Tuesday 14 March 2023

Official Letter from Lieutenant Commander E.O.A. Makinde to Captain R.J. Rawe

Half a century ago today.

An official letter from my Father, the then Lieutenant Commander Emmanuel Makinde, to retired Navy Captain James Rawe, while he was serving as the Deputy-Defence Adviser to the Nigerian High Commission in London.

Captain Rawe, who had been the Commander of the naval base in Apapa up to the period just before the end of the Nigerian Civil War, was being invited to Nigeria by the navy to embark on a short trip which took him to Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar.

The letter was written one month before my Father’s 30 month-stint as the naval attache to the United Kingdom came to an end.

Source of letter: Archive of Captain James Rawe.


Captain Rawe’s official posting before his retirement from the Nigerian Navy was as Principal Staff Officer and Commanding Officer of the Naval Base, Apapa.

James Rawe:

. was a navigator, hydrographer, combatant, and staff officer

. was the first person, Nigerian or British, to sign up for the envisaged Nigerian Naval Force

. was a World War 2 veteran who as a midshipman of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) participated in the Normandy Landings.

. was the author of Naval Operation (Order No.1) 1967 and subsequent operational orders during which the Nigerian Navy made amphibious assaults on Biafran-held territory at Bonny (July 1967), Sapele, Warri and Koko (September 1967), Calabar (October 1967) and Oron (March 1968). Also, in conjunction with Rear Admiral Joseph Wey, he formulated an overall naval strategy during the Nigerian Civil War.

. was awarded many medals for his service to the Nigerian Navy between 1956 and 1969 including the General Service Medal, the National Service Medal, the Defence Service Medal, the Tenth Anniversary of the Republic Medal, the Independence Medal, and the Forces Service Star Medal. His British OBE (military division) medal was given in relation to his services in Nigeria.

. was awarded the Legion d'honneur and other medals for his service during World War 2.

Captain Reuben James Rawe: Veteran of the Normandy Landings and Nigerian Naval Pioneer 

My Father's Naval Career

© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

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