Operation Z (ii)

'Z' (ii) was the British fast convoy operation, in tandem with the 'Y' (i) slow convoy, for 'Ironclad' against the Vichy French island of Madagascar (28 April/5 May 1942).

The 'Z' (ii) convoy departed Durban in South Africa on 28 April with five attack transports and three troop transports as well as Vice Admiral E. N. Syfret’s covering force with the battleship Ramillies, the fleet carrier Illustrious, the light anti-aircraft cruiser Hermione, and six destroyers including Laforey, Lightning and Lookout.

On 3 May the convoys and the reinforcement detached from Admiral Sir James Somerville’s Eastern Fleet, under the command of Rear Admiral D. W. Boyd and comprising the fleet carrier Indomitable and two destroyers, joined the British invasion force. From there, Captain G. N. Oliver’s invasion fleet reached an area to the north-west of the island with the heavy cruiser Devonshire, the destroyers Active, Anthony, Duncan, Inconstant, Javelin, Laforey, Lightning, Lookout, Pakenham, Paladin and Panther, the corvettes Auricula, Cyclamen, Freesia, Fritillary, Genista, Jasmine, Nigella and Thyme, the minesweepers Cromarty, Cromer, Poole and Romney, and the transport vessels.

The covering force operated farther offshore with Ramillies, Illustrious and Indomitable, and Active, Duncan, Inconstant, Javelin, Lookout, Paladin and Panther. Hermione meanwhile undertook a diversionary sortie.