Soldiers, Airmen, Spies, and Whisperers: The Gold Coast in World War II
by Nancy Lawler
Ohio University Press, 2002
Cloth: 978-0-8214-1430-9 | eISBN: 978-0-8214-4107-7

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
The fall of France in June 1940 left the Gold Coast surrounded by potentially hostile French colonies that had rejected de Gaulle's call to continue the fight, signaling instead their support for Marshall Pétain's pro-German Vichy regime.

In Soldiers, Airmen, Spies, and Whisperers, Nancy Lawler describes how the Gold Coast Regiment, denuded of battalions fighting in East Africa, was rapidly expanded at home to meet the threat of invasion. Professor Lawler also shows how the small airport at Takoradi was converted into a major Royal Air Force base and came to play a vital role in the supply of aircraft to the British Eighth Army in North Africa.

The importance of the Gold Coast to the Allied war effort necessitated the creation of elaborate propaganda and espionage networks, the activities of which ranged from rumor-mongering to smuggling and sabotage. The London-based Special Operations Executive moved into West Africa, where it worked closely with de Gaulle's Free French Intelligence. Lawler presents a vivid account of SOE's major triumph -- masterminding the migration of a substantial part of the Gyaman people from Vichy Côte d'Ivoire to the Gold Coast.

As she looks at the plethora of military and civil organizations involved in the war, Lawler throws light on decision making in Brazzaville, London, and Washington. This is an account of World War II in one colony, but the story is firmly set within the wider context of a world at war.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY
Nancy Ellen Lawler is Professor Emeritus of Economics and History at Oakton Community College. She is the author of Soldiers of Misfortune: Ivoirien Tirailleurs of World War II, and, with John Hunwick, co-editor of A Cloth of Many Colored Silks. Dr. Lawler currently lives in Wales and continues to work on West African history.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
    
    
    
    
    
    Chapter One: The Fall of France and the British West African Colonies
    
        I    Introduction
        II   A Summer of Uncertainty
        III  The Lines Harden: Oran and Its Aftermath
        IV   The War Office Takes Over
        V    De Gaulle, the AEF, and the AOF: Win One, Lose One
        VI   Invasion Scares: Perceiving the Threat
        VII The Gold Coast Regiment before World War II
        VIII The Build-up to War
    
    Chapter Two: The Takoradi Ferry and Defense on the Home Front
    
        I    Beginnings of the West African Reinforcement Route
        II   The West African Reinforcement Route: Fully Operational
        III  The West African Reinforcement Route: Enter the United States
        IV   New Blood: The Expansion of the Gold Coast Regiment
        V    The Home Guard
        VI   Invasion and Counter-invasion: Fears
    
    Chapter Three: The Special Operations Executive in West Africa:
    The Franck Mission
    
        I    Economic Warfare and the Special Operations Executive
        II   Eyes on West Africa
    
    
    
    
    
       III  The Franck Mission and WAGON
       IV   The Franck Mission: The Gold Coast Section
       V    The Free French
    
    Chapter Four: With Friends Like These ... the SOE, the SIS, and the Army
    
       I    From the Franck Mission to Frawest
       II   Intelligence Gathering in the Gold Coast
       III  West Africa's Little War: Giffard and the SIS
             vs Governors' Conference and the SOE
        IV   Exit Wingate
        V    Enter Lumby
    
    Chapter Five: The Special Operations Executive at Work in the Gold Coast
    
        I    A Window on Wenchi
        II   Free French Operations
        III  Smuggling
        IV   To Fraternize or not to Fraternize
    
    Chapter Six: Propaganda: The Home Front and Beyond
    
        I    Spreading the Word: Wartime Broadcasting in the Gold Coast
        II   Information Bureaus and Cinema Vans
        III  Propaganda, the Free French, and the SOE
        IV   Whispering in the Dark
        V    Vichy Propaganda
        VI   The Spitfires Fund
        VII The Impact of the Propaganda Machine
    
    Chapter Seven: The Crossing of the Gyaman: Triumph or Embarrassment?
    
        I    One People, Two Colonies: The Gyaman of C6te d'Ivoire and Gold Coast
        II   The Gyaman under Vichy
        III The Crossings of the Gyaman
        IV   Meanwhile, Back in the C6te d'Ivoire...
        V    The Return of the Gyaman
    
    Chapter Eight: The Beginning of the End: The War Moves On
    
        I    Operation Torch: The AOF Deserts Vichy
        II   The Fate of Frawest
        III  The Fate of the Soldiers and Airmen
    
    
    
    
    Chapter Nine: Possible Futures
    
        I    Fantasies of War
        II   A First What-If: The SOE Triumphant
        III  A Second What-If: The Takoradi Ferry Disrupted
        IV   A Third What-If: Boisson between Axis and Allies
        V    A Fourth What-If: Dakar Falls to Free France in September 1940
    
    
    
    
    
    
    



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