Harsien Patrimonju Mosti


The proximity of Mosta to Ta' Qali made this town vulnerable to attacks by Axis aircraft. This resulted in one of highest casualty rates in Malta, particularly since it was packed with refugees from the harbour area in the south. 

Most of these deaths were civilians, and many of these incidents were a ripple effect of the harsh battles being fought in the air around the RAF airfield. 

A number of aircraft from both sides fell in and around Mosta, however the most noteworthy incidents concerned the bombing of the Rotunda itself and the tragic deaths of several civilians in an underground shelter.

The Rotunda bombing was not an intentional act of destruction, and the aircraft concerned was aiming for the RAF airstrip. Things got complicated as the bomber came under attack, causing an immediate abortion of the mission. Attempting a homeward dash, the crew jettisoned their bomb load. 

The 5 bombs fell right in Mosta centre with one piercing the dome. None of them exploded since none had their detonating fuses set to do so. Upon complete inactivation and removal by the Army, the original bomb that fell into the church was removed, but the iconic significance of the bomb's failure to explode amidst a large congregation of between 300-400 people demanded that a replacement bomb be put on display within the church. This may still be viewed in the sacristy.

The other bombs fell just in front of and around the church. One of these was recovered some 15 years ago when the old main road was rebuilt. Since it was dug up properly for the first time, to install rain water culverts and build a solid base, the bomb was found just in front of a well known bar (Is-City).

Up till the late 1980s, another of these bombs was still sticking out from the soil of one of the gardens belonging to the large old houses flanking the Rotunda.

The shelter tragedy occurred when an RAF fuel dump full of aviation spirit was hit during an attack causing the burning fuel to pour through several streets of Mosta. 

A public shelter situated in the vicinity became a death trap after collapsed masonry from the attack blocked both its entrances. The burning fuel cascades down the stairs killing all down below, in what is probably the worst civilian incident during Malta's days at war. 

The town was surrounded by observation posts (Pillboxes) manned by the Royal Irish Fusiliers. These are mostly to be found along the Victoria Lines and stretch down to Burmarrad, Bidnija, Wardija and Salina. An Anti-aircraft Battery was placed on Bisbizija Heights with the aim of protecting the said Ta' Qali Airbase.