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George Leygues (French cruiser) 1944

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George Leygues (French cruiser) 1944

Postby john sefton » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:28 pm

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In a 1994 issue from Gambia a 2d. stamp commemorating D Day and Operation Overlord portrays the French Cuiser GEORGES LEYGUES.
The name is wrongly spelt GEORGE, without the final'S', in the English way, while in French the forename is spelt GEORGES, except in the case of a woman. But it is not because a ship is often one's girl that the cruiser should turn female!
G. Leygues (1857-1933) was a prominent political figure of the 3rd French Republic. A member of Parliament from 1885 he had been many times a Minister (Education, Colonies, Home Affairs) as well as Prime Minister (1920-1924) He is best remembered as 'Ministre de la Marine- (Minister for Naval Affairs) a post he held in 1917, in 1925 and again in 1932.
After the Washington Naval Conference of 1922, he restored the French Navy almost back to its pre-war (1914) importance and strength, with a building programme of 225.000 tons-capital ships.
The Gambian stamp is to the best of my knowledge, the only 1994 D Day issue portraying a French naval vessel; although during the war years the Free French submarine SURCOUF appeared twice on St Pierre & Miquelon lssues (as well as HMS MIMOSA and other corvettes on loan to the De Gaulle Government)
Another and more serious mistake was made by the Gambian Postal Authority, in the legend 'Free French Cruiser', the vessel was not strictly speaking a Free French ship, as explained infra.
The light cruiser GEORGES LEYGUES was launched in 1937, one of a series of 6, a slim fast vessel of 7.690 tons with a speed of 35 knots. Her main armament consisted of 3 triple turrets of 152, 4 double AA guns of 90, Four 550 torpedo tubes. She had for a time, a seaplane catapult on turret III.
Stationed in 1940, in the Mediterranean, she was sent with two sister-ships to Dakar to prevent the aborted coup of De Gaulle and in September fought against the combined British (HMS RESOLUTION) and Free French Fleet.
In 1943, the vessel came, with the other French naval ships stationed in Africa, Alexandria and Antilles, under the command of Admiral Lemonniet, in Algiers, under the name of FMA (Marine Force Africa) about 250.000 tons -- which was joined but not amalgamated to the FNFL (Free French Naval Forces of De Gaulle) - about 30.000 tons -- renamed FNGB (French Naval Force Great Britain).
Modernised in the United States (Asdic - AA) the GEORGES LEYGUES took part, first in patrol in the Atlantic (she sank the German ship PORTLAND) then in the Corsica and Italy.
In April 1945 GEORGES LEYGUES and her sister ship MONTCALM sailed from Oran to Scapa Flow under the command of Admiral Jaujard and were integrated in the Western Task Force, USA Zone with USNS ARKANSAS.
On the 6 June GEORGES LEYGUES was stationed about 7 miles off Port en Bessin and began shelling off-shore defences, then German troops and tank concentrations, until 10 June.
In July 1945 she was sent, still with the cruiser MONTCALM to the Mediterranean and took part in the operation Anvil/Dragoon (Landing in Provence)
In 1956 the GEORGES LEYGUES took part in the Suez operations. She was taken out of service in 1957, having sailed a total of some 400.000 miles.
A French Frigate was named GEORGES LEYGUES in 1979.

Ref: ACORAM (Iit.Pdc)Histoire de la Marine Francaise - Clerc-Rampal. Marine Francaise: Guerre 1939/45 - Ph. Masson

Article by Andre F Beaudel in Log BookSeptember 1995
Gambia 1994 SG1857
john sefton
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Re: George Leygues (French cruiser) 1944

Postby aukepalmhof » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:48 pm

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GEORGES LEYGUES is decommissioned in November 1959 and thereafter used for various tests. Used as target on 19 July 1960 when drifting south of Ile de Levant off Toulon, when eight AS20 missiles with an active load were fired on her. 1961 is she sent to the scrapyard.
Gambia 1994 2d sg1857, scott1555.
Source: Wikipedia
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