Guardians from the Rock


Gibraltar’s unique position at a strategic crossroads made it ideal to counter the Axis submarine threat in the western Mediterranean. Andrew Thomas details the efforts of the Rock’s resident U-boat hunters

Sub-hunter beneath the Rock. This 202 Squadron Catalina Mk.I, AH562/AX-D damaged the U-322

On the outbreak of World War Two, the Maltabased 202 Squadron received orders to move to Gibraltar. By September 10, 1939, it was established under Wing Commander E ABlake with six Saro London Mk.II biplane flying boats, ready to form a permanent presence as guardians of the vital straits that were the entrance to the Mediterranean.

Its headquarters was on the North Mole, while the aircraft were moored in the harbour and at the Gun Wharf. The first patrol was flown the next day by London K9683, which was responding to reports of a German ship. The main task at this time was locating German shipping heading for neutral Spain.

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