Operation FH (ii)

This was a British three-part naval undertaking to deliver relief personnel and supplies to the Allied garrison of Spitsbergen island off the north coast of German-occupied Norway in ‘Gearbox III’, bring back two corvettes from the northern USSR, and deliver mail and stores to the British personnel in ships and at establishments in the northern USSR (27 May/14 June 1943).

On 3 June the destroyers Onslaught, Mahratta and Musketeer, the last two carrying personnel and stores, left Scapa Flow in the Orkney islands group for the Kola inlet via the Seyðisfjörður in eastern Iceland. While Mahratta and Musketeer steamed through to the Kola inlet, where they unloaded and then departed once again for Scapa Flow, which they reached on 16 June, Onslaught met the corvettes Bluebell and Camellia at sea and escorted them back to the UK by 15 June.

Cover for this complex of operations was provided by heavier elements of Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser’s Home Fleet including the battleships Duke of York and US Alabama and South Dakota, fleet carrier Furious, heavy cruiser Berwick, light anti-aircraft cruiser Scylla, and destroyers Echo, Middleton, Milne, Obdurat, Obedient, Opportune, Canadian Athabaskan, and US Ellyson, Fitch, Emmons, Macomb and Rodman. These ships staged through Akureyri in northern Iceland, and returned to Scapa Flow on 13 June.