Some of them aren’t cheese eating surrender monkeys, not many mind

Normally the French march backwards faster than Argentinians, but occasionally a Frenchman shows a little bit of spine.

One such Frenchman who wasn’t a cheese eating surrender monkey was Count Jacques le Bel de Penguilly:

Count Jacques le Bel de Penguilly, who has died aged 93, was parachuted into enemy-occupied France in August 1944 and was one of the last surviving French members of the Jedburgh special forces.

The Jedburghs were a unit of volunteers trained to parachute behind the enemy lines in small, mixed-nationality teams. Their home base was Milton Hall, near Peterborough. There they underwent rigorous training in ambushes, sabotage, explosives, close-quarter combat, weaponry and the techniques of calling in and receiving air drops while operating in enemy-held territory.

At 11pm on the night of August 10 1944 Le Bel, code-named Michigan, took off from RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire and was dropped into the Corrèze department of the Massif Central. The Jedburgh team James was led by Lieutenant John Singlaub, a retired major-general in the American Army who was a specialist in covert operations. The third member, Anthony Denneau, also an American soldier, was the wireless operator.

They were accompanied by a contingent of French paratroopers from 3 SAS Regiment, and the objective of the team was to assist the maquisards with organisation, training and weapons in order to harass the Germans before the impending Allied invasion of southern France.


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