The Grand Master of the Order
The Order of the Liberation has only had only one Grand Master: General De Gaulle. He never neglected to prove his attachment to the Order he had created. Later on, as President of the Republic, he wore the chain of the Grand Master of the Order in the official photographs. The General died on November 9th, 1970. That day France lost its liberator and a great statesman, and the Order lost its founder and Grand Master.
Indeed, after the General died, the Council of the Order of the Companions of the Liberation, meeting under the authority of Chancellor Claude Hettier de Boislambert, decided there was to be no successor.
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Charles De Gaulle: important dates
The chain of the Grand Master of the Order of the Liberation was made by Gilbert Poillerat, a goldsmith, and was presented to General De Gaulle, on August 31st, 1947, at the Chancellery of the Order (headquarters), which was located at 5 rue François 1er in Paris at that time. It is on exhibit in the Honor Hall of the Museum of the Order of the Liberation.
This chain was inspired by the chain of the Royal Order of Saint Michael; it has 9 large gold links that are joined with green enameled Lorraine crosses.
The names of the territories that made up the Empire are engraved in the links (two per link): French Equatorial Africa, New Hebrides, Cameroon, New Caledonia, Oceania, French Guiana, the Indies, the Levant, the Somalis coast, Reunion Island, Saint Pierre and Miquelon Islands, Madagascar, French Occidental Africa, Indochina, North Africa, the Antilles and France.
Chain of the Grand Master
The chain has a 36-cm diameter. The oval medallion has a Cross of the Liberation surrounded by radiating flames, and is 69 mm long and 53 mm wide. It also has two superimposed crossed two-bladed swords inscribed with the motto of the Order, "By serving his Country, he has brought us Victory".
The day the chain was officially presented to General De Gaulle, he said, "For nothing in the world would I have missed the opportunity to pay homage to the Order. This exceptional Chivalry, created at the gravest moment in the History of France, is loyal to its own principles, shows solidarity in times of sacrifice and battle".
The chain of the Grand Master is presented
to General De Gaulle, on August 31st, 1947
General de Gaulle, President of the French Republic,
wearing the chain of the Grand Master of the Order of the Liberation