As a teenager, Mr. Cordier became the organizer of Action Française, a far-right and royalist group inspired by Charles Moras (1868-1952) writer and politician who opposed the republican government. Mr. Cordier became a secret admirer of fascist leaders in Europe, yet he nurtured an equally unspoken passion for the works of the delightful avant-garde writer. André Jade.
Scion of a wealthy family, Mr. Cordier divided his time between summer vacations at the Atlantic resort of Biarritz and winter skiing – a lifestyle that came to an abrupt end on September 3, 1939, with the declaration of war by France and Britain. The following June, German forces invaded Paris. Petain called for an armistice and established the Vichy Cooperating Government in southern France; De Gaulle urged his followers to keep fighting.
As the German forces advanced south, Mr. Cordier and a group of other young Frenchmen boarded in the port of Bayonne, the Belgian cargo ship Leopold II, whose captain agreed to take them in the hold of his ship in exchange for payments from Mr. Cordier. Stepfather. The ship was supposed to sail to North Africa, but changed course at sea and docked in Cornwall, at the southwestern tip of England.
In London, de Gaulle received Mr. Cordier and other fugitives. According to Mr. Cordier’s diary, he told them: “I will not congratulate you for coming here: you have done your homework.” “When France is in suffering, her children are obligated to save her.”
Mr. Cordier returned to France in July 1942 as an undercover agent, part of the so-called Central Bureau of Intelligence and Operations, known by its French initials as BCRA. The office operated with British support as the main channel between de Gaulle Free. French Resistance Groups and Individualism.
Armed with a pistol and a knife, and carrying documents for “Rex” in Lyon, Mr. Cordier parachuted from a British plane that flew low over the French countryside and landed in a set of bells.
He was unaware that Rex was Debonaire of Moulin, de Gaulle’s de facto deputy in occupied France. (He wouldn’t know his true identity until long afterward.) “How was your flight?” Asked Mulan, as he received the papers. And I asked him for dinner. Then Mulan recruited him to be his personal assistant.