Biography LTG Raoul Charles Magrin-Vernerey

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Biography LTG Raoul Charles Magrin-Vernerey

LTG Raoul Charles Magrin-Vernerey dit "Ralph Monclar"

Birth 7 Feb 1892 Budapest, Budapest, Hungary

Death 3 Jun 1964 Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France

Burial Val-de-Grâce Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France

Plot Caveau des gouverneurs, l'église Saint-Louis-des-Invalides

A man who spent a lifetime fighting despotism on three continents.

Born 7 February 1892 Budapest, Austro-Hungarian Empire, the bastard son of an unidentified Hungarian count and a Frenchwoman, Anna Virginie Magrin (1860-1953). Anna's parents were Martial Antoine Magrin (1830-1888) and Marie Élise Vernerey (1834-1908)---whence the General's last name.

As a child, Magrin-Vernerey studied at the lycée Victor-Hugo, 8 Rue du Lycée, Besançon and at the petit séminaire d’Ornans, also in Besançon.
In 1907 he tried to join the Foreign Legion but was turned down because of his age.
He entered the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr (56380 Guer, France), where he graduated in 1914 as a sous-lieutenant. He was posted as a junior officer to the 60th Infantry Regiment (HQs Port Lyautey/Kenitra/ ????????, Qni?ra ??????????, al-Qonay?éra, Morocco) and ended the war as a Capitaine. During WW1 he was wounded seven times and became a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur.
Between the wars, he served at various stations throughout French Syria, joining the Legion on 1 March 1924.
He was promoted to Major in 1928.

Sometime perhaps in the 1920s, he married one Gilberte Marie Fernande Ladet de Villiers (c. 1900-?) and had a son, Roland Magrin-Vernerey (1950-) who opened his eyes in Algiers.
We are surprised the General found the time.
Roland married Odile Marie Paule d'Harcourt (1954-) on 25 February 1991 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, 92200, Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France. They live happily at 24 avenue de Lamballe, 75016 Paris 16E.

In 1931, Magrin-Vernerey was transferred to service in Morocco with the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment/2e régiment étranger d'infanterie, 2e RE and followed service there in French Indochina with the 4th Foreign Infantry Regiment/4e Régiment étranger, 4e RE. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 1 June 1938, after commanding a training regiment.

On 23 February 1940, he was appointed to command two battalions of Legionnaires, which would shortly be known as the 13th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade/13e Demi-Brigade de Légion Étrangère, 13e DBLE, commanding the 13 DBLE in the Battles of Narvik/Áhkanjárga, Nordland, Norway (9 April-8 June 1940). He would go on to lead his men in battle against the Red Army through the remainder of the Winter War (1939-1940) before joining the Free French in London, England with his surviving men.
He was promoted to Major General during WW2.

In the Korean War, then in his 60s, he took a temporary demotion from Lieutenant General to Lieutenant Colonel to command the UN French Battalion/Bataillon français de l'ONU, BF-ON, subordinate to the 23rd US Infantry Regiment, 2nd US Infantry Division, performing brilliantly at:
--the First and Second Battles of Wonju (31 December 1950-20 January 1951),
--the Battle of the Twin Tunnels (1 February 1951),
--the Battle of Chipyong-ni (13-15 February 1951),
--and the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge (13 September 1951-15 October 1951) known to the French as la Bataille de Crèvecœur.

His hatred of tyranny, especially Communism, was implacable. Beginning with preps for the Normandy invasion, he picked up an affection for Anglo troops and an admiration of their methods.

In the course of his career he was wounded at least 13 times. He walked with a limp and used a cane, even in combat zones.

His retirement rank was Général de corps d'armée (USA equivalent Lieutenant General, NATO code OF-8).

Orders and medals:
Grand-croix de la Légion d'honneur;
Ordre de la Libération Compagnon de la Libération (décret du 1er juin 1943);
Médaille militaire;
Croix de guerre 1914-1918 (11 citations);
Croix de guerre des Théâtres d'opérations extérieurs (6 citations);
Croix de guerre 1939-1945 (3 citations);
Officier de la Médaille de la Résistance;
Médaille des évadés;
Insigne des blessés militaires (7 blessures);
Croix du combattant volontaire 1914-1918;
Médaille Coloniale Médaille coloniale (avec agrafes Maroc 25-26 et Érythrée);
Médaille commemorative de Syrie-Cilicie (Levant);
Médaille commémorative de la Grande Guerre;
Médaille interalliée de la Victoire;
Médaille commémorative de la guerre 1939-1945;
Médaille commémorative des services volontaires dans la France libre;
Médaille commémorative française des opérations de l'Organisation des Nations unies en Corée;
Médaille commémorative pour le Liban (1926).

FOREIGN AWARDS (Décorations étrangères)

Ordre impérial du Dragon d'Annam (by France) ??i Nam Long Tinh Vi?n ????? Grand officier de l'ordre du Dragon d'Annam (Annam);
Commandeur de l'ordre de la Couronne (Belgium);
Croix de guerre 1914-1918 (Belgium);
Grand-croix de l'Ordre royal du Camboge ???????????????????????? (Cambodia);
Grand-croix de l'Ordre de l'Étoile d'Anjouan (Comoros).
Greek War Cross 1940 3rd class ribbon/????????? ??????? 1940 ???????? (Greece).
Order of Merit of Lebanon 4th class (Lebanon);
Grand officier de l'Ordre du Ouissam Alaouite (Morocco);
Grand-croix de l'Ordre royal de Saint-Olaf Storkors av Den Kongelige St. Olavs Orden (Norway);
Krigskorset Croix de guerre avec glaive (Norway);
Ordre militaire de Virtuti Militari/Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari (Poland);
Cordon Taegeuk (???,???)avec étoile d'argent de l'ordre du mérite militaire (Republic of South Korea);
Officier de l'ordre de l'Étoile avec glaives/Ofi?er Ordinul „Coroana României” în grad de Mare Cruce (Romania);
Ordre de l'Empire britannique/Order of the British Empire (UK);
Croix militaire/Military Cross (UK).
Silver Star (USA);
Officier de la Legion de mérite/Officer of the Legion of Merit (USA).

The General died 3 June 1964 at the Hôpital d'instruction des armées du Val-de-Grâce (HIA Val-de-Grâce) 74 Boulevard de Port-Royal, 75005 Paris, France. He is buried in the caveau des gouverneurs, l'église Saint-Louis-des-Invalides.


(oval portrait)
(obverse of the Ordre de la Libération)

Submitted: January 12, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Ralph Monclar. All rights reserved.

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