Repatriation of French Navy Troops November 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Osborne2, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    WO166/1220 Western Command West Lancashire District War Diary makes this intriguing entry:
    upload_2017-8-13_16-19-12.png

    Someone with more specialised knowledge than I might be able to say how they managed to get home and land on French soil. Other diary entries from other parts of Western Command seem to show these men had been a problem to WC since June.

    An edited thought - did they go to Vichy France North Africa or Toulon?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    As you correctly surmise, repatriation to the occupied Channel or Biscay ports was problematic. The Cabinet minutes CAB 65/8/7 & CAB 65/8/19 address the initial concerns.

    S.S. Meknes was an early tragic attempt at repatriation. She was sunk by an E-boat shortly after leaving Southampton on 24/7/40 bound for Marseilles with almost 1,300 officers and men aboard, with nearly 400 lost. It was reported in Parliament that “she was fully illuminated and had her navigation lights burning” with her non-belligerent status being obvious. While the war diary of the German Naval Staff Operations Division acknowledges that she was carrying lights it states also that “neither the German Government nor the Armistice Commission were informed”.

    Two further ships were dispatched by the Vichy government from Toulon to repatriate a further 2,600 in August, these may be the hospital ships mentioned in COS (40) 757 [from CAB 80/19] attached which sums up the situation in September. The Chiefs of Staff approved the Vichy proposal of diverting French ships returning from USA to Britain to collect the men, which presumably accounts for the 7,000+ men returned in November.
     

    Attached Files:

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  3. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

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  4. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you Orwell and Richelieu. When I find the original entry in the Western Command files (I can't remember where it is) mentioning the difficulties they had with the French sailors I will post it. I think they were moved out of Liverpool and were sent to Oulton Park Cheshire, but I should be able to find that reference too.
     
  5. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    Background on Western Command and the Royal Navy accommodation of French Sailors.
    upload_2017-8-14_14-51-38.png
    This covers quite a long time and yet it is under one date. I have not worked that one out, for a war diary monthly return had to be done.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    The Meknes survivors were landed at Weymouth.
    Osborne2, does that command report start before 17 June? If so I would much appreciate a copy.
    Roy
     
  7. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    I do not have a full copy of the WL Area War Diary 1940.I have a few pages only. I am sorry if I raised your hopes.
    upload_2017-8-14_17-52-7.png
    upload_2017-8-14_17-53-10.png upload_2017-8-14_17-55-18.png
     
  8. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Many thanks, every little helps.
    Roy
     
  9. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    Ahhh! You are welcome. Sponsored by Tesco's I see.
     
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  10. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Don't even shop there, must be their subliminal advertising!
     

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