Royal Malta Artillery: Sgt. Francis Xerri (1940)

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Information about Royal Malta Artillery: Sgt. Francis Xerri (1940)

Published on March 19, 2014

Author: ivanmconsiglio



Royal Malta Artillery: Sgt. Francis Xerri (1940)

3/11 Regt. RMA(T) Sgt. francis Xerri My late father Sgt. Francis Xerri served with the only Maltese army unit to serve outside Malta during WWII. He served in Egypt in 1940 under Capt G.C. Micallef Eynaud, who later became Colonel of the 3LAA Regt. RMA. My father used to recount how his unit left Malta for Egypt on Tuesday 7 May of 1940. Under the command of Major JV Abela, more than 200 men from the 5HAA Battery were given a very big farewell as they marched down to Grand Harbour, Valletta to board the SS Strathmore for Alexandria. On arrival in Egypt the Battery, with their 3.7 Heavy guns, was positioned at Aboukir. From about August of that year, there were several German air-raids on Aboukir and Alexandria with some direct hits and several casualties. At that time General Wilson, the British C-in-C visited the Maltese Battery. My father also recalls the help received from the Maltese community of Alexandria. About Christmas time that year, the Maltese soldiers received the bad news that Malta was under siege and was suffering from shortage of food. Several food parcels were organised by the Maltese Battery and sent to Malta. My father Sgt Francis Xerri returned to Malta with his Battery in March 1943 and passed away on the 22nd of December, 2007.

Sgt. Francis Xerri, Egypt 1940 with two unidentified Gunners

5HAA Battery, Egypt, 1940  Godwin Hampton comments: The Rear Axle which, together with the front axle rendered the gun mobile, can be seen stowed in brackets in front of the gun. It was raised off the ground using block and tackle or raising gear attached to 2 davits (one visible) to be used as a counterbalance as most of the weight of the gun is behind the pivot. When it was intended to travel, the gun would be jacked up and the axles refitted to the platform.  John Demanuele comments: How many men did it take to service a gun Godwin? o Godwin Hampton comments: 9 men, not counting the tractor driver.

5HAA Battery, Egypt, 1940 Godwin Hampton comments: Better view of the 2 davits and the raising gear hand wheels and the rear axle in the mounting brackets.

The Officers of 5th HAA Battery RMA at one of the anti-aircraft sites near Aboukir, Egypt, 1940. Left to right: 2/Lt (later Major) E.J. Axisa 2/Lt (later Lt Col) E.J. Gatt Capt (later Lt Col) G.C. Micallef Eynaud Lt Col G.L. Stanley-Smith (Commanding Officer 9th Regiment RA) Major (later Lt Col) J.V. Abela (the Battery Commander) Lt (later Lt Col) R.F. Jacono 2/Lt (later Brigadier) G.V. Micallef 2/Lt (later Capt) M.P. Mifsud (died in Egypt in 1942) Peter Micallef comments: Never seen this picture of my father as a 2/Lt. thanks for sharing

With Sgt Francis Xerri and Sgt George O'Neill.

Brd. Francis Xerri in Egypt 1940 Godwin Hampton comments: Behind Bdr. Xerri one can see the 3.7" Mobile AA Gun's front axle, removed when bringing the gun into action.

5HAA Battery, Egypt, 1940, Christmas Party

3/11 Regiment Royal Malta Artillery (PDF Library). 1. Royal Malta Artillery 1800-1970.pdf 2. The Birth and Demise of a Regiment(1941).pdf 3. Memories of 11th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment(1951).pdf 4. 3/11 Regt. RMA(T) in the Infantry role(1967).pdf 5. Major Victor D'Ugo(1936).pdf 6. Major Louis Radmilli.pdf 7. Last of the Bofors.pdf 8. Sgt Alfred Aquilina(1940).pdf 9. Sgt. Francis Xerri(1940).pdf 10. Ftit Ritratti min Francalanza.pdf 11. Bofors Heritage.pdf 12. 3/11 Regiment at Sports.pdf. 3/11 Regt. RMA(T) Updated 8 March 2014

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