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Ceremony of tribute to the memory of Lieutenant André Fauve, commander of the Minerve
in Ploermel

On January 22, 2022, in Ploermel, birthplace of Lieutenant de Vaisseau André Fauve, a tribute ceremony was held in the presence of the Mayor Mr. Patrick le Diffon, Mr. Paul Molac, deputy of the 4th constituency of Morbihan, and many representative of the Navy and associations as well as many members of the Fauve family.

The plate that had been installed on February 26, 1968 has been replaced. 


The Fauve family

L'accueil était assuré par Madame la proviseure Martine Poulain et quelques élèves présents pour accompagner les invités.

Etaient présent à cette cérémonie :
- Des anciens combattants portes drapeaux.
- Un enseigne de vaisseau 1ère classe représentant la Marine en Dordogne.
- Un colonel représentant les anciens combattants.
- L'ensemble des élèves du collège et du lycée St Joseph soit environ 1000 personnes.

Il y a eu plusieurs prises de paroles de la part d'élèves entrecoupées par des chants de la chorale de l'établissement. C'était émouvant.

Le travail réalisé par l'ensemble des élèves et des professeurs d'histoire était impressionnant. Ils se sont beaucoup investis pour rendre un hommage à toutes les victimes militaires. J'ai bien évidemment félicité les organisateurs pour leur travail.
L'ensemble des élèves présents étaient très attentifs.
Ma prise de parole a été très apprécié. Elle s'est faite juste avant de découvrir la plaque commémorative.
Madame la proviseure m'a informé qu'elle ne devait pas trop longue car il y en avait beaucoup. J'ai bien géré la lecture.
Cela a permis de bien expliquer le lien entre notre famille et St Joseph car d'après les retours que j'ai eu après beaucoup se posait des questions.

A l'issu de la cérémonie un cocktail et un repas étaient proposés dans une ambiance conviviale entre les invités.


Crédit@stéphane Fauve

Stéphane Fauve Crédit@stéphane Fauve

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is difficult for me to describe the emotion that grips me when speaking here in Ploërmel, Ploermel cradle of part of my family, Ploërmel of which my great-grandfather was the mayor from 1904 to his death in 1952 , Ploërmel, where my father, André Fauve, was born in 1935, almost 87 years ago.

I cannot express myself here without first mentioning Louis Guillois, elected mayor in 1904 who remained so until his death in September 1952, at the age of 82. When his death was announced, the local newspaper, Le ploërmelais, also mentioned, like a sinister omen, the disappearance of a submarine, the Sybille, off the coast of Toulon. The last submarine that France would lose before the Minerve 16 years later.

It is this grandfather my father saw the day. His mother, my grandmother, Marie Thérèse, had come to give birth there, while her husband, André Fauve, a naval officer, was at sea. 

It was with his own father that my father went to nurture his vocation and his love of the Navy. This love of the Navy, this desire to sail guide all his choices. After naval school, a world tour on the Jeanne d'Arc, he embarked on the frigate l'Aventure and left to face the polar cold of Greenland to assist the fishing boats. Then he attended the ASM school in Toulon to become a submariner. The world of the so-called black boats fascinates him. He embarked successively on the Flore, the Argonaute and the Narval. When he got married my mother, Noyale, often told me, he had told her that by marrying him she was also marrying the Navy. 

Yes, he was a Navy enthusiast, a submarine enthusiast. When he was an instructor at the naval school in 1966, he knew how to share this passion with a large number of students. Admiral Joire Noullens, who was Chief of Staff of the Navy, testified to this by emphasizing that rarely had there been as many choices of submarine weapons as in this promotion, and that Lieutenant André Fauve vessel had greatly contributed to this. 

On January 13, 1968 my father took command of La Minerve. Ten days of exercise followed with his crew of 52 young men, all volunteers and sharing a common enthusiasm for life aboard submarines. At 32, my father is one of the oldest on board. The average age is 24, the youngest is 17.

On January 27, 1968, at 7.56 a.m., La Minerve sent a message to Bréguet-Atlantic with which she carried out an exercise “I understand that you are canceling the exercise”. This will be his last message. On the 28th, at 1 o'clock in the morning, the alert was given, the entire Navy of Toulon mobilized, searching in vain for the submarine. On February 8, General De Gaulle presides over a national tribute ceremony. On this occasion he carried out a symbolic dive on the sister submarine of the neck brace, its sister-ship, the Eurydice which was in turn to disappear 2 years later.  

On February 26, 1968 the town hall of Ploërmel, less than a month after the tragedy of La Minerve, was going to affix on its war memorial a commemorative plaque in memory of its missing son, Lieutenant André Fauve.

Yes, Ploërmel was the first in France to immediately make such a gesture which honored the memory of the Minerve of her missing sailors. I will never forget this gesture, even today so we have to fight for some of the sailors of the Minerve to have the right to this honor.  

La Minerve was finally found on July 21, 2019 because our family had not forgotten them and continued to fight for 50 years, and thanks to the solidarity of seafarers, the solidarity of sailors.
On February 1, 2020, I even went to dive to a depth of 2370 meters to place a commemorative plaque on the wreck of the Minerve, the tomb of these 52 men. 

Finally, I would like to mention another tragedy that my father himself faced. In April 1966, he was second in command of the Narval submarine. 3 of the men and the commander swept away by a wave and drowned off the Glénans during a manoeuvre. A few days later during the religious ceremony in front of the empty coffin of the commander who had not yet been found, he pronounced these few words which would take on a particular resonance a few months later: "The sea for a sailor, is she not the most beautiful of shrouds! ".

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