The World at War


Charles Delestraint

French General and Resistance Leader

Born: March 12, 1879 at Biache-Saint-Waast, Pas de Calais
Died: April 19, 1945 at Dachau

     A Saint Cyrian, Delestraint served with distinction in World War I. He became an expert on tank warfare in the 1920s and 30s at which time he made the acquaintance of Charles de Gaulle. He commanded a mechanized division in May 1940.

     Delestraint began organizing resistance in the Lyon region soon after the armistice was signed. He was named head of the Armee Secret by de Gaulle and co-ordinated efforts to arm the resistance in the southern zone in 1942 then throughout France. He was arrested in Paris on June 9, 1943 and deported to Struthof and later Dachau concentration camp. He was executed on orders from Berlin a few days before the Americans liberated Dachau.

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