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de Kersauson, Robert

de Kersauson, Robert Public Domain: The History of the American Field Service, 1920.
  • When: WWI
  • Where: France
  • Category of People: other
  • Last Name: de Kersauson
  • Given Name(s): Robert
  • Position/Role/Affiliation: Lieutenant (French officer)
  • Born: February 15, 1879
  • Died: June 11, 1971
  • Section (WWI): S.S.U. 1

Lieutenant de Kersauson commanded Section One in its earliest days. He had lived in the United States for some years, answering his country's call at the outbreak of war. It became his especial pride to convince his fellow officers that his American section was not only the best sanitary section in the armies, but that its discipline could conform to that of the regular army. His own enthusiasm was transmitted throughout his section in such a way that, although the personnel was constantly changing, the traditions of the Section remained throughout its service. It was a tradition which later gained for it the fourragère. Lieutenant de Kersauson remained with Section One for two years, and then, much against his will, was withdrawn to take charge of the instruction of Field Service men at the French officers' school at Meaux. In conjunction with this duty he was appointed to oversee the training of the new men at the camp at May-en-Multien. It was a fitting tribute to his previous success that he was called for this larger work in connection with the Field Service relationship with the French Army.

STEPHEN GALATTI (SSU3 & HQ), "French Officers Associated with the Service" in History of the American Field Service in France, "Friends of France," 1914-1917, Told by its Members. Houghton Mifflin. Boston and New York, 1920. Volume II.


Robert Marie de Kersauson de Pennendreff was born 1879 in Brest.

When the Boer War breaks out in 1899, he leaves for Transvaal and, having learned Afrikaans, joins the Boer forces and organizes the guerilla of the last Boers againt the English dominion in Namaqualand.

From 1919 to 1939 he works for Citroën in Central Africa, before settling in South Africa. He died 1971 in Franschhoek (Western Cape).

The French historian Bernard Lugan edited Robert de Kersauson's diary kept during the Boer war: Le dernier commando boer. Un volontaire français dans la guerre anglo-boer, 1900-1902. Editions du Rocher, collection "Aventure et Aventuriers", Monte Carlo, 1989.

A biography of Robert de Kersauson can be found here.

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