Émile Paul Aimable Guépratte
Émile Guépratte in 1925
|Nickname(s)||Point d'honneur (" the British),
Srpska majka ("Serbian mother" by the Serbs)
|Born||30 August 1856|
|Died||21 November 1939 (aged 83)|
|Years of service||1874 — 1918|
|Battles/wars||Battle of Gallipoli|
|Awards||Legion of Honour|
Émile Paul Aimable Guépratte (30 August 1856 – 21 November 1939) was a French admiral.
He was made an officer on 5 October 1874, and promoted to Enseigne de vaisseau on 1 December 1877. He served in Tunisia aboard the Marengo. He studied torpedo operations and served on the Amiral Duperré as a torpedo expert before receiving his first command in 1889.
In 1891, he was second officer of the Forfait. He went on to command the gunboat Caronade in Indochina, the anti-submarine defences of Brest, a destroyer and the cruiser Foudre, rising in rank to capitaine de vaisseau.
In 26 May 1906, Guépratte took command of the Jeanne d'Arc.
Guépratte was promoted to contre-amiral on 2 September 1912. At the outbreak of the First World War, he led a squadron of old battleships in the Mediterranean. He was sent to the Dardanelles to back the British Mediterranean Fleet of Admiral Sackville Carden.
The main attack took place on 18 March, Guépratte leading the forwards squadron. The fleet was taken into a well-prepared minefield, under fire from coastal artillery. The Irresistible, Ocean and Bouvet were sunk; the French flagship Suffren was seriously damaged, as well as the Gaulois. Nevertheless, Admiral John de Robeck lauded the spirit of the French line.
Guépratte took part in the naval part of the later joint operation with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, deploring the lack of first-class French units in the theater. He was eventually promoted to vice-admiral on 10 October 1915, allegedly to bring him away from combat operations, where he was deemed impetuous, to a safer area of activity.
Guépratte was retired on 30 August 1918 and took up a career as a politician. He was elected to the National Assembly of France on 16 November 1919 on a left-wing list. He specialised in parliamentary affairs of the Navy. He retired from political life in 1924. He died in Brest in 1939.
- Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (12 December 1924)
- Cross of the Order of St. George (28 December 1916)
- Grand ribbon of the White Eagle (Serbian order, 2 September 1917)
- French frigate Guépratte named after him
- French destroyer Guépratte named after him. The ship was launched 1954 at ACB, Nantes and carried the pennant number D632. Decommissened 05/08/1985 it was sunk in an exercise in 1994