In World War II, the Free French were a group of French soldiers who were not affiliated with the Vichy government of France.
Early in WWII, France was defeated by Germany. Part of France was occupied by Germany. Another part remained under nominal French control. It was known as Vichy France for the city where its capital was. Vichy France was a German puppet state.
The Free French Forces were largely drawn from the French empire. Some were ethnic French who lived in the empire while others were natives of the countries of the empire. The leader of the Free French was Charles de Gaulle.