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Submarine Day November 27, 2018

During the 2018 annual submarine day is the occasion for a more specific evocation of la Minerva on this 50th anniversary of its disappearance. The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Christophe Prazuck, in his agenda, wanted this day to pay special tribute to La Minerve, her crew and their family (seeBelow Top View)

3 representatives of the families of sailors from La Minerve were invited:, Thérèse Scheirmann-Descamps widow ofJules Descamps, Isabelle Dubard-Doré, sister ofBernard Dore, and Hervé Fauve, son ofAndré Fauve.

In a completely unusual and exceptional way, speaking time was granted to them during the military ceremony...

They could feel how the sailors in activity supported them in their steps.

Vice-Admiral Morio de l'Isle, who commands all of the French submarine forces, gave a speech during which he spoke directly to the families of the missing sailors from La Minerve.


He confirms that the families' request is being studied by the Ministry of the Armed Forces.

Below is the excerpt from his speech for the part concerning the Minerva

Below you will find thespeech by Hervé Fauve

On the following page a radio interview with Thérèse Scheirmann-Descamps and a report from France 3 Toulon


The JSM 2018 also pays special tribute to the crew of the submarine Minerve, which disappeared more than 50 years ago. On January 27, 1968 in the morning, the submarine was on exercise with an Atlantic maritime patrol plane off Cape Sicié, about twenty nautical miles south of Toulon, in difficult weather conditions, when radio contact with the plane is abruptly interrupted at 07:55. It is the entire Toulon navy which then sets out to find him. The crews are recalled urgently and all available units are called upon, but these initial searches will remain in vain.

I join in the pain of the families who lost one of their own in this tragic accident. Regarding the request from these families to resume research, the Minister recently said that it is important first to look at what new technologies could bring. This is what the Navy is doing, which is currently studying the conditions for new searches both from a technical point of view with the use of modern means, and operational to define the search area as precisely as possible, and this taking into account the difficulties of deep-sea research. It is a painful and delicate subject, which should be approached with great humanity, humility and caution.

Fifty-two crew, 6 officers, 16 petty officers and 30 quartermasters and sailors were then on board the Minerve. Yesterday's underwater operations et today remain dangerous.


I do not forget our fellow submariners who died aboard the Minerve, as well as all those who have lost their lives over the past 130 years serving in our submarine forces. The sailors of 2018, all of us here, do not forget them.

Extract from the speech of VAE Morio de l'Isle, admiral commanding the submarine forces and the Strategic Oceanic Force (ALFOST)_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb5cfb-58d_bad
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Discours Amiral Morio de l'Isle

Admiral Bernard-Antoine MORIO de L'ISLE 

Speech by Hervé Fauve, son of the commander of La Minerve, on behalf of the families of the missing
Discours Hervé Fauve

Ladies and gentlemen

Since the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the disappearance of the Minerve, here on January 27, I have been able to get in touch with many families and friends of the sailors of the Minerve.

I found that contrary to what  Léo Ferré claimed, when he sang " Avec le temps va tout s'en va_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b- 136bad5cf58d_”,   that in fact nothing had gone away with time.

Behind each of the photos of these sailors who disappeared 50 years ago, there are families, that represents several hundred relatives and friends, many of whom have disappeared, but for the others nothing is forgotten. They are even sometimes joined by a new generation who wants to carry this memory.

I would have liked to mention all these sailors one by one, I don't have time and would sometimes be unable to do so.

Foremost among them, I will naturally mention my own father,André Fauve, Pasha de la Minerve, whom some of you may have known. his own father,André Fauvealso, had entered the Naval Academy almost 100 years ago today and left the Navy after the scuttling of the fleet in which he participated, here, 76 years ago. My father inherited from him his love of the Navy and his passion for submarines ; he had been able to transmit the  to many midshipmen during his assignment to the Naval School between 66 and 67.

I would like tosi  evokeJules Descamps, whose wife Thérèse, honors us with her presence today. He too was passionate about his job. He shared  the solidarity specific to  submariners. He left with serenity aboard these boats in which he had complete confidence.

Francois Meunier, was going through a difficult time in his relationship with his father, he had chosen Minerve and Toulon to distance himself from this painful relationship between them. All his life his father will feel guilty for this choice.

Claude Goutorbewas the son of a submariner, it was his father who pushed him and convinced him to join. He will carry during his life, the weight of the responsibility of this choice.

Jacques Priard, was the last of his family. Having lost his mother at the age of 10, he was cherished by his father, raised by his brother and sister. Sunbeam of his family, he was to get married in 69. When he boarded, he was very proud and happy to achieve what he wanted.

Her boyfriend,Pierre Ampenwas the youngest on board, he was 17 years old. He enlisted when he was 15. The night of the alert, his own brother, Gerard, who was doing his military service, was on the radio trying in vain to contact La Minerve.

Bernard Dore, whose sister is with us, 36, was the oldest on board. Fatherless since 1940, a turbulent teenager, he enlisted at 17 and went to fight in the rice fields of Indochina. After his return, he had chosen the submarines. He had reassured his mother by telling her that there was no longer any risk.

I could continue by telling you about those who were getting married, those whose wives were expecting a child, their dreams, their projects, or those who had none. They came from all regions of France and many  families felt alone in the face of the drama.

In the big cities of the Navy, Toulon, Brest, Lorient, Cherbourg or Paris we could count on the legendary solidarity of the sailors, that of a large family united by such strong ties.

But the others, these geographically isolated families, often had to face this ordeal in solitude.

It was this birthday  that allowed us to discover each other, to meet each other.  I then had contacts and exchanges with people who were sometimes isolated in their pain, who, often overwhelmed by emotion, told me how much the void left by their sailor from La Minerve was still present in them. And, all, absolutely all,  always come back with the same questions : what happened ? why haven't they been found ? Why are we not being told anything ?

This year, we sought and obtained access to documents. We then took the initiative to request the resumption of research to locate the Minerva with modern means.

Many  are those who _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-58d_support us. What comfort for us who thought we were alone in such heavy grief! One of you even wrote to me: “If I had disappeared, I would like to know that my family would go to the end to find out where I am buried”. Such words go straight to our hearts.

A hope has just been born in the South Atlantic.  If luck is given, finding the Minerva is our dearest desire.

See it,  yes! ... and, above all, knowing where our dear loved ones are forever united under a common shroud.

Despite being 50 years old and contrary to what Léo Ferré sang when he concluded  his admirable song of un  "over time we no longer love", we don't forget and we always love. 

Admiral Prazuck's agenda which evokes the Minerve for the 2018 submarine day
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