Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Mers el Kebir Memorial Bid

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by GRW, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made what he called “the most hateful decision, the most unnatural and painful in which I’ve ever been concerned” on July 3, 1940.
    He ordered the Royal Navy to sail to the port of Mers el Kebir in Algiers and order the French fleet there to surrender. If the French admiral refused, they were to open fire and destroy the fleet.
    During the month of June, Churchill’s British War Cabinet worked to resolve the issue diplomatically. The British were worried that the French fleet would fall into the hands of the Nazis and be used against the Allies.
    Assurances from the French that they would keep the ships from becoming German weapons did little to assuage the British fears. So Churchill was compelled to instigate the first military action between the two countries in 125 years.
    The French navy was the fourth largest in the world in 1940 falling in behind Britain, the US and Japan. They possessed seven battleships, nineteen cruisers, 71 destroyers, and 76 submarines.
    With the addition of these weapons to the German navy, they would present a threat that Britain would likely be unable to defeat...
    ..Now, a group is raising £100,000 ($130,000) to build a memorial in the port of Brest where many of the dead sailors had lived. They intend to unveil it next year.
    Jean-Aristide Brument, 75, is the chairman of the Association of Old Sailors and Families of the Victims of Mers el Kebir. He is calling on the British government to contribute to the memorial. He calls it a form of reparation for the deep wound caused by the attack."
    belasar likes this.
  2. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

    Mar 27, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Silesia Inferior
    The ultimatum:
    It is impossible for us, your comrades up to now, to allow your fine ships to fall into the power of the German enemy. We are determined to fight on until the end, and if we win, as we think we shall, we shall never forget that France was our Ally, that our interests are the same as hers, and that our common enemy is Germany. Should we conquer we solemnly declare that we shall restore the greatness and territory of France.

    For this purpose we must make sure that the best ships of the French Navy are not used against us by the common foe. In these circumstances, His Majesty’s Government have instructed me to demand that the French Fleet now at Mers el Kebir and Oran shall act in accordance with one of the following alternatives;

    (a) Sail with us and continue the fight until victory against the Germans.
    (b) Sail with reduced crews under our control to a British port. The reduced crews would be repatriated at the earliest moment.

    If either of these courses is adopted by you we will restore your ships to France at the conclusion of the war or pay full compensation if they are damaged meanwhile.

    (c) Alternatively if you feel bound to stipulate that your ships should not be used against the Germans unless they break the Armistice, then sail them with us with reduced crews to some French port in the West Indies — Martinique for instance — where they can be demilitarised to our satisfaction, or perhaps be entrusted to the United States and remain safe until the end of the war, the crews being repatriated.

    If you refuse these fair offers, I must with profound regret, require you to sink your ships within 6 hours.

    Finally, failing the above, I have the orders from His Majesty’s Government to use whatever force may be necessary to prevent your ships from falling into German hands.
    GRW likes this.

Share This Page