The Dashing Hero You Never Knew….

Posted by on October 26, 2009




I was doing some research early this morning and found the above copy of the Field Artillery Journal online.  Since I’m always fascinated by things from the World War II era, I decided to download the PDF and take a look.

It was great, especially when I found this article:





It brings back images of Stukas and a vast retreating BEF against the onslaught of the German Blitzkrieg.  It was a bad time for the Allies, but good for the German Army in those early days of World War II.  Reading the article, we get a first hand view of what it was like—beyond the traditional storybooks and faded newsreels.  Here’s a quote:

I am totally unprepared for the sight that greets us as we reach Highway 65. It recalls the famous painting of Napoleon’s retreat from Russia: brand new trucks, tractors, guns of every caliber line the ditches and fields. Millions of dollars’ worth of British equipment, some of it scarcely used, lies in the mud, abandoned by troops that are already on their way to embarkation.


One of the more interesting stories, however, is that of the author of the article I mentioned above:  Henri de la Falaise.  From every source I have found he has started to slip away into the mists of time.  It is a shame however, because he seemingly was a true war hero as well as being well known in pre-war Hollywood.  Awarded the Croix de Guerre for actions in the First World War as well as in the Second, he became known in Hollywood for his marriages to both Gloria Swanson as well as Constance Bennett as we see in the picture below:



I’ve assembled a good list of links below—as many as I could find online.  There are links to both his history of service as well as to his accurate description of the action at Dunkirk.  Take a look and learn more about this hero before he slips away…..

Have a great day!


Wikipedia: Dunkirk

Dunkirk Museum

BBC—Dunkirk Links and Stories

Silent Movie Blog—Post on Charlie Chaplin and Henri de la Falaise

Internet Movie Database:  Henri de la Falaise

Wikipedia: Henri de la Falaise

Field Artillery Journal:  Henri’s Dunkirk Story


(1-3) Field Artillery Journal, August 1942 (Conclusion of article)

(4) The Evening Independent, Sept. 3, 1927, pg. 5                 (Google News Archive)

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