Code Name: "Gilbert"
Movements Officer for Prosper circuit
Henri Alfred Eugéne Dericourt was born September 2, 1909 in Coulonges-en-Tardenois, France and is possibly the most elusive and polarizing figure to emerge from the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in World War II. He flew with the French Air Force from September 1939 until June 1940. Following the Nazi occupation of France, Dericourt transitioned to civil aviation and on December 13 1941, he married Jeannot Patural. In the fall of 1942, Dericourt fled France for England, where he was recruited to join the SOE. Dericourt parachuted back into France on January 22/23, 1943 as the Air Movement Officer for SOE in northern France. His code name was "Gilbert." He was responsible for securing landing areas and organizing reception committees for agents entering France. Dericourt was soon suspected of being a traitor, especially after a wave of arrests of SOE agents in the summer of 1943. As concerns persisted from fellow agents in the field, Dericourt was recalled to London in February 1944. He was acquitted on the charge of treason but prevented from returning to the field for the SOE. Dericourt joined the Free French Air Force as a captain and soon after was shot down over France. He survived and received the Croix de Guerre and Légion d’Honneur. After the war, evidence confirmed that Dericourt had been working with the Germans. He was arrested in November 1946 by the French government and stood trial for treason in June 1948. Dericourt never denied involvement with the Germans and insisted he was working for the good of the war effort. His claim was corroborated at trial by his SOE superior Nicholas Bodington. Again, Dericourt was acquitted. Doubts on his motives during his SOE days persisted until the report of his death. He was reported to have died in a plane crash in Laos on November 20, 1962. His body was never recovered.