Operation Moonshine

This was the British maritime delivery of vital supplies to Sweden for onward movement to the resistance forces in German-occupied Denmark, and then the collection of strategically important materials such as ball bearings and rare minerals for return to the UK (September/December 1944 and 13 January/6 February 1945).

The operation was thus the logical successor to ‘Bridford’, and began after the nights had lengthened sufficiently for the vessels to make a relatively safe transit of the Skaggerak by night. The exercise proved largely futile: none of the 20 trips attempted up to January 1945 was successful as a result of fog in the Humber estuary and bad weather in the North Sea, among other factors.

The adapted motor gun boats Nonsuch, Hopewell and Gay Viking departed Aberdeen on 13 January and, after crossing the North Sea, delivered more than 40 tons of supplies urgently needed by the Danish resistance. At Gothenburg in neutral Sweden the vessels loaded their cargoes for the return run to the UK, and left Gothenburg with the aid of a Swedish icebreaker in February. Hopewell and Gay Viking collided in the Skagerrak as a result of thick fog. Gay Viking was too damaged to continue, and was therefore abandoned on 5 February and later sank. The other two vessels returned safely, reaching the UK on 6 February at the end of the last of these special operations across the North Sea.