Victor Desmet was born on 20 December 1919 at Roubaix.
In June 1939, he volunteered to serve in the 2nd Zouave Regiment, and sailed from Marseille to Levant via Algeria. On 26 June 1940, rejecting the amnesty, he passed through Palestine to meet the British forces. At Ismailia, he entered the 1st Marine Infantry Battalion (1er BIM), which, for the British, was the first Free French unit.
Transferred to the 1st section of the 1st BIM Company, Private Desmet took part in the first Libyan campaign under the command of Lieutenant Barberot. He participated in the Sollum and Bardia operations and distinguished himself at Tobrouk when he, with a machine-rifle, shot down an Italian plane and subsequently captured an Italian general. He was commended in the army order.
In April 1941, at the end of the Libyan campaign, wishing to follow Lieutenant Barberot, he was, like the latter, sent to the 1st Company of the 13th Demi-brigade of the Foreign Legion in Eritrea. He was decorated with the Cross of Liberation by General de Gaulle at Qastina, Palestine, on 26 May 1941 before proceeding to participate in the Syrian campaign and the capture of Damascus in June 1941.
Late 1941, he left the Free French Forces and went over to Palestine to join the Belgian forces wherein he fought till the end of the war. Victor Desmet took yet another commitment when he joined the Foreign Legion in December 1948 and left for the Far East to serve in the 71st Engineer-Legion mixed battalion.
Upon reverting to civilian life in 1952, he subsequently worked in the commercial sector till his retirement in 1985.
This volunteer serviceman, member of the North Section of the FNCV, was recipient of several military awards, notably the following:
• Companion of the Liberation - decree of 7 March 1941
• World War II cross with palm
• World War II servicemen cross