Operation Stripe

This was the British initial maritime delivery of aircraft from the UK to Takoradi, Gold Coast, for onward self-delivery via Sudan to Egypt across the southern part of the Sahara Desert, thereby pioneering ‘Monsoon’ (15/29 November 1940).

The elderly fleet carrier Furious departed Liverpool with 34 Hawker Hurricane single-seat fighters of the RAF’s No. 73 Squadron and three Fairey Fulmar two-seat carrierborne aircraft. The carrier joined the light anti-aircraft cruiser Dido, which departed the Clyde river for Takoradi. The 10,941-ton merchant vessel New Zealand Star departed with the carrier, and the destroyers Havelock and Hesperus escorted the ships from Liverpool. The light cruisers Manchester and Southampton departed Scapa Flow in the Orkney islands group and Belfast in Northern Island respectively to steam to Gibraltar, where they were to embark troops delivered by the 20,175-ton troopship Franconia, which was travelling in company with the 7,529-ton transport Clan Forbes and Clan Fraser. The destroyers Jaguar and Kelvin, having departed Plymouth, joined the group at Gibraltar.

The two warship forces rendezvoused in the North Channel and escorted the merchant ships to Gibraltar. Furious arrived at Freetown, Sierra Leone, escorted by the destroyers Fortune and Foxhound, on 25 November, and then reached Takoradi two days later before the aircraft were flown off to Takoradi on 29 November. The carrier arrived back at Liverpool on 15 December.