Ancient history

Roger Barberot

Last updated:2022-07-25

Roger Barberot, born January 20, 1915 in Cherbourg (Manche) and died November 14, 2002 in Clichy (Hauts-de-Seine), is a French soldier, politician and ambassador.


Roger Barberot was born in Cherbourg, in the Cotentin, on January 20, 1915. He is the son of Philippe Barberot, a naval officer, and Jeanne Oligner, from a family of bankers in Commentry, in the Allier. He was a student at Stanislas College in Paris, from 1923 to 1927, at Saint Joseph College and then at Toulon High School until 1930. In October 1930, he returned to Stanislas College in 1st class. There he met Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury and Roger Frey. There, under the insistence of his father, he prepared for the naval school competition, which he failed several times before finally succeeding at the Lycée de Toulon in 19364. After his passage on the Jeanne d'Arc, he failed the exams and goes on leave with retirement pay5. He took advantage of this year to engage in artistic creation, with Othon Friesz and Edmond Ceria.

Free France

When war was declared, his father, who commanded the Toulon seafront, intervened to have him mobilized into the navy. Roger Barberot sails on the cruiser Tourville. At the time of the armistice he was in Alexandria and joined a small group which refused to stop the fight with André Patou and Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves. He distributed leaflets calling for the continuation of the fighting and was arrested. He escaped on July 5, 1940. On July 20, he was a lieutenant in the 1st Marine Infantry Battalion, engaged in the 8th British Army. He is engaged in Sidi-Barrani, Sollum, Bardia, Tobruk, Benghazi, and El Agueila in Libya. He was cited at the order of the army and made a Companion of the Liberation on March 7, 1941.

He was prosecuted by the French courts of the Vichy regime for desertion on September 17, 1940, sentenced to 20 years in absentia on November 13, stripped of his French nationality on May 23, 1941 and sentenced to death on June 4, 1941.

In April 1941, he joined the 13th Foreign Legion demi-brigade in Eritrea. Platoon leader of the 1st company, he fought in Syria, Libya and Tunisia. There he met Jacques Pâris de Bollardière for the first time, with whom he would later become a close friend. On June 10, 1942, he participated in the exfiltration of the Free French Forces to Bir Hakeim. In October 1942, his group was engaged in the French diversion of El Alamein, then he left the Legion.

In June 1943, he joined the 1st regiment of marine riflemen formed by Hubert Amyot d'Inville. He goes to Casablanca to collect American equipment that will equip the unit, which has become a reconnaissance unit. He took command of the 1st squadron in 1944 which arrived in Naples on 25 April. On May 5, the unit was engaged in the Garigliano offensive. Roger Barberot and his unit shine in San Andrea and manage to break through the German defenses. General de Gaulle decorated him with the Legion of Honor on May 18, 1944. This was the first Legion of Honor awarded individually by the Provisional Government of the French Republic.

In August 1944, the 1st RFM landed in Saint-Tropez. On August 23, Barberot's squadron marched on Toulon where the resistance opposed the Germans. Then the unit is engaged in peak for the ascent of the Rhône and enters the first in Lyon on September 3. It stops in front of the German resistance in Lorraine. On September 27, 1944, his squadron liberated Clairegoutte, and took 260 prisoners. On October 6, he attacked and captured Ronchamp. On October 8, he captured Hill 820. On November 20, he captured Plancher-Bas, then Rougegoutte on 22, Rougemont-le-Château on ,. In March, it was withdrawn from the Eastern Front without entering Germany, and redeployed in the Alps where it fought the last battles in Authion. At the end of the conflict, Barberot was the most cited French naval officer4. On April 30, all of his convictions by Vichy were canceled.

The Rally of the French People

Roger Barberot became corvette captain in December 1945 then frigate captain in 1947. When General de Gaulle returned to the political arena in 1947, he was released from the ranks and joined the RPF staff from which he received card no. 64 in July24. He became project manager at the Bureau of Political Organization with Pierre de Bénouville. In 1948, he took part in the general's political tour in the provinces in view of the elections, and mobilized the networks of veterans of Free France and the Resistance. In July 1948, he joined the committee in charge of national defense issues of the RPF. Roger Barberot withdraws from the movement. In 1954, he accompanied an anthropological expedition to Ecuador, in the Andes.

The Algerian War

In June 1956, Roger Barberot asked to be recalled to the army. Appointed colonel, he obtained command of an Air Force demi-brigade, made up of recalled reservists. The new unit landed in Algiers on July 22, 1956. Under the command of General de Bollardière, Roger Barberot developed a new strategy around the principle of nomadization. It is a question of reinforcing the proximity with the population and of defeating the FLN. On September 15, the "Black Commandos" are created. Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber finds himself mobilized in the unit and binds with Barberot (he will recount his experience in Lieutenant in Algeria). Roger Barberot also binds with Colonel Argoud, who commands the 3rd hunter of Africa, bordering with the demi-brigade. However, the demobilization of the first conscripts threatens the experiment, Bollardière and Barberot are opposed more and more to other elements of the army and to certain Pieds-noirs. The publication of Servan-Schreiber's articles, Bollardière's position against torture and his arrest led to the resignation of Roger Barberot in April 1957. He published a testimony:Malaventure en Algérie and resumed political activity. Of social sensitivity, he met Mendès-France in November 1957 in order to find support for the Gaullist project.


The return of General de Gaulle to power puts Roger Barberot back into political action. He became a member of the steering committee of the Center de la Réforme Républicaine, a member of the UDT. He proclaimed himself a "left-wing Gaullist" and ran for the legislative elections in Paris in May 1958, but failed against Baylot. He then joined the Ministry of National Education, with André Boulloche. In December 1960, General de Gaulle appointed him French Ambassador to the Central African Republic, in Bangui32. There, he befriended General Marcel Bigeard9. He was then French Ambassador to Uruguay, in Montevideo. This appointment is interpreted as a continuation of General de Gaulle's tour of South America. Nevertheless, Roger Barberot considers that he does not have enough means and quickly expresses the wish to return to France. In March 1967, he stood for legislative office in the 3rd constituency of Essonne, facing Pierre Juquin, and he was beaten again. In April 1968, he took over the management of the Bureau of Agricultural Production (BDPA).

Close to Jacques Foccart since his African period, during the events of May 1968, he actively participated in the organization of the anti-revolutionary forces and the demonstration in support of the general on May 3032. Candidate in the 11th constituency of Hauts de Seine, he is still beaten, manages to invalidate the election of Guy Ducoloné (PC) but still fails in the consecutive by-election in December.
The troubled period of post-Gaullism

At the head of the BDPA, Roger Barberot must face three successive cases. First, its parent ministry wants to abolish the organization by merging it with another organization, SATEC. Roger Barberot begins a plan of radical savings, which allows the organization to survive at the end of December 1969. In April 1971, the Delouette affair broke out, earning Roger Barberot a reputation as a secret agent and "barbouze". Delouette, a former member of the SDECE and employee of the BDPA, is arrested in the United States with a shipment of heroin. Roger Barberot, quoted in the case, denounces on the radio an operation of political destabilization and is not charged.

Finally, the Ile de Ré affair, at the same time, finished tarnishing its image and that of the BDPA, presented as a cover pharmacy. A real estate developer, Mr. Souchère, claims to be the victim of an attempted racketeering. On April 13, 1972, Roger Barberot was sentenced on appeal by the Poitiers court to a fine of 2 million francs, jointly with Philippe Dechartre and Beaujolin37. Barberot retains the confidence of the government, but resigns from the BDPA on May 17, 1973. He denounces in this third affair, which deeply bruises him and puts him in a difficult financial situation, a manipulation orchestrated by the former deputy Patrice Bougrain-Dubourg, resident from the Ile de Ré, also a member of CADIR and employed by the BDPA, who was allegedly financially linked to Souchère.

His latest engagements

In June 1973, Roger Barberot was appointed senior administrator of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands. He launched several projects around infrastructure and deep-sea fishing, as well as the issue of philatelic stamps. He left his post in 1980. Until his death on November 14, 2002, he devoted himself to artistic activities, including painting. He supported Jean-Pierre Chevènement's candidacy for the 2002 presidential elections. He died on November 14, 2002. A stamp from the French Southern and Antarctic Lands bearing his likeness was published in 2005.


Roger Barberot is the most decorated French naval officer of World War II. Among his decorations are:

Grand Officer of the Order of the Legion of Honor;
Companion of the Liberation - decree of March 7, 1941;
Croix de guerre 1939-1945 (11 citations);
Medal of the Resistance with rosette;
Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit
Distinguished Service Cross41;
Grand Officer of the Central African Order of Merit;
Commander of the National Order of Niger;
Commander of Nichan el Anouar.