Alain Savary

Algiers, 25 April 1918 - Paris, 17 February 1988
Lieutenant Savary. Source: Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération collection.

After attending secondary school in Paris, Alain Savary graduated with degrees in law and political science, then qualified as a naval staff officer at the École du Commissariat de la Marine.

He participated in the Battle of France as a member of the naval staff, then travelled to Britain where, on 8 August 1940, he enlisted in the Free French Naval Forces (FNFL). With the rank of sub-lieutenant, he became aide-de-camp to the FNFL commander, Admiral Muselier. After the territory of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon sided with Free France, he was appointed as its governor, with the rank of lieutenant.

In June 1943, Savary was sent to Tripolitania, first on the naval staff, then as commander of the 2nd Squadron, 1st Regiment of Naval Fusiliers, which became an armoured reconnaissance regiment incorporated in the 1st Free French Division. With his unit, he took part in the Italian campaign, the Provence landings and the liberation of France, before being appointed to represent the Companions of Liberation on the Provisional Consultative Committee in October 1944.

In 1945, he was assigned to the Ministry of the Interior and thus embarked on a career as a senior civil servant and politician.

General secretary of the Office for German and Austrian Affairs in 1946, then councillor of the French Union, deputy for Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Minister for Moroccan and Tunisian Affairs, he was the first secretary of the Socialist Party from 1969 to 1971. Deputy for Haute-Garonne (1973-81) and chairman of the Midi-Pyrénées Regional Council (1974-81), he served as Minister for Education from 1981 to 1984.

Alain Savary was an Officer of the Légion d’Honneur and a Companion of Liberation, and was awarded the Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 (with three citations), the Medal of the Resistance and the Silver Star (United States).