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Cournarie, Pierre

Date of birth:
August 26th, 1895 (Terrasson, France)
Date of death:
September 29th, 1968 (La Bachellerie, France)
French (1870-present, Republic)


He did all his studies in Paris and, when war was declared in August 1914, he signed a voluntary commitment. He fought in the cavalry, in the 16th Dragoon Regiment, then in the 70th Battalion of chasseurs à pied in France and Italy.

Although wounded and gassed twice, on December 30, 1917 in Monte Tamba in Italy first then in Essigny-le-Petit on October 8, 1918, holder of two citations, he asked in 1919 to serve in Cilicia, where he was from again very seriously injured.

Demobilized in May 1920 with the rank of reserve second lieutenant, he was destined for the career of administrator of the colonies.

He entered the Colonial School in 1921, and graduated from it as a student administrator in 1922. Assigned to Cameroon, a territory in which he made several stays, mainly in command posts, except for a few months when he served as Chief of Staff by Governor Marchand.

A 2nd class administrator in July 1927, he held the post of head of subdivision of Bafia, still in Cameroon.

In 1928 Pierre Cournarie became deputy head of the Yaoundé constituency then head of the Ebolowa constituency and finally, from 1930 to 1933, head of the Yaoundé constituency.

Head of the Logone Region from January 1935 to March 1938, in the meantime he was appointed chief administrator.

In June 1940, he was in residence in Maroua, commanding the very important region of North Cameroon, at the head of which he had been placed since January 1939. From the first day, he refused to accept a defeat which for him, an officer of 1914-1918, appears too disproportionate to be acceptable and he is concerned, in conjunction with Governor General Félix Eboué, then governor of the territory of Chad, about the means of continuing the struggle.

Quite naturally, on August 27, 1940, he rallied General de Gaulle and Free France, dragging behind him all the Europeans and African populations of northern Cameroon.

But, in September, General de Gaulle called him to Douala to fulfill, with Colonel Leclerc, the important functions of Secretary General of the Territory.

When in November 1940 Leclerc left Cameroon to take command of the troops in Chad, he replaced him as Governor and High Commissioner. In this high position he is mainly concerned with making the territory of Cameroon totally at the disposal of the war, playing a capital action on the African rear lines, in support of the units which are formed little by little and which rise to the fighting.

In July 1943, General de Gaulle appointed Pierre Cournarie Governor General and High Commissioner in French West Africa to replace Governor General Boisson.

Remained in Dakar until 1946, he finally returned to France after eight years spent overseas.

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
October 19th, 1944
l' Ordre de la Libération
Second World War (1939-1945)
3 citations
Croix de Guerre (1914-1918)