Resistance heroes honoured on 80th anniversary of de Gaulle's call to resist Nazis

Charles de Gaulles delivering a radio address in October 1941.
Charles de Gaulles delivering a radio address in October 1941. © Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération

Four members of the French Resistance were honoured by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony on Thursday marking 80 years since General Charles de Gaulle made his famous appeal for resistance against the Nazis from the BBC in London during World War II.


"Whatever happens, the flame of the French Resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished." 

Thus ended the appeal by a little-known French general, broadcasting to his homeland from the BBC headquarters in London on June 18, 1940, with permission from Winston Churchill. 

General Charles de Gaulle's radio address, delivered shortly after the Nazi invasion of France, is credited with laying the foundations of La Résistance.

To mark 80 years from the day, French President Emmanuel Macron attended a ceremony with British leaders in London. On his first trip outside France since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March, Macron met with Prime Minister Johnson at 10 Downing Street and attended a ceremonial event with Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, and his wife Camilla.

The French leader was also treated to a joint flypast by the Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force's aerobatic team, and their French counterparts, the Patrouille de France.


To mark the anniversary Britain bestowed awards on four Resistance fighters: Edgard Tupet-Thome, 100; Daniel Cordier, 99; Hubert Germain, 99, and Pierre Simonet, 98. They were not present at the ceremony but will receive their awards in France later.

The four are the only surviving holders of the Croix de la Libération (Cross of Liberation), an honour bestowed by De Gaulle on 1,038 men and women who distinguished themselves in the struggle to liberate France.

Johnson said the men symbolised "the enduring depth and strength" of Franco-British friendship, which has been tested anew since Britain voted to quit the European Union in a 2016 referendum.



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