I am curious as to what happened to the gold stored on the island of Martinique by the French during WW2, I know that the French controlling the island switched sides a few times, and that there were blockades on the island by the Americans and the British.

Also, that the British and Americans 'used' the gold stored on Martinique on credit to help support the war effort, as long as they controlled the blockade, the gold was as good as theirs. but when the war was over, or during the war - at any time, was it not necessary for them to eventually pay on their debts either using the gold or otherwise?

But what happened to the gold there? I can't find any mention of it.

reference: wiki link. but some of the information comes from reading this book (Man Called Intrepid).

  • 2
    Interesting question: Could you please add a link to French gold stored at Martinique to set up the context.
    – Drux
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 11:39
  • Thx for adding the links. BTW, here is some relevant information (of uncertain provenance, though).
    – Drux
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 11:57
  • I wrote a book about the French gold stored on matrinique during WWII. I researched the book at navy archives in D.C and on Martinique itself. I call it THE PARADISE WAR. I haven't submitted for publication yet. fascinating story.
    – user8746
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 20:31

3 Answers 3


Thanks to @Drux I think I have an answer from the page he posted in the comments.

From the page:

1943 July 14 Ambassador Henri Hoppenot arrives in Fort de France to assume control of the Antilles for the Committee of National Liberation. Admiral Robert leaves for Vichy by way of Puerto Rico. The Free French take control of the Bank of France gold reserves held in Martinique and the Caribbean fleet.

But I am still uncertain as to the final destination of this gold, so I am leaving the question open for the time being.

  • 1
    If the Free French controlled it, then it would be reasonable to assume (in the absence of any information to the contrary) that it went back into French Government control when that government was re-established shortly after the Normandy invasion (August 1944)
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 18:57

I believe that the 286 tons Bank of France gold was originally destined for safekeeping in Halifax but was diverted to Vichy-controlled Martinique aboard French cruiser EMILE BERTIN after France surrendered in June, 1940, and was stored in Fort Desaix.

In 1943, when the Free French took over with the aid of the U.S., I understand it had shrunk to 182 tons. Some of it may have been shipped out on voyages of the BARFLEUR to be exchanged for food and fuel during the Vichy years and some may have left with the SURCOUF when she departed in May 1942 to be escorted back to France by U-69. Unfortunately, she was sunk shortly after departure by an American patrol plane from St. Lucia.

  • 1
    wow, this information is awesome, do you have a source for this? or multiple sources? thanks!
    – Inbar Rose
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 7:53
  • 1
    +1 as soon as you'll add source. (If possible, include latitude/longitude of sunken SURCOUF bounty, please :)
    – Drux
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 16:55

My grandfather found the gold in train cars with copy paper on top, 11 or 12 total. Not sure exactly how many. But he told his commander it was 2 miles out, in cars labeled copy paper. He was kept in the brig for two weeks while every bar was counted. William McLaughlin is my grand father. Look it up. Let me know what you find. I have never herd of it only from grandpa. Dan Thompson is my name.

  • Wow, how exciting! What are the odds. Any idea what the commander's name was? Or when it was found or where?
    – Inbar Rose
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 14:27

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