Operation Dunlop

This was a British naval undertaking, in parallel with ‘Transit’ (i), to reinforce the air defences of Malta (25/29 April 1941).

Accompanied by the heavy cruiser London and light cruiser Fiji, the old carrier Argus departed the Clyde river on 17 April after embarking 24 Hawker Hurricane fighters of the RAF, and reached Gibraltar on 24 April with a local escort of the light cruiser Sheffield and destroyers Faulknor, Forester and Wrestler. At Gibraltar 23 of the Hurricane fighters, the last having been damaged in transit, were transferred to the fleet carrier Ark Royal, which departed on 25 April for the launching position under escort of elements of Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville’s Force ‘H’ in the form of the battle-cruiser Renown, light cruisers Fiji and Sheffield, and destroyers Faulknor, Fearless, Foresight, Fortune and Fury of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla.

The 23 fighters were despatched on 27 April, led by three Blackburn Skua naval aircraft, and all arrived safely at Malta.

During this operation, which took place at much the same time as the ‘Demon’ evacuation of the British forces from Greece in the closing stages of ‘Marita’, the opportunity was also taken to pass a number of warships (light anti-aircraft cruiser Dido, cruiser minelayer Abdiel and destroyers Jackal, Jersey, Kashmir, Kelly, Kelvin and Kipling of Captain the Lord Louis Mountbatten’s 5th Destroyer Flotilla) through to Malta in ‘Salient’ (i).