Operation Style (ii)

This was a British naval delivery of Supermarine Spitfire single-seat fighters to Malta (2/4 June 1941).

The 7,009-ton freighter Empire Conrad departed Milford Haven on 20 May, in company with the 29th Motor Launch Flotilla all escorted by the corvette Spiraea, loaded with 32 crated Spitfire fighters and the necessary ground crew (13 officers and more than 100 non-commissioned officers and men) to assemble them. The RAF element of the undertaking was ‘Tilden’.

The ships reached Gibraltar on 27 May after being met by the minesweepers Hythe and Rye, and the aircraft were assembled in the fleet carrier Eagle, which departed on 2 June for Malta escorted by the light anti-aircraft cruiser Charybdis and the destroyers Antelope, Ithuriel, Partridge, Westcott and Wishart of Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville’s Gibraltar-based Force ‘H’.

The Italian submarines Brin and Malachite, were on patrol in the waters to the north of Algiers, but did not sight the British force.

The aircraft were launched from the carrier on 3 June, and of the 32 machines launched four were shot down in transit. The ships involved all returned to Gibraltar on 4 June to prepare for 'Salient' (ii), the next delivery of aircraft to Malta.