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Chavanac, Albert

Date of birth:
October 19th, 1909 (Saint-Hilaire-Saint-Florent, France)
Date of death:
September 14th, 1972 (Rennes, France)
French (1870-present, Republic)


Incorporated in 1930, into the 28th Divisional Artillery Regiment, he attended EOR courses in Poitiers and was appointed second lieutenant in 1931.

The following year, he was forced to leave the army for health reasons and therefore worked in industry in Guyana and Indochina.

At the start of the war, Albert Chavanac was a reserve artillery lieutenant, unavailable due to two thoracoplasty operations (September 1938 and March 1939).

In June 1940, he left Paris before the arrival of the Germans, fell back on Clermont-Ferrand, Bordeaux and tried in vain to go to Spain with a comrade to join England. Finally, on June 26, in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the two men managed to board the S / S Kelso, the last freighter of an English convoy that had come to look for Polish soldiers. On his arrival in Liverpool, Albert Chavanac enlisted in the Free French Forces and was assigned to the artillery detachment.

He participated, with his unit, in the Dakar operation in September 1940. Promoted captain on November 1, he served in Palestine, where he arrived in February 1941 as head of section n ° 2 of 75 guns.

He then commanded, from May 1941, the 2nd Battery of the 1st Free French Light Division with which, in June and July 1941, he took part in the campaign in Syria.

Albert Chavanac was then, within the 1st Free French Division (1st DFL), battery commander, then group commander in the 1st Colonial Artillery Regiment (1st RAC) under the orders of Lieutenant-Colonel Laurent-Champrosay.

At the beginning of 1942, he was in Libya and took part in Jock-Columns operations around the position of Bir-Hakeim. On March 16, he distinguished himself in particular by directing the fire of his battery with coolness and precision, opposing the advance of three columns of enemy tanks which had reached three kilometers from the position.

He also distinguished himself in the battles of Himeimat (El Alamein) in October 1942.

After the campaign in Tunisia, Albert Chavanac took part in that of Italy, where, during the offensive from May 11 to June 20, 1944, he showed great qualities as a battery commander. He fights in particular at Rio Forma Quesa on May 28, Monte Leucio and Radicofani on June 18.

During the landing in Provence, in August 1944, he contributed to the operations of the capture of Toulon, in particular by bombardments on the forts of Sainte Marguerite and Le Malgue (August 24-25, 1944).

Promoted squadron leader in September 1944, he commanded the 1st Group of the Regiment and took part in the fighting for the breakthrough of the Belfort gap, then in the battles for the liberation of Alsace. In front of Bourbach, on December 6 and 7, he supported a group of infantry and tanks on difficult terrain.

At the beginning of 1945, he still fought in Ill (south of Illwald) and distinguished himself in engagements on January 23 and February 2.

When the war was over, Commandant Chavanac was part of the cabinet of General Koenig, Commander-in-Chief in Germany, as Deputy Director of the Security of the French Zone.

In 1949, he was RPF delegate for the southwest. Reserve lieutenant-colonel, after a brief stint in the private sector, which led him to Guyana and Indochina in the timber sector, he was elected municipal councilor of Paris in 1959.

Chairman of the third commission in charge of roads, town planning and the environment, he represents the city of Paris on the board of directors of the district heating company and Paris airport.

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
June 2nd, 1943
l' Ordre de la Libération
Second World War (1939-1945)
6 citations
Croix de Guerre (1939-1945)
Second World War (1939-1945)
with clasps "Libye", "Bir-Hakeim", "Tunisie"
Médaille Coloniale