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Leon Gautier, Commandeur Legion d'Honneur

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by GRW, Jul 3, 2023.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    "The last surviving member of a French commando unit that took part in the Normandy landings during World War Two has died at the age of 100.
    Léon Gautier served with the Fusiliers Marins Commando - the only unit of Free French troops to go ashore during D-Day on 6 June 1944.
    Mr Gautier later called war a "misery" that "ends with widows and orphans".
    French President Emmanuel Macron described Mr Gautier and his comrades as "heroes of the Liberation".
    "We will not forget him," Mr Macron wrote on Twitter.
    Regional Mayor Romain Bail described Mr Gautier as "a local hero whom everybody knew" and who was "an ardent defender of freedom".
    Mr Gautier was born in Rennes, in France's north-western Brittany region, and enlisted in the French navy as a teenager soon after World War Two began, as he was too young to enter the army.
    He escaped to Britain in 1940 before Adolf Hitler's forces swept through much of western Europe, including France.
    In London, Mr Gautier joined the Free France movement, which maintained a government-in-exile and military that coordinated with the Allies against Nazi Germany.
    He fought in Congo, Syria and Lebanon, before joining a unit of marine riflemen known as the Kieffer commandos, which trained in the Scottish Highlands.
    During the Battle for Normandy, more than half of his unit of 177 Free French were killed."
  2. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

    Dec 5, 2010
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