Ratomir Milikić, PhD
Institute for Contemporary History
Belgrade, Republic of Serbia



God. XLI, 1/2023, pp. 83–98



During the April war, when German, Italian, Hungarian and Bulgarian thrusts into the territory of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941 drove the country into the World War II, the British Embassy, part of the consular network and other British nationals in the Kingdom were evacuated. The evacuation went well at first, but as war operations gathered momentum, making continuous and systemized resistance impossible, the process was scaled down to a quick pull-out to the Bay of Boka (Bokokotorski zaliv, also known as The Bay of Kotor) on the south-eastern Adriatic coast. Even though the Royal Yugoslav Navy sent a few vessels to help the Allies, the British hoped for an independent evacuation. For that purpose, several British seaplanes were flown promptly into the Bay of Boka, but most of the British evacuees, as well as diplomats from other Allied nations, led by the British ambassador to Yugoslavia Ronald Campbell, stayed on shore. They were expecting a British destroyer to sail into the bay, but it never did. A bold, nearly adventuresome evacuation effort was attempted by HMS Regent, a British Royal Navy submarine, which entered the bay days after Italy had occupied the Yugoslav coastline. Even though the Italians started peaceful negotiations with HMS Regent’s crew, German bombers attacked the submarine, forcing Regent to abort the mission. The British nationals and other diplomatic staff from Allied nations were grouped into convoys organised by the Government of Italy, travelling through Albania and Italy to Spain, officially neutral during the war. Those captured by German troops faced a different fate.


KEYWORDS: World War II, Diplomacy, Evacuation, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Regent submarine, Sir Ronald Campbell



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