This monument commemorates Colonel Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque (1902-47), a distinguished French general who was appointed Governor of French Cameroon by General de Gaulle, on 27 August 1940. De Gaulle was then in London, and ordered him to French Equatorial Africa to command the Free French there. The Colonel soon secured a grip on Cameroon. He led a force into Gabon and delivered it to the Free French. He was then sent to Chad, and advanced into Libya after the Eighth Army’s victory at El Alamein in 1942. In December 1942 he advanced with 500 European and 2,700 African troops in 350 vehicles. In 1943 he captured Sebha and then Mizdah, reaching Tripoli and linking up with General Montgomery. He helped cover the Eighth Army’s advance into Tunisia and was later a key figure in the liberation of Paris. After the war, Leclerc was appointed Inspector of Land Forces in North Africa. On 28 November 1947 his plane crashed in French Algeria. Everyone on board was killed. Colonel Leclerc was buried in Les Invalides, in Paris.
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