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Il-HBIT MILL-AJRU FUQ IR-ROTUNDA TAL-MOSTA - Il-Hamis 9 t'April 1942

minn Anthony Camilleri


Dan il-ktieb interessantissimu fuq din il-grajja tat-Tieni Gwerra Dinija jinxtara mill-hwienet ewlenin u taf mill-Oratorju. Din il-verzjoni digitali taf fiha xi differenzi mill-original minhabba problemi waqt l-iskanjar li minhabba r-rizorsi limitati ma kellix cans nivverifika ghal kollox u hi raguni ohra ghala wiehed ghandu jmur dirett ghall-ktieb meta jigi biex jiehu riferenzi minnu.


KAPITLU 3


IL-PROVI TA’ L-EPOKA


Siltiet mill-Information Service Bullettin tal-10 t'April 1942Fuq: L-information Service Weekly Bulletin ta’ l-10 ta’ April, 1942. Jidher it-titlu fil-pagna quddemija li fih jissemmew is-sinjali tal-Providenza, fosthom il-bomba ta’ kalibru tqil li waqghet fil-knisja tal-Mosta. Taht: Wiehed irid jiftakar li l-bullettin hareg f’inqas minn erbgha u ghoxrin siegha li sehhet il-grajja tal-bumbarament u ghalhekk ic-cirfa ta’ 150 ruh fil-knisja kienet wahda minn dawk li ssemmew fil-kalkli tal-bidu.

(p.38) Kienu ghoddhom ghaddew erbgha u ghoxrin siegha mill-grajja tad-9 ta’ April, 1942 u l-effetti tat-trawma kienu ghadhom jinhassu fil-hin li t-tim li kien johrog l-Information Service Bulletin beda jikteb artiklu ghall-harga tal-Gimgha, 10 ta’ April, 1942. L-artiklu kien intitolat MALTA’S PROUDEST HOUR u fost ohrajn inkiteb b’sens kbir ta’ fidi fil-Providenza: “Lanqas ma jonqsu s-sinjali tal-Providenza li huma nkoragganti hafna lill-poplu ta’ Malta... lehor hu l-bomba ta’ kalibru tqil li waqghet fil-knisja tal-Mosta minghajr ma splodiet... Bombi ohra waqghu magenb il-knisja u ma splodewx.”1 Dan hu l-ewwel dokument li sibt bil-miktub, pubblikat u mxerred ma’ Malta permezz tad-Diparliment ta’ l-Informazzjoni.


F’ittra tad-29 ta’ Novembru, 1978 is-Sur Salvu Gatt, li ghal tmiem il-karriera tieghu lahaq Direttur ta’ l-Edukazzjoni, kitibli li jiftakar l-artiklu Malta’s Proudest Hour fl-Information Service Bulletin, No 84. Kont semmejthulu jien fl-ittra li ktibtlu ghal taghrif. Biss, ghalkemm kien jiftakar “car”, “ma niftakarx fiz-zgur jekk kontx ktibtu jien, ghax ahna konna tim u wiehed kien ighin lill-iehor fil-kitba tal-Bullettin.” Is-Sur Salvu Gatt, Mosti, kien ghalliem fid-Dipartiment ta’ l-Edukazzjoni, izda fi zmien il-gwerra, bhal bosta ghalliema ohra, spicca jaghmel xoghol iehor li kien bzonnjuz fid-difiza civili. Fil-kaz tieghu nsilef lid-Dipartiment ta’ l-Informazzjoni. Xoghol l-ghalliema kien ser ikun dak ta’ “shock troops” biex ighinu lill-popolazzjoni fil-htigijiet li jinqalghu, kif iddeskriviehom is-Sur Elia Galea snin wara l-gwerra. Is-Sur Galea, ghalliem Rabti, kien wiehed minnhom u qeda dmiru l-Isla.


Il-Bulletin jindika minimu ta’ tliet bombi li twaddbu fuq ir-Rotunda jew magenbha. Wahda kienet mill-kbar; l-ohrajn mhumiex specifikati kemm kienu tqal.


Ittra ta’ Joseph M. Cassar Torreggiani fit-Times of Malta tas-16 ta’ April, 1942, gimgha fuq il-grajja, tirreferi wkoll ghall-“bombi mhux sploduti” tal-knisja tal-Mosta:
“Ippermettili permezz tal-gurnal tieghek, inlissen kelma ta’ ringrazzjament sincier u mill-qalb lill-Bomb Disposal Squad li kienu tant pronti u tant kuragguzi biex inehhu l-bombi mhux sploduti mill-knisja tal-Mosta, knisja (p.39) tant ghaziza ghal qalb il-poplu ta’ din il-gzira. Meta naghmel hekk, cert li qieghed infisser dak li jhoss kull Malti u, izjed minn hekk, il-poplu tal-Mosta, li gustament hu kburi bil knisja manifika tieghu.”2


Vinjetta tal-Knisja tal-Mosta li deheret fil-BerqaDin il-vinjetta dehret fi Il-Berqa, 24 ta’ April, 1942. Tirraprezenta l-glieda bejn il-Kristjanezmu u l-paganezmu. It-toqba li ghamlet il-bomba hawnhekk hi mpingija n-naha tal-kampnar l-iehor. Iz-zuntier hu dak li kien hemm qabel, mhux kif kien ga jezisti kif nafuh illum. Tidher il-bomba li habtet mal-kampnar u spiccat fuq iz-zuntier bla ma splodiet. Il-kelma MALTA taht tixhed b’mod elokwenti u ghal dejjem it-tifsira profonda nazzjonali tal-grajja, knisja simbolu ta’ ruh in-nazzjon Malti martirizzat.

F’vinjetta li dehret fi ll-Berqa tal-Gimgha, 24 ta’ April, 19423 tidher il-knisja tal-Mosta, salib gmielu fuq il-lanterna, zewg xwabel fis-sema, bl-isem ta’ Christian Ideals fuq naha u Pagan Force, fuq sfond iswed, fuq in-naha l-ohra, imsallba fi dwell, u taht il-kelma MALTA. Fuq il-koppla tidher toqba n-naha tal-kampnar lal-qanpiena l-kbira. Suppost li t-toqba qieghda n-naha l-ohra, biswit fejn tidher din. Din it-toqba saret mill-balla li spiccat gewwa. Fuq iz-zuntier hemm balla kbira ohra, bid-denb b’kollox. Nafu li din il-balla habtet mal-kampnar tal-qanpiena l-kbira, iltwiet ghal fuq il-frontispizju, tajret xi antifissi u waqghet fuq iz-zuntier minghajr ma hadet. Iz-zuntier tpinga fuq kif kien fl-antik, izda kien ga sar fuq id-disinn kif nafuh illum. Taht il-vinjetta nkiteb dan il-kliem: “... l-irvini tal-belt Valletta u tal-knejjes Maltin, l-istess bhall-irvini tal-Polonja, huma xhieda ta’ l-imhabba ghall-helsien li ghandhom il-Maltin u l-Polonizi. L-ideali Nsara taghna ghad iridu jirbhu lill-qawwiet pagani...” Sikorski.4


Sena wara l-grajja, nhar id-9 ta’ April, 1943 dehret tifkira fi ll-Berqa bin-nom de plume Sacerdot. It-lifkira ssemmi li “bomba mill-kbar ta’ l-ghadu, b’qilla kbira, laqtet il-koppla ta’ l-imsemmija Rotunda u ghamlitilha hsara kbira.”5 Il-korrispondent illimita ruhu ghall-bomba li nifdet il-koppla:
“IL-BOMBA LI LAQTET IR-ROTUNDA TAL-MOSTA BLA MA SPLODIET TIFKIRA TA’ SENA ILU
Bhal-lum sena, il-Hamis, id-9 ta’ April, fil-5 ta’ wara nofsinhar, il-kleru u l-poplu Mosti kien migbur fir-Rotunda biex jaghti bidu ghas-Siegha Mqaddsa meta bomba mill-kbar ta’ l-ghadu, b’qilla kbira, laqtet il-koppla ta’ l-imsemmija Rotunda u ghamlitilha hsara kbira: mhux biss imma nisslet biza’ kbir u diqa fost in-nies li kienu migburin fil-knisja.
B’ghageb kbir ta’ kulhadd il-bomba ma splodietx bhas-soltu u hekk ma saritx hsara kbira daqskemm kellha ssir lil-Tempju u qerda fost in-nies.
Il-Providenza Divina ma riditx illi l-opra u l-hidma ta' l-umli tigi mxejna mill-moderni persekuturi tal-Knisja. Il-kbar benefatturi ta’ l-imsemmi Tempju, il-Wisq Rev. Sac. Dr D. Felic Calleja, Dun Gammari Schembri u nies ohra maghrufin, li kienu tant habirku ghall-kura ta’ l-erwieh u b’sagrificcji kbar hejjew ghamara denja lid-Divina Maesta t’Alla, mill-gholi tas-smewwiet (p.40) fejn, kif nittama, ga qeghdin igawdu l-premju ta’ l-opri tajba taghhom, ikomplu jharsu lill-gheziez taghhom minn kull tigrib u perikli ohra li jistghu qatt jigru matul din il-gwerra.
Ghalhekk bhala wiehed mill-hbieb tar-Rotunda taghna nixtieq bil-hegga kollha li llum, id-9 ta’ April, il-Mostin u dawk kollha li jaqraw dan l-imfahhar gurnal, jiftakru f’dak li gara sena ilu u jroddu b’qalbhom kollha hajr ’l Alla tal-kbir favur li ghamel maghna.
Sacerdot”6


Dun Ang Camilleri, Dun Salv Magro, Dun Salv Sammut u l-Isqof Mauro CaruanaDun Ang Camilleri, Dun Salv Magro, Mons. Dun Salv Sammut u L-Arcisqof Mons. Mauro Caruana OSB. Dun Ang Camilleri ra l-ajruplan jiddajvja ghal fuq il-knisja tal-Mosta. Kellu tnax-il sena. Dun Salv Magro kien ghadu seminarista dak iz-zmien.

Fis-6 ta’ April, 1944 fit-Times of Malta deher artikolett bit-titlu Heaviest Air-Raid on Valletta: An Anniversary. Fost l-ohrajn inkiteb: “Jumejn wara bomba ta’ elf libbra nifdet il-koppla tal-knisja tal-Mosta u waqghet fost il-kongregazzjoni fil-knisja, izda ma haditx”.7 Sa dan il-jum, dejjem skont id-dokumentazzjoni li ksibt s’issa, il-bomba kienet indikata bhala wahda kbira. F’din l-okkazjoni ssemma t-toqol ta’ elf libbra, precizazzjoni importanti hafna.


Xhieda prezzjuza ohra, ta’ importanza fundamentali, hi x-xhieda ta’ Sir William Dobbie, l-oghla awtorita civili u militari ta’ Malta meta sehhet il-grajja tad-9 ta’ April, 1942. F’tahdita li l-eks-Gvernatur ta’ Malta ghamel lill-IMaltin bi stedina ta’ Lord Gort, il-Gvernatur ta’ warajh, f’gheluq is-sentejn mill-ghoti tal-George Cross lil Malta, Sir William Dobbie tkeliem b’mod generali dwar l-isforzi u t-tbatijiet li minnhom ghaddew il-Maltin u s-servizzi militari. Izda ghamel zewg eccezzjonijiet u semma zewg postijiet b’isimhom: il-BeIt Valletta, minhabba l-attakk ta’ l-E-Boats Taljani fis-26 ta’ Lulju, 1941, u l-Mosta, minhabba l-grajja tad-9 ta’ April, 1942.


Dobbie, li kien Protestant tal-Plymouth Brethren u prattikanti ghall-ahhar, bil-Bibbja dejjem fuqu, iddedika paragrafu shih fuq il-grajja mirakuluza li sehhet il-Mosta nhar il-Hamis, 9 ta’ April, 1942.


"Meta nharsu lura lejn iz-zminijiet imghoddija niftakxu f’hafna incidenti. Irrid infakkarkom f’incident iehor biss - jien kont qed nara l-attakk mit-torri tal-Palazz ta’ San Anton meta rajt bomba tolqot tabilhaqq il-koppla. Jien dritt mort il-Mosta dejjem nistenna li ser nara dehra kbira ta’ qerda. Niftakar kif hassejtni niehu r-ruh meta sibt il-knisja mhix mimsusa, u rajt fl-art fil-knisja taht il-koppla sew il-bomba kbira li nifdet il-koppla u ma splodietx. Jien hassejtni nissieheb mal-poplu tal-Mosta fis-serhan tal-mohh u fil-gratitudni lejn Alla li jista’ kollox talli heles il-knisja mill-qerda.”8


Il-Gvernaturi Dobbi, Schreiber, Creasy u LaycockFuq xellug, il-Gvernatur General Sir William Dobbie, li ra l-balla tahbat mal-koppla tal-knisja tal-Mosta mit-turretta tal-Palazz ta’ Sant’Anton. Dlonk erhilha lejn il-Mosta u radd hajr lil Alla talli l-knisja helsitha hafif. Fuq lemin il-Gvernatur Sir Edmond A. Schreiber, akkumpanjat minn Lady Schreiber, zar ir-Rotunda nhar l-Erbgha, 8 ta’ Novembru, 1944. Fir-rapport taz-zjara f'The Times of Malta tal-11 ta’ Novembru, 1944 issemma li l-bomba kienet ta’ splussiv qawwi. Isfel xellug il-Gvernatur Sir Gerald Creasy, akkumpanjat minn martu, zar il-Mosta fl-1 ta’ Frar 1950. Dakinhar l-Arcipriet Dun Paolino Galea qallu li bomba Germaniza ta’ 1000 libbra nifdet il-koppla u ma splodietx. Fl-1954 zara l-Gvernatur Sir Robert Laycock isfel lemin.

Wiehed jigih li jistaqsi kif kien li l-Gvernatur Dobbie hasel kien San Anton dakinhar tad-9 ta’ April. Hemm min jista’ jaraha bhala kumbinazzjoni (p.41) u hemm min jaraha bhala abbundanza providenzjali. Habat li nhar id-9 ta’ April, 1942 il-Gvernatur u l-istaff amministrattiv marru mill-Belt ghall-Palazz ta’ San Anton. Maghhom hadu fajls importanti u dokumenti. X’aktarx li l-mossa kienet ilha ppjanata minhabba l-hruxija ta’ l-attakki. Zgur li l-Gvernatur ghaggel izjed mera ra l-herba li saret mit-Teatru Rjal, it-tigrif tal-Berga ta’ Franza u hsarat f’postijiet ohra fil-Belt Valletta, fosthom il-Palazz Magistrali, jew tal-Gvernatur, nhar is-7 ta’ April. Zid il-biza’ ta’ invazjoni u tifhem ghala haffef biex iwarrab mill-Belt. Li mar qrib post strategiku bhalma kien Ta’ Qali hu punt interessanti. Ghall-grajja tal-bomba fil-knisja tal-Mosta d-9 ta’ April, 1942 kellu jkun jum storiku u mieghu gibed ix-xhieda ta’ l-oghla awtorita civili u militari ta’ Malta. Dobbie ra b’ghajnejh: il-bomba tolqot il-knisja u tinfidha u l-istess bomba mhix sploduta fil-knisja.


Taghrif iehor minghand il-Gvernatur Dobbie jasal fi ktieb li ppubblika fl-1944, A Very Present Help. Dobbie kiteb:
“F’nofs Malta hemm ir-rahal tal-Mosta. Hu maghruf ghall-knisja tieghu, jew ahjar, ghall-koppla tal-knisja, li hi l-tielet l-ikbar fid-dinja. Peress li kienet inbniet mill-poplu tal-Mosta, huma jhossuhom naturalment u bir-ragun kburin biha. Kienet tfisser hafna ghall-Mosta. Fir-rebbiegha ta’ l-1942 kont darba fost ohrajn wara nofsinhar qieghed nara attakk mill-ajru u dak il-hin, rajt bomba tolqot fil-fatt il-koppla tal-knisja tal-Mosta. Billi kont naf kemm il-poplu tal-Mosta kien marbut mal-knisja tieghu, kont inkwetat hafna u mort il-Mosta biex nara jien innifsi x’kien gara. Stennejt li ser nara xena kbira ta’ dezolazzjoni, izda, b’serhan tieghi stess, meta wasalt, rajt il-knisja apparentement intatta. Dhalt u rajt tistrieh fuq il-paviment ta’ l-irham bomba enormi. Wara qaluli li kienet tizen 4000 Iibbra. Harist ’il fuq u rajt li toqba pulita ttaqqbet fil-koppla. Wara li taqqbet din it-toqba fonda fil-gebel ta l-koppla, il-bomba waqghet gholi ta’ x’aktarx mitejn pied fuq l-irham iebes u ma haditx. M’ghamlitx ghajr haffret (dent) l-art. Kieku hadet, m’hemmx dubju li l-hitan kollha tal-knisja kienu jinfethu ’l barra u l-koppla kienet iccedi fuq ir-rovini. X’aktarx ukoll li kien jigri li n-nies li kienu jistkennu fil-kannierja kienu jinqatlu. Il-periklu tnehha mill-bomba malajr kemm kien possibbli u l-poplu tal-Mosta seta’ jiehu n-nifs liberament mill-gdid.
Li tghid li kienu mserrhin hafna hu understatement mill-akbar. Ir-radd il-hajr taghhom kien imhallat mal-gratitudni lil Alla Ii jista’ kollox, li l-intervent tieghu qisuh f’dan l-incident. Kif qalu, ‘Dan miraklu’. Ahna ma nistghux ma naqblux maghhom.”9


Il-Gvernatur Laycock u l-familja fuq l-anternaL-Arcipriet tal-Mosta Dun Paolino Galea flimkien mal-Gvernatur Sir Robert Laycock u Lady Laycock fuq il-lanterna tal-knisja nhar il-Gimgha, 5 ta’ Novembru, 1954. Jidher Dun Maurice Grech in-naha tal-lemin estrem tar-ritratt.

(p.47) L-Erbgha, 8 ta’ Novembru, 1944 il-Gvernatur Sir Edmond A. Schreiber K.C.B., D.S.O., Gvernatur u Kap Kmandant, akkumpanjat minn Lady Schreiber u binthom Miss Diana Schreiber, flimkien mal-Maggur Walter Bonello, zar il-Mosta. Fir-rapport tat-Times of Malta tas-Sibt 11 ta’ Novembru, hemm dettall importanti hafna ghax intefa’ dawl fuq it-tip ta’ bomba li nxtehtet fuq ir-Rotunda. Din kienet bomba ta’ splussiv qawwi, high explosive bomb. ’ll quddiem, f’kapitlu ghalih, naraw kif dan id-dettall ighinna naslu ghal konkluzjonijiet fuq it-tip ta’ bomba li kienet. It-Times irrapurtat:
“Akkumpanjat mill-Arcipriet il-grupp zar il-knisja lal-Mosta, li ghadha li timmanifesta l-griehi tal-gwerra. Il-knisja tal-Mosta helset mill-vandalizmu ta’ l-Unni meta bomba ta’ splussiv qawwi dahlet minn hxuna ta’ disa’ piedi ta’ koppla u hablet go lunetta fuq in-naha xellugija tal-knisja. Fl-ahhar strahet fuq il-paviment wara li kissret salt irham, izda providenzjalment ma splodietx. Saret hsara konsiderevoli bil-gebel tqil li waqa’ minn gholi ta’ 184 pied fuq il-paviment tar-rham.”10


Fil-Journal of the Regiment of the Royal Irish Fusiliers ta’ l-1944, hemm artiklu ddedikat kollu kemm hu lill-grajja tad-9 ta’ April, 1942.11 L-artiklu, imsejjah Episode, inkiteb minn N.C.O. ta’ “D” Company u jinsab f’pagni 139 u 141. Dan hu xhieda okulari ta’ N.C.O. li kien jiehu sehem f’field exercise meta l-ajruplani Germanizi dahlu jattakkaw. Inhallu f’idejn min ra u garrab u halla kronaka imprezzabbli biex tibqa’ mharsa l-awtenucita tal-fatt kif gara:
"Din id-darba l-kanuni taghna qajmuna ghar-realta ta’ l-ghadu fuq irjusna. Kien hemm it-tinwih ghall-gharrieda tad-dive bomber, eqreb din id-darba, u (p.48) mieghu takkumpanjah iz-zarzira tal-bombi nezlin. Kienu qeghdin jibbumbardjaw ir-rahal... L-eqreb balal gew xi 20 jarda (madwar ghoxrin metru) mill-grupp taghna, izda uzajna tajjeb il-kenn naturali ta’ l-art madwama u ma sarilna ebda deni. Mohhna kien mimli bhal bajda minhabba n-nies tar-rahal, ghax il-gebel itir hafna drabi kien aktar qattiel mill-bomba nnifisha. Sibnihom imhabbtin ighinu lir-rahlin f’dawk il-postijiet li issa kienu borg gebel imwaqqa’. Zewg bombi laqtu l-koppla tal-knisja, il-kburija ta’ dawk in-nies. Bomba minnhom dahlet mill-koppla u issa kienet, oggett malinn, bil-manhar griz taghha midfun fil-korsija tal-knisja kbira. B’xi miraklu l-bomba l-ohra laqtet il-koppla, izda bbawnsjat u splodiet fit-triq minghajr ma nisslet hsara.”


Is-Supretendent Anthoy Woods, Victor Delicata, Frank Calleja u Maria VellaIs-Supretendent Anthony Woods ta’ l-Air Raid Precaution (ARP) fuq xellug u fejnu is-Superjur Generali tas-Socjeta tad-Duttrina Nisranija, MUSEUM, is-Sur Victor Delicata. Isfel is-Sur Frank Calleja u ohtu s-Sinjura Marija Vella

Il-kittieb ma semmiex il-bomba li spiccat fuq iz-zuntier u anqas dawk li gew in-naha ta’ wara. Biss semma wahda li habtet mal-knisja, ibbawnsjat u splodiet fit-triq. Kif kiteb fl-istess post, linji li qbizna minhabba t-tul, il-bombers bdew jizirghu l-bombi anke fuq il-periferija tal-Mosta ghax kien hemm l-iSpitfires jigru warajhom u xi Ju88s spiccaw fil-bahar. Il-kittieb seta’ jara sewwa ghax kien fil-berah waqt il-field work u l-inhawi tal-Mosta kien jafhom sewwa ghax “D” Company kienet stazzjonata fl-area taghha u tiddefendi wkoll Ta’ Qali.


Izda dak li johrog car mill-kitba hu l-verita ta’ dak li qaluli whud minn dawk li raw jew ohrajn li semghu lil ohrajn ighidu li raw, li l-knisja tal-Mosta giet ibbumbardjata intenzjonalment nhar id-9 ta’ April, 1942 mil-Luftwaffe. In-N.C.O. kiteb car li l-Germanizi dakinhar “were bombing the village”. Il-Mosta giet ibbumbardjata mil-Luftwaffe fid-9 ta’ April, 1942. Barra milli l-artiklu nkiteb qrib il-grajja, fl-1944,12 kitbu ufficjal ta’ figment Britanniku li nqabad fl-attakk. Fis-sentenza ta’ qabel ta’ l-ahhar in-N.C.O. penzell dawn il-kelmiet mimlijin tifsir ghal x’gara lill-Mosta, fid-9 ta’ April, 1942:
“Morna lura fl-alloggi taghna meta waqa’ d-dlam, u kif konna nharsu lejn ir-rahal migruh, il-lejl imtela b’tinwih is-sireni.”13


Rapport fit-Times of Malta tal-21 ta’ Gunju, 1946, MOSTA DOME - REPAIR TO BOMB DAMAGE, ta taghrif fuq it-tiswija tal-koppla. “Nhar id-9 ta’ April, 1942, bomber ta’ l-ghadu xehet bomba ta’ 1000 libbra fuq il-knisja tal-Mosta. Il-bomba nifdet is-saqaf fil-hxuna ta’ 5½ piedi, b’xorti tajba minghajr ma splodiet. Il-moghdija tal-bomba (mis-saqaf) waqqghet madwar 330 pied kubu ta’ gebel tal-franka u hu stmat li daqs 700 pied kubu iehor ta gebel maqsum ghandu jitnehha mis-saqaf. Kieku l-bomba hadet, ma kien jifdal xejn mir-“Rotunda” hlief borg gebel.”14


(p.49) Dan hu taghrif siewi hafna. L-ewwelnett jirrijafferma li l-bomba kienet tizen elf libbra. It-tieni, il-konkluzjoni hi logika li l-bomba nxtiehtet minn bomber u hawnhekk ghandna konferma cara bl-iswed fuq l-abjad. Wara kollox, ghadna kif ktibna li N.C.O. ta’ “D” Company tar-Rigment tar-Royal Irish Fusiliers, specifika li l-hbit sar minn Ju88s. It-tielet punt li jirrizulta hu indikazzjoni tat-ticrita li ghamlet il-balla, li xehtet 330 pied kubu gebel ghal isfel, u tal-kobor tal-balla. Ma setghetx kienet balla zghira, imqar jekk il-koppla kienet tiflah balla ta’ piz ferm ikbar minn 500kg (1100 libbra).


Hmistax wara r-rapport tat-Times of Malta, korrispondent kiteb fil-Lehen is-Sewwa: “Fi zmien il-gwerra l-knisja famuza tal-Mosta ntlaqtet minn bomba Germaniza ta’ 1500 libbra. Bi grazzja specjali tal-Madonna l-bomba ma splodietx...”15 Jista’ jkun li wiehed jistaqsi ghala dan il-korrispondent semma balla ta’ 1500 libbra meta sa dak iz-zmien kulhadd kien qieghed ighid li kienet balla ta’ elf libbra. Dan il-korrispondent kien qieghed jirraporta wkoll dwar it-tiswija tal-koppla. Jidher li ma kellux taghrif tekniku bizzejjed. Jibqa’ l-fatt li ta kalibru li jqarreb il-piz reali tal-bomba. ’ll quddiem nuru kif din kienet fil-fatt tizen 500kg u allura, f’kejl tal-British Board of Standards dak iz-zmien, 1100 libbra. Bombi ta’ 1500 libbra ma kenux jezistu fl-inventarju komuni tal-gwerra Germaniz.


Bomba simili ghal dik li nifdet il-koppla li nstabet fl-1948 ftit passi mill-knisjaDin il-bomba Germaniza ta’ 550 libbra ta’ Splussiv qawwi nstabet fl-1948, tefgha ta’ gebla ‘l boghod mill-knisja tal-Mosta. Tnehhiet mill-Mine and Bomb Disposal Squad tar-Royal Navy taht Lt Jones R.N., li qal li kien hemm kull indikazzjoni li nxtehet salvo ta’ bombi fuq ir-Rotunda. Jekk ma kienx nhar id-9 ta’ April, 1942, allura wiehed jasal biex jikkonkludi li r-Rotunda nhabtet aktar minn darba.

Xhieda importanti hafna waslitilna mis-sejba ta’ bomba ta’ 550 libbra ta’ splussiv qawwi, SC 250, nhar l-Erbgha, 28 ta’ April, 1948. Il-bomba nstabet fi gnien zghir, tefgha ta’ gebla mill-knisja. Il-Bomb Disposal Squad waqqfu t-treasure hunt li kienu jiehdu sehem fiha u rhewlha fit-trakk ghall-Mosta dakinhar wara nofsinhar biex inehhu “relikwija” ohra tal-Luftwaffe li kienet x’aktarx ilha mirduma fi gnien zghir qrib il-knisja sa mill-1942. Nisiltu mir-rapport tat-Times of Malta tad-29 ta’ April, 1948:
"Il-bomba giet identifikata bhala wahda Germaniza ta’ 550 libbra ta’ splussiv qawwi u, skont Lieutenant Jones, R.N., li mexxa l-iskwadra, hemm kull indikazzjoni, mill-bomb casing singulari mferrex madwarha, li nxtehet salvo (ta’ balal) hemmhekk.”16


Lieutenant Jones, espert tal-munizzjon, ordinanza militari u strategija tal-bumbardamenti, b’mod tipiku Ingliz, ma jhallilna ebda dubju ta’ l-intenzjonijiet tal-Luftwaffe rigward il-knisja tal-Mosta, imqar jekk wiehed ighid ghall-argument li dik il-balla ma nafux meta waqghet. Jekk ma waqghetx hemm fid-9 ta’ April, 1942 u ladarba minn dak li nstab jidher li kienet wahda minn diversi li nxtehtu flimkien fl-istess rejd, allura jirrizulta li l-Luftwaffe ppruvat iggarraf ir-Rotunda aktar minn darba.


(p.50) Is-sagristan tal-habta, Carmelo Dimech, kellu gnien magenb il-knisja. F’dan il-gnien gew xi balal zghar, fosthom SC 50 li ma splodietx. Ma nafx jekk il-gnien li fih instabet is-SC 250 fit-28 ta’ April, 1948 hux l-istess wiehed tas-Sur Carmelo Dimech. Imqar jekk mhux, kollox jindika l-assalt kuncertat li sar fuq ir-Rotunda u li din helsitha zbrixx mill-qerda totali li hejjewlha l-generali Loerzer u Deichmann tal-Luftwaffe, Fliegerkorps II, taht il-kmand suprem tal-Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring, Oberbefehlshaber, Süd, Luftflotte II.


L-Erbgha, 1 ta’ Frar, 1950 il-Gvernatur Sir Gerald Creasy, akkumpanjat minn martu, zar il-Mosta. Fil-knisja Sir Gerald Creasy intlaqa’ mill-Arcipriet Dun Paolino Galea, minn Dr G.G. Ganado, Ministru ta’ l-Edukazzjoni u mis-Sur J.P. Vassallo, Direttur ta’ l-Edukazzjoni.


“Dun Galea fissirlu wkoll (lill-Gvernatur) kif fl-1942 bomba Germaniza ta’ 1000 libbra nifdet il-koppla izda ma splodietx. Din il-bomba - barra l-fjus taghha - tinsab mizmuma b’tifkira fis-sagristija.”17


Ghal darb’ohra gie riaffermat li l-bomba kienet Germaniza u tizen 1000 libbra. Ghall-ewwel darba nkiteb li l-fjus ma nghatax mal-bomba izda l-bomba fiha fjus. Jista’ jkun li l-korrispondent ried ighid li l-gaine tal-fjus, li jisplodi l-bomba, ma nghatax mal-bqija tal-mekkanizmu.


It-taghrif lill-Gvernatur Creasy inghata minn Dun Paolino Galea, li, ghalkemm ma kienx il-Mosta fi zmien il-grajja, kien maghruf ghas-sehem kbir li kellu biex tigi mohbija l-istatwa tal-fidda ta’ San Filep ta’ Aggira, xoghol stupend ta’ Luigi Fontana, f’kaz ta’ invazjoni Italo-Tedeska. Kien ukoll Arcipriet ta’ Haz-Zebbug u ffesteggja l-ghoti ta’ xabla ta’ l-unur lil Lord Gort mill-baned ta’ Malta, ipprezentata f’isimhom mill-Professur Philip Farrugia, President Onorarju tal-Kazin San Filep, mnejn harget l-idea, u mizmuma fil-korteo mill-benefattur kbir tieghi, Dun Luret Callus, li ghammidni fir-Rotunda tal-Mosta u li kien Vici-Parroku ta’ Haz-Zebbug u President tal-Kazin San Filep.18 Kien it-12 ta’ Marzu, 1944 meta taw ix-xabla lil Lord Gort.19


Ninnota li dak iz-zmien kienu jghidu li dik li hemm fis-sagristija hi l-balla li waqghet fil-knisja. Issa qieghed jinghad li hi replika. Ghad irridu nistharrgu izjed dwar hekk.


L-Arcipriet Dun Paolino Galea kellu okkazjoni ohra jilqa’ Gvernatur iehor u jghidlu l-istess dwar il-bomba. Meta Sir Robert Laycock u Lady Laycock bdew iz-zjajjar ufficjali taghhom lill-bliet u l-irhula nhar il-Gimgha, 5 ta’ Novembru, 1954, huma zaru l-Mosta. Laqghuhom l-Arcipriet Galea, Dun Maurice Grech u Squadron Leader Wyndham Grech.


(p.51) “L-Arcipriet spjega lill-Gvernatur kif f’April, 1942 bomba ta’ elf libbra nifdet il-koppla u kkraxxjat fil-knisja qalb 300 parruccan jitlob, b’xorti tajba minghajr ma hadet. Ir-relikwija tal-gwerra hi mizmuma fis-sagristija.”20


Meta fl-1960 saret il-qoxra tar-ram fil-parti ta’ fuq tal-koppla rapport fit-Times of Malta beda hekk:
“Il-bomba Germaniza li laqtet il-knisja tal-Mosta izda li b’xorti tajba ma haditx kwazi tmintax-il sena ilu hija meqjusa bhala l-kawza ghall-ispiza ta’ hamest elef lira li ser tintefaq ghall-koppla kbira mill-awtoritajiet tal-knisja tal-Mosta.”21


Fil-Public Record Office, Kew, Londra, fil-File Number WO 169/7383 hemm rekords tax-xoghol ta’ Bomb Disposal Squads Nri 127 u 128 f Malta matul it-Tieni Gwerra Dinjija. Dawn il-BDSs kienu jaqghu taht it-tmexxija tal-Headquarters Company 16 u 24 tar-Royal Engineers.


Fi dhul li gie registrat ghax-xoghol li sar fid-9 ta’ April, 1942 hemm li Bomb Disposal Squad nehhiet hames bombi Germanizi ta’ 50kg il-wahda li kienu qeghdin fl-art tal-Mosta. Bomba ohra tizen hames mitt kilogramma dahlet fl-art xi erba’ piedi wkoll fil-Mosta. Din il-bomba l-ewwel li tnehhiet.


Ghalkemm b’xorti hazina mkien fil-fajls m’hemm miktub li dawn tnehhew mir-Rotunda u minn madwarha, l-indikazzjonijiet dawk huma, anke fid-dawl tax-xhieda tas-Supretendent ta’ l-ARP, is-Sur Anthony Woods, li f’intervista li ghamiltlu fis-17 ta’ Lulju, 1978, qalli li fuq iz-zuntier biss biss kien hemm bejn erbgha u sitta zghar mhux sploduti. Lieutenant Jones R.N. ukoll jaghti stampa cara li r-Rotunda laqqtet “salvo” ta’ bombi minn dak li seta’ jikkonkludi mill-kejsing ta’ bombi li sab meta nehha bomba ta’ 550 libbra tefgha ta’ gebla ’l boghod mir-Rotunda fl-1948.


S’hawnhekk ix-xhieda u x-xiehda ta’ l-epoka. Issa mdu naraw x’johrog minn dan kollu.


Konkluzjonijiet

  1. Il-bomba li nifdet il-koppla kienet bomba Germaniza ta’ splussiv qawwi u tizen 500kg (1100 libbra). Kienet jew SC jew SD.
  2. Inxtehtet minn bomber Germaniz.
  3. Il-knisja tal-Mosta giet mahbuta ghal t’apposta.
  4. Mal-bomba li nifdet il-koppla waqghu ohrajn fuq il-kmsja u madwarha.

RIFERENZI

  1. “There are not wanting signs of Providence that are very encouraging to the people of Malta... Another is the heavy calibre bomb which fell inside Mosta dome without exploding... Other bombs also fell near the dome without exploding”. Information Service Bulletin, No 84,10 ta’ April 1942, pagna 1.
  2. AN APPRECIATION. MOSTA. Joseph M. Cassar Torreggiani writes: May I through the medium of your paper voice a word of sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Bomb Disposal Squad who so promptly and so gallantly removed the unexploded bombs from the Mosta church - a church so dear to the heart of the people of this Island. In so doing, I am sure I am expressing the feelings of every Maltese and, more so, of the people of Mosta who are justly proud of their magnificent dome”. The Times of Malta tal-Hamis 16 ta’ April 1942, pagna 2.
  3. Pagna 4.
  4. Il-Berqa tal-Gimgha 24 ta’ April 1942, pagna 4.
  5. Pagna 2.
  6. Il-Berqa tal-Gimgha 9 ta’ April 1943, pagna 2.
  7. Pagna 3.
  8. Migjuba ghall-Malti f’Il-Berqa tas-17 ta’ April 1944, pagna 2.
  9. Din is-silta mill-ktieb ta’ Dobbie tidwi x-xandira li ghamel lil Malta fl-1944 fuq il-BBC: “In the centre of the island of Malta there is a village named Mosta. It is famous for its church, or rather, for the dome of its church, which is the third largest in the world. Since it had been built by the people of Mosta, they naturally and quite rightly are extremely proud of it. It meant much to Mosta. In the spring of 1942, I was one afternoon watching the progress of an air-raid and while so doing I saw a bomb actually strike the dome of the Mosta church. Knowing how deeply attached the people of Mosta were to their church, I was deeply distressed and went round to Mosta to see for myself what had happened. I expected to see a great scene of desolation, but to my great relief, on arriving, I saw the church apparently intact. I went in and then I saw lying on the marble floor of the church an enormous bomb, (I was told later that it weighed 4,000 lbs). I looked up and saw that a neat hole had been bored in the dome. The bomb after boring this thick hole through the masonry of the dome had fallen perhaps 200 feet on to the hard marble and had not gone off. It had done no more than dent the floor. If it had gone off, there is no doubt that all the walls of the church would have collapsed on the ruins. It is also extremely probable that the many people sheltering in the crypt underneath would have been killed. The bomb was rendered harmless as soon as possible and the people of Mosta breathed freely again. To say that they were greatly relieved was a gross misunderstatement. But their thankfulness was tinged with gratitude to Almighty God, whose intervention they saw in the incident. As they said, ‘it is a miracle’. We cannot but agree with them”. (Marshall, Morgan and Scott, London and Edinburgh, 1944, pagni 91-92).
  10. “Accompanied by the Archpriest, the party visited Mosta church, which still displays the scars of war. Mosta church escaped the vandalism of the Huns when a high explosive bomb penetrated the nine feet thick dome and smashed into the cornice on the left hand side of the church. It finally came to rest on the pavement after smashing the marble slabs, but providentially failed to explode. Considerable damage was caused by the heavy displaced stonework, which fell from the dome, 184 feet high, on to the marble pavement”. The Times of Malta tas-Sibt 11 ta’ Novembru 1944, pagna 3.
  11. “This time our guns awakened us to the enemy above our heads. There was the sudden whine of the diving bomber, closer this time, and followed by the shrill whistle of the falling bombs. They were bombing the village... The nearest bombs had dropped some 20 yards (about 20 metres) from our party, but good use had been made of the natural cover on the ground and no harm was done. Our concern was for the men in the village, for the flying masonry was often more deadly than the bomb itself. We found them busily engaged helping the villagers where their homes now lay a heap of tumbled masonry. Two bombs had struck the cupola of the church, the pride of those people. One bomb penetrated the cupola and now lay, an evil object, with its grey nose buried in the aisle of the great church. The other bomb by some miracle had struck the cupola, but bounced off and exploded harmlessly in the roadway". Episode, The Faugh-A-Ballagh, Journal of the Regiment of the Irish Fusiliers, 1944, pagni 139,141.
  12. Ittra li baghatuli Major (Retd) M. Wright fil-21 ta’ Jannar 1992.
  13. “We returned to our billets when darkness fell, and as we looked back towards the scarred village, the night was filled with the wail of sirens”. Episode, The Faugh-A-Ballagh, Journal of the Regiment of the Irish Fusiliers, 1944, pagni 139, 141.
  14. MOSTA DOME - REPAIR TO BOMB DAMAGE. “On April 9,1942 an enemy bomber dropped a 1,000 lb bomb on the Mosta church. The bomb pierced the five-and-a-half-feet thick ceiling, fortunately without exploding. The passage of the projectile caused a displacement of some 330 cubic feet of limestone, and it is estimated that some other 700 cubic feet of cracked stone has to be removed from the ceiling. Had the bomb exploded, nothing would have been left of the ‘Rotunda’ save a heap of rubble...” The Times of Malta tal-Gimgha 21 ta’ Gunju 1946, pagna 7.
  15. 3 ta’ Lulju 1946, pagna 8.
  16. GERMAN H.E. BOMB FOUND AT MOSTA. By a Staff Reporter. “The bomb was identified as a German 550 lbs high explosive”, said Lieutenant Jones R.N., leading the squad, “and there is every indication from the odd bomb casing laying about, that a salvo dropped there”. The Times of Malta tal-Hamis 29 ta’ April 1948, pagna 7.
  17. Il-Berqa tal-Hamis 2 ta’ Frar 1950, pagna 8.
  18. Storja ta’ Haz-Zebbug, Luret Vella, pagni 116-117.
  19. idem, pagna 117.
  20. GOVERNOR VISITS MOSTA. By a Staff Reporter. “The Archpriest explained to the Governor how in 1942, a 1,000 pound bomb pierced the dome and crashed into the church among 300 praying parishioners, fortunately without exploding. The war relic is kept in the sacristy”. The Times of Malta tas-Sibt 6 ta’ Novembru 1954, pagna 7.
  21. SAVING MOSTA DOME. By a Staff Reporter. “The German bomb which hit Mosta church but fortunately failed to explode nearly 18 years ago, is held responsible for the expense of £5,000 being spent on the great dome by the Church authorities of Mosta”. The Times of Malta tas-Sibt 21 ta’ Mejju 1960, pagna 9.

Kapitli ohra mill-ktieb