Macron sheds tears for French Resistance hero on Armistice Day

Services mark anniversary of end of the First World War

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday shed tears as he paid a final homage to Hubert Germain, the last recognised French Resistance hero from the Second World War, who died last month.

Mr Macron led a special Armistice Day ceremony in central Paris for Germain before his body was interred in France's war memorial at Mont Valerien.

Germain, the last Resistance fighter honoured by late Free France leader Charles de Gaulle as a Companion of the Liberation, died aged 101 in October.

His coffin draped in the French flag was carried up the Champs-Elysees on an armoured vehicle to the Arc de Triomphe, where Mr Macron and visiting US Vice President Kamala Harris paid their respects.

"Everyone knew that the day would come when we would have to say farewell to the last Companion. That day has come," Mr Macron said. "Would we be here without Germain?"

Germain, son of a general in France's colonial army, was in his late teens when he fled to Britain after France's capitulation, where he joined up with de Gaulle who was organising resistance to the German occupation.

He fought in key battles at Bir Hakeim in Libya, at El Alamein in Egypt and in Tunisia, as well as in the invasion of German-occupied France in 1944, which liberated the country.

The Paris-born fighter was one of 1,038 people decorated with the Order of the Liberation for their heroism by de Gaulle, who would become president of France and is the founder of the current constitution.

Germain, who became a member of parliament and minister, was buried in a special crypt reserved for Resistance fighters at Mont Valerien, a former fortress west of Paris where German troops used to execute opponents.

Standing alone as a chorus sang La Marseillaise and the coffin was brought towards him, Mr Macron's eyes full of tears, which he dabbed with a white tissue.

He then laid a Cross of Lorraine, the symbol of the Resistance, fashioned out of wood from Notre-Dame cathedral on his coffin, in accordance with Germain's wishes.

France holds a ceremony ever year at the Arc de Triomphe on Armistice Day, a public holiday to mark the armistice signed to end the First World War .

Ms Harris's presence at the event is seen as a symbol of the historic strength of France-US relations after a bruising row caused by a cancelled submarine contract.

Remembrance Day - in pictures

Updated: November 11th 2021, 8:45 PM