Letter: Make the honour fit the service

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Sir: In 1943 I became a liaison officer in Jibuti, when it rallied to the Free French. Previously, like almost all French colonies, it had accepted the Vichy regime.

Next door to it was Ethiopia and when the Italian troops there had been driven out by the British, so that they became next door to him, the British consul in Jibuti secretly sent information to the British next door. Eventually the Vichy French authorities discovered this, arrested the consul and sentenced him to death.

They then told him he would be pardoned if he gave them the names of his collaborators, which he refused to do. They then offered him a pardon for something less than this, but he refused to do anything contrary to British interests. When, as presently happened, Jibuti was liberated and the consul's activities became known I thought he would get a George Medal. Instead he got an OBE. I thought it an insult.

Yours faithfully,


Northwood, Middlesex

9 March