovered to the National War Museum of Malta for preservation and future restoration. (Information courtesy of theAviation Safety Network.)
04.08.44 V. Warwick I 283 BV526 Blast from a depth charge during a practice drop damage the fuselage and elevators.
18.08.44 S. Spitfire IX 1435 flt. JL180 Belly landing due to undercarriage no being lowered. No injuries.
18.08.44 S. Spitfire PRXIT EN657 Missing from a Photo-Reconnaissance mission to Udine, cause unknown. Soc on 31.08.44.
21.08.44 L. Ventura V 27 (SAAF) R_891 Swung on take-off, aircraft being burnt out. All five crew suffered injuries.
24.08.44 V. Warwick I 283 BV280 Aircraft forced to ditch after losing both engines. Four crew, I fatality, 2 injured.
27.08.44 L. Ventura V 27 FP639 Swung on landing, no injuries.
02.09.44 V. Warwick I 283 BV310 Excessive oil leak on port engine, which seized up.
08.09.44 S. Spitfire Vc Malta Comm. Flight JK230 Aircraft airborne on 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.
11.09.44 V. Warwick I 137 MU BV526 Aircraft caught fire after the starting of the port engine, without any apparent defect. No injuries.
13.09.44 L. Ventura V 27 SAAF JS935 Missing during a night-time convoy escort duty between 12/13th. No known reason for disappearance, crew missing.
16.09.44 S. Spitfire Vc 335 Hellenic AF ER208 Undercarriage collapsed as aircraft became airborne. Pilot made a circuit and a belly landing, no injuries.
30.09.44 M. Baltimore V 137 MU FW489 Pilot retracted the undercarriage too quickly after take-off, the aircraft sinking back onto the runway. No injuries, aircraft repairable.
03.10.44 M. Baltimore Mk. IV   FA466 Crashed at Castelvetrano (Sicily) whilst in transit Naples-Malta. Complete write off, no injuries.
04.10.44 H. Hurricane ASR & Comm Flt KZ845 Damaged whilst landing.
15.10.44 Av. Anson Mk. I Malta Communications Flight MG683 Unable to lower undercarriage, no injuries.
17.10.44 L. Ventura Mk. V 27 SAAF FP585 Swung on take-off, damage to undercarriage, fuselage, propellers, tail unit and starboard wing tip. No injuries.
25.10.44 L. Ventura 27 SAAF JS949 Tail wheel caught in hole while taxying, stern post and tail centre section torn off. No injuries.
14.11.44 L. Hudson Mk. III RAF Comm. Flt. FK749 Failure of starboard undercarriage after landing. Damage to starboard main plane, propeller and rudder. No injuries.
19.11.44 D. Dakota III 267 KG965 Aircraft damaged by three-ton truck which was reversing into freight door to unload cargo. No injuries.
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.
07-09.12.44 DC-3 * 24 FZ633 * Actual type C-47A-1-DK, c/n 12190. Aircraft had arrived from RAF Hendon via Northolt and Elmas. Nothing in the squadron’s ORB to indicate any technical issues, but an air test was perform on the 9th, prior to the aircraft departing.
16.12.44 V. Warwick 11 Ferry Unit HG290 Caught fire on take-off from Luqa, and burnt out. Crew suffered from burns.

 

        
 


Accident Report ~ P-51, serial 43-6746/QP-X

The following is a report written by the Medical Officer of 283 squadron, addressed to the Principal Medical Officer, Headquarters, M.A.A.F., dated 12th July 1944.

ADDENDUM TO MEDICAL HISTORY OF THE WAR. JUNE ’44.

On the 29th of June ’44, at 2.15pm (1415hrs) a strange single-engined aircraft appeared over the drome at Halfar, Malta. It was escorted by two Spitfires and was seen to be a Mustang with the new “Home” markings as it came nearer. No circuit was made, the aircraft otherwise landing safely.

As I was the only officer who had seen his arrival and who was free to move, I went and greeted the pilot. He was American (Lt. Hofer) and stated he had just come from Russia.

Apparently he had set out from the Minsk sector, at about 7:00 that morning, to proceed to Foggia – but he and his half section, who had incidentally successfully crash-landed in Sicily, after running out of petrol, had lost their way. They had embarked on their journey without any adequate bearings, taking only the rough direction, despite the fact they held good maps – which I saw on inspection of the cockpit.

There was practically no fuel left – the 430 American gallons (appx) (358.05 Imp. gallons/ 1627.73 liters) having been used on the 7 hour trip. No “homing” could apparently be requested as the frequencies on the R.D.F. were different from our “overseas” ones – or so I was given to understand.

When it had been “brought home” to the pilot that he was lost and his petrol was running out he found, amongst other things, that his dinghy (type K) was not secured to his parachute – for he had forgotten to do that, as well as work out a course, before commencing the journey. For a period, he gave himself up for lost, but the spitfires were sent up to investigate and found him.

He spent the night with us, being rather talkative initially, later very tired. I finally persuaded him to bed with 1½ grains of Nembutal, and on the morrow he resumed his flight to Foggia. This time he had a course given him and I believe he landed there safely.

He had hoped to proceed from Italy to England on the 30th of June and was rather annoyed that he could not, as he said he had a “date” in England on the night of the 30th!

I believe that this pilot was a member of the first Britain - Reich – Russia – Italy – Britain shuttle service.


Webmaster’s note. Lt. Hofer was killed during a strafing run on Jasenica/Mostar Sud Airfield, Mostar, Yugoslavia on 2nd July 1944.

        
 


1945

Unlike other transport squadrons, the diarist of 511 squadron only listed the dates of takeoff from the original airport and landing at destination. There are no date/times for when and where the aircraft made a refueling stop.

This explains why incidents dealing with this squadron, there are two dates listed. It is fair to assume that, when arriving from the UK, the incident/delay happened on the first date. When returning to the UK, then the incident would be prior to the second date.


DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
04.01.45 V. Warwick Mk. I 283 HF966 Burnt rubber joint allowed oil to leak, leading to the engine seizing up at Hal-Far.
24.01.45 D. Dakota III 216 FL599 Starboard engine failure on the ground, requiring an investigation.
26.01.45 DH Mosquito NF.XIII 256 HK511 Aircraft had departed Foggia, Italy for Hal-Far the undercarriage leg collapsing on landing, the aircraft being declared a write off.
01.02.45 A. York C.1   MW116 Navigational error resulted in aircraft missing Malta, and ditching in the sea. 12 fatalities.
07.02.45 V. Warwick 283 BV241 Starboard engine bearer attachment stays sheared during taxying at Hal-Far.
10.02.45 S. Spitfire Malta Communication Flight JK777 Engine cut when landing at Hal-Far.
09.03.45 A. York Mk. I 511 MW137 Tail fairing, tail wheel shock absorber and fuselage attachments damaged.
09.03.45 A. York Mk. Ic Met. Comm. Flt. MW101 No.2 Port inner engine failure in flight. No injuries, landed safely at Luqa.
24.03.45 F. Barracuda II 812 PM745 Heavy landing during ADDLs (Aerodrome Dummy Deck Landings) at Hal-Far. 812 FAA squadron was Hal-Far based from HMS Vengeance between 20th March – 24th April.
02.04.45 F. Barracuda Mk. II 812 PM865 Pilot made a heavy landing at Hal Far. Port side of centre section severely strained by the shock transmitted from the undercarriage.
02.04.45 F. Barracuda Mk. II 812 PM744 Pilot made a heavy landing at Hal Far. Starboard side of centre section severely strained by the shock transmitted from the undercarriage.
03.04.45 F. Barracuda II 812 PM854 Aircraft ditched in sea following engine fire. All three crew members survived.
04.04.45 A. York Mk. Ic 511 MW127 No.1 engine failure in flight, caused by a breakdown of scavenge system internally. Heavy metal deposits found in filters.
05.04.45 D. Dakota III 525 FL649 Excessive oil consumption, metal found in sump filter. Failure of scavenge system – bearing failure of starboard engine.
06.04.45 C-V Corsair IV 1850 KD163 Pilot baled out of the aircraft due to engine low oil pressure during an interception exercise. Pilot’s body never recovered. 1850 FAA squadron was Hal-Far based from HMS Vengeance between 20th March – 25th April.
06.04.45 F. Barracuda II 812 MX783 Departed from Hal-Far on a night SAR for the above pilot, who had bailed out of KD163. Aircraft never returned, the three crew members presumed dead.
09.04.45 D. Dakota III 216 FO833 Slight damage to leading edge of starboard mainplane, but repairable.
10.04.45 V. Warwick Mk. I 283 BV510 Undercarriage failure to heavy jolt from the previous landing attempt at Hal-Far. Airframe , fuselage, underside port and starboard undercarriage torn off. Port mainplane spar bent. Stern frame twisted. Both propeller blades damaged. Both engines shock loaded.
15.04.45 C-V Corsair IV 1850 KD269 Whilst practicing ADDLs at Hal-Far, the pilot experienced a starboard undercarriage collapse.
16.04.45 V. Warwick Mk. I 283 BV450 Port undercarriage wheel axle bearing cup bolts sheared from a miss landing at Hal-Far. False spar buckled in centre starboard undercarriage twisted.
16.04.45 CV Corsair Mk. IV 1850 FAA DK269 Starboard undercarriage collapsed.
02.05.45 A. York Mk. Ic 511 MW114 Constant Speed Unit failed on No. 4 engine.
05.05.45 DH Mosquito Mk. XXV 614 KB570 Tail wheel failed to lock down landing at Hal-Far. Damage to tail wheel and rear fuselage.
11.05.45 F. Barracuda II 812 PM745 The same aircraft appears to have suffered from another heavy landing at Hal-Far, resulting in wrinkled skin on port stub plane.
24.05.45 C-V Corsair IV 1850 KD400 Aircraft swung to port on landing on HMS Glory, the wheel going over the edge. It is not known if the pilot suffered any injuries, or the extent of the damage to the aircraft.
07.06.45 B. Beaufort     Crashed 2 miles North West of Ghajn Tuffieha, having taken off from ta Qali. Two survivors picked up immediately by local fishermen, third crewman remained trapped inside.
21.06.45 S. Spitfire Mk. Vc Malta Communication Flight 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.
23.07.45 S. Spitfire M.C.F. JK777 Aircraft returned with undercarriage problems.
25.06.45 DH Mosquito B MK. 25 614 KB531 Took off for flight from Amendola, Italy to RAF Luqa. Crashed into the sea, 40 miles to the north east. The crash was witnessed by an ASR pinnace and arrived on the spot of the crash after twenty minutes. A dead crewman was recovered. Second crewman never recovered.
26.06.45 A. York Mk. I 511 MW122 No. 3 engine GSU failure.
28.06.45 NA B-24 Liberator Mk. VIII 614 KG955 No. 2 engine GSU failure.
01.07.45 B. Beaufighter Mk. TF.10 No. 1 FU RD710 Air intake fire on starboard engine.
02.07.45 S. Spitfire M.C.F. ER136 Aircraft returned from a met. flight with a glycol leak, necessitating an engine block change.
10.07.45 D. Dakota Mk. IV 187 KN381 Starboard wing tip damage by ground vehicle.
11.07.45 V. Warwick Mk. 1 283 BV462 Miss landing on training at Hal-Far. Both undercarriage wheels torn off, underside front fuselage and bomb bay buckled in, and severe damage to both props.
23.07.45 M. Baltimore Mk. V 137 MU FW612 Underside fuselage rear portion tail wheel assembly torn away from mounting at RAF Safi.
23.07.45 V. Wellington Mk. XIV 38 NC771 Swung on take-off, damaging underside rear fuselage and stern frame.
24.07.45 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 73 MH550 Pilot undershot on landing at Hal-Far with damage to port mainplane, undercarriage, tail oleo and prop.
26.07.45 V. Warwick Mk. I 283 BV457 Damage to outer port engine bearer strut discovered on ground at Hal-Far.
26.07.45 A. Anson Malta Communication Flight PH569 Luggage door opened during engine run-up at Hal-Far. Port propeller splintered after hitting the door.
30.07.45 A. York Mk. I 511 MW122 No. 1 engine glycol leak.
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.
31.07.45 V. Warwick 12 Ferry Unit HG130 Oil leak on port engine.
31.07.45 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 73 PT896 Accidental detonation of incendiary bomb leading to damage to top starboard side of frame, electrical leads, and front longeron subjected to intense heat.

        
 
DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
09.08.45 V. Warwick Mk. I 137 MU BV457 Swung on take-off, shearing off the undercarriage, and extensive damage to port main plane and both propellers.
20.08.45 S. Spitfire Mk. Vb Malta Communication Flight ER136 Aircraft swung round by gale winds at Hal-Far, and striking starter trolley, needing rudder replacement.
24.08.45 V. Warwick Mk. I 283 BV396 Aircraft swung on take-off, moving engine bearers, dummy spar buckled and attachments sheared.
27.08.45 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 73 PL281 Belly landing at RAF Qrendi due to hydraulic problems, damaging airframe, underside of main planes and propellers.
03.09.45 Avro York 511 MW134 UK to Ratmalana, flight UC697, delayed 24 hours due to aircraft technical problems.
05.09.45 V. Warwick 38 BV388 Port and starboard back stay bearers attachment failure at Luqa.
09-12.09.45 Avro York 511 MW143 UK to Ratmalana, flight UC721, 24-hour delay to change engine no.2.
10-13.09.45 Avro York 511 MW111 Ratmalana to UK flight UC707, Aircraft unservicability caused 42-hour delay at Luqa.
13-16.09.45 Avro York 511 MW143 Ratmalana to UK, flight UC721. Technical problems in No. 3 engine caused a 36-hour delay.
14.09.45 DH Mosquito NF Mk. XIX 255 TA431/YD-N Took off from Hal-Far (along with Mosquito "Z") for training flight/practice interception, returning in one hour and 40 minutes. TA431 landed downwind at Hal-Far, damaging starboard propeller, undercarriage and nacelle. Starboard engine shock loaded.
16.09.45 Ju-52     Ditched 30 miles north west of Malta. Seven survivors. This was probably a French machine.
19.09.45 B. Beaufighter     Pilot baled out and was picked up by naval craft on exercise in the area. Cause of accident unknown.
23-28.09.45 Avro York 511 MW181 UK to Ratmalana flight UC777. This aircraft suffered from multiple delays. Three hours delay caused by engine problems in the UK, followed by 21 hours delay at Luqa due to unspecified aircraft problems. The flight would endure a further 44-hour delay at Karachi due to a towing accident.
27-30.09.45 Avro York 511 MW170 Ratmalana to UK, flight UC779. 24-hour delay caused by aircraft technical problems.
28-30.09.45 Avro York 511 MW181 Ratmalana to UK, flight UC777. Crew experienced a 21-hour delay due to aircraft technicalities.
01-05.10.45 Avro York 511 MW809 UK to Ratmalana, flight UC809. 36-hour delay caused by problems in No. 4 engine.
09-13.10.45 Avro York 511 MW145 UK to Ratmalana, flight UC839. Weather was the cause of several delays, starting with 5 hours at the UK. The crew then experienced another 14-hour delay at Luqa, followed by another 24-hours at Karachi.
09-12.10.45 Avro York 511 MW138 Ratmalana to UK, flight UC830. 6 hour delay caused by No. 4 engine 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.
21-24.10.45 Avro York 511 MW117 UK to Ratmalana, flight UC887. 24-hour delay due to a carburettor change on No. 4 engine.
27-30.10.45 Avro York 511 MW186 UK to Ratmalana, flight UC911. Aircraft technical problems forces a 10-hour delay at Luqa. The aircraft experienced another 37-hour delay at Karachi caused by both weather and technical problems with No. 3 engine.
30.10.45-06.11.45 Avro York 511 MW182 UK to Ratmalana, flight UC925. 24-hour delay caused by technical problems on No. 1 engine.
29.10.45-01.11.45 Avro York 511 MW109 Ratmalana to UK, flight UC906. Delays at Malta caused by both weather and aircraft technical problems.
03-06.11.45 Avro York 511 MW170 UK to Ratmalana, flight UC939. 11 hour delay caused by aircraft technical problems.
29.10.45-03.11.45 Avro York 511 MW110 Ratmalana to UK, flight UC908. Having experienced a 17-hour delay caused by a wheel change at Shaibah, Iraq, the crew had to endure a 56-hour delay at Malta, caused by both weather and aircraft technical problems.
26.10.45-03.11.45 Avro York 511 MW137 Ratmalana to UK, flight UC894. Following a 72-hour delay at Shaibah, Iraq, to allow No. 1 engine to be changed, the crew experienced another 72-hour delay at Luqa due to unspecified aircraft problems.
10-13.11.45 Avro York 511 MW186 UK to Ratmalana, flight UC967. 12-hour delay at Luqa due to engine problems.
15-18.11.45 Avro York 511 MW170 UK to Ratmalana, flight UC989. 15-hour delay at Luqa due to aircraft being u/s.
13-16.11.45 Avro York 511 MW178 Ratmalana to UK, flight UC964. Having been delayed for 12 hours at Karachi, another 12 hours at Cairo due to aircraft brake problems, the crew endured another 7-hour delay at Malta due to weather.
17.11.45       Luqa was u/s between 0800-1200z for repairs to runways intersection.
19.11.45 DH Mosquito B.25 162 KB468 Swung on take-off and undercarriage collapsed; caught fire; 1 killed.
18-21.11.45 Avro York 511 MW114 Ratmalana to UK, flight UC999. 9 hour delay at Luqa due to aircraft electrical problems.
16-18.11.45 Avro York 511 MW146 Ratmalana to UK, flight UC962. Delayed in Malta by a combination of both weather and No. 1 engine becoming unserviceable.
19-22.11.45 Avro York 511 MW193 UK to Ratmalana, flight UC3. Crew forced to divert from Luqa as Malta was closed due to weather.
18-22.11.45 Avro York 511 MW109 Ratmalana to UK, flight UC988. Two-day delay caused by an engine change.
22.11.45 DH Mosquito NF.19 255 TA128 Took off for training flight/air-to-ground firing taking place at Qawra Point. Starboard engine shutdown due to a 20mm cannon shell having ricocheted from the hard ground during target practice, and entered the starboard radiator. Overshot runway at Hal-Far during single engine landing. The undercarriage collapsed on landing, the aircraft swinging off the runway, being damaged beyond repair in the process.
26-30.11.45       Luqa was again u/s between 0700-0700Z for repairs to main runway (24/06).
30.11.45-03.12.45 Avro York 511 MW114 UK to Ratmalana flight, UC49. 8-hour delay caused by aircraft problems.
03.12.45 DH Mosquito NF MK. XIX 255 TA130 A formation of six aircraft took off for a training flight. This aircraft returned after developing engine trouble south of Sicily, the pilot making a single engine landing.
11-14.12.45 Avro York 511 MW181 Negombo to UK, flight UC62. 24-hour delay caused by No. 3 engine generator becoming u/s.
28-31.12.45 Avro York 511 MW186 UK to Dum Dum flight UIC51. Technical issues with No. 2 engine caused a 7-hour delay.
24-27.12.45 Avro York 511 MW181 Negombo to UK, flight UC94. 5-hour delay caused by No. 3 engine going u/s.
29.12.45-01.01.46 Avro York 511 MW198 Dum Dum to UK, flight UIC54. Fog over Malta caused a 7-hour delay.
        
 


1946

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
__.01.46 A. York     Captain reported engine trouble, 125 miles southwest of Malta. Escorted to Luqa by a 255 squadron DH Mosquito.
31.12.45-04.01.46 Avro York 511 MW186 Dum Dum to UK, flight UIC60. Crew delayed by 60 hours due to aircraft becoming unserviceable. This incident and the one above may be one and the same, but have no proof about this.
03-08.01.46 Avro York 511 MW117 Dum Dum to UK, flight UIC62. Engine change at Luqa caused a 28-hour delay.
16-21.01.46 Avro York 511 MW117 UK to Negombo flight, UC143. After a weather-related diversion to Rabat (Morocco) resulted in a 14-hout delay, the crew experienced another 24-hour delay at Luqa due to an exhaust stud port inner was discovered to be missing. This was followed by another weather-related 48-hour delay at Almaza, Egypt.
25-27.01.46 Avro York 511 MW198 UK to Dum Dum, flight UIC111. Aircraft had taken-off for Egypt, but was recalled to Luqa as Cairo was unable to accept aircraft at the time, leading to a 20-hour delay.
25-28.01.46 Avro York 511 MW193 UK to Negombo, flight UC161. Aircraft delayed by 20 hours, waiting for permission to land at Cairo.
30.01.46 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 73 MN552 Pilot direct to park on steel meshing covering supposedly firm lava rock at RAF Catania. Heavy rain had undermined the rock formation, consequently the weight of the aircraft caused the meshing to collapse, damaging propeller tips.
28.01.46-01.02.46 Avro York 511 MW198 Dum Dum to UK, flight UIC12. Having experienced a 6-hour delay at Shaibah (aircraft u/s), another 6 hours at Mauripur due to No.2 engine exhaust stud missing, 12 hours at Almaza, Egypt, because of weather, the crew faced another 15-hour delay at Luqa due to weather.
02.02.46       All aircraft bound for the UK were recalled due to bad weather.
01-05.02.46 Avro York 511 MW190 Negombo to UK, flight UC170. Having undergone a 28-hour delay at Negombo because of aircraft technical problems, diverted to Habbaniya (Iraq) a weather related 18 hour delay, the crew would experience another 24-hour delay at Luqa with No. 4 engine going u/s.
05-07.02.46 Avro York 511 MW204 UK to Dum Dum, flight UIC133. 4-hour delay caused by aircraft going u/s.
06-09.02.46 Avro York 511 MW196 UK to Dum Dum, flight UIC135. 36-hour delay caused by aircraft technical issues.
07-10.02.46 Avro York 511 MW115 Negombo to UK, flight UC182. Delayed 30 hours at Luqa due to maintenance requirements.
11-19.02.46 Avro York 511 Dum Dum to UK, flight UIC142 6-day delay at Luqa, caused both by weather and aircraft mechanical issues.
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.
27.02.46 Liberator 37   Aircraft flew from Egypt to Algeria on the 26th. Departed the following day, but forced to divert to Malta due to Castel Benito (Libya) being unserviceable. Departed Malta on the 28th.
28.02.46-07.03.46 Avro York 511 MW206 Dum Dum to UK, flight UIC168. 41-hour delay caused by weather.
15.03.46 V. Warwick 283 BV464 Crashed in a marsh just outside RAF Elmas, Sardinia, after suffering a loss of power in port engine.
21.03.46 DH Mosquito FB.26 No. 1 Ferry Unit KA181 c/s FKDD. Aircraft was being ferried to unknown destination/owner, although a brief paragraph in The Times of Malta stated the aircraft was “in transit to the East”. Swung on take-off, undercarriage collapsing at RAF Luqa. Aircraft completely burnt out in the ensuing fire, but no injuries.
23.03.46 A. York     c/s OYCL. Damaged it undercarriage during take-off. As the aircraft was fully loaded, the captain decided to circle round Malta to burn up fuel, but as he would have to make a belly landing, he was re-directed to Castel Benito, Libya.
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 for an exercise with a 73 Sqdn Spitfire IX NH484. Failed to pull out of dive, crashing onto the village of Rabat. Four crew, 16 civilians dead, 12 injured.
Letter by Chief Medical Officer, dated the 18th, gave the following details. 21 civilians injured, two of whom died from injuries, 19 brought dead from site, including four crew. First cases were sent to Santo Spirito Hospital *, at 11:25lt. Two suffered injuries during rescue efforts.

* Santo Spirito Hospital today serves as the location of the National Archives.

See accident report below.
08.04.46 Anson C.12 Air Ministry PH696 Overshot landing; swung off runway and undercarriage collapsed.
__.04.46 DC-3 Royal AF __491 Went u/s at Istres, France. Replaced by __416, which arrived from the same airfield on the 12th as UL145.
11.04.46       On the instigation of Transport Command, Luqa airfield is placed unserviceable for four-engine aircraft due to the unevenness of the runways.
13.04.46       Re-surfacing of runway 14/32 begins, and continue until November. Runway is officially opened on 1st December.
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.

From the 38 squadron’s ORB: “Although it was a total wreck, both pilot and navigator escaped without injuries, as they were strapped in securely. This is now figuring prominently as an example in the Pilots Order Book.”

The Aviation Safety Network gives the 15th as date of crash. 38 squadrons’ ORB mentions the 16th.
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.
23.04.46       All flying cancelled at Luqa due to high cross winds.
23.04.46 Anson   __134 Aircraft was flown to El Aouina, Tunisia, to pick up passengers. On the return trip, the aircraft’s captain was advised to return to Tunisia, as Luqa airport had become unserviceable.
04.06.46 V. Wellington & Warwick 38   These two aircraft were scrambled from Malta to assist in a search for an Anson aircraft of 284 Wing Communications Flight, which lost height over the Libyan waters near Castel Benito. The Warwick dropped a life boat for the crew and remained orbiting overhead until the life boat was ashore. This was the first operational drop by 38 squadron.
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.
10.06.46 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 137 MU MH430 Took off from Luqa. On the return, the wind freshened to 10 mph from the SW, creating a cross wind for 14-32 (24-06 being closed for repairs). Made two approaches, but on the second approach, the wheels struck the runway. The undercarriage light went out, and the selector lever was jammed. Pilot flew over to Hal-Far, making a low pass close to the tower for undercarriage inspection, which appeared to be fully down. The pilot made a slow approach touching down as lightly as he could. After a landing roll of around 100 yards, the port wheel collapsed, followed by the starboard wheel, sliding to a stop. No injuries.
        
 

Accident report: Wellington HE274

The 1946 Rabat Vickers Wellington crash was a military aviation accident that occurred in Malta on 5 April 1946 when a Vickers Wellington bomber crashed during a training exercise in a residential area in Rabat. All four crew members on board the aircraft and 16 civilians on the ground were killed. The crash also caused extensive property damage. The exact cause was never conclusively determined, but a magisterial inquiry suggested that leakage of hydraulic fluid leading to crew incapacitation could be a probable cause.

The aircraft involved in the accident was a Vickers 440 Wellington B Mark X bomber with the registration HE274. The aircraft formed part of 765 Naval Air Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, and it was the last Wellington in service with the Fleet Air Arm.

Accident

The Wellington took off from RAF Hal Far at 10.50am, after the crew had inspected the aircraft and declared it to be airworthy. The aircraft was taking part in a training exercise with a Supermarine Spitfire from No. 73 Squadron RAF, in which the Spitfire performed dummy attacks on the Wellington which was to take evasive action.

The two aircraft rendezvoused over Ħal Far at about 11.00am and established radio contact, before beginning the exercise by flying northwest towards Gozo. The Spitfire performed three attacks from above or at the same level as the Wellington, and then began its fourth attack from below. At this point, the Wellington was at a height of 4,000–5,000 feet (1,200–1,500 m), and it turned to port and descended towards the east at an angle of 20°, continuing until it crashed into a residential area of Rabat and exploded at about 11.15am.

All four crew members on board the aircraft died in the crash. On the ground, 16 residents were killed and several others were injured. Several children and a baby were among the dead.

Rescue and recovery efforts

The search and rescue operation was undertaken by British soldiers, naval ratings, RAF personnel, demolition and clearance rescue squads, medical officers, paramedics, police and firefighters. Fire engines and fire-fighting equipment was sent to the area from the Malta Dockyard and RAF Ta' Qali, while the navy supplied generators allowing the rescue efforts to continue at night.

Civilians also took part in searching for survivors, and police had to cordon off the crash site to prevent too many people from entering the area. The area was unsafe for the rescuers due to the unstable partially collapsed buildings and the spread of fire, and a policeman and a demolition crew member were injured by falling masonry. Clergymen also helped out in the recovery of bodies and performed last rites to the victims.

At least 10 people were rescued alive from the rubble and were taken to a hospital in Ħamrun.

Aftermath

The crash of the Wellington was the first air disaster to occur in Malta after the end of World War II. The crash site was visited by Lieutenant-Governor David Campbell, Archbishop Mikiel Gonzi, Vice-Admiral Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton and the Commissioner of Police. Dalrymple-Hamilton offered condolences to the victims and their families, and the National Assembly observed a minute of silence on the recommendation of secretary R. G. Miller.

The crash resulted in extensive property damage which totaled up to about £11,000. 18 houses were destroyed or had to be evacuated after suffering severe damage, leaving 72 families homeless. These people were provided with new accommodation as well as clothes, food and other necessities after the crash.

Investigation

Representatives from the Surveyor of the Lands Department (H.M. Dockyard) inspected the crash site on the day after the disaster. A magisterial inquiry was conducted by Magistrate Albert Camilleri.

There were claims that smoke was seen coming from the aircraft before it crashed, but this contradicts the inquiry report which found no evidence of fire before the crash. There were also claims that the crew had attempted to land in fields below Tal-Virtù, but no distress calls were ever received from the aircraft.

The inquiry was unable to determine the exact cause of the crash, but leakage of hydraulic fluid was considered to be a probable cause. This could have resulted in fumes which rendered the crew unconscious, leaving them unable to control the aircraft.

Cause

The loss of control was attributed to strong smoke spread in the cockpit due to a leak on a hydraulic line, intoxicating the crew that was unable to maintain a directional control of the aircraft and could not send any distress call.

HE274 was one of two Vickers Wellington Mk.X used by 765 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Navy (the other was HZ470) at RAF Hal Far, Malta for "fighter affiliation" exercises. They were the final two Wellingtons on Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm charge.

        
 

 

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
12.08.46 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 73 MA848 Pilot experienced undercarriage problems, forcing a flight to Sicily to be cancelled. Wheels “down” light did not function. After a flypast past the Ta Qali control tower, who confirmed the undercarriage look all right. Pilot landed on the starboard oleo leg, but after 400 yards, the port oleo gave way, forcing the aircraft to swing violently to port, shearing the starboard leg. No injuries.
19.08.46       Pilot, based on HMS Ocean bailed out 10 miles South-East of Malta. Picked up by ship.
28.08.46 A. Anson     “68TC” (c/s?), returned to Luqa with starboard engine trouble.
31.08.46 V. Wellington Mk.10 Malta Communication Flight LP805 Throttle lever broke off on take-off; pilot swung into ditch to avoid quarry.
03.09.46 DH Mosquito B.25 KB665 728 Aircraft crashed after takeoff from Hal-Far. Two fatalities.
14.09.46 A. York     Due to an outbreak of small pox in Libya, York aircraft started landing at Luqa instead of Castel Benito
15.09.46 A. York     c/s “OYRT”, returned to Luqa with engine trouble.
19.09.46 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 73 Aircraft overran runway, ending up on its nose.
29.09.46 A. York     c/s “OYBS”, departed for Almaza, Egypt, but forced to return due to bad weather.
__.09.46 M. Baltimore     Aircraft, meant to be scraped, was used in a fire-fighting drill.
01.10.46 A. York     c/s ‘OYBO’. Departed for Egypt, but was forced to return to Luqa due to bad weather.
03.10.46 A. York     c/s “OYFAW”. Departed for Lyneham at 0910 losing all contact with Luqa. Returned after 20 minutes with R/T and W/T u/s.
07.10.46 S. Spitfire Mk. IX 73 _____/T Spitfire was u/s with a wrinkled fuselage. The aircraft had been left-wing heavy, and possibly written off.
14.10.46 A. York 511 MW257 Aircraft was making a second attempt at landing, overshooting the runway. Pilot managed to swing the tail, hitting a wall, damaging the fin. Information from RAF Luqa ORB.

The 511 squadron ORB simply states: “ Aircraft became u/s after suffering damage during landing.
16-17.10.46 Avro York 511 MW271 Aircraft became u/s at Luqa for 24-hours.
16-19.10.46 Avro York 511 MW194 Returning to the UK. Aircraft became u/s for 24-hours.
20.10.46 A. York     c/s ”OYBL”, captain reported aircraft on fire 20 miles from Luqa. Made a safe landing with the fire under control.
25.10.46 Av. Lancaster 37   Aircraft, carrying spares from Almaza to Treviso, was forced to divert to Malta due to bad weather, departing the following day.
04-06.11.46 Avro York 511 MW188 UK to Palam, UDY 426. Having diverted into Lyyda with u/s radio and radar, the crew experienced undercarriage trouble at Luqa.
09.11.46       “FGLJ” reported flying on one engine only at 1450Z. Landed at Hal-Far at 1625Z.
25.11.46 Avro York 511 MW203 Service to destination (on flight UDY477) cancelled as aircraft, required the changing of No. 1 engine.
23-26.11.46 Avro York 511 MW207 UK to Palam, flight UDY 462, returning to the UK. Delayed 24 hours at Luqa for servicing requirements.
02.12.46 Avro York C.1 511 MW268 Aircraft was on its second attempt to land. Undercarriage collapsed, aircraft making a belly landing on the old runway 27 . Other aircraft were diverted to Hal-Far.

Information from RAF Luqa ORB.
25.11.46-06.12.46 Avro York 511 MW177 India to UK, flight UDY472. Following undercarriage trouble in India, and a diversion to Iraq due to weather, the crew experienced a further 24-hour delay at Luqa due to engine problems.
08.12.46 C-54 KLM NL-310 Scheduled to land for re-fuelling, but also suffered from an “engine defect”.
08.12.46 A. York   MW271 Pilot made a three-engined landing. One engine shut down due to a suspected unserviceable oil pressure gauge.
09.12.46 A. York   MW207 Pilot made a three-engined landing. Outer port engine had to be shut down due to excessive oil leak.
16.12.46 DC-4   NL-304 c/s PNTAF from Almaza to Ciampino landed at Luqa at 0720Z due to engine problems.
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. Described as having a “ground accident through running forward while a fitter was running the engines”. Returned to service a few days later.
20.12.46       Request received from Istres requesting news about Halifax MOHLVW. Informed that aircraft had been delayed at Malta. Departed on the 21st at 11:30Z but had to return with engine trouble. Departed again the same day at 13:05Z.
23.12.46 DH Mosquito   TE872 Pilot was escorting 8 fighter aircraft but failed to make contact with Malta.
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. Airfield Control van blown over, occupant suffering bruises and shock. Luqa C.O.’s and Flight Engineers offices had their roofs torn off. At Hal-Far, a hangar, in the process of being erected was blown down, and a Walrus aircraft was moved, damaging its tail.
23.12.46 S. Spitfire   EN199 Well-secured at Park 2, it was 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.
28.12.46 A. York   MW268 Crash landed at Luqa after the undercarriage collapsed. No casualties.
        
 


1947

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
03.01.47 DC-3 216 KN475 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.

c/s MODHN. Escorted by Martinet aircraft. On the 4th, Air-Sea Rescue aircraft searched the sea for possible signs of luggage and freight from the Dakota.
14.01.47 V. Wellington M.C.F.   A flight to Elmas had to be abandoned after the aircraft suffered from hydraulic failure, forcing a return to Malta.
27.01.47       Winds of up to 56 mph were recorded and at 12:30, the wooden tower supporting all V.H.F. transmitting aerials was blown down, with the result that Malta Homer, Eureka beacon, Luqa VHF Approach Control and Airfield Control channels were put out of action. Although repair work started immediately, it was until Saturday 1st February that everything was back to normal.
29.01.47       On advice from the Meteorological Section, Malta area was placed as unfit due to icing, low cloud and sand storms along the African coast. Seven aircraft diverted from Luqa.
19.01.47-01.02.47 Avro York 511 MW286 Returning to the UK, the crew were forced to divert into Castel Benito for 24-hours as Luqa was closed due to weather. Having landed at Luqa, the crew were again delayed 4 days due to bad weather over the UK.
__.02.47 HP Halifax IX 113   Aircraft had an engine failure during an air test. Pilot made a successful three-engine landing.
19.02.47 A. Lancaster     c/s MBDVQ. Aircraft was carrying an Air Vice Marshall, from Cairo to Malta, despite Luqa being closed for traffic due to strong winds. Aircraft forced to land at El Adem in Libya on orders from AOC Malta.
25.02. 47 H. Tempest IV   NX255 Aircraft was being ferried from the UK to Fayid, Egypt, in company with Tempest NX131, being escorted by Mosquito RG308. Engine problems forced the pilot to bale out 20 miles from Benghazi. The message was received at 10:33Z, and two Air-Sea Rescue Lancasters of 38 squadrons being airborne at 10:50Z, with aircraft from Almaza, Egypt to Luqa being asked to assist, as well as two RN ship, the cruiser Leander, and the destroyer Virago. The pilot was eventually located by an RAF Dakota, __265, c/s MOYFC, on a routine flight from El Adem to Benina at 14:53Z. One of the Lancasters, after dropping Lindholme gear and a II lifeboat, orbited over the pilot for over three hours until the arrival of the Virago at 18:45Z.
26.02.47 B. Beaufighter   __856 Departed Bordeaux for Malta. Ran out of fuel due to strong headwinds, crashing near Palermo, Sicily.
27.02.47 Sh. Sunderland   SZ570 Broke from its moorings at Marsaxlokk Bay in rough weather and in danger of breaking on rocks.
07.03.47 S. Spitfire F.XVIII 800 SX357 Stalled in sea. Aircraft was based on HMS Triumph at time.
15.03.47       Luqa airfield becomes unfit for all aircraft types due to gale force winds. Between 1345Z to 1630Z, 14 aircraft were diverted.
30.03.47-03.04.47 Avro York 511 MW287 UK-India flight. Divert to Luqa due to a fuel leak and a night stop.
08.04.47 A. York     c/s MOYAO depart Malta for Iraq, but forced to return with engine trouble.
13-14.05.47 Avro York 511 MW294 Flight to Fayid Egypt. Crew forced to divert into Luqa due to a leak in the pneumatic system and no. 4 prop loose. Delayed 13.5 hours.
16.04.47 DC-3   KN509 c/s MODHH, inbound from Istres reported starboard engine trouble, and diverting to Trapani, Sicily. Air-Sea Rescue Lancaster was launched, in case of both engines failing. The pilot later reported the engine was running normally, and was escorted to Luqa by the Lancaster.
28.04.47       Four breaches of Air Traffic Discipline, but no further details available.
05.05.47       Luqa airfield was declared unfit for flying for all aircraft types between 0200Z to 1710Z due to winds gusting up to 53 mph.
12.05.47       High winds experienced in the Mediterranean render Luqa unfit for aircraft except 4-engined and heavy twin-engined aircraft only.
14.05.47       High winds again made Luqa unfit for flying from 1307Z.
15.05.47 Anson C.19 MECS PH863 Undercarriage jammed up; overshot belly landing at night.
16.05.47 S. Seafire F.XVII 800 SX355 Aircraft was being catapulted from HMS Triumph when the carrier was at anchor in Marsaxlokk bay. Catapult suffered mechanical failures causing the Seafire to stall and fall in the sea.
22.05.47 Avro York 511 MW192 From Fayid to RAF Lyneham. Forced to divert into Luqa due to sandstorms at Castel Benito.
24.05.47 Avro York C.1 242 MW190 Caught in down draught over quarry on approach and undershot runway.
05.06.47       Fireworks at the end of the runway cause “slight consternations”. Such incidents are reported to the police to prevent reoccurrence.
07.06.47 A. Lancaster     c/s MBWYA, departed Malta for Elmas, reported port outer engine unserviceable, and a serious oil leak on the port inner engine. Both Tunisia and the air-sea rescue Lancaster at Luqa were told to stand by. The captain elected to return to Luqa, making a safe landing.
10.06.47 S. Spitfire F.XVII 805 SX187 Crashed in sea shortly after take-off from HMS Ocean.
13.06.47 S. Seafire F.XVII 800 SX344 Aircraft was observed with a stationary prop and emitting smoke, gliding east of Valletta. Eventually crashed near Ta’ Qali.

Squadron and serial were previously unknown. Air Britain’s Aeromilitaria gives the same date for the accident, which was described as “Undershot during a forced landing and overturned.”

The assumption that this is the same accident is by the webmaster alone.

13.06.47 S. Seafire XVII   __147 Took off from Hal-Far, crashed landed at Ta Qali, about 300 yards of the north end of the runway, ending up upside down, the pilot getting out though the small cockpit door before assistance arrived. No injuries.
16.06.47 B. Buckmaster     c/s MHSGK, inbound to Luqa from Istres, reported fuel problems, aircraft landing safely at Elmas, Sardinia.
21.06.47 A. York     Landed with no. 4 engine shut down. c/s MOYAN.
21-23.06.47 Avro York 511 MW263 India to UK, flight UDY870. Three hour delay at Luqa due to carburettor trouble.
27.06.47 DH Mosquito     Aircraft shed the top hatch during the take-off run, damaging the fin. Pilot successfully abandoned the take-off, no injuries.
28.06.47 Avro York 511 MW231 To India, flight UDY887. Having been forced to divert into Istres and Elmas with W/T failure, leading to a total of 51 hour delays, the crew were further delayed for 20.5 hours due to servicing and the need to conduct an air test.
02.07.47       A request news was received from London on Mosquito NB435/GXAAF which was due to have left Ajaccio on 1st July for Izmir (Turkey).

After thorough investigating on the part of this control the aircraft was traced as having landed at Luqa from Capodichino at 1816Z on 2nd July as Mosquito RF718 GGAAF.

Due to conflicting callsign and numbers the fact that Mosquito NB435 (GXAAF) was Mosquito RF718 (GGAAF) was verified through the name of the captain. This control had no knowledge that Mosquito NB435 was moving from Ajaccio to Ismir as no movement signal upon the aircraft was received by this control, and had the aircraft been in trouble this control would have had no knowledge of the aircraft to have rendered assistance.
03.07.47       A MAYDAY call picked up by HMS Truimph proved to be the result of a pilot pressing the wrong button.
05.07.47 DH Mosquito __718   Experienced engine trouble after take-off, and returned to Luqa. Had to orbit to jettison extra fuel.
07.07.47 S. Spitfire     Aircraft burst tyre on landing on runway 24. Three other Spitfires were directed to land on runway 32. Radio c/s “Baylo G”?
14.07.47       A heavy rain shower, unusual for Malta at this time of the year, flooded the runways.
        
 

 

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
12-14.07.47 Avro York 511 MW___ India to UK, flight UDY904. 24-hour delay due to aircraft servicing.
13-17.07.47 Avro York 511 MW234 India to UK, flight UDY908. Delayed 3 hours caused by a wheel change.
14-17.07.47 Avro York 511 MW263 India to UK, flight UDY910. Delayed 16.5 hours caused by servicing and the need for an air test.
15.07.47       At 10:00Z, a whirlwind moved across Luqa airfield, scattering 5- and 50-gallon tanks and drums (22.73 and 227.31 litres) littering the runways with debris, but no real damage.
22.07.47 Martinet TT.1 728 RG911 Ditched in the sea following engine failure after take-off from Hal-Far.
24-27.07.47 Avro York 511 MW263 UK to India, flight UDY931. 5.5 hours delay caused by aircraft servicing.
25-30.07.47 Avro York 511 MW194 UK to India, flight UDY933. Delayed for 4.5 hours for servicing and air test.
26.07.47 Avro York 511 MW182 India to UK flight UDY893. This aircraft had departed UK for Fayid, Egypt between 02-03 July. It remained u/s for 21 days both by undercarriage trouble and Mod:1369 not having been incorporated. It arrived at Luqa on unknown date, where the crew experienced another 36.5 hours, caused both by hydraulic and undercarriage problems. It landed back at RAF Lyneham on the 26th.
24-29.07.47 Avro York 511 MW237 Returning to the UK on flight UDY926. 36.5 hours delay caused by crew sickness.
31.07.47-03.08.47 Avro York 511 MW262 UK to India flight UDY943. 1-hour delay due to magneto drop on No. 3 engine.
01-05.08.47 Avro York 511 MW286 UK to India flight UDY945. 24-hour delay caused by aircraft servicing.
02.08.47 A. York   MW190 c/s MOYFY. Pilot reported an unserviceable airspeed indicator. As Luqa didn’t have an overshoot area, the crew were directed to Castel Benito, Libya, where it landed safely.
07.08.47 Ai. Anson M.C.F. PH718 Aircraft lost the pilot escape hatch when in the circuit.
12.08.47 S. Spitfire IX 73 MJ891 Pilot returned a sortie with a u/s R/T, wiping the undercarriage landing in a cross-wind. Slight injuries to pilot. There was some difficulty removing the aircraft from the runway, and the three other Spitfires were forced to divert to Luqa. For a night stop.

The squadron’s ORB had this to say about this incident. “With only a few more weeks to go to complete a whole accident free year for the Squadron, this effort is rather disappointing but even so, eleven months without a prang was quite a creditable effort.”
15.08.47 S. Spitfire IX 73 MJ247 Engine failure on take-off from Ta’ Qali. Aircraft was being piloted by the C.O., who made a belly-landing just off the runway.
17.08.47 A. Lancaster 38 ? RF318 Arrived from Ein Shemer (Northern Israel) on three engines.
17.08.47 A. Lancastrian     Diverted to Malta from Castel Benito with one of its starboard engines feathered.
19.08.47 S. Spitfire IX 73 PT477 Port tyre burst during take-off, but pilot managed to get airborne safely, before suffering from engine trouble. He managed to return for a wheels up landing with suffering any injuries. Quote form the squadron’s ORB: “This the third mishap on the Squadron in a week, it’s hoped that the run of bad luck has now finished”.
01.09.47 S. Spitfire IX 73 NH198 Pilot experienced propeller trouble, when half a blade broke off. Despite the engine cutting off for 10-15 seconds, the pilot managed to make a safe landing at base. The pilot experienced further trouble when he discovered he was unable to open or jettison the cockpit hood, which was covered in oil form the C.S.U. The pilot also suffered from badly blistered hands by holding to the throttle and stick under the excessive vibration.

The propeller damage was the result of faulty repair work, and all Spitfires that had undergone prop work were grounded on the 2nd.
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.

The pilot was picked up by a Grumman Avenger.
05.09.47 S. Spitfire IX 73 MH979 Spitfire pilot experienced undercarriage trouble, which was refusing to lower. As he was pulling negative G, he also experience engine trouble, but managed to make a successful belly landing at Ta’ Qali.
05.09.47 DC-3     c/s MDKLO, departed for Istres reported a leaking starboard fuel pipe. Returned to Luqa, no injuries.
08.09.47 S. Spitfire IX 73 MK158 Pilot experienced engine trouble when the boost aneroid fractured on take-off from Ta’ Qali. On throttling back from the excessive boost the engine faltered. As there was insufficient runway left to come to a halt without over running the runway and going over a fifteen-foot wall 20 yards from the end of the runway, the pilot decided to raise the gear and make a belly landing

All these incidents have been experienced on Spitfires brought over from Italy last May, and the C.T.O. has decided to ground them all.
09.09.47 A. Lancaster 38   “Ghurka O” c/s? Reported an unserviceable air speed indicator on an air test, and was diverted to Castel Benito due to variable wind at Luqa.
09.09.47 A. Lancaster 38   “Ghurka O” c/s? Again reported an unserviceable air speed indicator and altimeter gauge. On this occasion, however, the aircraft landed at Luqa.
16.09.47 S. Seafire F.XVII 800 SX335 Wheels up emergency landing.at Hal-Far following an engine failure, aircraft breaking its back.
28.09.47 F. Firefly 804 VT435 Aircraft stalled and crashed into the sea on the approach to HMS Ocean. One fatality.
29.09.47 A. York     c/s MOYCK, developed engine trouble 30 minutes after departing Malta. Landed safely at Luqa, after circling the airfield to reduce fuel load.
__.10.47 DH Mosquito FB.VI No. 1 Ferry Unit HR339 Aircraft was on delivery to the New Zealand Air Force. Re-serialled NZ2382. Aircraft was on delivery to the New Zealand Air Force. Crew had left RAF Pershore on 16.10.47 so this, or the 17th, would have been its arrival date. Forced to remain in Malta until an unserviceable engine could be replaced. It did not reach Ohakea until 24.03.48.
11-16.10.47 Avro York 511 MW262 UK to Singapore, flight UCS881. 24-hour delay due to servicing.
20.10.47 A. Lincoln Empire Air Navigational School RE364 Aircraft left Shawbury on 20.10.47, departing for Habbaniya on the 21st. It returned from Khartoum on 16.12.47, departing for Shawbury on the 18th.

On flight to Habbaniya, the aircraft developed cracks in under-surface of wing skin, and in port inner saddle cowling, and wing screws becoming loose.

Instrument wise, the D.G.I. was replace at Malta due to too high a wander rate between 20-21.10.47. Auto-pilot hunting excessively UK-Malta. Intercommunication vibrator u/s. Between Luqa-Iraq, radar fuses continually blowing, radio compass reception unsatisfactory due to rubbing between bonding connections in flight, and the H2S set was u/s on Luqa-UK.

On take-off (from Shawbury) the aircraft was found to be tail-heavy. On approaching Malta, the aircraft’s tail heaviness became more apparent, and only by hurriedly moving the passengers forward was control maintained. On landing, a tendency to swing was noticed and tail wheel shimmy was experienced. As the centre of gravity, having been re-checked and found to be correct, it was assumed that the basic data supplied by the manufacturer was wrong. Consequently, the aircraft was loaded with the CoG (Centre of Gravity) further forward than that recommended by the manufacturer, and no further problems were experienced.

Tare weight * was given A. V. Roe as being 43,612 lbs, and CoG datum point 4.5 inches forward of the wing spar, and CoG position at 3.93 feet aft of this datum.

In Australia, the aircraft was weighted again, the tare weight was now up to 45,744 lbs, and CoG position at 4.8 inches aft of that given by the Roe company.

It was therefore apparent that the aircraft had been taking off with greater weights than recommended and CoG outside safe limits. This could also explain the structural defects experienced.

* Tare is the weight of chocks, blocks, stands, etc. used when weighing an airplane. Tare weight is included in the scale readings and deducted from the scale reading to obtain the actual (net) airplane weight.
31.10.47 A. York     c/s MOYFB. Aircraft made a three-engined landing.
31.10-04.11.47 Avro York 511 MW192 Singapore to UK flight UCS892. 24-hour delay caused by a wheel change.
07.11.47 DH Mosquito     Reported engine problems after take-off, returned with prop feathered. No injuries. “17”, possibly part of its radio callsign.
12.11.47 S. Sunderland V   RN302 Aircraft arrived from Ceylon, returning to UK. Landed at Marsaxlokk with port outer engine u/s. Beaching was impossible due to absence of suitable gear, so the engine had to be removed on the water on the 22nd, and installed on the 26th. The testing and departure were delayed by Southerly gales, the crew finally leaving on 10.12.47.
15.11.47 A. Lancaster   TW904 c/s MKJAE. Arrived from RAF Abingdon. Reported port inner engine trouble 180 North-West of Malta, the aircraft landing safely at Luqa at 14:12Z.
__.12.47 V. Wellington X LP774 Authority to “strike-off” a/c received during this month.
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 by a US Navy helicopter. Info by George Kernahan. Aircraft now used as a diving attraction, the dives being under the control of Malta Heritage.
05.12.47 Av. Lancaster 38   Departed for Elmas, but hydraulic problems forced his return to Luqa, with the undercarriage lowered. The emergency air system was used to lower the flaps.
12-17.12.47 Avro York 511 MW305 Singapore to UK flight UCS954. Delayed 24 hours by unspecified aircraft technical problems.
        
 


1948

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
16.01.48 S. Spitfire IX 73 Aircraft lost one of the radiator cowlings, but pilot was able to make a safe landing at Luqa.
19.01.48 Ai. Anson   VL306 On a flight from Benina to Castel Benito in Libya was forced to land at Homs due to a combination of high winds, bad visibility and loss of radio communication. No injuries.
22.01.48 F. Firefly FR.1 816 PP595 Banked steeply after take-off from HMS Ocean and crashed in the sea. Carrier was in the vicinity of Malta at the time.
27.01.48 S. Spitfire IX 73 MK119/W Starboard undercarriage leg collapsed on landing, the aircraft being practically written off.
20-23.01.48 Avro York 511 MW231 UK to India, flight UDYT116. 24-hour delay due to aircraft servicing.
18-24.01.48 Avro York 511 MW182 Singapore to UK, flight UCST000. 24-hour delay due to aircraft servicing.
05-18.02.48 Avro York 511 MW286 Singapore to UK, flight UCST030. 36 hours delay caused by aircraft servicing.
13.02.48 F. Firefly FR.1 827 PP600 Emergency landing caused by engine trouble after flying through a severe rain squall.
18-22.02.48 Avro York 511 MW265 Singapore to UK flight UCSF228. 4 hours delay caused by aircraft servicing.
28.02.48 S. Sunderland V   SZ570/D Aircraft arrived from the Far East on the 25th, but due to rough weather, re-fuelling had still not been completed by the 27th. Aircraft broke loose from its mooring at Kalafrana in heavy gales at 11:15, and wrecked on Marsaxlokk beach. Personnel were dispatched to guard the aircraft from the nearest point on land. The aircraft eventually hit rocks, and was struck off charge after engine, propellors and as much equipment could be removed.
28.02.48 Ai. Anson M.C.F. VP530 Avro York G-AGJE was reported overdue at Castel Benito, Libya. SAR operations from Castel Benito, Benina and Luqa yielded no results. Malta-based Anson VP530, in an attempt to search the coast between Marble Arch and Castel Benito had to abandon its mission due to sand storms, the crew routing directly to Malta from Marble Arch.
22.03.48 B. P-63 Kingcobra French AF These three aircraft had escorted a French General to Malta on the 18th. One aircraft had difficulty starting up, and the following is an extract from 73 squadron’s ORB.

“One of them had some difficulty starting up due to a flat battery, and had to resort to the crank handle. This would have been all right had not the French Major and Squadron Leader Jackson been a bit too strong for the handle which broke into two very neat pieces. However, fortunately, another handle was forthcoming from one of the other aircraft and eventually a successful start was made.”
28.03.48 V. Wellington X 765 HZ470 Crashed during take-off, possibly from Hal-Far, where the squadron was based.
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. Pinnace 94, which was on standby duties, recued all three crew members. Aircraft was salvaged and pulled up the slipway on the 21st. Hal-Far Station Flight was an off-shoot of 728 squadron.
23.04.48 S. Spitfire XXII 73   Pilot passed out from lack of oxygen at 30,000ft, regaining consciousness at 4,000ft in a spiral. He returned to base, but the undercarriage collapsed on landing.
14.05.48 Ai. Anson   VM530 Aircraft was on a flight from Benina to Castel Benito, diverting to Hal-Far, landing on one engine due to low fuel level. Searched for, and escorted by, Lancaster PA417, which was in Malta for radar tests.
18.05.48 F. Firefly FR.1 827 PP621 Port wheel oleo collapsed whilst landing at Hal Far.
22.05.48 NA AT-16 Harvard T.2B Station Flight, Hal Far EZ348/911/HF c/n 88-16343. Damaged beyond repair after ground looping on landing at Hal Far. No injuries. Struck Off Charge on 06.02.52, the airframe finally being destroyed in firefighting training demonstrations at Hal Far on 05.12.52.
04.06.48 S. Spitfire IX 73 Aircraft was being ferried from Ta Qali to Luqa, but pilot forgot to lower the undercarriage.
26.06.48 V. Warwick I 283 BV436 Universal holding down plate for engine bearer stays found to be fractured during ground inspection at Hal Far.
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.
06.07.48 M. Martinet Aircraft was towing a drogue for air-to-air firing by Spitfires of 73 squadron. First pilot “put his first burst right through the drogue, and tore it to ribbons”. An attempt to stream another drogue failed as the winch jammed, forcing the return of the Martinet to Hal-Far. Airborne again after an hour, the same pilot shot the remainder of his ammunition at the target, after which the Martinet developed an oil leak, jettisoned the drogue into the sea, and again retuned to Hal-Far.
25.08.48 DH Vampire F.3 73 VV207 Stalled above the runway at RAF Luqa, the nose wheel and starboard wheel collapsing on touch down. Aircraft believed a write-off.
26.08.48 Av. Lincoln 83   Six aircraft arrived from Shallufa, Egypt on completion of Operation Sunray. Five departed for RAF Hemswell, but the sixth went u/s, remaining in Malta for an engine change.
27.08.48 S. Spitfire F.22 73 PK555 DBR after bomb carrier detached on landing Ta Qali.
31.08.48 S. Seafire F.17 800 SX348 Fuselage was damaged after drop tank became detached as aircraft was taxying for take-off at Hal Far.
__.09.48 V. Wellington X NA711 Transferred to 137 MU on “strike-off” action.
__.09.48 V. Wellington X NA777 Transferred to 137 MU on “strike-off” action having been declared beyond economical repair.
16.09.48 DH Vampire 73   Two aircraft from Istres to Malta were reported overdue. Rescue co-ordination, Air Sea Rescue and the Royal Navy were alerted, with one aircraft becoming airborne. This (aircraft) was recalled after twenty minutes, after receipt of a belated message, indicating the two jets had landed at Elmas, Sardinia.

On the 18th, two Lancasters of 38 squadron flew fuel to the Vampires, the four aircraft returning to Malta on the 19th.
20.09.48 S. Spitfire IX 73 Aircraft got airborne on a cross-country trip to the Islands of Linesa, Lampione and Lampedusa. His engine cut out at about 600 ft after take-off. To quote from the squadron’s ORB “. . . he managed to turn round and make a crash landing into the wind on the airfield. Although turning round is contrary to normal practice, a crash landing on this Island (Malta) other than the airfield would probably be fatal due to the small walled-in fields. The engine casing was found to be split and in places one could see big-ends and even the crank shaft. Flight Sergeant Morris’s cigarette consumption for the day went up considerably”.
__.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.
05.10.48 F. Firefly FR.1 827 PP556 Crashed at Hal Far, cause/s unknown.
25.10.48 NA Harvard IIA 827, Royal Navy EZ406 c/n 88-16711. Crew were carrying out local and I.F. in the station flight Harvard. Aircraft’s starboard wing was cut off by a 73 Sqdn Vampire over Ta’ Qali, causing it to crash in the limits of Imtarfa. Two fatalities.
25.10.48 DH Vampire F.3 73 VT808 Vampire cut off the Harvard’s starboard wing (above), causing its crash to the ground. The Vampire had a damaged port wing tip, forcing the pilot to land at a higher speed, resulting in the aircraft overrunning the runway. The pilot was unhurt, but the aircraft subsequently burnt itself out, as the fire services had left for the scene of the Harvard crash. No injuries.
30.10.48 DH Mosquito 35 14 TJ141 Left Malta for Marseilles, but encountered bad weather. Crew’s bodies were never recovered.

The RAF Luqa ORB had the following information about this incident. . . . departed Malta for Wahn (RAF base in West Germany). At 15,000ft, at 10:30Z, pilot report starboard engine on fire. At 10:36Z the Officer i/c Gozo radar station witnessed an aircraft crashing in the sea off Xlendi. A search and rescue mission was initiated, by air and sea. On the assumption that the crew may had baled out, the search area was widened considerably. The search continued during daylight hours until 10:15Z on 1st November.
__.11.48 S. Seafire FR.17 804 VP441/139/O Transferred to Hal-Far for repairs after an accident on board HMS Ocean, possibly the propeller hitting the deck on landing.
¬¬__.11.48 F. Firefly NF1 812 PP618 Crashed in barrier during night time landing on HMS Ocean. No casualties.
03.11.48 DH Vampire 73 VT811/X Pilot was carrying out circuits and landings (touch & go’s in modern parlance). Tyre detached itself from the starboard wheel on the third take-off, causing the aircraft to swing, breaking the oleo, the aircraft being declared a write off.
12.11.48 Heavy rains during the night left the runway u/s due to lakes of water on the runway, leading to a decision to cancel all flying. The previous day, a Vampire was discovered to have badly buckled flaps, the assumption being the amount of water on the runway. Hence the decision to cancel flying for the day. A repeat occurred on the 18th, and with water puddles still being present on the 19th, the problem was solved (more or less) by blowing the water away by means of the jet exhaust of a Vampire.
27.11.48 F. Firefly FR.1 827 PP545 Crashed at Hal Far, cause/s unknown.
06.12.48 It became customary for 73 squadron to cancel flying after heavy downpours, after another Vampire was found with buckled flaps. Vampires are also being forced to divert to Luqa if heavy rains occur after the aircraft get airborne.
14.12.48 F. Firefly Crashed in Salina Bay.
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.
        
 


1949

DATE AIRCRAFT SQDN SERIAL NOTES
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).
02.02.49       Worst gales in 50 years hit Malta as winds hit 66 mph. Aircraft secured and turned in the wind. No damage. No flying.
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 c/n F.8276. Engine trouble made the crew make a forced landing at Qrendi strip which had obstructions on it. The aircraft caught fire after landing, which totally destroyed it, and killing the crew members.
07.03.49 DH Vampire 73 Aircraft’s hood disintegrated in flight, the pilot suffering from cuts by the breaking glass.
09.03.49 Martinet TT.1 728 RH114 Severe engine vibration after one hour target towing, emergency landing at Hal-Far.
10.03.49 Av. Lancaster   SW374 Aircraft was taken for an acceptance flight prior to being accepted for service with 38 squadron, but had to return after undercarriage didn’t retract.
22.03.49 DH Vampire 73 Both port and starboard gun bay panels on a Vampire became loose in flight. One fell away to earth damaging the air intake in the process, but the other actually rest against the air intake, partially blocking it, and causing an immediate rise in temperature and loss of power. The pilot made an emergency landing, the panel falling away during the landing.
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.
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.
21.04.49 DH Vampire 73 Squadron was to fly to No. 26, Armament Practice School, Cyprus. After twenty minutes, two pilots experienced fuel problems and returned to Ta Qali. 30 minutes later, another two had difficulties, when the canopy of one cracked, and after five minutes, the second pilot experienced the same problems. This wasn’t enough, as a fifth pilot ran out of fuel, force landing at approx. 50 miles (80 km) from El Adem. The pilot was uninjured, and the aircraft declared Cat. E1. The squadron returned to Malta on 27.05.49.
17.05.49 Av. Lancaster 37 SW306 Aircraft was airborne on a NAVEX, when the crew experienced severe vibrations in no.2 and 3 engine, necessitating a return to Luqa.
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.
__.06.49 Ai. Anson   VP530 Unknown incident between this and DC-3 KN279.
__.06.49 DC-3   KN279 See above.
08.07.49 NA Harvard T.3 Station Flight, Hal-Far EZ288 Pilot came in to land at the end of an instrument flying training sortie at Hal Far, but overturned as a result of violent braking, causing the propeller to strike the runway. Aircraft declared dbr and Struck Off Charge as Cat. ZZ the same day. No injuries.
19.07.49 F. Firefly FR.5   VT498 c/n F.8382. Aircraft was launched from HMS Triumph to land on HMS Ocean. Aircraft crashed in the sea as it made a low turn on the approach to Ocean, killing both crew members. (Credit Aviation Safety Network.)
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.
27.07.49 B. Brigand   VS834 Aircraft was being ferried by No. 1 Ferry Unit, making a wheels-up landing at Luqa, but without any injuries. Broken down to spares by September/October 1950.
__.09.49 A. Lancaster 37 SW336 Unknown accident involving bomb bay doors.
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. The aircraft were eventually sold to the Italian Government.
23.09.49 DH Vampire F.3 73 VP345 The RAF Luqa Operations Record Book (ORB) also mentioned this aircraft as being part of the formation. It also mentions that the aircraft “forced landed” at Brescia.
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.
25.09.49 DH Mosquito PR 34 540 PF662 Departed for RAF Benson for Exercise Jolly 3 but forced to return to Malta with petrol filling into the cockpit, the result of petrol tank and pump defects.
28.09.49 S. Seafire 728 SX226 Crashed at Hal Far. No other info available.
04.10.49 A. Lancaster 37 RE167/F Unspecified towing accident.
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 Ditched in the sea in the entrance to Grand Harbour after engine trouble while flying from Hal Far.
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.
08.11.49 M. Martinet 728 NR665 Aircraft test flown and found to be unserviceable. Another test flight scheduled for the 15th. (See below).
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 cancelled. 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.
05.12.49 DH Vampire 73 From this day, and for the remainder of the month, the squadron was grounded for a modification to the mainplane structure.
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.
23.12.49 DH Mosquito PR.16 728 RF974 Forced to return as undercarriage failed to retract.
        
 
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