He joined the Boulogne-Billancourt people’s aviation club, where he gained his grounding in mechanics.
In 1940, he studied at a vocational school in Suresnes. In early 1941, together with his elder brother, Jean Cortot, he joined the Resistance. He made contact with the Organisation Spéciale (OS) of the Communist Party while at the same time becoming qualified as a fitter. Louis Cortot carried out many resistance operations with great success.
In January 1944, he joined the Seine-et-Marne Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (FTP). In August 1944 in Lieusaint, he was seriously injured in the face by shrapnel during fighting to liberate the country. Demonstrating great courage and composure, he only went to a first aid post when formally ordered to do so.
On 11th November 1944, he received the croix de la Libération from General de Gaulle, at the Arc de Triomphe.
He was a reserve officer at the end of the war and went back to civilian life as a fitter at Dassault in 1948. He was transferred to the tooling department in 1961 where he worked on prototypes assembly. He was promoted to hydraulic technical fitter in 1966, then methods engineer in 1976, before retiring in 1986.
Louis Cortot is the father of two children and was President of the National Association of Veterans and Friends of the Resistance (ANACR) and had been a member of the Council of the Order of the Liberation since December 2010. Since 2012, he was also president of the association of friends of the museum of the Order of the Liberation.
Louis Cortot was awarded many prestigious decorations:
- Grand Officier de la Légion d’Honneur
- Compagnon de la Libération – decree of 8th November 1944
- Croix de Guerre 39/45
- Croix du Combattant 39/45
- Croix du Combattant Volontaire 39/45
- Croix du Combattant Volontaire de la Résistance
Louis Cortot was among those employees and managers at Dassault Aviation who distinguished themselves during the last war: Benno-Claude Vallières (CEO – SAS parachutist), Henri Déplante (Senior Executive Vice-President Engineering – SAS parachutist), Xavier d’Iribarne (Senior Executive Vice-President Production – 1st armored division), General Paul Dassault (brother of Marcel, military supervisor of the FTP), Marcel Dassault himself (opponent of collaboration, interned by Vichy with his family, deported to Buchenwald).
To this list must be added the dozens of employees shot by the Nazis for acts of resistance in the Group’s various factories.
Louis Cortot, a Compagnon de la Libération, died on 5th March 2017. He had spent most of his working life at Dassault Aviation.