chapter  11
17 Pages

23 June

The destroyer Beagle had remained at Bordeaux after the departure of the British Ambassador and Naval Attaché, to act as a communications link and also to support the demolitions party under Rear-Admiral Burges Watson. At the last minute, the British Admiralty had second thoughts and at 0039 signalled that the sabotage was not to be carried out without permission from the French authorities. Fortunately, the signal was not delayed, for the charges were already in position and final preparations were being made for firing. No reason for this eleventh-hour change of heart is recorded, but it is possible that the risk of the oil fuel depot and other stores falling into German hands was regarded as more acceptable than that of alienating French opinion just as final high-level appeals were being made.