July 1944: Captain Leclerc’s ID card
British identity card issued to Captain Leclerc by General de Gaulle’s office. Museum. FMLH collection.
This British identity card issued to Captain François Louis Leclerc (the future General Leclerc), exhibited at the Musée de la Libération de Paris-Musée du Général Leclerc-Musée Jean Moulin, gives an insight into the career of one who was among the first to join up.
Assigned in May 1940 to the command of the 4th Infantry Division, Leclerc was wounded in the fighting, captured, then escaped, crossing Spain and Portugal to join de Gaulle in London. He reported to him on 25 July, and the identity card reproduced here, issued three days later, gives his address as the headquarters of the Free French Forces, though it mentions only the “Forces of General de Gaulle”, the newly coined name clearly being unknown to the British clerk. The card does not give his real name, Philippe de Hauteclocque, but his codename, Leclerc, chosen to protect his family, who had remained in France. In 1945, the name Leclerc was legally added to his surname.
Find out more:
- A brief biography of Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque on the Ordre de la Libération website
- An introduction to General Leclerc by Christine Levisse-Touzé
- The website of the Musée de la Libération de Paris - Musée du Général Leclerc - Musée Jean Moulin and a worksheet to download about General Leclerc’s career