British in the seizure of Douala in 1940?

Discussions on all aspects of France during the Inter-War era and Second World War.
Sid Guttridge
Posts: 6854
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

British in the seizure of Douala in 1940?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 04 May 2018 11:26

Hi Guys,

An internet article on the Nigeria Marine Department has the following:

"When the French Government collapsed in 1940 and a collaborationist government was set-up in the town of Vichy under the control of Marshal Petain, the underground resistance movement under the direction of General de Gaulle endeavoured to save the French colonies. One such colony was the French Cameroons adjacent to the British Cameroons which, by the way, was a province of Nigeria, under British mandate by the League of Nations. Before the 1914-18 war this mandated territory was a German colony. The Nigerian Marine assisted the de Gaulle movement by sending in a volunteer Senior Marine Officer in charge of a trained African raiding party to seize power in the capital town of Douala. He was dressed like a commando with a black face and camouflaged clothing and I think he used burnt cork to give himself a black face. However, he proceeded with his party through the creeks at night and accomplished a successful raid by taking the key positions by surprise. The intended raid was a very closely kept secret at the time. Once in control of all strategical establishments he was able to prevent the population 'going Vichy' on the side of Germany — the enemy. For this daring and successful exploit the Senior Marine Officer was awarded the Order of the British Empire. You can read an account of this operation by Ronald Bird entitled: Cutting out Expedition to Fernando Po."

I had never heard of any British Nigeria Marine participation ashore.

Is this true, or an error of memory?

Many thanks,


Return to “France 1919-1945”