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Clouët des Pesruches, Jean-François

Date of birth:
March 31st, 1918 (Paris, France)
Date of death:
December 11th, 1957 (Vaulandry, France)
French (1870-present, Republic)


In 1938, like his father and grandfather, he entered Saint-Cyr and opted for aviation at the end of the first year of school.

His training sessions were long and were not completed when the 1940 debacle struck.

As a result, contrary to his wishes, he was unable to participate in air operations against the enemy.

Withdrawn to Royan with part of the elements of flight school n ° 101, he was finally assigned to Toulouse, to train young Air Force recruits.

But he does not accept the armistice and meets in Cannes, in October 1940, Maurice Duclos, alias Saint-Jacques who is then one of the very first agents of the secret services of Free France acting in France. Clouët des Pesruches then signed his official engagement in the Free French Forces. While waiting to be able to reach England, he came into contact with a resistance network in the Toulouse region to which he communicated military information.

Active lieutenant, he was demobilized with the dissolution of the armistice army in December 1942.

In April 1943 with an agent of an escape route through Spain, he developed and led the escape by the Spanish border, of ten volunteers to join the forces of General de Gaulle. On the night of April 28, 1943, they crossed the Pyrenees and were arrested by the riflemen and interned in Lérida prison. Impersonating Canadian pilots, Jean-François Clouët des Pesruches and his comrade Jacques Guérin will obtain their release thanks to the rapid intervention of the British consul in Spain. Released on May 5, 1943, the two men crossed Spain and reached Gibraltar, embarked for Great Britain. After five days of crossing aboard an American convoy, they disembark at Greenock on June 4, 1943, from where they reach London.

In a hurry to do battle, Jean-François Clouët des Pesruches refuses the idea of ​​long training on the bases of the RAF and prefers to serve at the Central Bureau of Intelligence and Action (BCRA). Given his skills, he is appointed to perform the duties of air operations manager for region M (Normandy, Brittany, Anjou). After several internships in British camps, he parachuted into France on the night of August 16 to 17, 1943 with two companions.

Operating under the pseudonym of "Galileo", he succeeded in setting up, in a dangerous region, not very favorable to the organization of the Resistance, a network of departmental leaders and reception committees thus allowing the introduction in France of a very large number of officers on special mission and military delegates appointed by General de Gaulle, as well as armament and sabotage equipment intended for the Secret Army and the units of the maquis.

Thus, on the night of September 12 to 13, 1943, he set up in the Tours region a particularly delicate landing operation for three Lysander planes. This operation, codenamed "Aries", allows 16 people to reach London or land in France in 9 minutes. An operation that he repeated on several occasions thus making it possible to transport to London many representatives mandated by the Resistance or wanted by the enemy's police.

After the arrest of Pierre Brossolette in Brittany, "Galileo" is responsible for organizing his escape from Rennes prison from where he is unfortunately transferred to Paris twenty-four hours too early.

In Paris, after the arrest of his secretary Brigitte Friang, he organized a helping hand at the Pitié hospital where his collaborator was held. He personally takes the head of the operation which fails following an unfortunate combination of circumstances.

Grilled in the capital, narrowly escaping several arrests, he was invited by his leaders, and in particular Jacques Chaban-Delmas, National Military Delegate, to return to London. On the night of June 4 to 5, 1944, he flew aboard a Lysander and, via Corsica and Algiers, reached England where he was received by Colonel Passy and General de Gaulle.

Volunteer for a new mission, he was appointed to perform the functions of Regional Military Delegate for Pays de Loire, Anjou and Normandy. Reintroduced in France by a parachuting operation, on the night of July 16 to 17 in the Sarthe, "Orbite" is engaged in maquis fights in which he participates arms in hand. The commander "Orbite" installs his P.C. in the family castle of Turbilly in Maine-et-Loire where his father helps the local resistance as well as possible.

At the time when General Patton's 3rd American Army and the 9th US Army were chasing the enemy towards Chartres and Orléans, "Orbite" was a precious auxiliary to protect the flanks of the allied armies at the head of 2,500 FFI armed by the recent parachutes. weapons organized by him.
Coming out of hiding, Commander Clouët des Pesruches freed La Flèche on August 10, 1944.

In October 1944, he was appointed to the cabinet of André Diethelm, Minister of War and was in charge of integrating the FFI into the regular army.

On June 18, 1945, he received, at Place de la Concorde, the Cross of the Liberation from the hands of General de Gaulle.

He left the army at the end of 1947.

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
March 24th, 1945
l' Ordre de la Libération
Second World War (1939-1945)
with rosette
Médaille de la Résistance Française