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Lieutenant Bernard Marie Emile Crouzat, who went by the nom de guerre Robert John Lalande, was a French officer of the Royal Navy who died during the Second World War.

He was born on 6 April 1922, in Bayonne, the son of M. Pierre and Jeanne Crouzat (née Sarrade). He had been preparing to enter the École Navale just as France collapsed in 1940. Unwilling to accept his country's defeat, Crouzat escaped, via his hometown, aboard the anti-submarine trawler President Hunduce, which had embarked 500 Poles and a dozen French citizens. The vessel delivered him to Gibraltar, from where he shipped to Britain aboard Le Rhin.[1]

After his arrival, Crouzat trained for service in the Royal Navy before being assigned to the shore base HMS Lucifer, in Swansea. He went to sea in December 1942, as an officer aboard HMS Fidelity, crewed predominantly by Free French personnel. Formerly Le Rhin, a craft which had been in the employ of French colonial intelligence, the Fidelity was used by the British as a convoy escort and for clandestine operations in support of the Special Operations Executive.[2] Crouzat died on 1 January 1943, when the German U-boat U-435 torpedoed and sunk Fidelity, forming part of convoy ON 154, off the Canary Islands, with the loss of all hands aboard.[1]

He has no known grave and is commemorated by the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

NotesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Bernard Crouzat, memoresist.org. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  2. West, Nigel (2010), Historical Dictionary of Naval Intelligence, p. 110.

ReferencesEdit

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