Malta at War: Volume 5 No 11

One of the best known episodes of the Second World War is the heavy calibre bomb which went through the dome of Mosta Church without exploding on the afternoon of April 9, 1942.

The story has been told by both the persons who were inside the temple at the time and the German pilots.

The current issue of Malta at War, number 11 of volume 5, records extensively the events of that fateful afternoon with interviews and photographs.

There were some 300 worshippers inside the temple at the time when the bomb bounced on the floor. No one was injured and many people thought this was a miracle, including the Governor Sir William Dobbie, who was a very religious person and who visited the church immediately soon after he saw the bomb fall.

A Ju88 twin-engined bomber dropped the bomb through the dome while two Me109 single-engined fighters let go a number of small bombs in the vicinity of the church, one of which bounced off the left bell tower without exploding.

The German pilots later claimed they released the bombs still unfused on being pursued by R.A.F. fighters. One of the Germans who visited Mosta after the war described how his companion was shot down soon after but his memory was at fault; in 1994 Anthony Camilleri traced this pilot who was living in East German for his book Il-Hbit mill-Ajru fuq ir-Rotunda tal-Mosta.

The bomb now on display inside the church is not the original recovered inside but one similar to it. Also the photograph on sale of a group of bomb disposal soldiers posing with a bomb described as the Mosta bomb includes an officer who was killed several months earlier in an R.A.F. raid on Sicily.

The centre page spread of this issue is a spectacular photograph of the inside of the Rotunda taken by Raymond Cauchi.

Also featured in this issue are illustrated accounts of the bombing on the same day, April 9, 1942, of the villages of Gudja, Qrendi, Kirkop and Mqabba where the parish church was partly demolished. The destruction in Valletta, Floriana and other places on this same day is featured in previous issues.

Malta at War is published by Wise Owl Publications as a unique record of the island during its second siege in World War Two. Each issue sells at €4.50 and every 13 bind into a handsome volume.

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