Operation Guillotine (i)

This was the British maritime and naval transfer of army and air force stores and personnel from Haifa in Palestine and Port Said in Egypt to Famagusta in Cyprus and thereby increase the garrison in the event that the Germans attempted to take the island with an airborne landing (18 July/29 August 1941).

The warships involved in this series of 24 lifts were the light cruisers Neptune and New Zealand Leander each carrying 900 men, cruiser minelayers Abdiel and Latona each carrying 650 men, destroyers of the 14th Destroyer Flotilla each carrying 450 men, corvettes Hyacinth and Peony, and sloops Flamingo and Australian Parramatta.

The merchant vessels involved included the 6,676-ton Australian Salamaua, which in the first lift transported an anti-aircraft battery and the RAF’s No. 80 Squadron from Port Said to Famagusta; 1,712-ton Dutch Trajanus; British Kevinbank; 4,148-ton British Gujarat; and 3,220-ton British Rodi.

The army formation which was transferred was Major General W. H. Ramsden’s 50th Division.