Who's Who - Marie-Jean-Lucien Lacaze
Admiral Marie-Jean-Lucien (1860-1955) served as Minister of Marine in the French government from 1915-17.
Lacaze entered the French Naval Academy in 1877 and served at Tunis in 1881 among other naval appointments before becoming naval attaché to Italy in 1905.
Following a promotion to Captain in 1906 he was promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1911 and appointed an assistant of pre-war Minister of Marine Theophile Delcasse from 1911-13. Lacaze was a keen advocate of increased Anglo-French naval co-operation.
With the outbreak of war in August 1914 Lacaze was naval commander at Marseille before losing his position in March 1915 following a quarrel with Commander-in-Chief Boue de Lapeyrere.
He soon returned however, becoming Minister of Marine himself in October 1915 in Aristide Briand's incoming government (replacing Jean Augagneur). In keeping with his predecessor however Lacaze was similarly unsuccessful in easing the command and strategic disagreements between the Allied naval commanders.
Painfully aware of the Allies' critical lack of effective anti-submarine measures, particulalrly in escorts, Lacaze attempted to partially rectify the problem by ordering a supply of destroyers from Japan. He also supported further development of naval aviation.
His position came under constant fire in the Chamber of Deputies. Eventually, tired of continued Allied shipping losses to German U-boats, French socialists withdrew their support from Lacaze and he consequently resigned on 2 August 1917.
Promoted Vice-Admiral the following month Lacaze was subsequently appointed prefect of the Toulon naval base and commander of naval patrols in the Mediterranean.
Retiring from the navy in 1922 Lacaze died in 1955.
'White Star' was a German mixture of chlorine and phosgene gas, so-named on account of the identification marking painted on the delivery shell casing.
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