Royal Navy evacuates British Somaliland

The italian Flag flies over the former British Governor's bomb damaged residence.

The British completed their evacuation of British Somaliland on 19th August 1940, following the invasion on 3rd August and the Battle of the Tug Argan Gap. There were some 250 British forces casualties and over 2,000 on the Italian side. It was the only campaign during the Second World war that the Italian fascist regime successfully concluded without the assistance of German armed forces.

Churchill put a brave face on the development, in public it was argued that British Somaliland was not strategically important and the troops were needed elsewhere. In private he suggested to the Commander in Chief, Middle East Command, General Archibald Wavell that, judging by the number of casualties, the British led forces might have put up more resistance. Wavell responded that a ‘butchers bill’ was not necessary to prove the value of a textbook tactical withdrawal.

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