Military Wiki
Escapees' Medal
Médaille des Évadés France AVERS.jpg
Escapees' Medal (obverse)
Awarded by  France
Type Military medal
Awarded for Successful escape from internment
Status Active
Established August 20, 1926
Next (higher) Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
Next (lower) Croix du combattant volontaire 1914-1918
Medaille des Evades ribbon.svg
Ribbon for the Escapees' Medal

Reverse of the Escapees' Medal

The Escapees' Medal (French language: "Médaille des Évadés") is a military award bestowed by the government of France to individuals who were prisoners of war and who successfully escaped internment or died as a result of their escape attempt. The "Escapees' Medal" was established by a 1926 law, intended to honour combatants not only of the First World War, but also of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Its statute was later amended to include combatants of the Second World War and later conflicts.[1]

Award statute

The award criteria for the Franco-Prussian War was established by law on October 2, 1926 and read as follows:

  • To French soldiers serving during the Franco-Prussian War, who successfully escaped their internment in Germany.[1]

The award criteria for the First World War were established by decree on April 7, 1927 and read as follows:

  • To French soldiers serving during the First World War, who were taken prisoner during combat either in Europe or in an external theatre of operations, and who successfully escaped, regardless of the length of their internment;
  • To citizens of Alsace-Lorraine, who, between August 2, 1914 and November 1, 1918, deserted from the German army.
  • To civilians interned in Germany, or living in territories occupied by the enemy, who crossed enemy lines with the intent of making themselves available to the French military authority.[1]

The award criteria for the Second World War were long in coming. A decree of February 7, 1959 allowed for award of the medal, followed by an Order on May 20, 1959 and detailed instructions on July 10, 1959. The medal was bestowed to persons able to prove a successful escape:

  • From a prisoner of war camp;
  • From a place of internment where they were being held for acts related to the resistance;
  • From enemy held or controlled territory, an escape including the clandestine crossing of a front line or customs check point;

To persons able to prove:

  • Two escape attempts followed by disciplinary measures;
  • A single escape attempt resulting in a transfer to a punitive establishment or by deportation measures recognised for the award of the Croix du combattant volontaire de la Résistance;
  • To citizens of Alsace-Lorraine forcibly incorporated into the German armed forces, who deserted in order to serve in the resistance of in the allied armies;
  • To citizens of Alsace-Lorraine who escaped from their provinces in order to fight the enemy;
  • These actions are only considered for bestowal of the medal if they occurred between September 2, 1939 and August 15, 1945.[1]

The medal can be awarded to both French citizens and foreign nationals serving in the ranks of the French armed forces. Civilians and members of the military killed, or who have died as a result of wounds received during an escape attempt are automatically awarded the medal.[1]

A decree of December 28, 1981 states that "any person eligible for the "Escapees' Medal" is asked to put forward a request".[1]

Award description

The Escapees' Medal is a 30 mm in diameter circular medal struck from bronze. Its design is from the French engraver A. Dubois. Its obverse bears the relief left profile bust of Marianne (representing the French Republic) crowned with branches of oak, along the outer circumference, the relief inscription (French language: REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE) "FRENCH REPUBLIC". On its reverse, at center, the relief inscription on three rows (French language: MÉDAILLE DES ÉVADÉS) (ESCAPEES' MEDAL) surrounded by a wreath of oak branches.[1]

The medal is suspended by a ring through the suspension loop to a 36 mm wide green silk moiré ribbon with a 7 mm wide central orange stripe and 2 mm wide longitudinal orange stripes located 2 mm from the ribbon's outer edges.[1]

Notable recipients (partial list)

Colonel Paul Arnaud de Foïard, a recipient of the Escapees' Medal


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Battini, Jean; Zaniewicki, Witold (2003). Guide pratique des décorations françaises actuelles. Paris: LAVAUZELLE. pp. 91–94. ISBN 2-7025-1030-2. 

External links

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