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Encyclopedia > Ordre de la Libération

The Ordre de la Libération ("Order of the Liberation") is a French honorific title awarded to heroes of the Liberation of France during the Second World War. It is an exceptional honour, the second highest after the Légion d'Honneur (Legion of Honour) and only a fixed number of people and military units have recieved it, exclusively for deeds accomplished during the Second World War. Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... French Legion of Honor The Légion dhonneur (in Legion of Honor (AmE) or Legion of Honour (ComE)) is an Order of Chivalry awarded by the President of France. ...



The Ordre de la Libération was institued on the 16th of November 1940 by General De Gaulle, in the order n° 7 signed in Brazzaville. The aim of the Order is to "reward people, or military or civilian communities, who will have distinguished themselves in the work of liberation France and her Empire". Portrait of General Charles de Gaulle. ...

No criteria of age, sex, rank, origin ot nationality are required, nor are there any requirements in the nature of the deeds, apart from their exceptional quality.

The Order has one single rank, awarding the title of Compagnon de la Libération ("Fellow of the Liberation"). General De Gaulle, founder of the Order, in the only Grand Maître ("Great Master") of the Order.

The last award was given on the 23rd of January 1946.


The medal of the Order is called Croix de la Libération ("Cross of the Liberation"). It is a bronze rectangular shield with a gladium carrying a cross of Lorraine (symbol of the Free French Forces), and with the Latin motto "PATRIAM SERVANDO VICTORIAM TULIT" on the reverse ("By serving the Fatherland, he/she aciheved Victory"). The ribbon has the colours black for moaning, and green for hope, symbolising the state of France in 1940. The first ribbons had diagonal black stripes, British-style; from August-September 1942 on, the subsequent versions had two vertical black stripes. Cross of Lorraine The Cross of Lorraine is a heraldic cross. ... The Free French Forces (Forces Françaises Libres in French) were French fighters who decided to go on fighting against Germany after the Fall of France and German occupation and to fight against Vichy France in World War II. General Charles de Gaulle was a member of the French Cabinet in...

The medal is usually given in the military ceremonial of the taking af arms. The relevant person would be called by his rank and name, and given the insignia while being told: Nous vous reconnaissons comme notre Compagnon pour la libération de la France dans l'honneur et par la Victoire ("We aknowledge you as our companion for the Liberation of France, in honour and by Victory").


1059 crosses have been awarded :

  • 1036 to people
  • 18 to units of the Army, Air Force or Navy
  • 5 to towns: Nantes, Grenoble, Paris, Vassieux-en-Vercors and l'Ile de Sein.

For a place in Brazil, see Nantes, Brazil City motto: Favet Neptunus eunti. ... View of Grenoble, 2002, with the snowy peaks of the Dauphiné Alps Location within France Grenoble ( Occitan: Grasanòbol) is a city and commune in south-east France, situated at the foot of the Alps, at the confluence of the Drac into the Isère River. ... The Eiffel Tower has become the symbol of Paris throughout the world. ...


Amongst the 1036 Fellows, 65 were killed before the end of the War (8th of May 1945), and 260 recieved the distinction postumously. Oftentimes, the Order was awarded to people according to their nom de guerre, which was a common practice in the Resistance.

Notably, six women were awarded the title :

  • Berty Albrecht, co-founder of the movement Combat, who died in the prison of Fresnes in 1943
  • Laure Diebold, liaison agent of the "Mithridate" network and secretary to Jean Moulin, deported.
  • Marie Hackin, died at sea in February 1941 on a mission
  • Marcelle Henry of the VIC escape network, died shortly after returning from deportation
  • Simone Michel-Lévy, of the Postmen Resistance, died while deported
  • Emilienne Moreau-Evrard, hero of the First World War, agent for the "Brutus" network and later membre of the Assemblée Consultative Provisoire

Also, nearly 10% of the recipiants of the Order were younger than 20 at the beginning of the war. The youngest Mathurin Henrio, was 14 when he was shot dead by Nazi officers for refusing to answer questions on the whereabouts of Maquisards. Jean Moulin (June 20, 1899–July 8, 1943) was a member of the French Resistance during World War II. Before the War Jean Moulin was born in Béziers, France, and enrolled in the French Army in 1918, but World War I came to an end before he could see any... See: Maquis (World War II) for the French anti-Nazi resistance Maquis (Spain) for the Spanish anti-Franco guerrilla acting after the Spanish Civil War. ...

The Order was re-opened twice and ponctuously to honour foreign personalities who helped liberate France:

The complete list of reciepiants in available [1] (http://www.ordredelaliberation.fr/fr_doc/liste_compagnons.pdf) The Right Honourable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill KG, OM, CH, PC, FRS (November 30, 1874 – January 24, 1965) was a British statesman, best known as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II. At various times an author, soldier, journalist, and politician, Churchill is generally regarded as... George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George) (December 14, 1895 - February 6, 1952) was the third British monarch of the House of Windsor, reigning from December 11, 1936 to February 6, 1952. ...

Military units

Military units as a whole have been awarded the title of Compagnong de la Libération.

On the 18th of June 1996, at Mont Valérien, the 17 military units which had been awarded the Cross of Liberation were given a green and black fourragere by President Jacques Chirac. Jacques René Chirac (born 29 November 1932) is a French politician. ...

Armée de Terre

  • Bataillon de Marche n°2
  • 13ème Demi-Brigade de Légion Etrangère
  • Bataillon d'Infanterie de Marine et du Pacifique
  • Régiment de Marche du Tchad
  • 2ème Régiment d'Infanterie Coloniale
  • 1er Régiment d'Artillerie Coloniale
  • 1/3ème Régiment d'Artillerie Coloniale
  • 1er Régiment de Marche de Spahis Marocains
  • 501ème Régiment de chars de Combat


  • Sous-marin Rubis
  • Corvette Aconit
  • 1er Régiment de Fusiliers Marins

Armée de l'Air

  • 1ère Escadrille de Chasse
  • Régiment de Chasse Normandie-Niemen
  • 2ème Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes de l'Armée de l'Air
  • Groupe de Bombardement Lorraine
  • Groupe de Chasse Ile-de-France
  • Groupe de Chasse Alsace


  • Nantes : awarded on the 11th of November 1941

"heroical city which, since the crime of capitulation, has opposed a fierce resistance to any sort of collaboration with the enemy. Occupied by German troops and subject to the harshest sort of repression, has given to the French, by numerous individual and collective actions, a magnificiant example of courage and fidelity. By the blood of her martyre children, just shown to the whole World the French will for a national Liberation". For a place in Brazil, see Nantes, Brazil City motto: Favet Neptunus eunti. ...

  • Grenoble: awarded on the 4th of May 1944

"Heroical city at the vanguard of the French Resistance and of the combat for Liberation. Clothed in her pride, opposed a fierce fight at every instant to the Germans, despite the arrest and the massacre of her best sons. Despising the interdictions given by the invaders and their accomplices, demonstrated on the 11th of November 1943 her certainty of Victory and her will to take part to it. On the 14th of Novembre and the 2nd of Decembre 1943, responded to the reprisals and the execution of the chiefs of the Resistance movements by the destruction of the ammunition depot, barracks, transformators and factories used by the ennemy. Have served the Fatherland well." View of Grenoble, 2002, with the snowy peaks of the Dauphiné Alps Location within France Grenoble ( Occitan: Grasanòbol) is a city and commune in south-east France, situated at the foot of the Alps, at the confluence of the Drac into the Isère River. ...

  • Paris awarded on the 24th of March 1945

" Capital faithfull to herself and to France, demonstrated, under the ennemy occupation and oppression, and in spite of the voices of abandon and treason, her unshakable resolution to fight and to win. By her courage in the presence of the invader and by the undominable energy with which she sustained the harshest of the trials, deserved to stay as the example for the Nation in its entirety. On the 19th of August, in cooperation with the Allied and French armies, has stood to drive away the ennmy through a series of glorious fights begun in the Cité and swiftly spread to all points of the city. In spite of heavy losses sustained by the French Force of the Interior standing within her, has liberated itself through her own efforts and, united with the vanguard of the French Army come to her rescue, has, on the 25th of August, reduced the German to his last stands and made him capitulate." The Eiffel Tower has become the symbol of Paris throughout the world. ...

  • Vassieux-en-Vercors: Awarded on the 4th of August 1945

"Village of the Vercors which, thank to the patriotism of her inhabitants, has totally sacrificed herself for the cause of the French Resistance in 1944. Main parachuting centre for the Allied air force on the plateau, has always helped by all means the military of the Maquis in the gathering of arms. Violently bombed on the 14th of July, attacked by 24 German gliders on the 21st and 22nd of July, had 72 of her inhabitants massacred and the entirety of her houses burned down by a mercyless ennemy. Martyr of her faith in the resurrecting of the Fatherland."

  • l'Ile de Sein: Awarded on the 1st of January 1946

"Confronted to the ennemy invasion, has refused to abandon the battlefield which it hers: the Sea. Has sent all of her children to the fight under the flag of Free France, hence becoming the example and sybol of all of Britany."

External Links

Official page of the Chancelery of the Order of the Liberation (http://www.ordredelaliberation.fr/)



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