WWII and the Gold Supply: Role of the USS Vincennes

Authored By: Edward Bayham

In the February 2021 issue of the Perf-Dispatch, John Marquardt described the role of the Royal Navy in
transferring British gold reserves to Canada for safe keeping during WW II. Did you know that the U.S.
Navy played a role as well?

Germany invaded France, Holland, and Belgium on May 10, 1940. 405 tons of French gold reserves were
removed to Halifax Canada on a French aircraft carrier and two fast cruisers. Another 212 tons of gold
were transported to Casablanca in French Morocco on May 28 and transferred to the U.S. Navy’s
armored cruiser U.S.S. Vincennes (CA-44) that brought it to New York. The illustrated cover documents the
ship’s return via the Azores.

In March 1941 the U.S.S. Vincennes called on Pernambuco, Brazil and continued on to Cape Town, South
Africa. It returned to New York City with ₤67.5 million in British gold bullion to pay for arms purchased
from the United States under the Lend Lease Act of March 1941.

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