Charles N'Tchoréré

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Street sign for Avenue du Capitaine N'Tchoréré in Airaines

Charles N'Tchoréré (15 November 1896 – 7 June 1940) was a French (naturalized in 1940) military commander who was shot by Germans in World War II.

Born in Libreville to a notable Mpongwe family, he was a top student at the École Montfort, but had to abandon his studies at age 16 to work with his father in German Cameroon. In 1914, Charles took up a post in the governor's cabinet. He enlisted in 1916 in the Tirailleurs Sénégalais and fought in World War I, earning a promotion to sergeant.

After further post-war training, in 1927, he became one of a few African soldiers to receive a commission. As commander of the Tirailleurs in the French Sudan (present-day Mali), he improved military training for the sons of African soldiers. In 1937 N'Tchoréré became a battalion chief, and after serving as commandant of École des Enfants de Troupe at Saint-Louis in Senegal, he retired, with the rank of lieutenant.

When World War II broke out, he came out of retirement and took command of a battalion of Gabonese volunteers at Bordeaux, later becoming captain of a company in the Infanterie Coloniale Mixte Sénégalaise, which fought Germans on the Somme River. After three days of resistance, the company was left with only ten Africans and five Europeans, and they surrendered near Amiens. The German commander refused to treat N'Tchoréré as an officer. When he refused to fall in line with the black enlisted soldiers, N'Tchoréré was shot. The perpetrators were from 25th Infantry Regiment of 7th Panzer Division under command of Erwin Rommel[1]

N'Tchoréré's son Jean-Baptiste was killed in action in the same area a week later.

Charles N'Tchoréré has a memorial in Airaines,[2] and in 1962 he was honored on a postage stamp of Gabon.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jean-Pierre Richardot, 100 000 morts oubliés. La bataille de France 10 mai-25 juin 1940, Paris, Le Cherche midi, 2009.
  2. ^ "Mémoires des tirailleurs sénégalais : " Un tirailleur Sénégalais en Picardie - Histoire d'une stèle "". France Culture. Radio France. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  • David Gardinier, Historical Dictionary of Gabon 2nd ed. (The Scarecrow Press, 1994) pp. 242–243
  • Louis Bigmann, Le Capitaine Charles N'Tchoréré (Abidjan: NEA, 1983)