Operation Hurry

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Operation Hurry
Part of Club Run of the Battle of the Mediterranean
Aircraft carrier HMS Argus in the later 1920s.jpg
HMS Argus in the late 1920s
Date31 July – 4 August 1940
Result British victory
 United Kingdom  Kingdom of Italy
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom James Somerville
United Kingdom Andrew Cunningham
Units involved
Force H Regia Aeronautica

Operation Hurry was the first British operation in a series that have come to be known as Club Runs. The goal of the operation was to fly twelve Hawker Hurricanes from HMS Argus to Malta, guided by two Blackburn Skuas.


On 11 June 1940, Italy began the Siege of Malta, the first step in their plan to gain control of the Mediterranean. Their plan was to bomb or starve Malta into submission, by attacking its ports, towns, cities, and Allied shipping supplying the island.[1] After over a month of bombardment, the troops on Malta were beginning to run low on supplies -including aircraft- to help fight off the attackers, and some doubt was expressed whether Malta was worth the supplies it required, and some even planned on letting Malta work on the few supplies it had left.[2] The decision was made, however, to reinforce substantially the island air defences.[3]


The troops were informed of their mission, and the mission began. Between 0800 and 0830 hours on 31 July 1940, Force H (including HMS Ark Royal) left Gibraltar, heading for Malta.[4][5] To hamper air resistance during the transportation, an air attack was planned on Cagliari, alongside Operation Spark, which was meant to distract the Italians by reporting a suspicious boat off the coast of Menorca.[4]

On the way to make the attack, Force H was attacked by two waves of enemy aircraft. The attacks, which took place on 1 August at around 1800 hours, took place northwest of the coast of the Gulf of Bougie. The attacks were successfully repelled. On 2 August, at around 0230 hours, nine torpedo bomber Reconnaissance aircraft armed with bombs, and three bombers with mines, took off from the Ark Royal, however, due to inclement weather, one plane crashed, losing its entire crew. This problem forced the pilots to wait until full daylight to take off, when the weather was better. The attack was fought off with considerable anti-aircraft fire, however, the pilots still managed to hit four of the hangars, and destroy or damage several aircraft. They also successfully laid three mines around the edge of the harbor. All but one aircraft returned from this mission, the sole loss being taken as prisoner after an emergency landing. Operation Spark was also reported as successful.[6]

After the operation, many of the forces of Force H, including HMS Hood, HMS Valiant, Ark Royal and HMS Resolution, left Force H to take part in the Battle of Dakar.[7] All of the aircraft reached Malta.[8]


  1. ^ Holland 2003, p. 417.
  2. ^ Shankland & Hunter 1961, p. 92.
  3. ^ Ireland 2003, p. 29.
  4. ^ a b Titterton 2002, p. 52.
  5. ^ Jones 2012.
  6. ^ Titterton 2002, pp. 52–53.
  7. ^ Smith 2008, p. 122.
  8. ^ Rickard 2014.


  • Holland, James (2003). Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege, 1940–1943. New York: Miramax Books. ISBN 978-1-4013-5186-1.
  • Ireland, Bernard (2003). War in the Mediterranean. Barnsley: Pen and Sword. ISBN 978-1-84415-047-2.
  • Jones, Ben (2012). The Fleet Air Arm in the Second World War. Ashgate. ISBN 978-1-4724-0422-0.
  • J., Rickard. "Operation Hurry, 1–4 August 1940". Military History Encyclopaedia on the Web. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  • Shankland, Peter & Hunter, Anthony (1961). Malta Convoy. London: Collins. OCLC 963442966.
  • Smith, Peter Charles (2008). The Great Ships: British Battleships in World War II. Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3514-8.
  • Titterton, G. A. (2002). The Royal Navy and the Mediterranean: September 1939 – October 1940. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-7146-5179-8.