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Free French Forces (1940-1944)

Forces Françaises Libres (FFL)

Last modified: 2003-01-18 by ivan sache
Keywords: free french forces | forces francaises libres | cross of lorraine (red) | de gaulle | crescent (blue) | darfour | mezan | cross of lorraine (black) |
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[Forces FranÁaises Libres]by Ivan Sache

See also:

France libre vs. Etat français

France libre (Free France), created by General de Gaulle in London after his radio call from the 18 June 1940 (Appel du 18 juin), was de jure an illegal and terrorist 'state', and was presented in such terms by the official propaganda of Etat français. De Gaulle was aware of this and therefore added a red cross of Lorraine in the white band of the France libre flag, to make the distinction with État français.

Ivan Sache, 26 June 1998

Although Metropolitan France was under the German boot, pretending to be independent, parts of the Empire such as French Equatorial Africa, New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon rallied Free France, thus giving it a territorial reality from which de Gaulle could claim France's active participation to the Allied war effort.

Pierre Gay, 6 May 1999

The cross of Lorraine was originally the emblem of the Catholic family of Guise-Lorraine. 'Their friends claimed it meant that the Guises would fight for Christ both in France and the Holy Land; their enemies that the League had crucified Christ a second time'. (Ross Williamson).

Will Linden, 28 July 1995

The flag flies at the Leclerc's monument at the Porte d'Orléans, a southern entry of Paris, where the first French tanks came into Paris in August 1944.

Joan Frances Blanc, 29 June 1998

Training center of the FFL in England

[FFL in England]by Ivan Sache

Similar to the ensign of the FNFL, but with proportion 1:2 (1.30 m x 2.60 m), the flag was of English manufacturing. It is now preserved in the Célestins barracks of the Republican Guard in Paris.

Source: L. Philippe, Franciae Vexilla [frv] #14/60 (1999)

Ivan Sache, 4 June 1999

Personal flag of Captain Hemir Mezan

[Mezan's flag]by Ivan Sache

Triangular red flag with a white vertical stripe along the hoist, and a blue emblem made of a blue crescent superimposed to a blue cross of Lorraine.

Captain Mezan was surely one of the several foreigners who fought and died for the Free France. The flag was given to the Liberation Order Museum by the widow of the Captain, who had died in combat in Italy.

Source: L. Philippe, Franciae Vexilla [frv] #14/60 (1999)

Ivan Sache, 4 June 1999

Flag hoisted in Darfour (Anglo-Egyptian Sudan)

[Darfour]by Ivan Sache

For a visit by De Gaulle in March 1941, the British Governor asked to manufacture quickly the flag.
It is a 1:2 tricolour with an approximative cross of Lorraine in white stripe.

Source: L. Philippe, Franciae Vexilla [frv] #14/60 (1999)

Ivan Sache, 4 June 1999

Modern vertical FFL flag

[Vertical modern FFL flag]by Ivan Sache

The review Le Guide du Val d'Oise 2000 shows a picture of the pardon which took place in 2000 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, during which the 60th anniversary of the "Appel du 18 Juin" sent from London by Charles de Gaulle was celebrated.
On the picture are visible a French tricolore, a Breton Gwenn-ha-Du, an European Union flag, a Québec flag, and a vertical version of the FFL flag, with a black cross of Lorraine extending over the blue and white stripes.
The flag is probably not historical and was certainly home-made for the ceremony.

Ivan Sache, 20 August 2000