An exhibition to discover the towns and military units that became Companions of the Liberation.
The appeal of 18 june 1940 by General de Gaulle on the BBC airwaves from London announced the formation of Free France. The aim of this military and political organisation was to continue fighting the war alongside the Allies. Very soon, the leader of the Free French Forces deemed it essential to decorate the most deserving of those who had joined him to continue the fight. As he was unable to award French military decorations, he decided to create a "new insignia" and founded the Order of the Liberation on 16 November 1940 in Brazzaville (Congo). He would be the only Grand Master of this order. The order's members received the Cross of the Liberation and bore the title of Companion of the Liberation.
This prestigious decoration, awarded only between January 1941 and January 1946, was designed to reward both men and women who had distinguished themselves, but also civilian and military communities that were "exceptionally engaged in the work of the liberation of France and its Empire". Awarded to 1,038 people, 5 French municipalities and 18 military units, it only has one rank. In 1964, the Order of the Liberation moved into Les Invalides, where it created its own museum, which will be reopening to the public after renovation on 16 November 2015. The title of this exhibition, centred around the action of the 18 military units in the Companions of the Liberation, is the last part of the commendation spoken when awarding the Cross to the Companions: "We acknowledge you as our companion for the Liberation of France, in honour and by victory". It reminds us that the Order of the Liberation is also - and above all - a military order.