Operation Bowery

Spitfire Site

Click to enlarge image Scene from the deck of USS Wasp upon approach to the fly-off point for operation Bowery, on the morning of ...

Click to enlarge image

Scene from the deck of USS Wasp upon approach to the fly-off point for operation Bowery, on the morning of 9 May 1942. Another carrier in the background is HMS Eagle, also laden with Spitfires.

The aircraft shown here, BR344, was a Merlin 46-powered Mk. VC prop. An interesting feature is the wavy demarcation line between the upper camouflage and lower surfaces, and also the inscription “Guns loaded” chalked below the cockpit. The operational career of this aircraft on Malta lasted only 8 days – it was struck off charge on 17 May.

Operation Bovery was the first delivery of Spitfires Mk. V to Malta which was successful end-to-end. 64 Spitfires Mk. VC were launched during that mission and 62 of them arrived to the beleaguered island. Through carefully planned reception, all aircraft were immediately refuelled, rearmed and take off again within a few minutes of the landing and thereby avoid the incoming German air raid. With more Spitfires at its disposal, the Malta fighter force was able to effectively hit back at the enemy and it didn’t look back ever since.

More about carrier-borne Spitfires deliveries in the Mediterranean can be read in 1942: Defence of Malta [US Navy]

10 Comments | Add New

By Phil Hughes  |  2013-12-11 at 20:52  |  permalink

Hello, I can’t believe it. The spitfire photo above is my grandfather’s
plane. He was Sgt Frank Stanley Howard, 601 Squadron. As it says in the article, he was shot up and crash landed at Luqa on 17th May 1942 and unfortunately died of his injuries on 20th May, 4 months before my Mum was born, so she never knew him. If anyone has more info, please leave a comment.

Kind regards

Phil Hughes

By Fred Young  |  2015-07-20 at 14:35  |  permalink

Hello Phil,
I am living in Windhoek, Namibia. My parents in law are Ken and Daphne Howard, now both 84 years of age. Ken recently asked me to find out about a cousin of his, Frank Howard, who flew in WWII. I am a keen amateur military historian, and so far, the only Frank Howard I could trace is your grandfather. I will show this new info to Ken shortly and see if it rings any bells, but do you think there is a link here at all? Ken was born in Karibib, stayed in SWA all his life, practiced as a senior lawyer here and stills plays a great game of golf. During his national service he served in the Marines division of the SA Navy.

Fred Young

By Phil Hughes  |  2016-03-29 at 10:27  |  permalink

Hi Fred, So sorry in the delay replying to you, I hardly ever check up on this Forum.
Frank Stanley Howard, ( apparently he preferred to be Known as Stan) was born in Maffeking and I believe he attended Plumtree School. Is this the same man, please use my email supplied to make direct contact. If you have any further photos of him, my Mum would love them. He died 4 months before she was born.

Kind regards


By Kevin  |  2020-05-04 at 12:21  |  permalink

Dumb Liar.

By Kevin  |  2018-01-16 at 18:11  |  permalink

It isn’t.

By Kevin  |  2018-01-31 at 17:06  |  permalink

He’s a con artist Phillip.

By Kevin  |  2020-05-22 at 17:30  |  permalink

The above picture is of Pilot Officer S.A.Smith.

By Phil Hughes  |  2014-02-10 at 13:53  |  permalink

Hi, Spitfire BR344 was flown by my grandfather, Pilot sergeant Frank Stanley Howard of 601 Squadron. As it states above, he crash landed on 17th May after being badly shot up, just 8 days after this photo was taken and sadly died of his injuries on the 20th May. if anybody has any further information, I would be very pleased to receive it.


Phil Hughes

By Charles E. Mac Kay  |  2014-02-20 at 08:24  |  permalink

Operation Bowery started at King George V Dock Glasgow. The Spitfires were loaded from trailers from Abbotsinch, or towed from Renfrew for the carrier CV-7 USS Wasp. The first ones were rejected by the US Navy because of defective tanks. These were taken off. The balance of the Spitfires were loaded onto lighters at James Watt Dock Greenock and taken out to HMS Eagle.
Bowery was a complete success whereas the earlier mission Operation Calendar or Date was a failure. Operation Bowery was war winning

By Kevin  |  2017-07-16 at 15:15  |  permalink

Operation Calendar involved 601 and 603 squadrons.

Reply to Phil Hughes