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OPERATION COLLAR BRINGS SUPPLIES THROUGH SHORT SEA ROUTE TO MALTA
Malta’s latest supply convoy has been sent through the hostile waters of the western Mediterranean, despite the threat of enemy attack. Until recently the route has been deemed too dangerous for all but the most urgent of supplies, and convoys have been taking the long sea route to the Island, via the Cape of Good Hope and Alexandria. However, the balance of sea power in the Mediterranean has swung towards the Allied Navies, following the recent decisive attack on Italian fleet in Taranto harbour
Two merchant ships for Malta, SS Clan Forbes and SS Clan Fraser, sailed from the UK two weeks ago in fast convoy with SS New Zealand Star which is bound for Suda Bay. Passing through the Straits of Gibraltar late yesterday they were joined by the cruisers HMS Manchester and Southampton carrying 1370 Royal Air Force technicians for Malta who had been brought out in Franconia to Gibraltar. Escort for the convoy through the Mediterranean is made up of destroyers Duncan, Hotspur and Vidette, and corvettes Gloxinia, Hyacinth, Peony and Salvia.
To avoid the threat of air attack from Sicily, the convoy is following a route close to the coast of Algeria which currently remains neutral. Force H of the Mediterranean Fleet is providing additional protection to the north, with the battlecruiser HMS Renown, aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, cruisers HMS Sheffield and Despatch, and nine destroyers. Other units of the Mediterranean Fleet including HMS Ramillies and cruisers HMS Newcastle, HMS Berwick and HMS Coventry are heading for a position south of Sardinia to meet the convoy and provide additional escort.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 26 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 27 NOVEMBER 1940
0635 hrs Air raid alert for a formation of enemy aircraft which approaches the Island but turns back some distance before reaching the coast.
Military casualties Sergeant Dennis Ashton, Pilot, 261 Squadron RAF.
Enemy casualties Tenente Giuseppe Becarria, 23o Gruppo Autonomo, pilot of Fiat CR42 fighter pilot.
OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 26 NOVEMBER 1940
ROYAL NAVY Convoy MW4 of four ships arrived and convoy ME4 of five ships sailed. Malaya entered harbour with an underwater defect which was quickly repaired. Newcastle sailed with Ramillies to the west.
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