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« A dedicated life », episode 27: Words of Companions…

With an average age of 30 in 1940, the vast majority of the Companions of the Liberation were too young to have taken part in the First World War. However, like the rest of French society in the interwar period, they grew up with the deep scars left by the conflict, the bloodiest in history at the time, to varying degrees and in various ways.

We found it useful to hear the words of a few of these young – sometimes very young – people, who often enrolled as early as 1940 in order to fight for the liberation of France.

Henri Malin (1912-2003, tank officer)
“I set off, revolver in hand. Being taken prisoner without having fired a shot was just not on. I was all for continuing the fight, my father had been killed in ’14. On the eve of the armistice, I said: I want to go to England.”

Marius Guyot (1918-2006, mechanic and machine gunner)
“Personally, I was raised in a patriotic household. My father died in 1918. My mother had married a wounded veteran of ’14. Doing nothing while France was occupied: that was impossible.”

Daniel Cordier – Chancelor of honor of the Order of the Liberation (born in 1920, Free French, secretary to Jean Moulin)
“The anniversary of the armistice fell on a Monday [11 November 1940]. That earned us a day’s rest, an opportunity to connect with our parents in thought: most of our fathers fought in the Great War. The time spent in the mud of Old Dean, although it was safe, enabled us to understand what they endured. We admire them even more today than we did in our childhood.”



Henri Malin. © Musée de l’ordre de la Libération

Marius Guyot. © Musée de l’ordre de la Libération Daniel Cordier. © Ordre de la Libération

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