Paul Legentilhomme

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Paul Legentilhomme
General Le Gentilhomme Djibouti.jpg
General Legentilhomme in French Somaliland, 1939 or 1940
Born(1884-03-26)March 26, 1884
Valognes, France
DiedMay 23, 1975(1975-05-23) (aged 91)
Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
Allegiance France
 Free French Forces
Years of service1907–1950
RankGénéral d'armée
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsGrand Cross of the Légion of Honor
Compagnon de la Libération
Médaille Militaire
Croix de Guerre 1914–1918
Croix de Guerre 1939–1945
Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Legion of Merit
Other workFrench Minister Advisor

Paul Louis Legentilhomme (March 26, 1884 – May 23, 1975) was an officer in the French Army during World War I and World War II. After the fall of France in 1940, he joined the forces of the Free French. Legentilhomme was a recipient of the "Order of the Liberation" (Compagnon de la Libération).

Early life[edit]

Legentilhomme was born on March 26, 1884 in Valognes, Manche.


He was a cadet at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr 1905 to 1907 (promotion "la Dernière du vieux Bahut"). Promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in 1907. Promoted to Lieutenant in 1909.

In 1914 his unit took part in the battle of Neufchâteau in Belgium, on August 22, and was captured by the Germans. He spent 1914 to 1918 in German captivity. In 1918 he was promoted to Captain.

He was promoted to Major in 1924. From 1926 to 1928 he was Chief of Staff in Madagascar. In 1929 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel From 1929 to 1931 he was Chief of Staff 3rd Colonial Division. In 1934 he was promoted to Colonel From 1937 to 1938 he was Commanding Officer 4th Senegalese Tirailleurs Regiment. In 1938 he was promoted to Brigadier-General.

1939 to 1940 he was Commander in Chief of the French military units stationed in French Somaliland (present day Djibouti).

June 18, 1940 : In Djibouti, the capital of French Somaliland, Legentilhomme condemned the French armistice and declared his intention to continue the war with the British Empire. He declared this in his "General Order Number 4".

  • 1941

In 1941 Legentilhomme was promoted to Major General in the Free French Army and returned to East Africa as the Commander-in-Chief of the Free French Forces in the Sudan and Eritrea. As part of Brigadier Harold Rawdon Briggs' Briggsforce, Free French forces participated in the East African Campaign. Legentilhomme worked under the supreme command of Field Marshal Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell.

  • 1942
  • 1943
  • Member of the Council of Défense of the Empire,
  • Nominated Lieutenant General
  • Nominated Commissaire to the French Committee for National Liberation
  • 1944 to 1945

from 1945 to 1946 he was General Officer Commanding Paris Military Region.


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