Emile Muselier

Portrait of Emile Muselier. Source: SHD

Emile Henry Muselier was born in Marseille on the 17th April 1882 and died in Toulon on the 2nd September 1965. He was a student at the Naval College from 1899 to 1901. From then until 1939 he had a brilliant career, during which he alternated between positions on active duty (in the Far East from 1902 until 1905, Yser in 1915 etc.) and in high public office (a member of the cabinets of Painlevé, Jeanneney and Clemenceau). He was ranked Ship of the Line Ensign first class in 1902 and promoted to Ship-of-the-Line Lieutenant in 1912, Ship-of-the-Line Captain in 1926, Rear Admiral in 1933 and Vice Admiral in 1939. Just after his last promotion he retired, but joined General de Gaulle in London on the 30th June 1940. The latter gave him the task of creating the Free French Naval Forces (les Forces navales françaises libres, or FNFL) and the Free French Air Forces (les Forces aériennes françaises libres or FAFL). He carried out the role of Chief of the FNFL until the 30th April 1942. Appointed Commissioner to the Navy on the National Committee, in December 1941 he directed the expedition that resulted in the liberation of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. He resigned from the National Committee on the 3rd March 1942. He teamed up with General Giraud in Algiers in May 1943 and in June he was appointed Deputy Commander in Chief of the North African Maritime Forces. In August 1943, following the merging of the FNFL with the North African Maritime Forces, he was relieved of his duties.

In September 1944 he was appointed Head of the Naval Delegation to the Military Mission for National Defence, in charge of German Affairs. He retired from active service in June 1946. Up until 1960, he worked as an engineering advisor for the company Laignel. He was also involved with organisations for ex-servicemen and First World War ex-marine fusiliers and was appointed Honorary president of the Franco-Belgian Union of Servicemen of the Yser and Flanders and President of the National Help the Aged Association. Vice Admiral Muselier was a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour, a Friend of the Liberation and a Friend of the Order of the Bath. He was also a holder of the War Cross for the 1914-1918 war and the War Cross for overseas operations. Amongst his published works, Marine et Résistance(The Navy and Resistance) (1945) and De Gaulle contre de Gaulle (De Gaulle against Gaullism) (1946) are of note.