Vice-Admiral Sir Dudley North was appointed Flag Officer Commanding North Atlantic Station, based on Gibraltar, on 1 November 1939, and had his appointment extended in May 1940, being promoted to full Admiral. The immediate cause of North’s early relief was the unmolested passage of three French cruisers and three large destroyers from Toulon to Dakar via the Strait of Gibraltar on 11 September 1940. At Gibraltar, Admiral North was in a key strategic position with regard to the French. North should have sent a signal from Gibraltar shortly after the Madrid message came in, repeating it, stating an intended course of action and asking for an early Admiralty response; that would have forced the Admiralty into prompt action, even if its own copy of the Madrid signal had failed to do so.