French resistance fighters to be given honorary MBEs for WWII courage
Edgard Tupët-Thomé Pierre Simonet Daniel Bouyjou-Cordier Hubert Germain
Four French resistance fighters are to be awarded MBEs for their part in WWII.
Boris Johnson said the men – all aged between 98 and 100 – will receive the honour for “courage and sacrifice in defending us and the whole world from fascism”.
The awards will be presented later this year at a ceremony in France.
The recognition for the men comes as French President Emmanuel Macron visits London today (Thursday).
The visit is to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle’s stirring speech to his people to resist the German occupation.
His rallying call was broadcast on the BBC in June 1940.
He said: “I call upon all Frenchmen who want to remain free to listen to my voice and follow me.”
It was in the upstairs bar of the French House in Soho that De Gaulle penned “À tous les Français”.
However, a trip to the pub was not on the agenda for Mr Macron and Mr Johnson.
They will be in Downing Street to discuss the coronavirus crisis and other issues.
Mr Johnson said will raise easing travel between the UK and France.
There is a flypast of the Red Arrows and their French equivalent, La Patrouille de France.
Mr Johnson said: “Eighty years ago Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the French Resistance, arrived in London knowing that the values of freedom, tolerance and democracy that Britain and France shared were under threat.
“He pledged that we would stand together to defend those values and protect our citizens from those bent on destroying us.
“The four men we are honouring today symbolise the enduring depth and strength of the friendship between our two countries.
“They are heroes, and I am immensely proud that as a nation we are paying tribute to their courage and sacrifice in defending us and the whole world from fascism.
“The struggles we face today are different to those we confronted together 80 years ago.
“But I have no doubt that – working side by side – the UK and France will continue to rise to every new challenge and seize every opportunity that lies ahead.”
The men are:
- Edgard Tupët-Thomé was born on 19 April, 1920 in Bourg-la-Reine (Seine). He took part as a Sergeant in the attacks in Lorraine in September 1939 and then in Belgium in May 1940. His unit was part of the defending force during the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk and he went on to become a Lieutenant in the 4th Air Infantry Battalion, completing several parachute missions.
- Pierre Simonet was born on 27 October, 1921 in Hanoi. He was part of the Expeditionary Force whose mission was to rally French West Africa (AOF) to Free France in Dakar. Throughout the war he took part in various campaigns including in France and Italy. Second Lieutenant Simonet flew a total of 137 war missions in 250 flying hours and was awarded four commendations.
- Daniel Bouyjou-Cordier was born on 10 August 1920 in Bordeaux (Gironde). He enlisted with his comrades in the “Légion de Gaulle” on 28 June 1940. He was parachuted into France near Montluçon on July 26, 1942 as a radio operator. In March 1944, he was pursued by the Gestapo and escaped through the Pyrenees before travelling to England at the end of May 1944 and being appointed head of the Bureau of Intelligence and Action’s agent parachuting section.
- Hubert Germain was born on August 6, 1920 in Paris. He engaged in the Free French Forces from the outset and went on to serve in Egypt, Tunisia and Italy. He took part in the landing in Provence in August 1944 and in the liberation of Toulon, the Rhone Valley and Lyon. He then took part in the Vosges and Alsace campaigns and ended the war in the southern Alps.