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Who was La Tour-d'Auvergne, the Breton from Carhaix?

The statue | Moreau.henri / CC-BY-SA
Statue La Tour-d'Auvergne's statue in Carhaix

Carhaix is the fatherland of La Tour d’Auvergne, a Breton sailor and pirate!

We have here a statue made by Marochetti, representing La Tour on a pedestal, holding a sabre on his heart, his right hand on his riffle.

Under the statue, we have Le Tour’s and Carhaix’s blazons. We also can see two low-reliefs: siege of Chambéry and La Tour’s death in Bavaria.

Corret, a Breton from Carhaix

Théophile-Malo de La Tour-d'Auvergne-Corret was born in Carhaix in 1743. His dad was Olivier Corret, his mum Jeanne-Lucrèce Salaün. Théophile studied in Quimper school then in La Flèche’s military school.

He was a young lad in 1763, when he entered in the Black Musketeers' company: he became lieutenant in Angoumois regiment.

But he wasn’t a noble guy. And that kind of thing jarred in the army! His surname was simply... Corret. So he added "de Kerbauffret", with the particule, to indicate aristocratic origin...

Well, that was not enough for noble people: so he added La Tour-d’Auvergne, because in 1777, he found an ancestor in this prestigious family!

With his brand new surname, he decided to join the Spanish army, where he made his first feat: the scene took place on Port-Mahon siege. He saved a wounded officer and brought him back in a safe place.

As a reward, king of Spain gave him a pension of 3 000 livres and a medal. But Théophile only took the medal... Then the French Revolution came; he became grenadiers chief in 1792, he was 50 years old. His finest victory? Battle of Chambéry, in Savoie!

A humble soldier

Then, he decided to come home, in Brittany. But his boat was kidnapped by the English. Damned! They forced him to leave his tricolour cockade: he refused! Théophile was arrested and put in jail in England. They set him free in 1797...

In jail, he wrote a book about Celtic people from Europe and Brittany, he quickly published in France in 1797! Once he get home in France, he heard an old friend of him, Le Brigant, had troubles: they wanted to send his only son to war! His last kid...

Théophile decided to replace his friend’s son: he was 56 years old, he was tired but he went to war in Switzerland in 1799...

Napoleon appointed him "First French Grenadier"... Modest one more time, Théophile said: "I have 800 livres of pension, books, good weapons, it’s enough for a man who doesn't need anything in his retirement."

He died on June 27th 1800, wounded by an Austrian soldier, in Bavaria...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!