Operation Style (i)

This was a British troop convoy to Malta in the Mediterranean (31 July/4 August 1941).

An improvised undertaking, 'Style' (ii) was designed to deliver the troops left at Gibraltar by the grounding of the 4,302-ton troopship Leinster at the beginning of ‘Substance’, and was undertaken by ships of Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville’s Gibraltar-based Force ‘H’, which sortied with the battleship Nelson, battle-cruiser Renown, fleet carrier Ark Royal, destroyers Cossack, Encounter, Faulknor, Foresight, Forester, Foxhound, Fury, Maori and Nestor, and escort destroyer Eridge, supported by the oiler Brown Ranger accompanied by the escort destroyer Avon Vale as Force ‘S’, to create a diversion by attacking Italian positions on the island of Sardinia.

As a result of the casualties suffered by 'Substance', comprising the light cruiser Manchester, destroyer Forester and escort destroyers Avon Vale and Eridge, there were 92 officers and 1,714 men left at Gibraltar, and of these 70 officers and 1,676 other ranks (including RAF maintenance personnel vital to the continued airworthiness of Malta’s attack and defence aircraft), as well as 130 tons of supplies, for the Malta garrison were carried in the light cruiser Arethusa, light anti-aircraft cruiser Hermione and cruiser minelayer Manxman, escorted by the destroyers Lightning and Sikh. This Force ‘X’ departed Gibraltar on 31 July and made a fast passage to Malta, delivering the men and some supplies before departing the island on 2 August.

On 31 July Cossack and Maori were detached from Force ‘H’ to undertake a gunfire bombardment of the Sardinian port of Alghero and to fire star shells to aid the night attack of aircraft from Ark Royal on 31 July/1 August. The most eventful part of the operation was the ramming and sinking of the Italian submarine Tembien by Hermione off Tunis on 2 August. The ships made rendezvous with Force ‘S’ at sea, and finally Force ‘H’, Force ‘S’ and Force ‘X’ arrived at Gibraltar on 4 August.