The Resistance on the Continent
In June 1940, German troops invaded France. They entered La Rochelle on June 23 and quickly occupied the entire department.
At the beginning of this occupation, the population is indignant. But those who take action are few. To dissuade them, the Vichy Government drafted and posted notices to the population, specifying the dangers and penalties incurred by resistance fighters and snipers.
Nevertheless, little by little, groups are formed and organized.
The most important of them bears the name of “Honneur et Patrie”, based in La Rochelle. In the winter of 1943, he joined the OCM (Civil and Military Organization), which was none other than a “Resistance Movement”.
This group of resistance fighters from La Rochelle was formed on the initiative of Léopold ROBINET, director of a litigation firm.
Thanks to Raymond BOUCHET, teacher, Léopold ROBINET recruits people who constitute his staff. There are Edmond GRASSET, Colonel LISIACK and Jean GARNIER.
The group has means of communication with London. Edmond Grasset is in contact with “Bêche” and “Liberation Nord”. He is also regional manager of the CND-Castille network (Brotherhood of Our Lady – Castile, one of the intelligence networks of the Central Bureau of Intelligence and Action). Eugène LISIACK is the departmental head of “Centurie”, the intelligence network of the OCM. He travels to Paris frequently to meet Colonel TOUNY, head of the network.
On February 8, 1943, Jean GARNIER was appointed departmental head of the OCM. He is responsible for the sectors of Saintes, Marennes, Jonac, Royan and La Rochelle. In April of the same year, he was replaced in this position by Léopold ROBINET and was attached to the regional staff of Bordeaux.
Two parallel organizations are set up, one military and the other civilian.
On June 15, 1943, in Royan, General BRUNCHER set up the departmental headquarters of the Secret Army. He chose Colonel LISIACK as his deputy, entrusting him with the North-West Zone (LA Rochelle-Rochefort)
On the civil organization side, it was Léopold ROBINET who was appointed Prefect of the Liberation. He is assisted by Edmand GRASSET, Jean HAY and Léopold DUSSAIGNE who are respectively in charge of the North-West, South-West and South-East zones of the department.
The activities of “Honneur et Patrie” are geared towards the liberation of the territory. Thus, it provides valuable information to London on the occupying forces, their devices or their movements. He takes care of obtaining weapons through airdrops and training the groups in combat.
Another activity of the group consists of helping wanted persons (Allied airmen shot dead, escaped prisoners or refractory to the STO).
At the end of 1943, the “Honneur et Patrie” group was disbanded. Treason?, imprudence?, the fact remains that between September 13 and October 22, 1943, 77 members of this formation were arrested. All are transferred to Fort du Hâ in Bordeaux and tried by a German military tribunal.
21 of them are sentenced to death:
Raymond BADIER (34 years old); Alexandre DAUNAS (19 years old); Marcel DEFLANDRE (42 years old); Marcel DUC (33 years old); Robert ETCHEBARNE (32 years old); Pierre GAUTHIER (42 years old); Raphaël GERARD (45 years old); Jean GORICHON (26 years old); René GORICHON (22 years old); Maurice LEPIE (20 years old); Eugene LISIACK (58 years old); André ONILLON (22 years old); Jacques PALACIN (35 years old); Victor PECHON (44 years old); Christian PELLEREAU (18 years old); Louis PRUNIER (57 years old); Louis RAMBAUD (47 years old); André ROBERT (41 years old); Léopold ROBINET (47 years old); Raymond ROUX (33 years old); Pierre WIEHN (29 years old). They leave Fort du Hâ for Souges singing the Marseillaise. They will be shot on January 11, 1944, Louis PRUNIER on February 1, 1944.
38 are sentenced to deportation, 26 will die there:
Pierre BALLURET; Francois BIJOUX; Louis BOUCHET; Raymond BOUCHET; Rene CHAZEAUX; Leopold DUSSAIGNE; Jean GAUTHIER; Eugene GERBAUD; Jean GIRERE; Victor GUENON; Georges GUERINAULT; Jean HAY; Yves JEAN ex BERTRAND; Paul JOUINOT; Hope LAURENT; Antoine MANGOT; Léon MAUDET; Jean MANCIERE; Marcel NEAUD; Marcel OJORIAS; Clotait PERDRIAUD; Alcide POCHON; Adolphe PRIVE; James RENAUD; Raymond RIDEAU; Peter ROBERT
12 survived the deportation: Guy BARREAU; Pierre BOBRIE; Jean CHAUVIN; Henri GAYOT; Franck GEOFFROY; Joseph GAUDIN; Pierre JOLLINIER; Alexis MAROT; Paul MOREAU; André SANOUS; Paul SIGURET; Charles Victor
15 will be released after an internment of 3 months:
Honoré BEGUIN; Raymond BESSON; Ludovic BOURRON; Emile CARRE; Emile CHAUVET; Roger DENIS; Maurice GAUTREAU; Gabriel JABINET; Yves LEJOLIVET; Laurent PINAULT
Emile PRINTEMPS, Raymond RAOULT; Lucien SAGOT; Marcel TETARD; Jules VALENS
And to this arrest of September and October 1943, we must add:
The deportation of 5 young people from a group arrested during an attempt to join the FFL:
Fernand AUNIS; Guy BETFORT; André GIRERE; Jean LIBOT; Ernest UGILLE.
The execution of 5 survivors of the Ferrière d’Aunis group, shot on the spot on September 16, 1944
Maurice BALLANGER (48 years old); Paul CHATELIN (47 years old); André RAUT (29 years old); Philippe BONNEAU and Mrcel DANGALY
And the death of 2 young people from Angoulins who were trying to join the maquis:
Robert ESQUERRE; Robert DELLAROSSA
The results are catastrophic. The group “Honneur et Patrie” is completely destroyed. Nevertheless, a few men managed to slip through the meshes of the net stretched by the Gestapo, particularly in the area of Saint Jean d’Angély, where Georges TEXIER, warned of the danger by Raymond BOUCHET, managed in turn to alert the groups of his arrondissement.
But the dismantling deprives them of contacts, they no longer have weapons, the caches having been discovered one by one.
After September 1943, the survivors regroup. Commander THIBAUDEAU becomes, in the fall of 1943, departmental head of the AS while General BRUNCHER and his wife are on the run. It constitutes a departmental staff.