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Cédile, Jean

Date of birth:
January 26th, 1908 (Pointe-à-Pitre, France)
Date of death:
February 13th, 1984 (Saint-Cloud, France)
French (1870-present, Republic)


Student reserve officer at Saint-Cyr in 1931, he continued his military service as a second lieutenant in the 24th Senegalese Tirailleurs Regiment (24th RTS) in Perpignan.

Jean Cédile was then assigned as an administrator in Cameroon. The war surprises him in Maroua, where he is head of subdivision in the Savannah region.

He took command of a company of skirmishers stationed in Edia.

He joined the Free French Forces when Cameroon rallied on August 27, 1940.

With his company, he was assigned in May 1941 to the 3rd Battalion of the Cameroon Tirailleurs Regiment in formation under the orders of Commander Gardet 70 kilometers from Yaoundé.

In February 1942, its training completed, the Battalion took the name of Marching Battalion No. 5 (BM 5) and reached the Middle East in Syria first, then in Lebanon and in Egypt where, in July 1942, the BM 5 is integrated into the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Free French Division.

With his unit, Jean Cédile took part in the campaign of Libya and Egypt and in particular in the battle of El Alamein in October 1942.

Jean Cédile then fought in Tunisia in May 1943 and is cited for having spent lavishly "with great courage and intelligence".

Captain, he was appointed chief of staff to René Pleven, commissioner for the Colonies of the French Committee for National Liberation (CFLN) in Algiers on July 1, 1943.

Jean Cédile joined Paris in August 1944 with the services of the Colonial Commission.

Appointed head of the French military mission in Southeast Asia, he joined Ceylon in March 1945.

Jean Cédile takes part in operations in Burma with the British Army and carries out various missions in China. Parachuted into Cochinchina on August 24, 1945, he was taken prisoner with his comrades by the Japanese and imprisoned in Saigon. He managed to escape a week later and took up the functions of Commissioner of the Republic and representative of France, pending the arrival of General Leclerc.

Jean Cédile ended the war with the rank of battalion commander.

Back in France in 1947, he was in charge of the management of the Agence de l'Indochine.

Commissioner of the Republic in Togo in 1948 then Secretary General of the Government of French Equatorial Africa in 1951, he was Director of the Cabinet of Bernard Cornut-Gentille, Minister of Overseas France in 1958. Director of the Territories of Outremer (TOM) at the French overseas departments and territories from 1958 to 1963, he then served at the French military ministry (1963-1967).

From 1960 to 1970, Jean Cédile was president of Cameroon's electric energy.

He was elected in 1976 to the Academy of Overseas Sciences.

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
January 22nd, 1946
l' Ordre de la Libération