No Royal Navy ships were sunk at Battle of Dakar

December 20, 2008

Dear Mr Gregory

I enjoyed reading your internet piece on the Battle of Dakar. I was on Isle de Goree last week, and took time to examine the defences there. The local information was scant, and I am still doing my researches. The main guns seemed to be naval-type pieces, maybe 12", with a claimed range of 40km. French made in 1906...for the Maginot line perhaps, and transferred post-German invasion?  Or purpose built for Dakar? 

But what intrigued me most was the claim that these guns had sunk a British warship. Not during the Battle of Dakar, if the reports I have read are correct. Another engagement? I shall continue to research. In the meantime, if you can shed any light, I'd be grateful to receive any information.

Jonathan Lingham
ex-Midshipman, RNR

Hello Jonathon,

Nice to hear from you, thank you for for your kind words, let me assure you that at the debacle that Dakar turned into, no Royal Navy ships were sunk, the Battleship HMS Resolution managed to collect a torpedo after not reading a warning signal which it requested to be checked and repeated, of course avoiding action was then too late, and Barham took her under tow, as we withdrew for the safety of Freetown.

Australia was twice hit by shells most likely from one of the French cruisers, but we had no casualities, also the RN destroyer Foresight was hit, the shell passing right through the ship, Dragon also collected a shell from the shore batteries.

Australia had her Walrus aircraft shot down by French aircraft for the loss of all of her crew members.

Enjoy your Christmas, and my best wishes for 2009.


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