Pierre Château-Jobert was born on February 3, 1912, at Morlaix.
Barely two years later, the First World War broke out and his father was killed at the front in 1915. As a war orphan, raised by a mother who was a trader, Pierre did his classical education in Morlaix and Paris. In 1934 and 1935, he went through his military service.
In June 1940, when French troops were forced to pull back in the face of advancing German armoured vehicles, he was second lieutenant in the artillery. Wounded during fighting at Dinard, he was admitted in the Vannes hospital from where he escaped to England passing through Saint Jean de Luz and Liverpool. On July 1, 1940, he joined the Free French Forces and was nicknamed “Conan” by his army buddies after the hero of a novel authored by Roger Vercel, a Corps Francs captain of the First World War.
Conan subsequently took part in several campaigns
1941 : He served in Eritrea as lieutenant within the 13th DBLE (Foreign Legion Half-Brigade).
1942 : He served in Syria, and then in Libya within the 1st Artillery Regiment of the Free French Forces where he was wounded for the second time.
1943-1944 : Captain Conan, having expressed the desire to serve as a parachutist, underwent training at Ringway, after which he took over the command of the 3rd French SAS, operating in occupied France, which later on became the 3rd RCP.
This regiment was divided into commando units which operated with resistance forces, carrying out several ambushes, hit and run attacks and sabotages, during which Captain Conan exhibited spectacular intrepidity in the face of danger.
December 1944 : Conan, promoted to major.
In 1945, he founded the school of military parachuting center in Lannion, then in 1947, that of Idron.
1947-1952 : He became commander of the colonial half-brigade of parachutist commandos. Promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1950, he masterminded and participated in several airborne operations.
1953-1955 : Initially transferred to the military headquarters in Algiers, he was promoted to colonel and subsequently appointed to head the 2nd RCP of Constantine, which was parachuted at Port-Saïd and Port-Fouad in 1956, during the Suez expedition.
1957-1958 : Colonel Conan became commander of the colonial parachutists brigade, and from Bayonne where he was based, he declared his support for French Algeria.
1961 : Transferred to Niger, he was detained for several months for having supported the OAS during the April 22, 1961, coup.
1962 : In January, he stealthily entered Algeria to take over the command of the OAS Eastern region in Constantine. As Algeria had gained independence, he could not but continue to operate underground.
1965 : Colonel Conan was sentenced to death by the State security tribunal.
1968 : Granted amnesty following measures taken by General de Gaulle, he returned to France.
An exceptional military career
At the end of his exceptional military career, during which he was wounded on two occasions and received eleven commendations with ten bars, Pierre Château-Jobert became Commander of the Legion of Honour and Fellow of the Liberation. Among the decorations he equally received are the :
World War II Cross,
TOE War Cross,
Distinguished Service Order (DSO),
as well as several foreign awards
A profile like this makes us to fathom the extend to which the political context within which Algeria gained independence in 1962 brought untold suffering to men who venerated courage and honour more than any other virtue, and who, in order to be worthy of such values, had to make desperate choices.
Aged 93, Pierre Château-Jobert passed away on December 30, 2005, at Caumont l’Eventé, in the Calvados, and was laid to rest on January 3, 2006, by his relatives, friends and representatives of his extended family - Union Nationale des Parachutistes (National Union of Parachutists).
A glowing tribute was paid to him by Colonel Jean Stasi as a testimony of the admiration, respect and love that the entire family of servicemen had for this great soldier, legendary figure, atypical charismatic leader, and man of character, action and conviction, that Conan was all through his life.