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Hélie de Saint Marc
Birth name Hélie Denoix de Saint Marc
Born (1922-02-11)11 February 1922
Died 26 August 2013(2013-08-26) (aged 91)
Place of birth Bordeaux, France
Place of death La Garde-Adhémar, France
Allegiance  France
Service/branch French Army
Years of service 1948-1961
Rank Major
Commands held 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment
Battles/wars World War II
First Indochina War
Suez Crisis
Algerian War

Hélie Denoix de Saint Marc (11 February 1922 – 26 August 2013) was a member of the French resistance and later a military officer who was courtmartialed for participating in the Generals' Putsch against Charles de Gaulle.[1]

Hélie de Saint Marc joined the Resistance at the age of 19. Caught in July 1943, he was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp.

After World War II he joined the French Foreign Legion and was sent to the First Indochina War. From 1948 to 1950 he led partisan groups on the Vietnam-Chinese border to defend themselves against the Chinese insurgents. In 1951, after 4–5 months' leave in Algeria and France, he was given command of a company (2nd CIPLE) in the 2nd BEP (Battalion of Legion Parachutists) which consisted of Vietnamese volunteers. He was made captain on 1 October 1950. In May 1953 he again returned to France on leave.

Whilst in France he was redirected to spend time with the 11th Choc who were the action arm of SDECE. He returned to Vietnam in May 1954 to join the 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion.

In Algeria, during the Algerian War, while heading the 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment, he agreed to support the April 1961 "Generals' Putsch" against President Charles de Gaulle. The putschists saw de Gaulle's acceptance of Algerian independence as a betrayal of France and a betrayal of the local population both indigenous and French colonial. The officers in revolt had seen exactly this behaviour in Indochina and felt that it had to stop. As the putsch failed for lack of political support, he was arrested and, after concerns about a possible death sentence, sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was freed at Christmas 1966.



  • Helie de Saint Marc, Laurent Beccaria, Perrin,1988
  • Les Champs de braises. Memories with Laurent Beccaria, edition Perrin, 1995, ISBN 2-262-01118-4, reward "litteraire de l'armée de terre" - Erwan Bergot in 1995, reward Femina Essai in 1996.
  • Les Sentinelles du soir, edition Les Arènes, 1999, ISBN 2-912485-02-9
  • Indochine, notre guerre orpheline, edition Les Arènes, 2000, ISBN 2-912485-20-7
  • Notre histoire (1922–1945) with August von Kageneck, conversation taken by Étienne de Montety, edition Les Arènes, 2002, ISBN 2-912485-34-7
  • Toute une vie ou Paroles d'Hélie de Saint Marc written in collaboration with Laurent Beccaria, volume including an audio CD of radio program, edition Les Arènes, 2004, ISBN 2-912485-77-0



  • "Servir ?" documentary realised by Georges Mourier in 2006 for his collection "Le Choix des Hommes". Editions "A l'Image Près". 2009. réf:3770002154021.
  • La Guerre d'Algérie 1954-1962, avec Patrick Buisson, préface de Michel Déon (avec DVD), Albin Michel, 2009 (ISBN 222618175X)

Asche und Glut. Erinnerungen. Résistance und KZ Buchenwald. Fallschirmjäger der Fremdenlegion. Indochina- und Algerienkrieg. *Putsch gegen de Gaulle, Edition Atlantis, 1998, 2003, ISBN 3-932711-50-5, German traduction of Champs de braises. Mémoires (

  • Die Wächter des Abends, Edition Atlantis, 2000, ISBN 3-932711-51-3, traduction allemande des Sentinelles du soir (

External links

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