A student of military schools, he enlisted at the age of eighteen in the colonial artillery and prepared in Damascus for the entrance examination to the Military Artillery School of Poitiers, where he entered in 1936.
In 1938 he served in the Senegalese Tirailleurs Regiment du Tchad (RTST) and commanded an artillery section at Faya-Largeau.
On August 26, 1940, Chad, under the leadership of Governor Eboué and Colonel Marchand, joined General de Gaulle.
Lieutenant Roger Ceccaldi signed his commitment to the Free French Forces the same day, remaining assigned to the RTST. In February 1941, he took a very active part in the Koufra operations led by Colonel Leclerc in the Libyan desert. His only gun of 75 earned him the nickname "Gunner of Koufra" under which he is now known.
Then it is Fezzan and Libya where Colonel Leclerc sends him to study the "25 books" that the British must provide to Leclerc's troops. The Koenig Brigade did not yet have this material, he did an internship at the 4th Horse Royal Artillery (8th British Army). When his internship is over, he must return to Chad, but the commander of the 1st Artillery Regiment holds him back, saying: "We will most certainly be attacked tomorrow morning, I need people and I will keep you."
Thus Roger Ceccaldi took part from start to finish in the battle of Bir-Hakeim (May 27 - June 11, 1942) as an observer first and then as commander of two "25 pounds" recovered from a destroyed Hindu brigade. Its guns are mentioned 16 times in the march diary of the 1er RA in Bir-Hakeim.
Roger Ceccaldi was wounded in Bir-Hakeim on June 6, 1942, by a shrapnel in the leg. He does not participate in the exit of the position, not having been warned. The commander of 1er RA confessed later that he was unable to do so for radio security reasons. He is taken prisoner by the Germans.
Due to the number of German and Italian prisoners held by the Free French and in the face of threats from General de Gaulle and Winston Churchill to apply the same treatment to them, in the event of the execution of soldiers from Free France, Roger Ceccaldi, like his comrades, is recognized as a prisoner of war and transferred to the Sulmona camp in Abruzzo.
Roger Ceccaldi escapes with his companions Robert Saunal and William Tardrew on September 12, 1943. 83 days later, on December 4, 1943, thanks to an Italian volunteer guide, they manage to join a unit of New Zealand pontooners on the Sangro, to Archi. Evacuated to the rear, hospitalized and treated, they reach Naples. An English liberty ship commander unloads them at Bizerte; the station master, a Tunisian, offers them a train ticket to Tunis where the 1st Free French Division (1st DFL) is reorganizing 15 km to the south.
Unable to go to Morocco where the 2nd Armored Division of General Leclerc was formed, Roger Ceccaldi accepted the command of the Company of guns of the 2nd Brigade, offered to him by Colonel Garbay. He learns, by the first office of Algiers, that it is declared, on the testimony of an officer of Bir-Hakeim, "died on June 11, 1942" and that he was appointed captain on March 25, 1942.
He took part in the Italian campaign with the 1st DFL within General Juin's expeditionary force (in Garigliano in particular) from May 12 to June 15, 1944, at the head of a company of infantry guns.
Then, he landed in France with the B Army of General de Lattre and it was the triumphant rise to Toulon, Lyon, Belfort, the Vosges, Alsace. On the banks of the Ill, its guns face dangerous enemy counter-attacks.
Germany is within reach of arrows but the 1st DFL will not cross the Rhine. Roger Ceccaldi ended the war on the Alpine front on May 8, 1945. At rest in Cannes, his guns announced the end of the fighting. On June 18, 1945, his company marched on the Champs-Élysées where General de Gaulle presented him with the Cross of the Liberation.
He served four prestigious chefs today Marshals of France: Leclerc in Chad, Koenig in Libya, Juin in Italy, de Lattre in France. His name appears in the history of four regiments decorated with the Cross of the Liberation as well as on a gun from 155 to the 3rd RAMa.
Squadron leader in 1946, he served with the Toulouse General Staff (Infantry Group n ° 6).
Assigned to Ivory Coast, Roger Ceccaldi was then successively group commander in Indochina (GACAOF) where he received three citations, group commander in Germany (8th RAC). He then served at the General Staff of the Tananarive Subdivision then in Algeria at the 10th Parachute Division where, deputy to the corps commander, he commanded the Artillery with the rank of colonel.
Stripped from the army in 1962, he then worked in the private sector.
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