Commander Philippe Kieffer’s jacket

Battledress jacket belonging to Commander Philippe Kieffer (1899-1962), French naval officer and Companion of the Liberation. During the Second World War, he created the 1st French Marine Commando Battalion (1er BFMC) from the volunteer 1st Company, Marine Riflemen Commandos, formed in the spring of 1942. Incorporated into Colonel Dawson's 4 Commando on 16 April 1944, the battalion comprised 177 men under naval Lieutenant, promoted to Major, Philippe Kiefer. On 6 June 1944, the French landed at la Brèche de Colleville-Montgomery (Colleville-sur-Orne). 8 Troop advanced along the seafront, while 1 Troop and the K-Gun machine gun section followed the D514 and the railway line [SS3] towards Riva Bella. The assault against the fortified German positions at Ouistreham’s former casino began at 9:00, with support from a Duplex Drive tank commanded by Lieutenant D. Harold of the 13/18th Hussars. Having contributed to the surrender of the German blockhouse, Kieffer's French battalion then joined the British 6th Airborne Division by crossing the bridge, now known as Pegasus Bridge, at Bénouville. By the evening of 6 June, the 1er BFMC, now in a defensive position in Amfreville, had lost 10 men, with a further 34 wounded. On 1 November 1944, the Kieffer Commando distinguished itself once again during the Walcheren (Netherlands) landings. The 1st French Marine Commando Battalion was disbanded on 1 July 1945.
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