OPERATION REFERENDUM

ANDY THOMAS DETAILS THE WORK OF A SMALL RAF DETACHMENT SUPPORTING A WEST AFRICAN REFERENDUM IN 1961

Pioneer CC.1 XL558 during an earlier detachment to Africa. ALL 230 SQUADRON RECORDS UNLESS NOTED

Nations deciding the future through a public vote is not a new idea. By the late 1950s Britain and France were shedding colonies in West Africa. French Cameroun gained independence on the first day of 1960 and British administered Nigeria was well on the way towards self-rule.

Sandwiched between Nigeria and French Cameroun was the tiny province of British Cameroons – with a double ‘o’ – and split into southern and northern elements. It was considered that this territory could not sustain itself so a United Nations (UN) referendum was planned for early 1961. The people were to be offered union with Nigeria, or with the former French Cameroun.

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