Maurice, Louis, Albert CORBEAU was born on January 2, 1921, at Troyes, in the Aube. His father was called up for military service late 1914. Behind his machine gun within the 114th Infantry Regiment in which he fought, he was wounded twice and received one commendation during the First World War.
Maurice CORBEAU, after passing the entrance exam, was admitted into Lycée of Troyes where he obtained his baccalaureate (GCE Advanced Level).
Successful in the entrance exam, he entered the Polytechnic School in October 1940, which had been moved to Lyon.
In July 1942, he opted to serve in the Colonial Artillery and entered the Artillery Training Center in Nîmes on October 1.
On November 11, following the American landing in North Africa, the Germans invaded the unoccupied zone and on November 27, the cadet officers were sent back to their families.
Upon return to his parents in Troyes, he joint the Resistance in January 1943. He came out with a map of the dispositions of the German Army and took part in the organization and reception of air-dropped arms the English sent to Resistance fighters. However, in June 1943, following denunciations and arrests, he became a wanted man and took refuge in Paris and later on in the Landes. In the night of August 14 breaking 15, 1943, he escaped from France and clandestinely crossed the French-Spanish border. Arrested by the Spanish police, he was transferred to Irun and then to Madrid. Under the care of the Red Cross and representatives of Free France, he managed to get to Lisbon, Portugal, where he joint a convoy of 3000 French escapees, on board the « Gouverneur général Lépine » liner. Eluding enemy submarines, they arrived Casablanca on September 25, 1943.
He was sent to the Cherchell Military Academy, where he completed his training before being posted, in 1944, to the 3 rd unit of the Levant Colonial Artillery Regiment, stationed in Morocco.
In mid-September 1944, his battery landed in Marseille, about a month after the August 15 landing of the Allies in Provence. He took part in fighting around Briançon before proceeding to Vosges, near Gérardmer. After the liberation of Strasbourg in November 1944, he participated in the Alsace battle, in the difficult liberation of Colmar, and then in the march into Germany. By the time the war ended, he was commander of the 8th battery. He estimated to have fired 12000 shots of 155 before the May 8, 1945, victory.
Maurice CORBEAU was deeply affected by the Alsace battle. His captain was killed when his jeep stumbled on a mine. His batman, an Ivorian soldier, was killed by a German 88 shell, delivered in counterbattery fire. He was buried at the Sigolsheim national necropolis, near Colmar. A few years ago, I witnessed his emotions when we both met at the sought-after grave of this African soldier whom he loved, and who died for France in Alsace. It was, therefore, whole-heartedly that President CORBEAU joint his voice to ours in our persistent call for justice (which is still pending) to have our brothers-in-arms of the former French Empire receive the same servicemen pension like us.
After the May 1945 victory, Maurice CORBEAU returned to civilian life, and orientated himself toward a mechanical engineering career. From ending 1947, he spent over two years in the United States, in order to perfect his skills. Upon return to France in 1950, he worked in the automobile industry as expert in machine tools and hydraulic control systems.
He later on became Factory Director, with 200 machines, thereafter Director of a chain of factories. In 1978, he was sent on early retirement.
All through his civil career he was a devoted Reserves officer, passing through all the ranks, and served at the Headquarters in Châlons-sur-Marne until he was 62, the age limit.
In 1982, he started the last lap of his life, a life devoted to our federation,
which he first joint in 1946, over 56 years ago.
In 1982, the then Federal President, Henri EUGENE, his former Polytechnic school mate, and Vice President, Georges WAUTERS, who was his first boss during the Champagne Resistance, asked him to reconstitute an FNCV section in the Marne. He started the section with 5 members, a number which subsequently rose to 240.
Since 1983, he had been participating at all our national meetings. In 1990, he became First Vice President of the Federation. He later on became President Delegate before being elected as Federal President in 1997. However, due to his deteriorating health, he opted to become Honorary National President in 1999.
For 20 years, he put all his energies at the service of his departmental section and the federation.
President Maurice CORBEAU was Officer of the National Order of Merit, and held the Escapees Medal, the Resistance Volunteer Servicemen Cross and the Second World War Volunteer Servicemen Cross.
He died on Monday, June 3, 2002, at the Bar-le-Duc hospital.
Tribute paid to Maurice CORBEAU by François GOETZ, National President (2002).