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Malta Spitfire Serial numbers February to October 1942


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Does anyone know of or have access to a good list of the serial numbers of the Spitfires flown off carriers to Malta March to October 1942?  Malta: The Spitfire Year by Shores, Cull and Malizia, gives quite a few but of course it is a history, not an aircraft count.

 

While the USS Wasp took Spitfires direct from Britain the RN carriers relied upon a pool of Spitfires stationed at Gibraltar and there is a nice relationship between shipments to Gibraltar and Malta.

 

So Cape Hawke delivers 16 Spitfires on 22 February, operation Spotter flies 15 of them to Malta on 7 March.

Queen Victoria, 16 or 17 Spitfires on 12 March, operations Picket I and II fly 16 Spitfires to Malta in the second half of March.

USS Wasp (Operation Calendar) flies 47 Spitfires to Malta but is reported to have 52 on board, probably the other 5 were offloaded at Gibraltar.
Same day the Guido and the Empire Heath deliver around 42 (Possibly more, including some on unnamed ships) Spitfires to Gibraltar.


Wasp returns with 47 Spitfires for Operation Bowery.

 

The 17 Spitfires on HMS Eagle on Operation Bowery and the 17 for Operation LB in early May come from the Gibraltar Spitfires. (BR126, the Spitfire that landed back on Wasp on operation Bowery was sent on Operation LB)

 

And so on, at least 80 Spitfires delivered late May and early June, 63 flown out on 3 and 9 June.

 

The problems in matching things are the usual ones, the available published individual aircraft histories can lack dates and ship names, or use code numbers for the ships.  The RAF dates tend to be when loaded/unloaded, versus the days the ship left/entered port.

 

Then comes some interesting spelling mistakes, Port Dunedin becoming Port Duradin, Hindustan becoming Miss Cluston for example.  My main aim is a first pass at sorting out which ships freighted Spitfires.

 

Geoffrey Sinclair

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I've never seen such a list. But have you had a play with the searchable database at https://allspitfirepilots.org/index.php

 

I quickly put "Gibraltar" into the Notes field and got c1200 Spitfires mentioning that. But some of the early pages relate to aircraft with A**** serials in the time period you are looking at so that might cut down the numbers you need to look at. Doing the same for "Eagle" gives 14 serials for March 1942.

 

https://allspitfirepilots.org/aircraft/search?serial=&model=&factory=&engine=&notes=Eagle

 

It may throw up other merchant ships names you can follow up on.

 

One other thing suddenly struck me. A lot of Spitfires were gathered at Gibraltar pre Op Torch for the squadrons that went to Algeria so that might complicate things for the last couple of months of you search period. Photo from IWM might interest you.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205209156

 

Good luck. I'd be interested to hear of the results of your research.

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I created just this list, and it is published in Brian Cauchi's book on Spitfires on Malta in 1942.  It wasn't possible to get this list 100% perfect, particularly around those on Eagle for Bowery and the following ferry., but I think it is pretty good.  The way I did it was to study the serials in Spitfire The History, and information in Christopher Shores et al  "Malta: The Spitfire Year".  Brian Cull;s similar book was also helpful.  STH appears to have referenced a list of Spitfires on Malta on the 1st of each month, but does refer to "Tak" as Takoradi when in makes much more sense as "Takali" i.e. Malta.  Note that HMS Furious also carried out a delivery from the UK.

 

Don't forget the 15 or so Spitfires delivered directly from Gibraltar with the overload tank, as these can otherwise confuse matters.

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16 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

 

Don't forget the 15 or so Spitfires delivered directly from Gibraltar with the overload tank, as these can otherwise confuse matters.

Do you have serials for any of these Graham? I've got a 170 gal tank to stick on a model, and as far as I'm aware this was the only use of it outside testing.

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17 hours ago, EwenS said:

I've never seen such a list. But have you had a play with the searchable database at https://allspitfirepilots.org/index.php

 

One other thing suddenly struck me. A lot of Spitfires were gathered at Gibraltar pre Op Torch for the squadrons that went to Algeria so that might complicate things for the last couple of months of you search period. Photo from IWM might interest you.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205209156

 Thanks for the web site, I am actually working off Andrew Pentland's web site, which is the source of allspitfirepilots data.  The shipments do show a build up of Spitfires at Gibraltar from September 1942 onwards.  And a new ship name match, the Fordsdale becomes the Fondadab in the aircraft histories.

 

17 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

I created just this list, and it is published in Brian Cauchi's book on Spitfires on Malta in 1942.  It wasn't possible to get this list 100% perfect, particularly around those on Eagle for Bowery and the following ferry., but I think it is pretty good.  The way I did it was to study the serials in Spitfire The History, and information in Christopher Shores et al  "Malta: The Spitfire Year".  Brian Cull;s similar book was also helpful.  STH appears to have referenced a list of Spitfires on Malta on the 1st of each month, but does refer to "Tak" as Takoradi when in makes much more sense as "Takali" i.e. Malta.  Note that HMS Furious also carried out a delivery from the UK.

 

Malta Spitfire Vs - 1942, Their Colours and Markings by Brian Cauchi.  Unfortunately even when the libraries open again it looks like I will have to cross a large body of water to see a copy.

 

Agreed no list will be perfect (the spark for this investigation was a report one Spitfire for the RAAF was offloaded in New York after taking damage crossing the Atlantic, so what happened to it?  EE736 became A58-131, arriving 3 months after the rest of the Spitfires shipped on Empire Strength, then converted to components, the delay does not seem to be noted or explained in the histories)

 

So in compiling the Malta Spitfires list in the book did you look at the ships they were reported as being transported in and any associated dates?  Since that is the way I have created the list of possibles, apart from mentions of Malta in 1942.  Worth comparing lists?  There are lots of records with ship name but not date and the other way around.  The Spitfires on Empire Heath have Takoradi mentioned but in fact it only went to Gibraltar.

 

Interesting the report Furious did a direct delivery, which one?  If operation train in October that simplifies things.  Since it eliminates from consideration all September Spitfire shipments to Gibraltar.

17 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

Don't forget the 15 or so Spitfires delivered directly from Gibraltar with the overload tank, as these can otherwise confuse matters.

I believe the Spitfires that flew direct from Gibraltar to Malta were all the PR types, mostly mark IV.  And as far as I know used the standard 90 gallon tanks for the trip as they had a lot more internal fuel than the mark V.

 

Geoffrey Sinclair 

I created just this list, and it is published in Brian Cauchi's book on Spitfires on Malta in 1942.  It wasn't possible to get this list 100% perfect, particularly around those on Eagle for Bowery and the following ferry., but I think it is pretty good.  The way I did it was to study the serials in Spitfire The History, and information in Christopher Shores et al  "Malta: The Spitfire Year".  Brian Cull;s similar book was also helpful.  STH appears to have referenced a list of Spitfires on Malta on the 1st of each month, but does refer to "Tak" as Takoradi when in makes much more sense as "Takali" i.e. Malta.  Note that HMS Furious also carried out a delivery from the UK.

Don't forget the 15 or so Spitfires delivered directly from Gibraltar with the overload tank, as these can otherwise confuse matters.

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Dave:  Looking at my list, I have up to 14 Mk.Vc in my main list, although at least 2 are doubtful, one of which was possibly delivered on Train  The first is AR464, which is specifically identified as Vc Sp, presumably Special? This was well ahead of the others, leaving the UK on 6th June and Malta by August.  The others are delivered to Gibraltar in August/September, bar the first two, and recorded in Malta by 1 November. bar a couple who are on the December list.    At the bottom of my main list, which is largely intended for the carrier deliveries, I can find another four Mk.Vb - which I have doubts about - and three Mk.Vc which are provisionally listed as Flown, plus another 11 I can't find any delivery information for - some of these could be transpositions, of course. PM me if you want more.

 

Geoffrey:   I can find 25, PR Mk.,IVs not all "confirmed".  Whatever that may mean, excuse me, it has been a long time since I prepared this list and some of the justifying details are hazy.  I have a reference somewhere to 15 fighters transferred to Malta using the biggest tank, possibly Cull.  I have identified serials, where I can, as said above.  I only know ship names if they are mentioned in STH, which sometimes gives names and sometimes SSxxx codes.  Presumably as recorded on the movement cards.  Aircraft that went to Algeria are often recorded as NWAfrica, if that helps, and presumably includes those of the two US Groups.  You are welcome to my raw Excel spreadsheet if you pm me with your email.

 

PS Furious carried out Operation Train from Gibraltar but also the earlier Operation Bellows from the UK, this being the first use of the DH Hydromatic prop, because of worries about the take-off distance otherwise..

Edited by Graham Boak
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You have all the delivery of Spitfire in the book of Brian Cauchi, names of operation, Serial Nr Mark, Carrier, Units, code and end of the planes. One of my favorite book about this subject. I have made more than 100 Malta Spitfire in 1/72!!!!

 

Regard

 

Alain

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1 hour ago, Graham Boak said:

Geoffrey:   I can find 25, PR Mk.,IVs not all "confirmed".  Whatever that may mean, excuse me, it has been a long time since I prepared this list and some of the justifying details are hazy.  I have a reference somewhere to 15 fighters transferred to Malta using the biggest tank, possibly Cull.  I have identified serials, where I can, as said above.  I only know ship names if they are mentioned in STH, which sometimes gives names and sometimes SSxxx codes.  Presumably as recorded on the movement cards.  Aircraft that went to Algeria are often recorded as NWAfrica, if that helps, and presumably includes those of the two US Groups.  You are welcome to my raw Excel spreadsheet if you pm me with your email.

 I have not yet looked into the PR.IV movements, they flew out, long term there is the need to see how they were counted as exports and there also must be the chance some staged through Malta for the Middle East.  The various export reports in the archives have exports to the Mediterranean February 1942 to February 1943, to the Middle East February 1942 to April 1943, North Africa October 1942 to April 1943, Mediterranean Air Command May to December 1943, the Mediterranean Allied Air Force from January 1944 to December 1945.

 

There is a chance Spitfires moving overseas as parts of units were not counted as exports.

 

And unfortunately the SSxxx codes, usually R.xxx I think, are not given in the ship movement cards, which can be sort of viewed online at the UK archives (watermarks over them).  The ship cards for Australian ports have been made available for copying at http://www.navy.gov.au/media-room/publications/wwii-merchant-ship-movement-records-australia and they can fill in gaps for those shipments.  Then comes cross referencing with the data at www.convoyweb.org.uk

 

1 hour ago, Graham Boak said:

PS Furious carried out Operation Train from Gibraltar but also the earlier Operation Bellows from the UK, this being the first use of the DH Hydromatic prop, because of worries about the take-off distance otherwise..

Interesting, the few identified Spitfires I have for Baritone are from the Gibraltar pool, delivered by Empire Clive and Empire Darwin.  Lots of the Spitfires for Wasp have Abbotsinch and Renfrew in their histories, a good clue given where they are and where Wasp was to load Spitfires.  It helps explain a smaller cluster of Spitfires at Abbotsinch in late July 1942.

 

Delivery log entry for AR464:- A6107 8 Jun 42, Malta 1 Aug 43 (Yes 43), NWA 1 May 43, SOC 1 Jan 47, which is an administrative catch up date.  A quick look at that page shows AR466, AR470 and AR471 are all part of A6107 but dated July.

 

Geoffrey Sinclair 

PS Furious carried out Operation Train from Gibraltar but also the earlier Operation Bellows from the UK, this being the first use of the DH Hydromatic prop, because of worries about the take-off distance otherwise..

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I've done some data crunching for such things as well.  I'd be happy to give you a "second opinion" on particular questions, but (and I don't mean this to sound arrogant) I've got too many other irons in the fire to focus on this too much at present.

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3 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

If you have a sequence 1Jun 1942, August 1943, May 1943, isn't that a bit of a hint re the middle date?

Surely not.... :-).  It is all hand written, left to right, essentially in 2 lines, with the date above the "name", except for the SOC entry.  So the second date could be 1943 and the third 1944, or 1942 and 1943 but it is Malta then NWA.  And AR466 has A6107 10 Jul 42, Malta 3 Aug 42.

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Reports of Spitfires flying direct from Gibraltar to Malta echo the section in Morgan and Shacklady about trials with a 170 gallon external and an additions 29 gallon rear fuselage fuel tank.  The additional fuel weight meant "All extraneous equipment" was removed, which sounds like armament at least.  Weight was 8,700 pounds presumably with both extra fuel tanks full.

 

Morgan and Shacklady report 16 Spitfires were flown out as Operation Quarter, taking 5.5 hours to fly to Gibraltar.  In addition 15 more Spitfires were shipped out on the Cape Hawk (note spelling) AB262, 264, 329-332, 334-338, 341, 343, 344 and 346.  To be flown of an aircraft carrier, takeoff weight 7,420 pounds, flaps 25 degrees, 3,000 RPM, plus 12 pounds boost, take off run 650 feet.  Eagle's flight deck is listed as 652 feet long.  So we are left with either the take off run is incorrect or it is for still air.  Next comes the fly off point was 500 miles from Malta, or about 5 degrees west, distance wise 500 miles is about the Spitfire V range on internal fuel, another 90 gallons external would go close to doubling what would be the economic cruise range, not doubt they flew faster.  Shores talks about 660 mile flights.

 

The reported Spitfire flights from Britain showed up problems with the fuel system, yet the book then talks about 2 batches of Spitfires both needing assembly, a Supermarine representative was sent out to help.  The first fly off attempt on 22 February 1942 had only 3 aircraft with serviceable overload tanks, plus 2 more after 5 hours work.  Operation postponed and another Supermarine representative sent, arriving 5 March.  Delivery of the first 15 Spitfires listed above was made between 5 and 10 March.  On 20 March the fleet sailed again to deliver AB461, 263, 340, 333, 348, 343, 347, 419, 458, 500, 418, 420 and BP844, 845, 850, 856 and 849, a total of 17 aircraft but AB343 is listed again.

 

Checking the various other sources, the Delivery Log entries for AB262, 264, 329-338, 341, 343, 344 and 346, so 16 serials, all have "Quarter" in SS Cape Hawk (again note spelling) against their names.  While the following serials all have "Scantling" in SS Queen Victoria in their delivery log entry, AB263, 327, 340, 342, 348, 418, 419, 420, 451, 454, 500, while BP844, 845, 846 849 and 850 have Malta 2.3.42,, total 16 aircraft.  Its history says BP856 did not leave Britain while AB417, 418, 452, 460, 507, 511, 512, 514, 517, 525, 526, 531, 535, BP846, 847, 848, 850, (Possibly 851 "special commitment"), 853, 855, 856, 857, 860 to 865 have the word special (Merlin 46 instead of 45?) at the start of their online mini histories.

 

Operation Spotter 7 March 1942, 16 on board, 15 sent.  The Arnold Hague database has the ship name as Cape Hawke.
Graham Boak list, AB262, 264, 329 to 338, 341, 343, 344 and 346 but AB333 did not take off.
Morgan and Shacklady, AB262, 264, 329 to 332, 334 to 338, 341, 343, 344 and 346
Delivery Logs, AB262, 264, 329 to 338, 341, 343, 344 and 346.

So everyone agrees.  Given AB333 did not take off. Note AB343 is in both Morgan and Shacklady lists.

 

Queen Victoria probably arrived at Gibraltar on 12 March.

 

Operations Picket I and II, 21 and 29 March 1942, 16 aircraft sent, with AB333 trying again after not taking off on Operation Spotter, which means 1 Spitfire was left at Gibraltar, while no further sea shipments of Spitfires had arrived.

GB list, AB263, 333, 340, 342, 347, 348, 418, 419, 420, 454, 500, PB844, 845, 846, 849, 850

M+S list, AB263, 333, 340, 347, 348, 418, 419, 420, 458, 461, 500, and BP844, 845, 849, 850 and 856.

DL list, AB263, 327, 340, 342, 348, 418, 419, 420, 451, 454, 500, while BP844, 845, 846, 849 and 850

So remembering 1 had to be left in Gibraltar for some reason, In all three lists, AB263, 333, 340, 348, 418, 419, 420, 500, BP844, 845, 849, 850 and 856, total 13.

 

The Morgan and Shacklady list unique serials, AB458 became a mark IX, to Gibraltar in March 1943, AB461 and AB856 never left Britain.  It is quite possible 458 is really 454, 461 is 451 and 856 is 846.

 

Now to the differences between Graham's list and the Delivery Logs, AB327, AB347 and AB451.  The delivery log entry for AB327 is quite a sight, firstly the original entry "Scantling" in SS Queen Victoria, is ruled through with an entry above it Tarkoradi by <ship name> 25? April 1942 also ruled through and a second "Scantling" SS Queen Victoria has been added  The aircraft history says lost in Egypt 22 July 1942, which agrees with Shores et. al. A History of the Mediterranean Air War.  So it would seem, unless the Spitfire was on flown to Egypt from Malta, that any references to it being on Queen Victoria and at Gibraltar and Malta are most likely incorrect.  That is the Takoradi Delivery Log entry is the correct one and the second Scantling entry should have been for AB347, not AB327.

 

The delivery log entry for AB347 simply says Malta 1 April 1942, Malta the Spitfire year has it present in Malta on 12 April, so it would have been on Queen Victoria, and flown in during operation Picket.  Which means AB451 was the Spitfire left in Gibraltar as the simplest explanation, but it is reported lost in an air raid at Malta in April 1942.  There is only one Spitfire from operation Pickett that survived past 9 May 1942, when Eagle flew off 17 Spitfires from Gibraltar, and that was AB500, it is reported as having a flying accident on 17 April 1942 with 185 Squadron, is there any definite date for when 185 Squadron started operating Spitfires?  I thought is was after 20 April, Operation Calendar.  So using loss dates AB451 was on operation Picket, AB500 on Operation Bowery or later.  Malta the Spitfire Year makes no mention of AB451, which would be possible if it was lost on the ground soon after arrival, and takes until 7 July to mention AB500.

 

However AB500 is reported as present at Malta on 29 March and AB451 has no such entry, leaving AB451 to be lost in April 1942 presumably at Gibraltar.

 

Straightforward, isn't it?

 

Geoffrey Sinclair

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16 hours ago, Geoffrey Sinclair said:

Next comes the fly off point was 500 miles from Malta, or about 5 degrees west, distance wise 500 miles is about the Spitfire V range on internal fuel, another 90 gallons external would go close to doubling what would be the economic cruise range, not doubt they flew faster.  Shores talks about 660 mile flights.

M&S has photo's (p153) of VB's with long range tanks flying to Malta.

One unidentified is shown taking off From Eagle 7th March 1942, and another shows AB344, possibly in the UK before ferrying, both show 90 gal ferry tanks.

As the paragraph referring to these opens referring to the 170 gal tank it could be inferred that the carrier flights from Eagle to Malta used this tank, but the photo's and range requirements wouold indicate that 90 gal tanks were used.

The text only refers to use of the 170 gal tank for ferry flights from England to Gibraltar, but the 1st  photo on p153 is captioned as at Gibraltar running up to fly to Malta. The Spitfire is unidentified and an erk is inconveniently stood in front of the serial no ( but his looks like it ends 5 or 6) 170 gal tank is carried, cannon removed, enlarged oil tank, internal armoured screen, exhaust gun heating tubes fitted, wheel hub covers, and long rotol spinner. Camouflage is high contrast.

 

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On ‎27‎/‎05‎/‎2020 at 20:29, Dave Swindell said:

M&S has photo's (p153) of VB's with long range tanks flying to Malta.

One unidentified is shown taking off From Eagle 7th March 1942, and another shows AB344, possibly in the UK before ferrying, both show 90 gal ferry tanks.

As the paragraph referring to these opens referring to the 170 gal tank it could be inferred that the carrier flights from Eagle to Malta used this tank, but the photo's and range requirements would indicate that 90 gal tanks were used.

The text only refers to use of the 170 gal tank for ferry flights from England to Gibraltar, but the 1st  photo on p153 is captioned as at Gibraltar running up to fly to Malta. The Spitfire is unidentified and an erk is inconveniently stood in front of the serial no ( but his looks like it ends 5 or 6) 170 gal tank is carried, cannon removed, enlarged oil tank, internal armoured screen, exhaust gun heating tubes fitted, wheel hub covers, and long rotol spinner. Camouflage is high contrast.

 

I found a weekly report of aircraft movements to Malta and the Middle East, with a couple of weeks in March missing, it has from week ending 20 March 1942 to end 1942 35 PR Spitfires flew from Gibraltar to Malta, 2 of which failed to arrive.  No information on how many stayed versus flew on to the Middle East.  The report says there were quite a lot of aircraft staging at Malta during the year.

 

Similarly in the week ending 30 October 1942 2 Spitfire fighters made the Gibraltar to Malta trip, 10 more in week ending 6 November and 3 more in week ending 20 November.  No

losses recorded.  So all up 15 flew direct, again no information on how many stayed.  So was incorrect when stating no fighters made the trip, I had not looked past the carrier deliveries.

 

No mention of UK to Gibraltar flights by Spitfire fighters, while in the above time period 43 PR Spitfires made the journey, all arrived.

 

Geoffrey Sinclair

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The Spitfires on Wasp during operation Calendar.  Wasp arrived at Glasgow on 10 April, loaded the Spitfires on 13 April and departed the UK for Calendar on 14 April, flying them off on 20 April and assumed to return to the UK on 26 or 27 April.

 

Since this is an attempt to reconstruct the list there is no guarantee it is right, it requires correct interpretation of accurate documents, any contributions are welcome.

 

The numbers are as follows, 52 Spitfires loaded, 47 flown off, 5 returned to Britain with Wasp.  It is assumed there is a good chance extra Spitfires were made available to ensure Wasp sailed fully loaded.

 

To find the candidates from the Malta Spitfires the ones flown to Malta in Operations Spotter and Pickett were removed.  Then all Malta Spitfires whose history indicates being at RAF Abbotsinch before 13 April, or are mentioned in Malta: The Spitfire Year before 20 April or have loss or Malta report dates in the histories or Graham Boak's spreadsheet or Delivery Logs before 20 April were included.  That comes to 56 Spitfires.

 

One has been removed from the list, BP978, FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 47MU 17-4-42 Malta 7-5-42 SOC 16-5-42 Middle East 145S FAC2 17-12-42 Malta 1-8-43 Hit trees attacking MT Fier Albania 18-11-43.  Note how the 47 MU date is after the departure of Wasp, but the Malta date requires it to be delivered during Operation Calendar.  BP978 is not in Spitfires Over Malta or Malta: The Spitfire Year.   In the Delivery Logs BP978 has 2 loss dates, 16 May 1942 and 19 Nov 1943.  BP977 is a Malta Spitfire but has a blank delivery log entry, take out Malta 7-5-42 SOC 16-5-42 from the BP978 and put it against BP977 and the history of BP978 as a Middle East Spitfire is clear.

 

The following 42 Spitfires are Calendar aircraft based on the date criteria mentioned, BP874, BP954, BP955, BP956, BP958, BP961, BP962, BP963, BP964, BP965, BP966, BP967, BP968, BP969, BP970, BP973, BP974, BP975, BP976, BP979, BR112, BR116, BR120, BR123, BR124, BR125, BR127, BR128, BR129, BR130, BR131, BR176, BR180, BR184, BR185, BR187, BR188, BR190, BR192, BR199, BR204 and BR226.

 

The following 2 Spitfires are Calendar aircraft that returned, based on their histories of a trip to Abbotsinch that ended up in a UK Maintenance Unit after Wasp returned.

BR195 FF 26-3-42 8MU 27-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 6-4-42 ff Malta Scottish Aviation 2-5-42 82MU 1-10-42 Heribonaka 30-10-42 Takoradi 1-12-42 Middle East 31-12-42 NAfrica 30-11-43 MedAAF 30-6-45 to RHAF 27-9-45

BR246 FF 2-4-42 8MU 3-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 12-4-42 47MU 3-5-42 Empire Conrad 10-6-42 Malta 249S Engine cut on convoy patrol ditched off Malta 13-8-42 SOC 14-8-42 FH35.15

 

BP977 went on operation Bowery, the next Wasp operation, it was a spare for the first one.  FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 39MU 25-4-42 Malta 8-6-42 601S FACB 26-6-42 Middle East 1-7-42 NWAfricanAF 1-11-43.

 

That leaves 10 Spitfires of which 8 were on Operation Calendar, including 3 that returned with Wasp, were repaired and took part in Bowery.  The other 2 were sent as part of Bowery.

Flown off,

BR117 FF 20-3-42 6MU 23-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 8-4-42 ff Malta 185S Shot down in sea off Malta 20-7-42 SOC 21-7-42 FH68.35

BR182 FF 19-3-42 39MU 23-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 8-4-42 ff Malta SOC 29-6-42

BR183 FF 19-3-42 39MU 23-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 8-4-42 ff Malta SOC Shot down in sea off Malta 11-10-42

BR194 FF 26-3-42 8MU 28-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 7-4-42 ff Malta 249S Bomb fell off and exploded on landing Takali 14-5-43 [Middle East 1-7-43]. Morgan and Shacklady history: Abbotsinch 7-4-42, ff Malta 249S crashed Takoradi May 1942, ME 1-7-43 [No indication there were Spitfire fighter bombers on Malta in May 1942]

BR203 FF 29-3-42 39MU 1-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 185S CE ops 20-7-42 Shot down by Bf109s off Malta 23-7-42 FH29.30

BR227 FF 27-3-42 39MU 29-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 249S Shot down in sea off Malta 8-7-42 SOC 9-7-42 FH7.45

 

Returned to UK

BR121 FF 20-3-42 6MU 25-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 8-4-42 ff Malta SOC 29-6-42

BR126 FF 25-3-42 8MU 28-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 12-4-42 ff Malta 185S 8-6-42 CB ops 15-6-42 SOC 31-7-42 FH39.30

 

Bowery

BR196 FF 27-3-42 39MU 27-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 8-6-42 ? Shot down in sea off Malta 12-5-42 SOC 15-5-42

BR242 FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 8-6-42 126S Shot down in sea off Malta 13-7-42 SOC 17-7-42

 

Note one of the flown off Spitfires should actually be a return, but no obvious way to decide, though the low flying hours on BR227 would make it a prime choice.  The selection of these final 10 is from the Spitfires over Malta columns in Graham Boak's list, which lists the flown off group as operation Calendar, has blank entries for the returns and May 1942 and 5 June 1942 against the Bowery Spitfires.

 

Geoffrey Sinclair

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Correction to Operation Calendar report, BP965 is the fifth Spitfire to return to the UK on Wasp, since it is confirmed as being lost on Bowery.


Operation Bowery, it is assumed the following Spitfires returned to UK in Wasp but then were used for Bowery.  Wasp is reported as back at Scapa Flow on 26 April, to the Clyde on 29 April, no mention of where it unloaded non flyable Spitfires on return.


BP965 FF 25-3-42 6MU 26-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 8-4-42 ff Malta 29-4-42 CE ops 10-5-42 SOC 17-5-42
BR196 FF 27-3-42 39MU 27-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 8-6-42 ? Shot down in sea off Malta 12-5-42 SOC 15-5-42
BR242 FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 ff Malta 8-6-42 126S Shot down in sea off Malta 13-7-42 SOC 17-7-42

 

Bowery, the 47 Spitfires flown off USS Wasp.  The list I have has only 44 candidates, including BP965 and BP971 which were lost en route to Malta  This is a new situation and requires additional information to solve.  Graham Boak's spreadsheet is a working paper, not the final list that was published in Cauchi, which I do not have.  Essentially this is a call for more candidates, Spitfires with reports of being sent from the UK to, or being on, or being lost at Malta to 17 May 1942 but not on operations Quarter or Picket, or Empire Heath or Guido.

 

The list, BP965, BP971, BP972, BP977, BP980, BP989, BP990, BP991, BP992, BP993, BR121, BR126, BR133, BR136, BR137, BR161, BR196, BR229, BR242, BR244, BR248, BR251, BR282, BR283, BR285, BR290, BR291, BR292, BR293, BR294, BR300, BR301, BR303, BR306, BR344, BR345, BR346, BR347, BR348, BR349, BR350, BR352, BR353 and BR354

 

Bowery, the Spitfires flown off HMS Eagle.  These 17 come from the 31 Spitfires delivered on 20 April 1942 by Guido and Empire Heath to Gibraltar.  Six can be definitely confirmed by mentions in Malta the Spitfire Year, and/or their loss date.  Almost all the delivery log entries have the date 4 April 1942, 18 of which say Takoradi, but both ships sailed to Gibraltar, loaded cargo from Spanish and/or Portuguese ports then returned to Britain in convoy.  Given four of the six confirmed serials have Takoradi in their delivery log entries simply having Malta is not strong enough evidence.  The list from Brian Cull, Spitfires over Malta as 15 entries, while missing 2 of the confirmed serials in Spitfire Year.  So the working conclusion is the Cull list plus the 2 from Spitfire Year are most likely to be the correct serials.  BP870, BP871*, BP872*, BP875, BP877*, BP878, BP950, BP951, BP952*, BP953, BP960, BR106, BR107*, BR108*, BR110, BR111 and BR169. (* in Spitfire Year on or before 17 May, BR107 ad BR169 not in Cull.)

 

This conclusion, the "missing" Spitfires from Wasp and the change to BP965 highlight the way the evidence is thinning out and there is a real question whether it is useful to continue the analysis.  As any errors in the early shipments inevitably go through to the later ones.

 

Administrivia

 

This is here in case the discussion cannot proceed any further and/or if anyone in the future wants to try again.  The RAF had its own code names for at least some of the operations to fly Spitfires to Malta from aircraft carriers, summary of operations,

 

Operation Quarter, HMS Eagle, flying off date 7 March 1942, 15 Spitfires on board, 15 launched, 15 arrived, RAF operation Quarter, 15 arrived.

Operation Picket I, HMS Eagle, flying off date 21 March 1942, 16 (17?) Spitfires on board, 9 launched, 9 arrived, RAF operation Scantling, details of arrival not in report.

Operation Picket II, HMS Eagle, flying off date 29 March 1942, 7 (8?) Spitfires on board, 7 launched, 7 arrived, RAF operation Scantling, 7 arrived.

Operation Calendar, USS Wasp, flying off date 20 April 1942, 52 Spitfires on board, 47 launched, 46 arrived.

Operation Bowery, USS Wasp, flying off date 9 May 1942, 47 Spitfires on board, 47 launched, 43 arrived.

Operation Bowery, HMS Eagle, flying off date 9 May 1942, 17 Spitfires on board, 17 launched, 17 arrived.

Operation LB, HMS Eagle, flying off date 18 May 1942, 17 Spitfires on board, 17 launched, 17 arrived, RAF operation Hansford, 16 arrived.

Operation Style, HMS Eagle, flying off date 3 June 1942, 31 Spitfires on board, 31 launched, 27 arrived

Operation Salient, HMS Eagle, flying off date 9 June 1942, 32 Spitfires on board, 32 launched, 32 arrived, RAF operation Maintop, 32 arrived.

Operation Pinpoint, HMS Eagle, flying off date 15 July 1942, 32 Spitfires on board, 31 launched, 31 arrived, RAF operation Colima, 31 arrived.

Operation Insect, HMS Eagle, flying off date 21 July 1942, 32 Spitfires on board, 31 launched, 30 arrived, RAF operation Knapsack, 28 arrived.

Operation Bellows, HMS Furious, flying off date 12 August 1942, 39 Spitfires on board, 38 launched, 37 arrived, RAF operation Grinnell, 37 arrived.

Operation Baritone, HMS Furious, flying off date 17 August 1942, 32 Spitfires on board, 32? launched, 28 arrived, RAF operation Headlong, 28 arrived.

Operation Train, HMS Furious, flying off date 29 October 1942, 32 Spitfires on board, 29 launched, 29 arrived, RAF operation Train, 29 arrived.

 

UK Archives files with relevant titles.

ADM 223/338 Operation PINPOINT: aircraft to Malta
ADM 223/339 Operation INSECT: aircraft to Malta
ADM 223/544 Operation SPOTTER: reinforcement of Malta with Spitfires
ADM 223/545 Operation PICKET (Phase 1): aircraft to Malta from HMS Eagle
ADM 223/547 Operation PICKET (Phase 2): aircraft to Malta from HMS Argus
ADM 223/549 Operation CALENDAR: transfer of Spitfires to Malta from USS Wasp
ADM 223/552 Operation BOWERY: aircraft to Malta
ADM 223/554 Operation LB: aircraft to Malta
ADM 223/556 Operation STYLE: aircraft to Malta from HMS Eagle
ADM 223/557 Operation SALIENT: aircraft to Malta from HMS Eagle
ADM 223/559 Operation PEDESTAL: aircraft to Malta from HMS Furious
ADM 223/560 Operation BELLOWS: aircraft to Malta from HMS Furious
ADM 223/563 Operation BARITONE: aircraft to Malta
ADM 223/566 Operation TRAIN: transfer of Spitfires to Malta from HMS Furious
AIR 2/7698  Air Ministry and Ministry of Defence: Registered Files. Code B sequence (files registered 1936-1953). "Calendar": Spitfires for Malta flown off American carrier. ROYAL AIR FORCE: Malta Command (Code B, 67/18): Operations "Newman" and "Calendar": spitfires for Malta flown off American carrier.
AIR 20/5461 Operation "Oppidan": Spitfire reinforcements for Malta
AIR 20/5462 Operation "Grinnell": Spitfire reinforcements for Malta
AIR 20/5543 Malta: weekly return of operational aircraft  01 July 1940 - 31 May 1942
AIR 22/213 State of aircraft: Malta
AIR 22/213 State of aircraft: Malta.  01 February 1942 - 31 January 1944
AIR 23/5684  Super long-range Spitfire: reinforcements
AIR 8/980  Aircraft reinforcements to Malta: use of U.S. Aircraft Carrier WASP
CAB 79/19/24  1. HEADQUARTERS OF C-IN-C, PORTSMOUTH. 2. OPERATION "SCANTLING". 3. BOUNDARY BETWEEN INDIAN OCEAN AND PACIFIC...
PREM 3/266/4 Flying in of Spitfires from USS Wasp and HMS Eagle
PREM 3/267/2 Prime Minister's Office: Operational Correspondence and Papers. MALTA. Casualties: aircraft. Weekly summaries.

 

Operation Oppidan may be part of Operation LB or Style and it is implied operation Newman would be Bowery or perhaps just the Eagle's part of it.

 

Geoffrey Sinclair

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Spitfire fighter serials in Malta the Spitfire Year, currently unmatched   Help required to confirm correct serials.


Date \ Serial \ Possible serial, pilot/sqn reported flying the aircraft on the date
24-Apr-42 \ BR975 \ BP975, "K" Flt Lt Barnham, 249 or 601 sqn
10-Jun-42 \ BR309 \ BR300, 249 Sqn "W", Wt Off Gray, aircraft crashed on landing
5-Jul-42 \ BP887 \ P O Halford, 185 Sqn (BP887 was a PR IV, BP877 reported lost 12 May)
6-Jul-42 \ BR845 \ BP845, F O McLeod (249 sqn?)
7-Jul-42 \ AB562 \ BR562? (1 mention on 7, 2 on 8 July) 7th P O Paul Brennan X-R, 8th P O Hesselyn X-R
7-Jul-42 \ BR378 \ Arrived with or lost on Insect, 21 July.  Sdn Ldr Lucas, "V"
8-Jul-42 \ BR223 \ "S" P O McLean
20-Jul-42 \ BR389 \ BR380, 3, 4, 7,  185 Sqn Sgt Parker
21-Jul-42 \ EP378 \ BR378, Sgt L Evans, lost on take off from Eagle
23-Jul-42 \ BR135 \ BR130, 1, 3, 6, 7 (2 mentions on 25 July, 1 on 28), 25th 249 Sqn "Z" Sgt Beurling, 249 Sqn "Z" P.O Round, 28th "Z" P O McElroy
11-Oct-42 \ EN200 \ EP200, 126 Sqn? "Q" Flt Lt Bill Rolls
14-Oct-42 \ EP322 \ EP332, 1435 Sqn "A", Sgt Whitmore (126 Sqn V-A?)
17-Oct-42 \ BP866 \ BP860, 8, 9, P O Seed "Q"

 

Geoffrey Sinclair

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The amended story.

 

Operation Spotter/Quarter (the second being the RAF name) 16 Spitfires were loaded on the Cape Hawke which departed Britain 10 February, arriving Gibraltar 23 February.  February 1942 exports of Spitfires to Mediterranean official total 16.  HMS Eagle first fly off attempt sailed 27 February returning the next day due to defects in the Spitfire long range fuel tanks.  One Spitfire may have been cannibalised for spares.  Operation Spotter, HMS Eagle sailed on 6 March and the fly off was on the 7th.  15 Spitfires, all arrived.  HMS Eagle returned to Gibraltar on the 8th. 

 

Spitfire serials, "Spotter", AB262, AB264, AB329 to AB338, AB341, AB343, AB344, AB346 (AB333 unserviceable, to operation Picket), total 15 

 

Operation Picket/Scantling, 16 Spitfires were loaded on the Queen Victoria which departed Britain 4 March, arriving Gibraltar 14 March.  March 1942 exports of Spitfires to Mediterranean official total 16. Operation Picket, which became Picket  I when some of the navigation aircraft did not appear, HMS Eagle sailed on 20 March, probably with 16 Spitfires on board, and the fly off was on the 21st, 9 Spitfires, all arrived, the fleet returning to Gibraltar on the 23rd.  Operation Picket II, HMS Eagle sailed on 27 March, 7 or 8 Spitfires on board, 7 were flown off on the 29th.  This left 1 Spitfire in Gibraltar, being AB500, the only one of the Queen Victoria shipment that lasted past 9 May, the date of Operation Bowery, the next delivery of Spitfires to Malta from Gibraltar. 


Spitfire Serials, "Picket I", AB333, AB340, AB342, AB454, BP844, BP845, BP846, BP849, BP850, "Picket II" AB263, AB347, AB348, AB418, AB419, AB420, AB451.   Picket I aircraft are those reported as being part of the operation and/or, or on Malta before Picket II on March 29. 


The Spitfires on USS Wasp during operations Calendar and Bowery.  Operation Calendar, USS Wasp arrived at Glasgow on 10 April, loaded 52 Spitfires on 13 April and departed the UK on 14 April, flying 47 of them off on 20 April, returning 5 to Britain, arriving back at Scapa Flow on 26 April.  Operation Bowery, USS Wasp arrived at Glasgow on 29 April, loaded 47 Spitfires and departed the UK on 3 May, flying them off on 9 May, recovering one, BR126, that had a problem and later flying it off to Gibraltar.

 
In addition to the USS Wasp shipments 28 Spitfires loaded on Empire Heath and 4 on Guido sailed as part of convoy OG.82 on 8 April, arriving Gibraltar on 20 April.  The April 1942 exports of Spitfires to Mediterranean official total is 79 (47+32).  Another 32 Spitfires were on Empire Conrad which departed Milford Haven on 20 May, arriving Gibraltar on 27 May and 32 more on Hopetarn (ship name is given as Hopetown or Hope Farm in some of the aircraft histories), departing Liverpool 26 May, arriving Gibraltar 2 June.  The May 1942 exports of Spitfires to the Mediterranean official total is 111 (47+32+32).  HMS Eagle loaded 17 of the Spitfires at Gibraltar and joined Wasp on 8 May, all 17 arrived in Malta. 


Since this is an attempt to reconstruct the Operations Calendar and Wasp lists there is no guarantee it is complete, it requires correct interpretation of accurate documents, any contributions are welcome.  There is a certain amount here of working backwards from the known solution. 


To find the candidates for Spitfires loaded onto USS Wasp all Malta Spitfires whose history does not mention a ship and a) reports being at RAF Abbotsinch or Renfrew before 30 April, or b) are on Malta by end June 1942, or c) have a delivery log entry of Malta in April or May 1942, or d) have loss dates before August 1942 or e) are mentioned in Malta: The Spitfire Year before August.  Plus the following 3 Spitfires, 


BR122, FF 19-3-42 39MU 24-3-42 82MU 26-3-42 Takoradi 8-4-42 126S 'O' Abandoned over sea N of Malta 9-8-42 SOC 10-8-42 is included.  Despite the reference to Takoradi, which is also in the Delivery Logs, it is first mentioned in Malta: The Spitfire Year on 15 June.  Reported to have served with 126 and 601 Squadrons, so it is included here. 

 

BP978, has a problematic history in the online records, FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 47MU 17-4-42 Malta 7-5-42 SOC 16-5-42 Middle East 145S FAC2 17-12-42 Malta 1-8-43 Hit trees attacking MT Fier Albania 18-11-43.  It is possible the details of BP977 at Malta have been added to BP978, which was then simply sent to the Middle East.  BP978 is not in Spitfires Over Malta or Malta: The Spitfire Year, it is in Brian Cull’s book on 249 Squadron as T-O/GN-O, but this could be post 1942 service.  It is included here. 

 

BP866, FF 27-2-42 AAEE 28-2-42 comparison trop trials AB320 with 90gal overload tank 29MU 15-3-42 Malta 1-5-43 185S Malta FAC2 18-3-44 SOC 28-4-45.  It is first mentioned in Malta: The Spitfire Year on 17 October, which would indicate the 1-5-43 entry in the history is actually 1-5-42, it is reported to have served with 126, 185, 229 and 1435 squadrons and so is included here.   

 

Operation Calendar/Newman.  Spitfires that were at Abbotsinch on or before 12 April or have loss dates before 9 May are considered to be Calendar aircraft BP874, BP954, BP955, BP956**, BP958 (Flew to North Africa), BP961**, BP962, BP963, BP964, BP965**, BP966*, BP967**, BP968, BP969, BP970, BP973, BP974, BP975, BP976, BP977**, BP979*, BR112*, BR116, BR117*, BR120, BR121**, BR123**, BR124, BR125, BR126, BR129, BR176, BR180, BR182**, BR183, BR184, BR187, BR188, BR190, BR192, BR194**, BR195*, BR196*, BR199, BR203*, BR204, BR226, BR227*, BR242* and BR246*, total 50.  * Not mentioned before Operation Bowery, ** not mentioned in Malta the Spitfire Year, while BP956, BP967, BR123 and BR182 do not appear in the lists of Spitfires operated by the Malta based squadrons.  The two additional Spitfires are BR127, mentioned in Malta the Spitfire Year as being on Wasp for Operation Calendar while BR185 is reported at Malta on 28 April, making a total of 52. 


The following 3 Spitfires are Calendar aircraft that returned, based on their histories of a trip to Abbotsinch that ended up in a UK Maintenance Unit after Wasp returned 

 

BP977 FF 1-4-42 39MU 2-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 11-4-42 39MU 25-4-42 Malta 8-6-42 601S FACB 26-6-42 Middle East 1-7-42 NWAfricanAF 1-11-43.  This assumes the 39 MU date is out by a day or the Spitfire flown off Wasp before it docked, and it was then used on Operation Bowery. 

 

BR195 FF 26-3-42 8MU 27-3-42 RAF Abbotsinch 6-4-42 ff Malta Scottish Aviation 2-5-42 82MU 1-10-42 Heribonaka 30-10-42 Takoradi 1-12-42 Middle East 31-12-42 NAfrica 30-11-43 MedAAF 30-6-45 to RHAF 27-9-45 

 

BR246 FF 2-4-42 8MU 3-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 12-4-42 47MU 3-5-42 Empire Conrad 10-6-42 Malta 249S Engine cut on convoy patrol ditched off Malta 13-8-42 SOC 14-8-42 FH35.15 

 

The other two returned Spitfires were BP965 which was lost on Operation Bowery and BR126 which landed back on USS Wasp on Operation Bowery. 

 

Operation Bowery/Oppidan (http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/020718g.pdf). The Spitfires on USS Wasp for Operation Bowery were BP866, BP965 (Lost on flight to Malta), BP971 (Lost on flight to Malta), BP972*, BP977*, BP978*, BP980, BP989, BP990, BP991, BP992, BP993, BR122, BR126 (Landed back on Wasp), BR128, BR130, BR131, BR133*, BR136, BR137, BR161*, BR229, BR244, BR248, BR251, BR282, BR283, BR285, BR290*, BR291, BR292, BR293, BR294, BR300*, BR301, BR303, BR306, BR344, BR345, BR346, BR347, BR348, BR349, BR350, BR352, BR353 and BR354*.  *Not mentioned in Malta The Spitfire Year.  One Spitfire crashed on take off but no information on the serial number except BR133 is also not mentioned in the lists of Spitfires that served with the Malta squadrons.  So two lots of negative evidence.  It is the only Spitfire not in one or both of the Spitfire Year and Malta squadrons serials list. 

 

Bowery, the Spitfires flown off HMS Eagle.  These 17 come from the 32 Spitfires delivered on 20 April 1942 by Guido and Empire Heath to Gibraltar plus AB500 from the Queen Victoria.  Six can be definitely confirmed by mentions in Malta the Spitfire Year, and/or their loss date.  Almost all the delivery log entries have the date 4 April 1942, 18 of which say Takoradi, but both ships sailed to Gibraltar, loaded cargo from Spanish and/or Portuguese ports then returned to Britain in convoy.  Given four of the six confirmed serials have Takoradi in their delivery log entries simply having Malta is not strong enough evidence.  The list from Brian Cull, Spitfires over Malta has 15 entries, while missing 2 of the confirmed serials in Spitfire Year.  So the working conclusion is the Cull list plus the 2 from Spitfire Year are most likely to be the correct serials.  BP870, BP871*, BP872*, BP875, BP877*, BP878, BP950, BP951, BP952*, BP953, BP960, BR106, BR107*, BR108*, BR110, BR111 and BR169.   (* in Spitfire Year on or before 17 May, while BR107 and BR169 are not in Cull.) 
 
Operation LB/Hansford, 17 Spitfires were loaded onto HMS Eagle at Gibraltar, the fleet sailing on 17 May with all 17 flown off on 19 May and all arriving.  This meant all Spitfires shipped to Gibraltar to 17 May, plus the one that landed back on Wasp and transferred to Gibraltar, had been sent to Malta. 

 

Spitfire Serials, "LB", AB469, AB500, BP873, BP876, BP957, BR109, BR115, BR119, BR126, BR163, BR165, BR166, BR170, BR173, BR175, BR177 and BR179. 

 

Operation Style/? HMS Eagle loaded 31 Spitfires from Empire Conrad at Gibraltar and sailed on 2 June (the day Hopetarn arrived), all 31 flown off on the 3rd, 27 arrived at Malta.  BR232, which was on Empire Conrad, was sent to the Middle East, being lost while with 601 Sqn on 6 July 1942, near El Daba, Egypt. 

 

Spitfire Serials, "Style", BR198, BR230, BR231, BR246, BR254, BR295, BR305, BR308*, BR311, BR312, BR313*, BR315, BR316, BR317, BR320, BR321, BR322*, BR355*, BR356, BR357, BR358, BR359, BR360, BR362, BR363, BR364, BR377, BR380, BR381, BR383 and BR384, *Shot down on flight to Malta 

 

Operation Salient/Maintop HMS Eagle loaded the 32 Spitfires from Hopetarn at Gibraltar and sailed on 8 June, all 32 flown off on the 9th, all arrived at Malta. 

 

Spitfire Serials, "Salient", AB464, AB465, BP860, BP861, BP867, BP868, BP869, BR233, BR323, BR324, BR325, BR327, BR328, BR365, BR366, BR367, BR368, BR379, BR382, BR385, BR387, BR388, BR459, BR460, BR461, BR463, BR464, BR465, BR562, BR564, BR565 and BR566 

 

Convoy OG.85, departed Liverpool 13 June, arrived Gibraltar 25 June, included Empire Shackleton with 18 Spitfires, Guido with 12 Spitfires, Lublin with 2 Spitfires, total 32.  Convoy OG.86 departed Liverpool 2 July, arrived Gibraltar 14 July, included Empire Darwin 22 Spitfire, Empire Kestrel 4 Spitfire, Empire Tern 6 Spitfires, total 32.  The aircraft histories say 2 Spitfires on Empire Gem, but it was sunk in January off North America, they are assumed to be on Empire Tern.  All up 64 Spitfires, but official exports for the month to the Mediterranean were 60, Empire Kestrel being officially loaded in July. 

 

A Special Erection Party was established at Gibraltar in July 1942 to assemble and test fly aircraft crated from Britain by sea for the reinforcement of Malta 

 

Operation Pinpoint/Colima HMS Eagle loaded the 32 Spitfires from OG.85 and sailed on 14 July, the day OG.86 arrived, flying off all 32 on 17 July, 31 arrived in Malta, the fleet returned to Gibraltar on the 16th. 

 

Spitfire Serials, "Pinpoint", AB520, AB531, AB532, AR464, AR489, BR373, BR374, BR375, BR376, EN829, EN954, EN955, EN968, EN972, EN973, EN976, EN978, EN979, EN980, EP117 (crashed on take off), EP122, EP131, EP132, EP135, EP136, EP137, EP138, EP139, EP140, EP190, EP196 and EP200.  Malta The Spitfire Year reports EP200 present on Malta on 13 and 14 July as GL-T. 

 

Operation Insect/Knapsack HMS Eagle loaded 31 Spitfires from OG.86 and sailed on 20 July, flying off all 31 on 21 July, 30 arrived in Malta.  EP195, shipped on Empire Kestrel, was reported to be still at Gibraltar on 31 December 1942, there is a report some Spitfires in OG.86 suffered damage in transit. 

 

Spitfire Serials, "Insect",  AB377, AB526, AB536, BR378 (lost on take off, in Spitfire Year as EP378), EP187, EP189, EP194 (did not take off), EP197, EP201, EP203, EP205, EP207, EP209, EP255, EP257, EP259, EP260, EP290, EP297, EP305, EP306, EP313, EP316, EP330,  EP331, EP336, EP338, EP339, EP341, EP343 and EP344. 

 

The Empire Clive with 32 Spitfires on board departed Milford Haven on 19 July and arrived Gibraltar on 3 August, official exports for the month to the Mediterranean were 36, the Empire Clive and Empire Kestrel. 

 

Operation Bellows/Grinnell, part of the Operation Pedestal Malta convoy.  HMS Furious loaded 40 Spitfires in the UK, sailing on 4 August, one Spitfire, EP703, was flown off as a test leaving 39 on board.  Official Spitfire exports to the Mediterranean for August were 39.  HMS Furious joined convoy WS.21S on 7 August, 38 Spitfires were flown off on 11 August, 1 landed on HMS Indomitable (flight deck 15 feet longer than Wasp, ship 1 knot faster) reportedly slightly damaged (into barrier?), subsequent fate unclear (pushed over the side?), 37 arrived at Malta, Furious arrived at Gibraltar on 12 August, presumably unloading the unserviceable Spitfire there, later fate unclear ,the candidate for this is EP697 which does not appear to have served at Malta, Struck off Charge on 4 November, so before Operation Torch.  HMS Indomitable was damaged by 2 hits and 3 near misses by 500 kg bombs on the 12th, whether the Spitfire survived is unclear and, if it did, where it was unloaded is also unclear, the reported pilot, Sgt. A.B. Stead flew a Spitfire to Malta as part of Operation Baritone.  The selection of Spitfire serials for Operation Bellows uses RAF Delivery Log entries for Malta on 4 August 1942, and no mention of a ship name in the aircraft histories, which gives 35 serials, plus one where the date is 2 August and two where the loss date is 17 August, for a total of 38 out of the 40 loaded in Britain. 

 

Spitfire Serials, "Bellows", EP310, EP410, EP448, EP457*, EP459, EP467, EP471, EP472, EP517, EP519, EP521, EP541, EP546*, EP550, EP553, EP554, EP663, EP669, EP685, EP691, EP695, EP696, EP697, EP698, EP700, EP701, EP703 (flown off as test), EP706, EP708, EP709, EP711, EP712, EP714, EP716, EP717, EP718, EP722, EP727 plus 2 more currently unknown.  *Reported in the RAF Delivery Logs as lost on 17 August 1942.  Also EP561 and EP786 were at Abbotsinch on 31 July, to 82 MU 4 September and 82 MU 19 September respectively, and so could replace EP703 as the test aircraft. 

 

EP703 history: 38MU 27-7-42 RAF Abbotsinch 3-8-42 SEU FACB 19-9-42 Scottish Aviation 215MU 31-7-43 SS732 5-8-43 Casablanca 18-8-43 Middle East 31-1-45 SOC 16-1-46.  Marked as Malta 4 August 1942 in RAF Delivery Logs.  EP561 is Gibraltar 16 October 1942, EP786 in Middle East Takoradi 1 October 1942 in the Delivery Logs. 

 

Operation Baritone/Headlong HMS Furious loaded 31 Spitfires from Empire Clive and EP194 from Empire Darwin, Operation Insect, sailing on 16 August, flying the aircraft off on 17 August, 1 was lost on take off, 2 had to be abandoned and 1 did not take off due to an injured pilot, 28 arrived at Malta, the fleet returning to Gibraltar on the 18th.  This means one of the Empire Clive shipment was left at Gibraltar and one was returned from Operation Baritone, these two being EP412 and EP551, neither of which have records of service with units at Malta.  EP412 went into service with Gibraltar based 520 Squadron, EP551 is reported lost on operations 15 January 1943. 

 

Spitfire Serials, "Baritone", AR466, AR470, AR471, AR488, AR497, BR236, BR482, BR486, BR488, BR496, BR498, BR529, BR534, BR591, BS160, BS161, BS168, EP152 (Abandoned), EP186, EP188, EP194 (Lost on take off), EP199, EP329, EP332, EP340, EP345, EP412*, EP551*, EP573, EP606 (Abandoned), EP612, EP619 and EP621.  * one of these did not sail on Furious and was returned to Gibraltar after its intended pilot was injured in the crash of EP194. 

 

Official Exports of Spitfires to the Mediterranean were 91 in September (28 on the Empire Cabot, 27 on the Empire Franklin, 16 on the Empire Heath, 19 to destination A6107 and 1 on SS612 (both A6107 and SS621 arriving Gibraltar 27 September 1942)) and 282 in October 1942. 

 

Operation Train: HMS Furious arrived in Gibraltar on 25 October to load 31 of them, sailing on 28 October, flying 29 of the Spitfires off on 29 October,  all arrived at Malta.  Direct flights between Gibraltar and Malta by Spitfire V fighters had already begun.  The https://maltagc70.wordpress.com/ reports non carrier borne Spitfire fighter arrivals as 2 from Gibraltar 25 October, 5 from Gibraltar 6 November, 3 from Gibraltar 8 November, 2 from Gibraltar 13 November, 1 from Gibraltar 14 November, 2 from Gibraltar 20 November plus 1 from Algier-Bone 21 November and 1 from Benina 1 December.  So as of the final third of November Middle East Spitfires were able to fly direct to Malta and by early 1943 the arrivals included some mark IX.  Malta the Spitfire Year reports the 25 October Spitfires delivered were mark Vc, flown by Flt Lt John Henry Bateman Burgess and Flt Sgt L.G. Pow RCAF, 2 machine guns retained and 15 more were sent with EP724 lost 14 November, so a total of 17.  The book A History of the Mediterranean Air War Volume 2 reports probably around 19 November, Squadron Leader Adrian Warburton flew a Spitfire fighter from Gibraltar to Malta, shooting down a Ju88 on the way.  The British Aircraft Export Report says 15 Spitfire Fighters did the journey, all arriving, 2 in week ending 30 October, 10 in Week ending 6 November and 3 in week ending 20 November, total 15, not quite agreement with the daily reports from the Maltagc web site.  It is possible Spitfire Year is counting the arrivals from North Africa.  15 is the total used here. 


Spitfire Serials, Operation Train (which seems to have the same name for both the RN and RAF) and the direct flights.  Further research will be needed to separate the Spitfires that flew direct from those that came from HMS Furious along with the two that did not take off from Furious and were presumably returned to Gibraltar, plus confirm the ones selected here.  Almost all of the November exports of Spitfires to Gibraltar had arrived before HMS Furious and the remainder had arrived before the carrier sailed.  The selection criteria used here are as follows, being reported in Malta on 1 November of 1 December, lost on or around Malta to March 1943 and/or reports of service with several of the Malta based squadrons.  Essentially the list is a best estimate. 

 

Reported as on Malta 1 November, AB535, AR551, AR556, AR559, AR560, AR565, AR595, EP433, EP473, EP520, EP567, EP622, EP652, EP720, EP721, EP728, EP790, EP791, EP818, EP835, EP842 and EP843 total 22.  Reported as on Malta 1 December, EP404, EP436, EP444, EP658, EP833, EP834, EP844, EP915 and ER647, total 9. 
 
AR496 Malta 18 Dec
AR561 Gibraltar 14-9-42 Malta 1435S Abandoned after bomb hung up 1m S of Kalafrana 30-1-43 SOC 1-2-43 FH75.30.
EP460 Gibraltar 14-9-42 Malta Ran out of fuel and ditched off Malta 18-1-43 FH49.15, 229 Sqn
EP557 Gibraltar 1-11-42 Abandoned on convoy patrol 13-12-42, 249 Sqn
EP609 Gibraltar 14-9-42 Lost height on overshoot and crashed Hal Far C3 8-11-42 SOC 9-11-42, 185 Sqn
EP641 Gibraltar 14-9-42 Missing from ground attack mission nr Scicli Sicily 15-2-43 SOC 17-2-43 FH77.20, 229 Sqn
EP823 Lost off Malta 19 November, 185 Sqn
EP828 Probable, given reported service with 126, 249 and 1435 Sqns, but no dates
EP832 Crashed off Malta 23 Nov, 229 Sqn
EP955 Missing off Malta 17 Oct, the month is clearly wrong, assumed Nov or Dec 42.  229 Sqn
EP965 Gibraltar 1-11-42 241S Crashed Hal Far C3 25-3-43, 249, 601 Sqn, 241 Sqn Western Desert had Mark Vc from Feb 43.
ER226 Gibraltar 1-11-42 C2 ops 12-11-42 NAfricanASC 31-10-43 Middle East 21-6-45 SOC 29-8-46, 229, 249, 601 Sqn
ER641 Gibraltar 9-11-42 India 1-12-42 NWAfrica Missing from sweep over Sicily 28-2-43, 229 Sqn
 
BS511, EN113 mark IX reported sent to Malta 14 Dec 1942.

 

The PR Spitfires that served in the Middle East mostly to all ferried through Malta and some were sent to Malta from the Middle East.  The following PR.IV are reported to have served with 69 Sqn, AB300, BP885, BP908, BP911, BP915, BR424, BR431, BR653, BR662, BR663, BS359 and BS367.  In the Delivery Logs BS500 has Malta but no dates.  And the following have Malta with dates in the period November 1942 to February 1943, BR656, EN153, BS495, AB310, BS359, BR647, BP905 and BS496.  The following have Malta and Middle East mentioned in that order with dates of 6 and 7 November 1942, BR424, BS367, BS364, BR426, BR646 and BS358.
 
H. M. SHIPS DAMAGED OR SUNK BY ENEMY ACTION 3rd. SEPT. 1939 to 2nd. SEPT. 1945 Published in 1952 as C.B.4273 (52), security level confidential.

 

INDOMITABLE, 12th August 1942, D.N.C 4B/R123.  Two Direct Hits and three Near Misses with 500 kgm delay action fuzed Bombs.  Time out of action: 6 months  
 
INDOMITABLE was subjected to an attack by enemy aircraft while operating South West of Sicily at 20 knots. 
 
Hit No. 1 landed near the forward lift and perforated the upper gallery deck and exploded above the upper hangar deck. A hole 20 ft. by 12 ft. was blown in the upper gallery deck and one 20 ft. by 28 ft. in the upper hangar deck. Severe structural and splinter damage was caused between the flight and lower gallery decks and inboard to the middle line. The forward lift canted up 5 ft. on the starboard side. There was a minor fire in the hangar and the R.U. ammunition to 'A' 1 and 'A' 2 4.5 inch guns ignited. 

 

Hit No. 2 landed abaft the after lift, perforated the upper gallery deck, and exploded just above the upper hangar deck. The upper gallery for a width of 20 ft. and the upper hangar for 16 ft. were destroyed and a large hole was blown in the flight deck. The lower gallery deck and the lift structure sustained minor damage. A small fire was started near the torpedo body room but the warheads were undamaged. 

 

Near Miss No. 1 grazed the port pom-pom director and exploded 5 ft. from the hull at the upper hangar deck level. The side plating between the lower and upper gallery decks was destroyed. Structural and splinter damage extended for 52 ft. inboard. 


Near Miss No. 2 exploded 25 ft. underwater to port abreast C.2 O.F. tank. The ship's side was blown in over an area of 40 ft. by 20 ft. and minor internal damage was sustained. The wing compartments in the vicinity of the explosion were flooded causing a heel of 8 degrees to port. This was corrected by counter flooding. 

 

Near Miss No. 3 exploded underwater off the port quarter causing minor structural damage and a few splinter holes through the hull above the waterline. 

 

Fighting Efficiency - Seriously impaired,  The forward lift, 'A' 1 and 'A' 2 4.5 inch mountings and 'B' director were out of action.  The after lift was temporarily out of action. 

 

Geoffrey Sinclair

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With regard to the unidentified Spitfire that landed on Indomitable, the Captain’s report describes it, as you do, as “slightly damaged”. But it seems to me that it survived long enough to return to Gibraltar. Over on the Armoured Carriers website there is a photo used as the header to one page of the damaged Indomitable with a range of aircraft on the flight deck. The last aircraft in the range looks like a Spitfire to me, with Sea Hurricanes ahead of it. So it doesn’t look like it was pushed over the edge of the flight deck. Unfortunately, what with page titles and blokes between the camera and the aircraft it is impossible to see a serial.

 

https://www.armouredcarriers.com/battle-damage-to-hms-indomitable

 

For it to be ranged like that it must have been left up on deck throughout, possibly on one of the starboard side outriggers. The only lift capable of striking it down into the hangar was the forward one, which was of course wrecked on Aug 12th. The after lift was too small to take a fixed wing Spitfire.

 

For anyone interested her full damage report is also on that site

https://www.armouredcarriers.com/adm26784/2014/10/16/indomitable-august-12-damage-report-bomb-shell

 

 

 

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Thanks Ewen for the photographs, showing the Spitfire from Furious clearly survived the Indomitable experience.  Then comes where it was unloaded.  Assuming in Gibraltar it requires a serial that appears there without any details of the ship it was carried in.

 

EN981 is marked as Malta 11 September 1942 in the Delivery Logs and lost 31 January 1943, while EN976, 978, 979 and 980 are marked Malta 12 June 1942, and their histories say they were shipped on Empire Shackleton and Guido.  EN981 aircraft history says 38MU 23-5-42 82MU 7-7-42 Gibraltar 29-9-42 Destroyed in air raid SOC 31-1-43.  The Spitfire shipment to Gibraltar marked as to/in A6017/SS612 is reported to have arrived 27 September and totals 19 aircraft, meaning EN981 is needed to match the reported September exports to the Mediterranean area.  There is no mention of EN981 in the lists of Spitfires that served with the Malta based squadrons.

 

As listed Furious loaded EP serial Spitfires in Britain, usually noted in the Delivery Logs dated early August 1942   So maybe EN981 was on Furious and then Indomitable but more likely on a merchant ship.  No other obvious candidates either listed as to Gibraltar or to Malta.

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  • 8 months later...
Posted (edited)

Corrections to summary of 11 June 2020.

 

The figure of 52 Spitfires loaded onto Wasp in April 1943 is widely reported, but the number actually loaded is given as 47 in the report on Operation Calendar, dated 22 April 1943, by Commodore C.S. Daniel, Commander Force W.  Daniel was embarked in HMS Renown and his Force W provided the escort for Wasp.  A copy of his report is with the records of USS Wasp. So the list of 5 Spitfires reported to have done the round trip in Wasp should be deleted.

 

Malta the Spitfire year has BR355 lost on 3 June and 9 July, it was BR358 lost on 3 June, shot down en route.  The summary above makes the same error.

The transfer of Spitfire fighters from Malta to Egypt.
 
https://maltagc70.wordpress.com/category/1942/june-1942/ 23 June 1942, departures One Beaufort, one Beaufighter, nine Spitfires, seven Wellingtons to LG 224 [Cairo West]; two Wellingtons to Shallufa; one Lodestar to Heliopolis.  Malta the Spitfire Year by Shores et. al. reports 8 Spitfires from A flight 601 squadron, with a Beaufighter as navigation escort departed 23 June 1942 and 601 records note the arrival of 4 pilots that day.  Shores says B flight departed by end of month.    Neither the web site nor the book report further Spitfire departures in June.  601 squadron records do not seem to note when the B flight pilots arrived.  It is interesting that a ferry flight to Egypt as long or longer than the flights from the carriers to Malta goes unremarked everywhere, compare that with all the details on the ferry flights to Malta.

 

Using the 601 squadron record of events for July 1942 the following 8 serials of Spitfires reported on Malta are mentioned,
BR136, Arrived on operation Bowery 9 May
BR175, Arrived on operation LB 19 May
BR192, Arrived on operation Calendar 20 April
BR232, Arrived on operation Style 3 June
BR325, Arrived on operation Salient 9 June
BR363, Arrived on operation Style 3 June
BR384, Arrived on operation Style 3 June
BR459, Arrived on operation Style 3 June

 

Shores at al. report 8 Spitfires sent from Malta to Egypt, which agrees with the above list, the Malta website says 9, one of which could be a PR Spitfire, or possibly it could be BP977, Arrived on operation Salient 8 June, 601S FACB 26-6-42 Middle East 1-7-42 NWAfricanAF 1-11-43

 

The 11 June summary assumed BR232 did not serve at Malta, this was compensated for by an error in the Operation Insect list.

 

17 May 1942, Operation LB/Hansford, 17 Spitfires out, this meant all Spitfires shipped to Gibraltar to 17 May, plus the one that landed back on Wasp and transferred to Gibraltar, had been sent to Malta.

 

Gibraltar Spitfires in and out late May to end July 1942.

Arrive 27 May, 32 on Empire Conrad
Depart 2 June, Operation Style/? 31 on HMS Eagle, 31 flown off on 3rd, 27 arrived at Malta.  
So one left behind.
Arrive 2 June, 32 on Hopetarn
Depart 8 June, Operation Salient/Maintop 32 on HMS Eagle, all 32 flown off on the 9th, all arrived at Malta.
Still one left behind.
Arrive 25 June Convoy OG.85, Empire Shackleton with 18, Guido with 12, Lublin with 2, total 32.
Depart 14 July, Operation Pinpoint/Colima 32 on HMS Eagle, flying off all 32 on 17 July, 31 arrived at Malta.
Still one left behind.
Arrive 14 July, Convoy OG.86, Empire Darwin 22, Empire Kestrel 4, Empire Tern 6, total 32. EP194 was not sent until 16 August (it crashed taking off from HMS Furious).  EP195 was reported to be still at Gibraltar on 31 December 1942.
Depart 20 July, Operation Insect/Knapsack 31 on HMS Eagle flying off all 31 on 21 July, 30 arrived at Malta.  Malta The Spitfire Year says 32 were sent but one was damaged and did not take off, if correct EP194 or EP195?
So 2 still at Gibraltar, EP194 and EP195.  

 

Amended serial lists,

Spitfire Serials, "Style", BR198, BR230, BR231, BR232, BR246, BR254, BR295, BR305, BR308*, BR311, BR312, BR313*, BR315, BR316, BR317, BR320, BR321, BR322*, BR355, BR356, BR357, BR358*, BR359, BR360, BR362, BR363, BR364, BR377, BR380, BR381, BR383 and BR384, *Shot down on flight to Malta.  BR232 and BR295 were part of this operation, one aircraft not sent until a later operation.

 

Spitfire Serials, "Salient", AB464, AB465, BP860, BP861, BP867, BP868, BP869, BR233, BR323, BR324, BR325, BR327, BR328, BR365, BR366, BR367, BR368, BR379, BR382, BR385, BR387, BR388, BR459, BR460, BR461, BR463, BR464, BR465, BR562, BR564, BR565 and BR566.  One of these aircraft or one from Operation Style not sent until a later operation.

 

Spitfire Serials, "Pinpoint", AB520, AB531, AB532, AR464, AR489, BR373, BR374, BR375, BR376, EN829, EN954, EN955, EN968, EN972, EN973, EN976, EN978, EN979, EN980, EP117 (crashed on take off), EP122, EP131, EP132, EP135, EP136, EP137, EP138, EP139, EP140, EP190, EP196 and EP200. One of these aircraft or one from Operation Style or Salient not sent until a later operation.

 

Spitfire Serials, "Insect",  AB377, AB526, AB536, BR378 (lost on take off, in Spitfire Year as EP378), EP187, EP189, EP197, EP201, EP203, EP205, EP207, EP209, EP255, EP257, EP259, EP260, EP290, EP297, EP305, EP306, EP313, EP316, EP330,  EP331, EP336, EP338, EP339, EP341, EP343 and EP344.  Plus one serial listed under Operations, Style, Salient or Pinpoint.

Edited by Geoffrey Sinclair
Move asterix from BR355 to BR358.
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  • 1 month later...
On 07/03/2021 at 06:59, Geoffrey Sinclair said:

The transfer of Spitfire fighters from Malta to Egypt.
 
https://maltagc70.wordpress.com/category/1942/june-1942/ 23 June 1942, departures One Beaufort, one Beaufighter, nine Spitfires, seven Wellingtons to LG 224 [Cairo West]; two Wellingtons to Shallufa; one Lodestar to Heliopolis.  Malta the Spitfire Year by Shores et. al. reports 8 Spitfires from A flight 601 squadron, with a Beaufighter as navigation escort departed 23 June 1942 and 601 records note the arrival of 4 pilots that day.  Shores says B flight departed by end of month.    Neither the web site nor the book report further Spitfire departures in June.  601 squadron records do not seem to note when the B flight pilots arrived.  It is interesting that a ferry flight to Egypt as long or longer than the flights from the carriers to Malta goes unremarked everywhere, compare that with all the details on the ferry flights to Malta.

 

Using the 601 squadron record of events for July 1942 the following 8 serials of Spitfires reported on Malta are mentioned,
BR136, Arrived on operation Bowery 9 May
BR175, Arrived on operation LB 19 May
BR192, Arrived on operation Calendar 20 April
BR232, Arrived on operation Style 3 June
BR325, Arrived on operation Salient 9 June
BR363, Arrived on operation Style 3 June
BR384, Arrived on operation Style 3 June
BR459, Arrived on operation Style 3 June

 

Shores at al. report 8 Spitfires sent from Malta to Egypt, which agrees with the above list, the Malta website says 9, one of which could be a PR Spitfire, or possibly it could be BP977, Arrived on operation Salient 8 June, 601S FACB 26-6-42 Middle East 1-7-42 NWAfricanAF 1-11-43

I'm wary of getting too interested in Malta Spitfires as I can already see how much time could be spent on it! But here goes, just on the transfer of 601 Squadron.

 

The ORB for 23 June says "S/Ldr Bisdee DFC and 8 pilots" had arrived at Aboukir from Malta though it does not says how many planes.  Michael le Bas is quoted in Alfred Price's book as flying "one of 8 Spitfires".

 

Of the 8 quoted I think BR459 is operation Salient rather than Style. Your proposed BP977 does fly with 601 in Egypt but not until 5 August, presumably meaning it needed to be repaired after the accident on 26 June.  So 9 Spitfires are recorded on Malta and also with 601 in Egypt.

 

In Alfred Price's "Spitfire A Documentary History",  Le Bas confirms the first stage of the flight from Malta to LG07 near Mersa Matruh as 800 miles, for which they used the 90 gallon tank, before staging on to Aboukir.  Price says no more Spitfires were exported from Malta to Egypt, and the Battle of Mersa Matruh started on the 26th and was all over by the 29th which prevented any further flights.

 

Brian Cull lists 10 Spitfires, 4 of which match the list above: BR136, BR175, BR192, and BR232.   Of the other six, I think two are exports to Takoradi (BP983 and BR114), two are probably exports to Takoradi (BR134 and BR135) and the remaining two are probably lost in Malta but the Movement cards look odd:

 

BR133        FF 3-4-42 8MU 4-4-42 RAF Abbotsinch 26-4-42 Malta 8-6-42 FACE 10-5-43 SOC FH8.20 NAfricanASC 31-10-43 SOC 8-3-44
BR344        FF 16-4-42 6MU 18-4-42 RAF Renfrew 28-4-42 Malta 8-6-42 ? SOC 17-5-42
 

BR133 is SOC twice; BR344 is SOC in May following the accident in Malta that killed Sgt Frank Stanley Howard (777674) who died of wounds on 20-5-42.

 

Regarding the number of pilots that made the journey, using the ORBs and Brian Cull's Spitfires over Malta I can identify 26 pilots in total, first flying Egypt in the period between 1 and 13 July.

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5 minutes ago, M20gull said:

The ORB for 23 June says "S/Ldr Bisdee DFC and 8 pilots"

 

I would interpret that to mean a total of 9- but I would then look for corroboration.  This is not arguing with your conclusions (or work), just an observation. 

 

I fully appreciate your wariness- I've had the same reaction!

 

bob

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We know the transfer of A flight of 610 squadron from Malta to Egypt used a Beaufighter for navigation.  The Beaufighter could have been carrying pilots as passengers, see for example on the ADF serials website the accidents for A8-113 and A19-95 both list 5 passengers

 

Correct about BR459 being on Salient, it was listed correctly under those operations but incorrectly in the list of flew to Egypt.

2 hours ago, M20gull said:

Brian Cull lists 10 Spitfires, 4 of which match the list above: BR136, BR175, BR192, and BR232.

 

To be clear, Brian Cull lists the 10 Spitfires where, when and with whom?

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