Limoges To Pay VE Day Tribute To ex-SOE Agent Robert Maloubier
Limoges is to pay its own special VE Day tribute on Saturday afternoon (May 09) to a highly decorated former SOE agent Bob Maloubier who died at his home in Houilles, north of Paris on April 20th, aged 92.
In a funeral oration on April 29 at the Invalides (the burial place in Paris for France’s war heroes and notably Napoleon Bonaparte) Bob Maloubier’s wartime escapades received the highest accolades: “Your career was exceptional, your destiny was out of the ordinary, your life was placed in danger many times. You always remained true to yourself, to the Service and to France … You were a man of duty and conviction, enthusiasm and irony, strength of character and dazzling flashes of humour … You were a great friend and are a hero to younger generations..”
— RP Defense (@RPDefense) May 4, 2015
Martyn Cox a British oral historian based in south-west France who specialises in filming the testimonies of British and French veterans who played clandestine roles during WW2 said Bob is especially well remembered in Limoges.
“It was he and his SOE organiser who accepted the surrender of the city’s occupying German garrison; and following the liberation of France Bob joined SOE’s Force 136 in the Far East,” Martyn told French News Online. “At his funeral a week ago in Paris Bob’s coffin was carried by serving members of the French special forces to recognise that he had also served in France’s post-WW2 special forces and secret service”, he added.
The programme starts at 1400 and will be conducted in a combination of French and English. It will include a documentary, plus exclusive interview footage, tributes and personal memories –
together with a screening of “L’Espion vous salue bien”, the 2012 French documentary which recounts Bob’s wartime and subsequent career.
Martyn, who filmed extensively with Bob Maloubier (in English) and got to know him quite well, has been invited to Saturday’s Limoges event to follow on from the French documentary. He told French News Online: “I will show excerpts from my interviews, and also some very special extra footage which has never been screened in public before”.
The full funeral oration to Bob Maloubier at Invalides on 29 April 2015 was delivered by M. Bernard Bajolet, France’s director-general of external security or DGSE. Read it here on the RP Defense blog.
Below are some extracts from recently published obituaries:
… twice parachuted into his native land, he carried out a series of daring sabotage missions with fellow agents including Violette Szabo, whom he attempted to rescue from the hands of the Gestapo. After the war he was a founder member of France’s special forces.
… one of Winston Churchill’s last living French secret agents, and one of the most colourful heroes of the second world war … Maloubier went on to become a founder member of the French equivalent of the US Navy Seals. He joined the French intelligence services and also designed the famous Fifty Fathoms diving watch worn by the celebrated oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.
… Maloubier received Britain’s Distinguished Service Order (DSO) from King George VI in 1945, and the Queen awarded him an MBE during her state visit to Paris last year to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. He also received multiple French awards, including the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. He always felt aggrieved that while the French Resistance were treated as heroes after the war, the role of the SOE was played down by the triumphant General de Gaulle.
Footnote: Martyn Cox an oral historian, is co-founder of SECRET WW2: The Secret War Museums & Learning Network. You can contact Martyn here and find out more on the website here: 🇬🇧 www.secret-ww2.net 🇫🇷
Full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the start of the Great War and the 70th anniversary of the World War 2 D-Day landings can be found here.
A curated Scoopit feed on the same theme and inspired by Martyn Cox, can be found here