Flight Sergeant David Abiodun Oguntoye

Flight Sergeant David Abiodun Oguntoye and Flight Sergeant Dulcie Ethel Adunola Oguntoye

When World War II broke out David Oguntoye hid in a ship and travelled to Britain to volunteer for the Royal Air Force.

He arrived in Britain in June 1942, and was selected to train as a navigator in Canada for four years. Unfortunately the time he was returning to Britain in 1946, the war had already ended, which meant he couldn’t be deployed on the battlefield.

Instead he was posted to Bicester Oxford as a welfare officer for the Caribbean airmen stationed there. In June of the same year a young beautiful white lady called Dulcie King, also serving in the Royal Air Force, was posted to the same station to serve as an education instructor.

Flight Sergeant David Abiodun Oguntoye
Photo Credit: RAF Museum

The two fell in love and began courting something that shocked the military. Interracial marriages were really resented in Britain, and to make it worse this was happening in the military. Her commanding officer summoned her and warned her about going out with a Black person.

READ ALSO: Biography of Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya: Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS)

Most of the officers disliked the fact that Dulcie had chosen a black boyfriend. Furthemore it was Ministry of Defence’s policy that interracial relationships should nor be allowed to thrive in the military. They even transferred her to another station in an attempt to break the relationship, but the love was too strong.

On one occasion a group of airmen tried to attack David, but Dulcie intervened to protect him. The couple who were now both holding the rank of Flight Sergeant, continued to be seen together, and in October 1946 they attended a dance at Royal Air Force Bicester.

To rub salt in the wound , for the first time they decided to hold each other in public as other airmen watched. “He sat on the arm of my chair with his arm ostentatiously around me. This, of course, was something we never normally did in public, but we intended to demonstrate unmistakably our relationship,” Dulcie recalled.

One month later the two decided to leave the Royal Air Force and got married immediately on 16 November 1946 despite the opposition from her parents. They both trained as lawyers in London before leaving for Nigeria in 1954 where they settled permanently. Because he was considered a chief by his tribe Flight Sergeant David Abiodun Oguntoye went on to marry five other wives, however, this did not in anyway affect their relationship. She was contented with being the first wife.

They went on to start a law firm together and in 1960, she denounced her British citizenship.

In 1964, David Oguntoye was selected as a Court President while Dulcie Oguntoye became first a Magistrate and, in 1976, a High Court Judge. She was the first woman on the Lagos State bench and the second female judge in Nigeria after Modupe Omo-Eboh.

As a family man, Chief Oguntoye was a model, strict and dedicated to family ideals. He was committed to both family and kinsmen. In his legal career, Chief Oguntoye bestrode the landscape like a colossus.

Dulcie Oguntoye

When David died in June 1997, Dulcie took charge as a ‘benevolent matriarch’ to her late husband’s family until her death in 2018.

Today, the profile of Justice Oguntoye and her husband, Chief D.O.A Oguntoye is proudly hung in the gallery of the British Royal Air force Museum in recognition of their service as significant war veterans. 

Their profile at the RAF Museum is titled ‘Love and Justice’. Prior to her marriage, she was Dulcie Ethel King, but her ingenious husband merged the meanings of the names ‘Dulcie’ and ‘Ethel’ into one name and added ‘Adunola’ to her names.

While Justice Oguntoye was in Lagos, she handled many prominent cases and one of the highlights of her career was in 1978 when she was appointed the Chairman of the Federal Government Special Tribunal on National Orthopedic Hospital.

She fearlessly discharged her duties and this attracted the admiration of the then head of state, General Olusegun Obasanjo who in recognition of her service to Nigeria awarded her national honour of Officer of the Federal Republic ‘OFR’ in 1979.

 Justice Oguntoye thus became the first woman judge to be awarded a national honour.   

In late 1978, and for personal reasons, she sought transfer to the newly created ‘old’ Oyo state. While in Oyo state, she served in Oyo, Ife, and Ibadan divisions of the High court of Oyo state.

Justice Dulcie Oguntoye finally retired from the bench in 1988. Mama Oguntoye is the Iyalode of Imesi-Ile, a chieftaincy title given to her in recognition of her love and sacrifice.

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