Georges Albert Julien Catroux was a French Army general and diplomat who served in both World War I and World War II, and served as Grand Chancellor of the Légion dhonneur from 1954 to 1969. Catroux was born in Limoges, Haute-Vienne and he was the son of a career officer who had risen through the ranks. He was educated at the Prytanée National Militaire, and entered the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr in 1896, in the early years of his distinguished military career, Catroux moved from Algeria to Indochina. In 1915, while commanding a battalion, he was prisoner by the Germans. During his time in captivity, Catroux met Charles de Gaulle, after World War I, he became a member of the French military mission to Arabia, and then served in Morocco, Algeria and the Levant. In July 1939, Catroux was appointed Governor General of French Indochina, Paris wanted to send a strong signal to the Far East on the eve of hostilities. However, after the first Japanese ultimatum of 17 June 1940 and he initially ignored the order, and only resigned on 20 July. He then chose to join de Gaulle, who was by now leader of the Free French movement, as a five-star general, Catroux was the most senior officer of the French Army to transfer allegiance. From 1941 to 1943, Catroux was the commander in chief of the Free French forces, de Gaulle appointed him High Commissioner to the Levant in 1941. He took control of Syria for the Free French after the defeat of Vichy General Henri Dentz, shortly after taking up the post, Catroux, in the name of the Free French movement, recognised the independence of Syria. De Gaulle subsequently appointed him Governor General of Algeria in 1943-44, after the unrest in Morocco, Catroux negotiated the return of the sultan Mohammed V in 1955. As Resident Minister in Algeria for the government of Guy Mollet in 1956, Catroux presided over a board of inquiry, the Catroux Commission, that investigated the French defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. He was also the judge in the tribunal which tried the generals involved in the Algiers putsch of 1961. He died in Paris in 1969, georges Catroux, biography on the website of the Ordre de la Libération
General Georges Catroux in London, October 1940, after he joined de Gaulle's staff.
The fall of Damascus to the Allies, late June 1941. A car carrying the Free French commanders, General Georges Catroux and General Paul Louis Le Gentilhomme, enters the city. They are escorted by French Gardes Tcherkess (Circassian cavalry).