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Marie-François Goron

As an army man, Goron was involved in military campaigns to Martinique and Algeria, as well as the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. Subsequently, he was commercial employee in Rennes, and wholesaler of wines. In 1879, he moved to Paraguay and Argentina, where he participated in the founding of the Formosa colony in the Argentine Gran Chaco. Here, he learned Spanish and Portuguese. In 1881, he entered the Paris Police Prefecture, where he was appointed secretary of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul bureau the following year. From there, his police career went rapidly: in 1885 he was transferred to Pantin, in September 1886 he was appointed deputy chief of the Sûreté, and the next year he became chief of this department. He must have met several foreign police representatives, for instance from Vienna, in preparation of the 1889 Paris World Exposition. In the same year, he visited the London police for the first time while on the tail of a fugitive criminal and in need of assistance. With Robert Anderson, he engaged in a ‘friendship that was of great value to [their] official work’, and both frequented each other’s offices repeatedly in the following years. Melville Macnaghten also referred to the close relations of the London Criminal Investigation Department and the Paris Sûreté. He was also in contact with other European policemen. In his memoirs he testifies the senior police officers in at least Paris, London and Berlin knew one another. He also visited Brussels and, most probably, met Rotterdam’s chief of police, Willem Voormolen, during his 1894 study trip – and they corresponded on Goron’s memoires in 1900. His relations with London were beyond doubt the closest nevertheless. In 1895, he retired from the Paris police to open a private detective bureau, and also began writing his memoires. This was published in four volumes as Les Mémoires de Goron, ancient chef de la Sûreté (1897), followed by four new parts as L’Amour à Paris. Nouveaux mémoires (1899). In 1897, he went to Constantinople for two weeks, to help Celestin Bonnin and Edouard Lefoulon in the reorganization of the police. Upon his return, Goron wrote various novels. At the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, Goron volunteered for the military intelligence service (Deuxième Bureau).

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