Georges Bergé

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Georges Bergé
Born 3 January 1909 (1909-01-03)
Belmont, Gers, France
Died 15 September 1997 (1997-09-16) (aged 88)
Mimizan, France
Allegiance  Free France
 France
Service/branch French Airborne
Years of service 1929-1930
1933-1962
Rank Brigadier general (1961)
Commands held 1ère Compagnie de Chasseurs Parachutistes (1e CCP)
French Squadron SAS
14e Régiment d'infanterie parachutiste de Choc (RIPC)
Battles/wars World War II
Suez Crisis
Algerian War
Awards Commander of the Légion d'honneur
Companion of the Liberation
Grand Officier of the National Order of Merit
Croix de Guerre 1939-1945
Croix de la Valeur militaire
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (UK)
Military Cross (UK)
Commander of the Order of George I (GR)

Georges Roger Pierre Bergé (3 January 1909 – 15 September 1997) was a French Army general who served during World War II. He enlisted in the Free French Forces, where he took command of the 1re compagnie de chasseurs parachutistes (1st Parachute Chaser Company). He is mentioned by David Stirling as one of the co-founders of the Special Air Service (SAS). In Great-Britain and Egypt, he organised the training for Allied agents sent to France and led the first airborne mission in occupied France, named Operation Savannah. He fought in Syria and Crete. After his capture by the Germans he was imprisoned in Colditz Castle.

Biography[edit]

Youth[edit]

Georges Bergé was born ion January 1909 in Belmont, in the Gers département, France. He is drafted in 1929, and incorporated in the 24th infantry regiment in Mont-de-Marsan, where he is trained as a reserve officer. In April 1930, he is demobilized as a second lieutenant. In 1933, he eventually choose military career and integrate l'école de l'Infanterie et des Chars (Infantry and tanks school) in Saint-Maixent. He is made a lieutenant in 1934.

Second World War[edit]

1940[edit]

  • May. He fights in frontline. On 18th, while leading a successful counter-attack near Bousies in the North, he is wounded twice and transported to Arras. After hospitalization in Caen, he is evacuated further south.
  • June.
17th. While visiting his parents in Mimizan, Landes, he hears marshal Pétain's radiodiffused speech.
21st. Refusing the armistice, Georges Bergé embarks on a polish boat in Saint-Jean-de-Luz and sails for England.
24th. Joining the Free French forces in London, he meets general Charles de Gaulle at Saint Stephen's House and suggests him to form an airborne battalion.
  • He integrates the air force staff of the Free French forces.
  • September. The 1re Compagnie d'Infanterie de l'Air or 1re CIA (1st Airborne Infantry regiment) is formed with Bergé as its commanding officer.
  • He is trained in Ringway school (Manchester).
  • December. Bergé and his men are now paratroopers.

1941[edit]

  • March.
15th. He is parachuted in France as leader of the first Free French mission in occupied France, Operation Savannah, planned by the SOE.
22nd. He joins Mimizan and contacts friends to form a resistance network.
  • April. On the 5th, he comes back to England by submarine. Mission Savannah is over.
  • Under the supervision of the Deuxième Bureau (then the Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action, the Free French external military intelligence agency) and the SOE, he establishes a special agents school - 36th station of the SOE, Inchmery House, New Forest - where most of the agents sent in France in 1941 and 1942 will be trained.
  • July. On the 25th, with the 1re CIA, he is allocated in Damascus (Meze airfield)

1942[edit]

  • January. Allocated in Kabret in the Combined Training Center, west bank of the Suez Canal, he forms the French SAS squadron. As the SAS expanded, the French squadron would be the first of a range of units to be 'acquired' by David Stirling.
  • June.

His unit is tasked to attack enemy airfields in the mediterranean zone. Bergé chooses Heraklion airfield, Crete. With a group of four men, he manages to destroy 20 enemy planes.

19th. He is captured at the conclusion of his mission. He is imprisoned in XC Oflag in Lübeck, from which he tries to escape in vain.

1943[edit]

  • January. Transferred in Colditz Castle (Oflag IV-C), he finds there Major Stirling, captured in a 1943 raid in Tunisia, and captain Augustin Jordan.

1945[edit]

  • April. On the 16th, he is released by Patton's army.

Post war[edit]

Lieutenant-colonel Bergé is successively allocated to the Parachute inspection administration, to the military cabinet of the Provisional Government of the French Republic, to the National Defense' staff. He is then the military attaché for the French ambassy in Rome.

  • August 1951-July 1953. He commands the 14th Régiment d'infanterie parachutiste de Choc (RIPC) in Toulouse.
  • 1953-1957. Colonel Bergé is the assistant of General Pierre Barjot, commander of the French airborne forces during the Suez Crisis.

Honours and awards[edit]

France
Foreign

Sources[edit]