Lucien Brelière was born at Bourges, on May 8, 1911.
On March 27, 1930, aged 18, he joined the 3rd Moroccan Spahis Regiment (RSM) as a volunteer and participated in operations for the pacification of Morocco, during which he distinguished himself on several occasions. In June 1932, he was promoted to a sergeant.
In 1943, Chief Warrant Officer Brelière participated in the Italian campaign, still within the ranks of the 3rd RSM, which had been transformed into a motorized regiment for the occasion. Having once more exhibited outstanding braveness at the front, he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. On May 24, 1944, he was very seriously wounded during fighting at Pastena, shortly after the Garigliano breakthrough. A shell exploded splitting open his skull, ripping off his right eye and injuring his shoulder and thigh. He was consequently hospitalized till the end of the war.
In 1945, Lieutenant Brelière resumed service. He was posted to Ecole d'Application de l' Arme Blindée et de la Cavalerie de Saumur (EAABC) where he became commander of the tank squadron, a position he held till 1950.
On October 16, 1950, Captain Brelière returned to Morocco. He took over the command of the 3rd Moroccan Spahis Squadron, which inherited the standard and traditions of the 3rd RSM dissolved in 1948, and the cavalry escort squadron of the French Resident General, stationed at Rabat. He was there until 1954, after which he left for Indochina, where he gleaned several laurels and was wounded twice while commanding a squadron of the 1st Chasseurs (cavalry).
In 1956, he went back to Morocco, where he reintegrated his beloved old 3rd Moroccan Spahis, which had been reorganized into a regimental unit. Captain Brelière commanded several squadrons in a role and in April 1957, he served at Fort Berguent, at the desert edges of the Algerian-Moroccan border. Early May, he crossed the border and settled in the Algerian sector of Aricha, where he relentlessly masterminded night search and ambush operations. On May 14, 1957, at the command his 2nd squadron, he carried out the last horseback charge of the French cavalry.
In October 1957, Captain Brelière was appointed to the supervisory staff of EAABC Saumur, where he was promoted to squadron leader. After having methodically and dynamically trained several batches of cadets at this Academy, he left for Hoggar where he took over the command of the Tamanrasset circle. He continued the Algerian War operations at the command of his Legionnaires and Saharans. In 1964, Lieutenant Colonel Brelière was posted to West Berlin as the French sector garrison head.
He took his retirement in the Albigensian country, Florentine, where he once more held the post of regional technical adviser to Fédération française de sports équestres (French equestrian sports federation). On November13, 2005, a few months before his 95th birthday, he was invited to the Vatican by Pope Benedict XVI, to witness the beatification of Father Charles de Foucauld, whose heart had been safely preserved thanks to his care while in Hoggar, forty-five years earlier.
Colonel Brelière participated actively in four wars: the pacification of Morocco, the Italian campaign as well as the Indochina and Algerian wars, during which he was wounded on three occasions, one of which was very serious, and obtained 11 commendations, three of which were in the Army Order.
Some of his remarkable decorations include :
Commander of the Legion of Honour
Grand officer of the National Order of Merit
TOE War Cross
Second War Cross with bar
Military Valour Cross with bar
Volunteer Servicemen Cross
Medal of GIG Wounded
A great soldier of the African Army, an outstanding cavalryman and a legendary Spahi, Colonel Brelière, just like his model, Henry de Bournazel, was able, thanks to his courage and charisma, to unanimously win the admiration, respect and unfailing affection of both his superiors and the soldiers who had the honour to serve under him.