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Blessing of the double of the commemorative plaque placed on the wreck of the Minerve 

On Monday November 15, 2021 in the chapel of the arsenal of Toulon the double of the plate which had been deposited on February 1, 2021 (see pose) on the wreckage of the neck brace was unveiled during a blessing ceremony in the chapel of the Toulon arsenal.

This blessing given by Brother Olivier, chaplain of the Navy, was held in the presence of various families of the missing sailors, Helmer, Descamps, Doré, Guérin, Potier, Fauve of 2 former members of the crew, friends of the missing, from COMESNA, Commander Colonna d'Istria, several naval officers and representatives of the Rubis and Casabianca and Pégase branches of the AGASM.

To see thewebsite of the Rubis section of the AGASM

Below is the text  of the address given by Hervé Fauve


Photo @jFrancis JACQUOT 



Almost four years ago, I spoke for the first time in front of you during the commemoration ceremony of the fiftieth anniversary of the disappearance of Minerva. Disappearance, this word still had a heavy meaning since we did not know where the wreckage remained untraceable.

I will not go back over what happened between this commemoration and July 21, 2019 when, after more than 51 years of waiting, we finally learned where this crew was resting, which no one dared to hope would be found again. day.

We have been able to accomplish this path by relying on the legendary solidarity of sailors who, whether active or retired, over time have shown that they have not forgotten their brothers in arms who have disappeared despite the past years. They relayed our expectations, they interceded on our behalf with the highest authorities in the country and were able to convince them to resume research where it had been abandoned after the sinking of the Eurydice in March 1970.

For many resounded in them the code of the legionnaire "you never abandon neither your dead, nor your wounded, nor your weapons".

After the unforgettable tribute ceremony, directly above the wreck, on September 15, 2021, we thought that a page had been turned, mourning was possible, we had gathered at the place where 52 sailors had surrendered their souls to God.

For my part, I still had one last project, that of depositing a commemorative plaque on the wreck itself at 2370 meters deep. I had been inspired by the example of another missing submarine, the Dakar, which sank on January 25, 1968 and had also remained untraceable. For 30 years, without ever losing hope, Israel had searched for its missing submarine. And, after its discovery, Israel placed a commemorative plaque on the Dakar wreck, at the bottom of the Mediterranean.

We had to descend to a depth of 2370 m, where light no longer pierces, where life no longer exists, where few are those who have been able to venture outside of drones and robots.

It took a miracle to achieve this without waiting many years. This miracle took place. In the name of solidarity between sailors, a former American naval officer, who had become a billionaire and owner of a submersible capable of reaching the deepest abyss, was going to contact me to offer to carry out this project. Thanks to an outpouring of financial solidarity from families, brothers in arms and friends of the missing, a plaque was engraved to be placed on the wreckage.

On February 1, 2020, it must have been 10 a.m., I saw with my own eyes the wreckage of the submarine, the tomb of these men that we have never forgotten.  I don't I wouldn't hide that the moments that followed were for me of an intensity that I never imagined. We deposited the plaque whose replica we are inaugurating today.

Here too chance, or dare I say divine providence, was with us. The plate was dropped a few meters above the wreckage, it fell on its edge, swayed for a short time to fall on the right side, the one that allowed to read:

“Marins de la Minerve, we looked for you, we never forgot you – your families, your brothers in arms, your friends”

At the same time, in this world of silence, we sounded the national anthem, the Marseillaise, for the first time since that disastrous day of January 27, 1968, 52 years to the day, after the announcement of the abandonment research on February 1, 1968.

This chapel, where the plaques evoking the sailors of the Minerva and the Eurydice stand side by side, will now be the sepulcher or the exact double of this plaque which rests forever on the final resting place of the 52 sailors of the Minerva.

Let's pray for them

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