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Speech by Hervé Fauve

on behalf of families

Ladies and gentlemen,

Almost 2 years ago we met here, in this same place, many of us met to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the disappearance of the Minerva. Our mobilization had then shown how much his memory was still alive. We never imagined that we would return 21 months later.

This commemoration was a turning point.

Until then, many of us, families, dispersed and most often isolated, we were resigned, some sometimes harbored resentment vis-à-vis a navy that said nothing, that seemed to hide what it knew. Within the Navy, we deplored the suspicions that weighed on her, maintained by the press, and which seemed to her unjust. For the press, Minerva had become a chestnut tree, a subject that is periodically brought out to fill columns, without asking questions. And for the greatest number, the name of the Minerve was forgotten.

50 years had passed, an eternity.

This turning point that I was beginning to talk about was that of unity.

This unity was made because we realized that in fact we were pursuing only one and the same goal, to perpetuate the memory of these young sailors who disappeared, of these sailors who, for the most part, threw themselves into a lot of joy and energy in a life that was beginning for them.

They were a crew of hopeful young men who got along well, happy to go to sea together where they would get to know their new captain, my father, Lieutenant Fauve.

Over the months I got to know them.


I discovered Pierre Ampen's enthusiasm, Bernard Gadonnet's commitment to scouting, the second in command, Jacques Priard's joie de vivre, Francis Leblois's love of the profession, Jacques M alarm's commitment or de Michel Dannay,  I was told about Auguste le Mens, always ready to help, the kindness of Alain Guérin, the strong characters of Bernard Hélies or François Meunier, the meticulousness of Patrice Cailliau, de Gilbert Le Porq always quick to drag his friends into the streets of Toulon, Nicolas Miggliaccio, Corsica from Marseille , who knew how to open so many doors there, of Bernard Helmer who adored his little sister, of those, numerous, who nourished wedding plans like Marcel Coustal, those who had joined the submarines to please their father like Claude Goutorbe, the only one called,   or those who were beginning to consider leaving for a new career like Bernard Doré who had spent 10 years there or the sympathetic Jean Agnus with his impressive stature. I stop there, on each there would be so much and so much to say.

It is by thinking of these men that we have managed to unite. There were a few of us at the start.  For us, the hardest thing was first to dare to expose our pain to everyone, to overcome our modesty, and for some to contain their anger. But it allowed us to rally a growing number of people to our cause:  other families, friends, sailors past and present, the press, elected officials, Mr. Hubert Falco, Mr. Philippe Vitel,  here present, and finally all those who wanted to support us.

It was the beginning of an immense momentum where we all gradually found ourselves united in an immense communion around the 52 who disappeared from La Minerve.

I was in the front row to see how strong this communion was between all of us, how many of you have contributed to advancing our cause. It started with simple encouragement, then came the ideas, the advice, the connections, the contributions and finally the sometimes hard work of some.

We were no longer alone. It was the end of this loneliness in which we had felt isolated for so long. The hope of one day being able to mourn, to be able to say to these sailors, "we looked for you until the end". The hope of one day being able to say, "we are here, we have found you".

We were constantly more numerous, allowing our call to be heard at the highest level, allowing what seemed unimaginable, the announcement by Mrs Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces of the resumption of the search for a missing submarine more 50 years ago, the only ship in the Western navies whose brothers in arms were missing.

Then came July 22 and the announcement that 35 kilometers from here the wreck of the Minerve had been found and identified.

Also, before going there tomorrow with the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, and the Chief of the Navy, Admiral Christophe Prazuck -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ say, without fear of betraying anyone, in the name of these 52 men, in the name of their families,  in the name of those who loved them, in the name of those who would have liked to know and love them

A huge thank you to all those who allowed us to meet here today around the memory of the Minerva finally found.



Hervé Fauve Photo @francis Jacquot


Hélène Audibert  Deputy Mayor of Toulon, Philippe Vitel Vice President General Council, Geneviève Levy Deputy, Laurent Isnard Mediterranean Maritime Prefect, Astrid Jeffrault Deputy Prefect, Hubert Falco Mayor of Toulon, Yannick Chenevard_cc781905-5cde- 3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_  2nd Deputy Mayor of Toulon, Jean-Philippe Rolland ALFAN @Marine

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