An officer in the French Army, Leclerc was captured in May 1940 at Lille. He escaped once, was recaptured and escaped again and joined DE GAULLE in England. He went to Africa as the first military Governor of Chad and Cameroun and General Officer Commanding in French Equatorial Africa. In December 1942 he commanded a Free French force and led it across the Sahara Desert to join the British 8th Army in Libya. In 1944 he led the 2nd French Armored Division for the Normandy invasion and was the official who received the formal surrender of the Germans in Paris in August 1944. He fought in several other campaigns, notably in Alsace and in southern Germany. Always a French patriot, he was unfortunately killed in an airplane accident shortly after the armistice.