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Léon Gautier (1922-2023)

Léon Gautier was a French naval officer who played a significant role in World War II as a member of the French commandos. He was part of the 1st Free French Commando, also known as the “Commando Kieffer,” named after its commander, Philippe Kieffer.

Gautier was among the 177 French volunteers who took part in the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944. Commando Kieffer was the only French unit to participate in the initial assault on Normandy beaches on D-Day. They landed at Sword Beach and were tasked with securing the area and neutralizing German defenses.

Gautier and his fellow commandos faced intense fighting and played a crucial role in the early stages of the Normandy invasion. Their bravery and contribution to the Allied effort were highly significant, representing France’s involvement in the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation.

The actions of Commando Kieffer, including Léon Gautier, were part of the larger Allied effort that led to the eventual liberation of France and the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. Their valor and sacrifices are remembered as a pivotal part of French military history.