Émile Lemonnier

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For other people with the surname Le Monnier or Lemonnier, see Le Monnier.
Émile-René Lemonnier
General lemonnier.jpg
Born (1893-11-27)November 27, 1893
Died March 10, 1945(1945-03-10) (aged 51)
French Indochina
Buried at Château-Gontier
Allegiance France
Service/branch French Army
Years of service 1914–1945
Rank Général
Awards Legion of Honour

Émile René Lemonnier (November 27, 1893 – March 10, 1945) was a French Army general who served during World War I and World War II. Stationed in French Indochina in 1945, he was beheaded by the Japanese during their March coup d'état.[1]

Early life[edit]

Lemonnier was born to Emile Jean Lemonnier, a saddler by trade, and Marie Ernestine Fournier on November 11, 1893, in Chateau-Gontier in the Mayenne.[2] He graduated from the College Chateau-Gontier in 1910 and entered the École Polytechnique in 1912.[3]

Military service[edit]

In 1914 Lemonnier was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 25th Artillery Regiment and received several citations. In 1918, he transferred to the French Colonial Forces. In 1920 he was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour. From 1925–1936 he served in French West Africa. He left France for the last time in 1937.

World War II and death[edit]

Commemorative plaque, Avenue du Général-Lemonnier, Paris

On March 9, 1945, General Lemonnier while commander of the Lang Son area received an invitation from the Japanese forces to a banquet of the headquarters of the division of the Imperial Japanese Army.[1] Lemonnier declined to attend the event, however he allowed some of his staff to attend the banquet.[1] The French staff officers present at the banquet were taken prisoner by the Japanese. Lemonnier was subsequently taken prisoner himself and ordered by a Japanese general to sign a document formally surrendering the forces under his command.[1] Lemonnier refused to sign the documents causing the Japanese to take him outside of Lang Son where they forced him to dig graves along with French Resident-superior (Résident-général) (Tonkin)[4] Camille Auphelle.[1] Again Lemonnier was ordered to sign the surrender documents and again refused. The Japanese then beheaded him.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f McLeave, Hugh (1973). The Damned Die Hard. Saturday Review Press. pp. 199–204. ISBN 0-8415-0247-1. 
  2. ^ Histoire de l'Indochine - Page 270 Philippe Héduy - 1983 "Émile, René Lemonnier est né à Château-Gontier (Mayenne), le 26 novembre 1893 de Émile, Jean Lemonnier, 36 ans, bourrelier, et de Marie, Ernestine Fournier, son épouse, sans profession, âgée de 33 ans."
  3. ^ Michel Desrues, Magali Even Mémorial de la Mayenne, 1940-1945 - Page 76 2001 "Émile LEMONNIER 51 ans, né à Château-Gontier. Célibataire, Général de brigade des troupes coloniales Rue Thiers - Château-Gontier Élève au collège universitaire de Château-Gontier (aujourd'hui lycée Victor Hugo), Émile Lemonni
  4. ^ World Statesman.org – Vietnam

External links[edit]