Leclere de Hautecloque, Philippe, born 22-01-1902 in Belloy St Léonard, was the fifth of six children of Adrien de Hauteclocque, comte de Hauteclocque (1864-1945) and Marie-Thérèse van der Cruisse de Waziers (1870-1956). The wedding of Philippe Hauteclocque places Marie Therese Auguste Gargan in Saint Versailles Arc in Versailles on 11-08-1925. Philippe was named in honor of an ancestor killed by Croats in 1635. Philippe attended the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr the French military academy, graduating in 1924 and entered the French Army he attained the rank of captain in 1937. During World War II he joined the Free French forces after the fall of France in June 1940, and made his way to London. Charles De Gaulle
upon meeting him promoted him from Captain to Major and ordered him to French Equatorial Africa as governor of French Cameroon from 29-08-1940 to 12-11-1940. He commanded the column which attacked the Axis forces from Chad, and, having marched his troops across West Africa, distinguished himself in Tunisia. After landing in Normandy on 01-08-1944, his 2nd Armored Division participated in the battle of the Falaise Pocket,
12 to 21 August and went on to liberate Paris. Some argue that General Georg Smith Patton freed the bulk of northern France, and was ordered to halt at the outskirts of Paris by General Dwight Eisenhower,
to give Leclerc the appearance of freeing the city. Others note that the Allied troops were avoiding Paris, moving around it clockwise towards Germany and that Leclerc and de Gaulle had to persuade Eisenhower to let some troops help the Parisians who had risen against the Germans. LeClerc’s 2nd Armored Division had been part of Patton’s Third Army , and when they entered Paris, many had not been informed of the change of command, and told the Parisians that they were part of the Third Army. Together with Maurice Kriegel-Valrimont,a French politician, he died of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 92, on 02-08-2006 in Paris, and Henri Rol-Tanguy, died old age of 94 on 08-08-2002, commander of the group of French Forces of the Interior (FFI) in the Île-de-France,
Leclerc accepted General der Infanterie, Dietrich von Choltitz’s surrender at the Gare Montparnasse. His troops subsequently liberated Strassbourg and finished attached to the US Seventh Army ,, under command of Major General Alexander Patch their war course in Berchtesgaden, Adolf Hitler’s (did you know) headquarters in the Bavarian Alps, the Berghof were they arrived after the American 101st Airborn Division under Maxwell Davenport Taylor,.
here with the captured German General Albert “Smiling Albert” Kesselring The Americans blocked a bridge to stop the French forces in the run on the Berghof area. The 101st Airborne Division had the next losses during their campaign in Europe: In Normandy, MIA 665, WIA 2303 and killed 868. In Holland, MIA 398, WIA 2151 and killed 752. In Bastogne, MIA 527, WIA 2449 and killed 482. Total MIA 1590, WIA 2782 and killed in action 2043.
Death and burial ground of Leclere de Hautecloque, Philippe.
Philippe Leclere died in a air crash on 30-04-1947, age 44 near Colomb-Béchar, Algerije and is buried in the crypte of Hotel St Louis des Invaliden, in Paris.
Rodger, Norman Elliot.