About Operation Bowery

Posted on: May 31st, 2010 at 9:23 am by

This post is dedicated to all the brave men and women who have sacrificed their freedom so that we could enjoy ours.  On this Memorial Day, we salute you.

Between 1940 and 1942, the Mediterranean island of Malta was the scene of intense fighting between the Royal Army and Axis forces.  Ultimately, the Britons were victorious, and the strategically significant island swiftly became instrumental in disrupting Axis supply lines to the North African theater of war.  Why bring this up?  Well, the Bowery fits into that history.

This image has been archived or removed.

[Spitfire Fighter via Spitfire Site]

During that period, thirty-five major United States convoys delivered supplies and reinforcements to the embattled Britons.  One such supply mission was dubbed Operation Bowery (May 9, 1942), and is considered a pivotal moment in the battle for Malta. We found the following description of the operation on the World Naval Ships forum:

My father, L. Joseph Morsheimer (Sgt. Pilot RAF) flew two MK Vc Spitfires off HMS Eagle to Malta for Operations Bowery 5-9-42 and Style 6-3-42. Dad passed away in 2000 and I am honoring him with a painting of Operation Bowery at sea shortly after launch. Operation Bowery was the most critical mission undertaken at the apex of the battle for the survival for Malta. PM Churchill asked Pres. Roosevelt for the loan of the carrier USS Wasp for two more missions, both of which Dad flew. One of Churchill’s most memorable quotes, “Who says a Wasp can’t sting twice” was cabled to Pres. Rosevelt.

The success of Operation Bowery followed by additional Spits from Operation Style turned the tide. Malta was not just critical as a part of the British Empire, it was a refueling station for bombers on their way to N. Africa, a listening post to gather intelligence and a means to disrupt shipping and supplies to Rommel.

Alas, we were unable to uncover why the operation was named for the Bowery.  Do you know?

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