Autun Military School

Autun Military School. Source:

Originally a 17th century seminary, these buildings went on to house the Cavalry Military Preparatory School in the 19th century.
This building, originally a seminary, dates from the 17th century. In the 19th century the buildings housed the Cavalry Military Preparatory School where the Children of the Troop were educated. The cloister building dates from the 17th century. It was originally a large seminary, founded in 1675 by the Bishop of Autun, Monseigneur de Roquette. The plans for the seminary were the work of architect Daniel Guittard. The gardens, of which nothing remains today, were designed by Le Nôtre. To reduce construction costs, the Bishop did not hesitate to use stone from the Roman theatre. At the time, the seminary was considered to be one of the most beautiful in France. The Revolution in 1789 prompted the departure of the seminarists. The seminary was looted and the building went on to hold first Austrian, then Spanish prisoners. After the building had been restored to the Bishop, in 1813 it became a seminary school. The best known of its pupils was Marshall Mac-Mahon, President of the Republic from 1873 to 1879. In time, the young seminarists were also forced to flee the premises. In 1885, the government decided to establish the Cavalry Military Preparatory School. This was the beginning of the story of the Children of the Troop. These boys, aged 13-18 and usually the sons of soldiers, were originally trained to follow a career in the military. Over time, as the institution developed, its pupils went on to serve their country in many ways. The Autun School taught the second French cosmonaut, Patrick Baudry.
A horse's head above the entrance is a reminder of the school's original vocation. Galleries forming the cloisters surround the main courtyard at the centre of which is an 1861 statue of The Virgin and Child. Each year, a concert is given here as part of the "Musique en Morvan" event. On the façade of the left wing of the cloister, above the clock, the seal of Monseigneur de Roquette can be seen, sculpted just before the war of 1870. During the First World War, all Children of the Troop left the school at 17 to relieve their elders at the front - 154 of them gave their lives for their country. From 1921, the school dropped its "Cavalry School" restriction, broadening its military education and received "Secondary School" status. From 1924, it opted to focus exclusively on secondary education, preparing pupils for the first part of their baccalauréat. The aim was to prepare them for the officers' and NCOs college entrance examinations. On 16th June 1940, the Autun Military Preparatory School had to fall back and leave the town. This is how a group of senior pupils came to write one of the first pages in the history of the Resistance. Under the command of Warrant Officer Grangeret nicknamed "The Lion", the Children of the Troop distinguished themselves at Toulon-sur-Arroux before returning to their school, relocated to Tulle. On 26th August the school left Chameyrat (in the Corrèze département) to set up in Valence.
The Autun School was run from this site until 1st September 1943, when it moved to the Thol camp (in the Ain). The dissolution of the school was approved on 3rd May 1944, with the youngest pupils returning to their families. The older boys joined the Ain Maquis, forming the Autun camp. During this fighting, young Bernard Gangloff was gravely injured and died of his wounds on 14th July 1944. In 1985, the Autun Military Preparatory School (which returned to its rightful home on 20th December 1944) took his name. Following the Second World War, the school returned to Autun, broadening to offer new final year classes. In 1951 the "Mac-Mahon" corniche was created to prepare for the entrance exam to the St-Cyr Coëtquidan Military College - with a geography and history option. This was discontinued in 1965, but returned in 1970. In 1999, it lost the "corniche" name and became "Preparatory Class Company." In 1971, the Autun Military Preparatory School adopted the title "Military College", then "Military School" in 1983. The secondary section has been open to girls since 1984. Many Autun Military Preparatory School former pupils have distinguished themselves in both the Forces and other great State institutions. Throughout the 20th century, more than 500 pupils or former pupils gave their lives for their country fully justifying the school motto: "Always there when Country calls." In 1955, Armed Forces Minister General Koenig, inaugurated the memorial, dedicated to the memory of all former pupils who gave their lives for France, before awarding the croix de guerre T.O.E. (Overseas Theatre of Operations) to the flag that already holds the 14/18 and 39/45 croix de guerre, the Légion d'honneur and the Resistance Medal (with rosette). In 1985, General Imbot, Army Chief-of-Staff and Autun former pupil, opened a museum of tradition that later became "National" located in the crypt of the former seminary chapel.
Today, the Children of the Troop have been replaced by Military School pupils. Though they may not enjoy the same status as their predecessors, they retain the spirit embodied by the school motto: "Always there when Country calls." Opposite the entrance is the museum to the Children of the Troop. This historical monument, under the administration of the Ministry for Defence, is part of a Defence Culture protocol, signed on 17th September 2005. Click here to see the list of other buildings included ...
Monsieur le Colonel commandant le lycée militaire d'Autun Mac-Mahon B.P. 136 71404 AUTUN CEDEX School Pupils' Office Tel.: +33 (0) 385.86.55.63. Ministère de la défense Secrétariat Général pour l'Administration Direction de la Mémoire, du Patrimoine et des Archives 14 rue Saint-Dominique 00450 Armées E-mail:
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