Operation MC7

This was a British naval diversionary sweep by Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham’s Alexandria-based Mediterranean Fleet in support of the 'Picket' (i) undertaking of Vice-Admiral Sir James Somerville’s Gibraltar-based Force 'H' (1/2 February 1941).

On 1 February Cunningham departed Alexandria with the battleships Barham, Valiant and Warspite, the fleet carrier Eagle and the destroyers Defender, Diamond, Janus, Jervis, Juno, Mohawk, Nubian, Wryneck and Australian Vampire and Vendetta for a sweep into the eastern basin of the Mediterranean, while another force of two cruisers and three destroyers entered the southern part of the Aegean Sea. At 06.45 the main body of the Mediterranean Fleet was sighted and reported by an Italian reconnaissance aeroplane, but the Italians refused to be drawn out of port and Cunningham’s forces returned to Alexandria.