Operation Rose (i)

This was the British landing of two reinforced infantry companies of Brigadier G. T. Senescall’s South African 7th Motorised Brigade at Tuléar on the south-west coast of Madagascar (29 September 1942).

The ships of Force 'M' appeared off the port early in the morning of this day, but as the local commander accepted an ultimatum transmitted by radio, the ships did not bombard. The landing was made by one company of the Pretoria Regiment and a detachment of Royal Marines. Within one hour, these had taken the radio station, and within two hours had occupied the town and barracks, taking prisoner one officer and 34 other ranks of the Vichy French forces. No other troops were found in the neighbourhood.

The British and South African force then moved to the north-east along the road toward Ilhosy, where it linked with the leading elements of Brigadier F. W. Festing’s British 29th Brigade Group, advancing to the south from Tananarive, just after the surrender of the island’s Vichy French governor on 6 November.

The Vichy French merchant vessel Maréchal Gallíeni had departed the port on 20 September and was intercepted on 23 September by the destroyer Nizam after being sighted by an aeroplane of the South African Air Force. Taken about 150 miles (240 km) off Lourenço Marques, the capital of Portuguese East Africa, the ship was taken to Durban, where she was requisitioned by the South African government. On 29 September, while patrolling off Lourenço Marques, Nizam intercepted another Vichy French merchant vessel, Amiral Pierre (the Greek Yiannis seized by the Vichy French in Madagascar), after this ship had also been sighted by a South African aeroplane: the crew scuttled their ship after first sighting and she sank on the morning of 30 September.

The cruiser minelayer Manxman reconnoitred Fort Dauphin at the break of day on 29 September and landed a naval party after it had been found that the civilian officials were friendly. The ship departed later on the same day after re-embarking the landing party.