Companions of the Liberation
Clairac, Monday 22 February 2021
Launch of the memorial and educational project
Honor to the 5 Companions of the Liberation
“Honor to the 5 Companions of the Liberation of Lot-&-Garonne” is an original and federative initiative carried by four communes of Lot-et-Garonne having in common to have seen the birth of the five Companions of the Liberation on their territory (two of them in Clairac, a rare statistic). These men were recognized for their bravery during World War II by their admission to this prestigious fighting order, made up of only 1,038 members, and which General de Gaulle, creator of the Liberation Cross, described as “an exceptional knighthood created at the most serious moment in French history.”
Thus, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Order and while the last of the Companions of the Liberation still alive, Mr. Hubert Germain, is more than 100 years old, the 4 communes of our department have joined forces to organize a quality memorial and educational event. This activity, scheduled on Friday afternoon, November 12, 2021 in Clairac, will place at its heart the youth of these four communes with nearly 150 children and youth, actors and participants in an educational project honoring the five emblematic figures of our department: Jean Cadéac d'Arbaud (Agen), Pierre Delsol, (Clairac), Louis Godefroy (Barbaste), Henri Labit (Mézin), Eugène Reilhac (Clairac). (see the aappendices)
During this half-day, placed under the presidency of high national authorities (expected : Mrs. Geneviève Darrieusecq, Minister Delegate for Veterans, General Baptiste, National Delegate of the Order of the Liberation) and our department (prefect, senators and deputies, president of the Departmental Council, mayors, elected officials and presidents of associations), will follow one another, a presentation by schoolchildren of the Companions of the department, a ceremony at the war memorial, the unveiling of two plaques (to the Companions of Lot-&-Garonne and the naming of the street Pierre-Delsol, made the 9th Companion in 1941), an exhibition of materials and equipment of the Second World War period, and finally a final snack gathering nearly 150 schoolchildren and the authorities, in the village hall.
So, an event mixing duty of memory and educational project, making our youth aware of exceptional figures, enthusiastic partners - locally and nationally - good anticipation, a project duplicable in other departments and regions, the Lot-&-Garonne pioneer and precursor!
The five Companions of the Liberation of Lot-&-Garonne
To understand and perceive the diversity of the profiles of the 5 Companions of the Liberation, their course as their exemplary heroism, here is some information. Their detailed files can be consulted on the web site of the Order of the Liberation.
Graduated from the Naval School in 1939.
Relayed in Free France in 1941 in Cairo, fought at sea and on land, in North Africa, Provence and Alsace within the 1st Regiment of Marine Riflemen. Civilian, he will be the general manager of the airline company UTA.
Officer of the internal resistance.
Franc-tireur et partisan français (FTPF).
Director of the Special Organization (OS), commanded harassment operations by the FTPF in the South. His biography speaks for itself: his action cost the enemy 3,000 men killed and 7,000 prisoners!
Non-commissioned officer of the Colonial Infantry.
Rally the British and then Free France in Palestine, from June 1940. Fought in the Marine Infantry Battalion in Libya (Bir-Hakeim), Tunisia, (Mareth Line), Italy (Girofano), Provence (Cavalaire).
He was made “9th Compagnon” on March 7, 1941 and decorated by General de Gaulle himself.
Officer of the Air Force.
Rally the Free France in the first (July 1940), hero of the Free Air Forces, killed in air combat on March 14, 1943 at the head of the air group Île-de-France. The day before his 23rd birthday!
Air Force officer and intelligence agent of the Free France (BCRA).
Allied also among the first (September 1940), parachuted into the Landes on a secret mission, he died heroically on May 3, 1942 in Langon, hooked by the Germans while crossing the demarcation line. He was 22 years old!