Operation Stacey

This was a British naval photo-reconnaissance operation over southern Malaya and northern Sumatra by aircraft operating from carriers of Vice Admiral Sir Arthur Power’s East Indies Fleet (22 February/7 March 1945).

The ships for this task were designated as Vice Admiral H. T. C. Walker’s Task Force 64, and departed Trincomalee in Ceylon on 22 February in the form of the escort carriers Ameer and Empress, light cruiser Kenya, destroyers Vigilant, Virago and Volage, and frigates Ply, Spey and Swale.

The photo-reconnaissance flights were made between 26 February and 3 March, and covered the Kra peninsula, the north-east coast of Sumatra, Penang, and the Simalur and Banjak island groups, all of which were important for the planned ‘Zipper’. The task force also made raids on Japanese shipping in the Andaman Sea.

On 24/25 February the destroyers Rapid, Rocket, Roebuck and Rotherham undertook a gunfire bombardment of Japanese targets in the Andaman Islands, and repeated this operation on 3 March. In a sortie toward the Burmese coast near Tavoy, the British ships sank some coastal craft on 1/2 March and beat off a Japanese air attack on 1 March. All the ships then returned to Trincomalee.