Adjutant Pierre Janelle

Biography of Adjutant Pierre Janelle

Pierre Janelle was born on the 17th of September in 1891 in the village of Mouy in the French region of Oise. His father, Ernest Janelle, was a headmaster at several secondary schools in Paris including Lycée Charlemagne and Lycée Pasteur.

Pierre studied at the Sorbonne where he graduated in 1911 as an English academic. Between 1925 and 1928 he was also the holder of the Ernest Lavisse research scholarship awarded to him by the Sorbonne. In 1935 he obtained a D.Litt degree at the same university.

Pierre followed his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in teaching. Between 1910 and 1911he was appointed as one of three student teachers in French for the Glasgow Provincial Committee for the Training of Teachers (GPCTT). This was the teaching authority for Glasgow and the West of Scotland at the start of the 20th century which in 1921 became the Jordanhill Teacher Training College.

During the First World War, Janelle initially fought at the front as a private for the 51st French Infantry Regiment. However on the 21st October 1914 he was severely wounded suffering bullet wounds to his leg and thigh. In 1915 he acted as an interpreter for the British Expeditionary Force and was attached to the 124th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, 110th Infantry Brigade and later the First Army H.Q. For his work he received a letter of congratulations from the General Count Gleichen, O.C of the 37th Division. Janelle fought in the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of the Vimy Ridge with the Canadian Corps but was then sent back to the French artillery in 1917 where he ended his campaign as a second lieutenant in the 290th regiment of the French Artillery.

From 1919 to 1925 Janelle was an English master at Lycée Fustel de Coulanges in Strasbourg. In 1935 Janelle became a lecturer and professor in English language and literature at the University of Clermont-Ferrand.

Janelle was called up again in 1939 to fight in the Second World War as a captain in the French Artillery. He initially did liaison work with the British army and took part in the Battle of the Belgian frontier until he was taken down with illness. Between 1940 and 1943 Janelle worked in close contact with American officers in Sayat near Clermont providing them with help and information until they were arrested by the Germans. Janelle was awarded many medals for his military service including the French war cross and palm, the Legion of Honour and a British military medal.

As well as being an English Professor, Janelle wrote many influential books on religious history particularly surrounding the British Isles. Some of his books which can be found in the university library include Obedience in Church and State (1930) and The Catholic Reformation (1949). John Swinnerton Philimore an English Catholic covert who was a professor of Glasgow University greatly influenced Janelle’s interest in Britain’s Catholic history and lent him many rare books so that he could carry out his research. Janelle also appeared as a guest speaker for the BBC in July 1948 to discuss his research on the religious history of Britain.

Pierre Janelle died on 19th March 1964. He is remembered for his gallant military actions in the First and Second World War as well as his notable contributions to education and religious historical research.


Adjutant Pierre Janelle
Rank: Adjutant
Regiment: 102nd Regiment DArtillerie
Degree: N/A
Awards: French Croix De Guerre, French Medaille Militaire
Comments: N/A
Note/Press Clipping: N/A
Photo ID: N/A


Ed. Hoehn, Matthew. Catholic authors: contemporary biographical sketches, 1930-[1952], (Newark, St Mary’s Abbey, 1952)

Janelle, Pierre. The Catholic Reformation, (Bruce Publishing Co., 1949)

University of Strathclyde, archives reference: JCE/1/1, Minutes of Meetings of the Glasgow Provincial Committee for the Training of Teachers 1910-11, Appendix IV: Staff List Session 1910-11, p.105

Leonore Culture, Pierre Janelle:

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