Operation Bellows (i)

'Bellows' (i) was a British naval undertaking to reinforce the air defences of Trincomalee in Ceylon, the main British naval base in the Indian Ocean (6/7 March 1942).

At a time late in January 1942, the fleet carrier Indomitable was on passage to join Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville’s Eastern Fleet, but was diverted into Port Sudan to offload her own aircraft and embark 50 Hawker Hurricane single-engined fighters of the Royal Air Force for delivery to Singapore. The carrier was escorted from Port Sudan by the destroyers Napier, Nestor and Nizam, and on 27 January flew off the Hurricane fighters at a location to the south of Sumatra for use at Batavia for the defence of Java in the Netherlands East Indies. The carrier then steamed to Trincomalee to refuel.

Early in March, while on passage to Java with another batch of Hurricane fighters, Indomitable was diverted to deliver the fighters instead to Ceylon to reinforce the existing British air defences of the island.

On 6 March, in 'Bellows' (i), Indomitable flew off the first of two batches of Hurricane fighters as the equipment of the RAF’s Nos 30 and 261 Squadrons, the second batch following on the next day.

The carrier then re-embarked her own aircraft complement.