top of page

Open letter to the elected officials of the harbor of Toulon

After declassification and knowledge of the long-awaited file, a certain number of close relatives of the disappeared were consulted to find out whether they supported a plan to question elected officials on the question of resuming the search in order tolocate the wreck of the Minerve.

Out of 18 families contacted, i.e. 32 people at the start, all responded positively, even if some people preferred not to join in order not to reopen a still painful scar . Others also felt that the time had passed and it was too late. 

The mother of one of the sailors even indicated that it was the first time in 50 years that she had been contacted about the Minerva for anything other than a commemoration.

As the days went by, this number of families increased with all those who were unaware of this initiative and who could not be contacted at the start because they did not have their contact details.

The number of families would rise to 32 for 82 signatories, i.e. almost all of the families who had been contacted.

180122 MINERVE Var Matin.JPG

Recipients :

  • Mr. Hubert Falco, Mayor of Toulon

  • Mr. Jean-Claude Averso, Deputy Mayor of Toulon in charge of relations with Defense

  • Mr. Guy Le Berre, Deputy Mayor of Toulon in charge of relations with the Navy

  • Mr. Philippe Vitel, Vice-president of the PACA Region, Titular member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Advanced Studies in National Defense_cc781905-5cde-3194 -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_

  • Ms. Geneviève Lévy, Deputy for the 1st constituency of Var

  • Ms. Cécile Muschotti, Deputy for the 2nd constituency of Var

  • Mr. Jean-Louis Masson, Deputy for the 3rd district of Var

  • Ms. Emilie Guerel, Deputy for the 7th constituency of Var

  • Mr. Philippe Michel-Kleisbauer, MP for the 5th district of Var and member of the National Defense and Armed Forces Commission.



On January 27, in Toulon, the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the disappearance of the Minerve submarine with its crew of 52 men took place.

Time has passed since 1968, many relatives of missing sailors, parents, wives, brothers, sisters families, friends have died in doubt and sometimes even for some the mad hope that they had been able to survive, captured by a hypothetical power enemy. For many of the surviving parents, the pain remains intact.

We had to do an impossible job of mourning without understanding what had happened, nor knowing how or where they had disappeared.

This year, we, families, finally obtained the right to free access to the Confidential Defense report of the commission of inquiry which had been set up in 1968. All those who had tried to have access to it had been met with an end. not to receive.

For that, we had to appeal to the Presidency of the Republic. It is after the official journal of June 16, 2018 and the decree of June 4, 2018 establishing a general derogation for the consultation of public archives relating to the disappearance of the submarine "Minerve" on January 27, 1968 that access to this file has been authorized to us.

  He didn't tell us anything essential that we didn't already know. Only the technical reasons for the cause of the disappearance had been studied. The file nevertheless confirms that we have a relatively precise idea of the place of the shipwreck at a depth of 2000 m at around 22 km from Cap Sicié.

After the official ceremony of February 8, 1968, presided over by the President of the Republic, we were left alone. Never the slightest beginning of an explanation, never the hypotheses envisaged were presented to us even though within the Navy and shipbuilding this work of understanding was carried out. But only the technical dimension of this drama was considered. Our pain and our affliction, our families, have never been taken into account.

Today, many families continue to wonder. Why was the search not continued? Many of them have expressed this questioning around a website dedicated to this drama and animated since the beginning of the year, by the eldest son of the commander of the Minerve.

The vast majority of these families believe that only the discovery of the wreckage could allow this work of mourning to be completed.

France seems to be the only major country that has given up trying to find one of its missing submarines. There are many examples.  In particular that of Israel which on January 25, 1968,  2 days before the Minerve accident, also lost a penny -marin on a zone  much less circumscribed than that of Minerve. It was finally in 1999, 31 years later, that he was found after much research. Does France have less consideration for its sailors ?

Since the state and the nation are leaving us alone with our pain, we are beginning to look privately for ways to resume this research.

The dramas of flight 447 Rio Paris in 2009 with the discovery of debris at a depth of 3900 m, the discovery of the wreckage of the Titanic in 1985 at a depth of 3800 m with the assistance of IFREMER, show that in 2018 it is possible to carry out underwater searches at a depth of 2000 m in a limited area with a high chance of success.

If we address you today, it is to solemnly ask you the question:

Is it normal for families to seek funding to find the wreckage of a military vessel that serves as a burial place for these sailors who sacrificed their lives for France?



Monique Le Monze-Agnus,spouse, Christophe and Olivier Agnusson, BErnadette Grillet-Aubertsister etMary Agnusgranddaughter of Jean-Marie Agnus

Marie-Jeanne Allixwife of Bernard Allix

Gerard AmpenPierre Ampen's brother

Caroline Cailliau-Bouchacourtdaughter, Jean-Michel CailliauandMarie-Edith Baudezbrother and sister of Patrice Cailliau

Nicole Bellinsister of Robert Cleren

Martine Coustaland his sonmarcelwife and son of Marcel Coustal

Therese Scheirmann-Descampswife of Jules Descamps

Jacques Dannay son andDaniel DannayMichel Dannay's brother

Marie Therese Creponspouse, Anne Viale-Dorédaughter, Jean-Marc Doréson andIsabelle Doré-Dubardsister of Bernard Doré

Fawn Stonebrother, Herve Fauve etAndré Fauve-Piotson,Antoine FauveandFawn Stonegrandsons of André Fauve

Daniele Gadonnetsister andDenis Gadonnet son of Bernard Gadonnet

Danielle Balthazardsister, Jerome Goutorbenephew of Claude Goutorbe

Jean Guérin, Françoise Guérin, Philippe Guérin, Marie Joseph Bassière, Jacques Guérin, Jocelyne Guérin  brothers, sisters and Christophe Bassière  nephew of Alain Guérin

Danielle Carriersister of Maurice Guicherd

Isabelle Helmersister andRobert Helmerbrother by Bernard Helmer

Gabrielle HeliesandJosiane Heliesmother and sister of Bernard Hélies

Yveline Lebloiswife, Anne-FrederiqueandFrank Lebloisdaughter and son Clara Fernandezgrand-niece of Francis Leblois

Simone Castagnesister of Gilbert Leporq

Didier Lepretrebrother of Daniel Lepretre

Anne-Marie Loichet mother,Jean Loichet Paul Loichet Marcel Loichetbrothers,Pierrette Loichetsister-in-law of Maurice Loichet

Rose Marie M alarm FriquetandJeanne M alarm Taylorsisters, Gerard M alarm brother, Stéphane M alarm  nephew, and Katia Friquet little nieceofJacques Malarm

Jean-Marc Meunier,Marie-Claude Buors,Bernard Miller,Dominique Miller,Isabelle Keddam,Pascal Meunierbrothers and sisters  by François Meunier

Lucien MessiaenandFrancoise Cailliezfather and fiancée of Patrick Messiaen

Francoise Migliaccio, sister-in-law of Nicolas Migliaccio

Francois Naasbrother of Daniel Naas

Raymonde Potierspouse,Valerie RoyandGhislaine Leperegirls, Eva LepereLucas Lepere, Damien Roy, Mickaël RoyandMalaury Roygrandchildren of Daniel Potier

Viviane Rabussiersister,Daniel Rabussier ,Gerard Rabussierbrothers, Ludovic Therethalf-brother d'Edmond Rabussier

Nicole Barbediennesister of Jean-Louis Renard

Marie Breitenberger-PriardJohn Priard,Christiane Sonntag Gerhardssister, brother and fiancée of Jacques Priard

Anne-Marie Saussayewife of Claude Saussaye

Nicole Teyssandiersister of Roger Teyssandier

Stephanie Vigneron-Letarguaniece andJean-Jacques Vigneronnephew of Jacques Vigneron

bottom of page