Léon Gauthier, the last member of the elite French unit that joined the United States and other allied forces in the 1994 D-Day invasion to wrest Normandy from Nazi control, died Monday at the age of 100.
The death was announced by Romain Peel, Mayor of Osterham, the coastal area of the English Channel where the Allies landed on 6 June 1944 and where Gauthier lived out his last years. Details were not disclosed. A special honoring ceremony will be held.
Gauthier was a nationally known figure who met President Emmanuel Macron as part of the 79th anniversary of VE Day last month.
He and his comrades in the Kiefer commando unit were among the first waves of Allied forces to storm the shores of Nazi-occupied northern France and begin the liberation of Western Europe.
The commandos spent 78 consecutive days on the front lines, in ever decreasing numbers.
Of the 177 people who disembarked on the morning of 6 June 1944, only 24 escaped death or injury, including Gauthier.
He later injured his left ankle jumping from a train and had to sit for most of the war. Her ankle remained painfully swollen for the rest of her long life.
In a massive invasion force on D-Day consisting largely of American, British, and Canadian soldiers, French Captain Philippe Kiefer’s forces ensured that France also had exploits to be proud of, after the shame of its Nazi occupation, when some chose to collaborate with Adolf Hitler’s forces.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and was automatically generated from a shared feed.)
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