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French Alain de BOISSIEU


French general, Free French, Compagnon de la Libération

Source :  André RIVIERE

Born: on July 05, 1914 in Chartres, France
Died: on April 05, 2006 in Clamart, France


Son of a French family coming from Forez and Lyon (de Boissieu), Alain de Boissieu was a pupil at École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr (French military academy) in 1936 and Saumur (French cavalry school) in 1938. He was a cavalry officer during World War II and, with horses and sabre, made a successful charge (one of the last in cavalry history) against German troops on June 11, 1940.

A prisoner of the Germans, he managed to escape to Russia in March 1941. But Stalin was, at this time, the ally of Hitler. So he was sent for a while to a Russian camp. Finally, after Germany attacked Russia mid-1941, he joined general Charles de Gaulle and the Free French forces (FFL) in London.

As a Free French, Alain de Boissieu was a membre of the military operations over Bayonne (Easter 1942) and Dieppe (Dieppe Raid, August 1942), in Madagascar and Djibouti with the FFL. He fought in the Battle of Normandy July 30, 1944 as an officer of the famous 2nd Armored Division (French: 2ème division blindée) of general Philippe Leclerc, and was wounded on August 12. He fought for the Liberation of Paris (August 25, 1944).

In 1946, Alain de Boissieu married Élisabeth de Gaulle, the daughter of general Charles de Gaulle.

He fought in Algeria (1956). On August 22, 1962, he was in the same car as his father-in-law during the terrorist attack of Petit-Clamart planned by the Organisation armée secrète, when he saved the life of Charles de Gaulle.

As a general, he commanded the French military academy of Saint-Cyr (École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr and of l'École militaire interarmes de Coëtquidan) (1964).

He was army chief of staff (in french, "chef d'État-major de l'Armée de Terre") (1971-1975).

Alain de Boissieu became Grand Chancelier de l'ordre de la Légion d'Honneur and Chancelier de l'Ordre National du Mérite (1975-1981) and Chancelier de l'Ordre de la Libération (2002-2006).

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See Also :

- Category World Wars & Contemporary Wars