Operation MF4

This was a British convoy support operation between Alexandria and Malta to ensure the safety of the exchange of the empty 7,798-ton Rowallan Castle, last of the 1941 arrivals still at Malta, and 9,919-ton commissioned Glengyle with the loaded 9,776-ton commissioned fast transport Breconshire from Alexandria (24/27 January 1942).

Support was provided from Alexandria by Rear Admiral P. L. Vian’s Force ‘B’ of Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham’s Mediterranean Fleet with the light anti-aircraft cruisers Carlisle, Dido, Euryalus and Naiad, and the destroyers Arrow, Griffin, Hasty, Jaguar, Kelvin, Kingston, Kipling and Free Dutch Isaac Sweers.

Force ‘B’ departed Alexandria with Breconshire on 24 January, and the light cruiser Penelope and the destroyers Lance, Legion, Lively, Maori and Zulu of Captain W. G. Agnew’s Force ‘K’ departed Malta with Glengyle and Rowallan Castle on the following day.

There were persistent air attacks on Breconshire’s convoy on 25 January, and on Glengyle’s convoy during the following day, but no British ships suffered damage. The convoys met shortly after 12.00 on 26 January and the escorts exchanged the destroyers Lance and Kingston, the latter to be refitted at Malta.

There were further air attacks, but no damage, on both forces. Breconshire reached Malta on 27 January, and Glengyle and Rowallan Castle reached Alexandria on the following day.