• France's news in English

Churchill's French saboteur 'Bob' dead at 92

AFP · 21 Apr 2015, 16:08

Published: 21 Apr 2015 16:08 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
"His final battle was against his illness and he fought to the end," widow Marie-Helene France told AFP, adding that Maloubier died late on Monday.
Maloubier was a key asset for the SOE, set up in 1940 by prime minister Churchill to carry out spying and sabotage missions behind German lines.
"Bob", as he was known by his British handlers, twice parachuted into occupied France, once the day after D-Day, and had a string of narrow escapes from capture by the Nazis.
One of his missions was designed to help convince the Germans that the D-Day landings would take place at Calais instead of Normandy.
"The war for me represented the best years of my life, because I survived," he told AFP last year.
Born on February 2, 1923 in a chic suburb outside Paris, Maloubier was recruited by the British while he was attempting to reach London via Algiers at the age of 19.

(Maloubier shows a picture of the men in his unit during World War II. Photo: AFP)
After the war, a 22-year-old Maloubier joined the French secret service and helped establish the military's specialist diving unit in 1952.
Along with a colleague, he also helped design the world's first diving watch for Swiss makers Blancpain, the "Fifty Fathoms", which was later adopted as the official timepiece of the US Navy Seals.
Maloubier then spent a varied career in Africa, working as a forest ranger in Gabon, for oil company Shell in Nigeria, and helping train the presidential guard of Gabon's leader Leon M'ba.
Upon retirement -- a word he hated -- he took up writing, recounting his life in the SOE, with books like "The Secrets of D-Day".
His last book was published just a fortnight ago.
Story continues below…
Maloubier was one of the last two surviving Frenchmen to have been awarded Britain's Distinguished Service Order, which he received personally from king George VI at the end of the war.
He was made a member of the Order of the British Empire when Queen Elizabeth II visited Paris last year for the 70th anniversary of the Normandy
He had met the future queen once before, when she was a teenager in wartime London.
"I will tell her that I remember her wearing her girl guide uniform in the ruins of London in 1943," Maloubier told AFP before the ceremony.
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available