Fred Scamaroni was head of the cabinet of the prefect of Calvados at the time of the declaration of war. Assigned to his request in aviation in Tours, he passed his observer certificate there. He refused the armistice and embarked at the end of June 1940 for London. Son of a prefect, he did his primary studies in Saint-Brieuc and his secondary studies at the college of Brive then at the high school of Charleville-Mézières. He passed his baccalaureate in Paris and turned to studying law.
In 1934, he was dismissed from the Faculty of Law of Paris; ahead of his military obligations, he entered the Saint-Maixent School from which he left as an infantry second lieutenant. Then, like his father, he headed for the prefectural career. In February 1936, he became chief of staff to the prefect of Doubs whom he followed to Caen in Calvados in December 1937. In September 1939, chief of staff to the prefect of Calvados, he refused the status of "special assign" whom he was offered and joined the 119th Infantry Regiment based in Cherbourg.
In December, faced with the inaction resulting from the "funny war", he obtained an assignment in the Air Force and prepared, in Tours, his certificate as an airplane observer, which he successfully passed on May 17, 1940. Two days later, he was injured in aerial combat and evacuated to Caen. Without news of his unit, he fought alongside an infantry company then managed to rally Pau to find his air training there.
Meanwhile, having heard of General de Gaulle and his call of June 18, Fred Scamaroni decides to continue the fight alongside free France. In Saint-Jean-de-Luz, on June 21, he embarked on a Polish cruiser, the Sobieski, and arrived in London three days later. Immediately, he enlisted in the Free French Forces and was directed, with the Air Force, to Saint-Atham camp.
Volunteer for the Dakar operation, he was charged with a particularly delicate mission which consisted of handing over to Governor General Boisson a letter from General de Gaulle. Embarked on September 6 in Liverpool on the cruiser Australia, he arrived in Freetown in Sierra-Leone on September 17 and flew with eight volunteer aviators to Ouakam airport near Dakar where they must "fraternize" with the soldiers of Vichy and convince them to join the free French. Immediately arrested, they are imprisoned in painful conditions, sentenced to death, threatened with execution then repatriated to France, they are finally released on December 28, 1940. Fred Scamaroni, suffering from malaria, is hospitalized in Clermont-Ferrand and released on December 7 January 1941.
In February, he went to Vichy and, unable to resume the prefectural career (he was dismissed in October 1940 because of his Gaullist actions), he found a job as a simple clerk at the Ministry of Food; determined, however, to continue the fight, he launched out alongside his official occupations in resistance and intelligence. He founded the "Copernic" network and went to Corsica, his native country, in April and then October 1941, his title of FFL agent having been confirmed by London, which considered it more prudent, because of the Gestapo, to recall it in December. 1941.
Returned to London via Brittany, and through Joël Le Tac's Overcloud network, he was assigned to the Central Intelligence and Action Office (BCRA), section "A" (military action and sabotage) with the rank of Captain, he carried out various liaison and intelligence missions, the last of which, on December 20, 1942, in Algiers. He is also working on a large project for the liberation of Corsica approved by General de Gaulle.
On January 7, 1943, as part of the Sea Urchin mission, Captain Fred Scamaroni, who became Captain François Edmond Severi (aka Pot, aka Grimaldi), was landed by a submarine with a radio and a British agent in the vicinity of 'Ajaccio. Head of the R 2 Corsica Network, he must prepare for the liberation of the island destined to become the bridgehead of the Allied landing in the Mediterranean for France; its mission also consists in trying to unify the various components of island resistance; he contacted local resistance agents, prepared the ground for parachuting, recruited men, etc.
While the network is in full operation, its radio, betrayed, was stopped by the OVRA (Italian counterintelligence) on March 18, 1943.
After thirty hours of torture, he recognizes Captain Severi as his chief. Fred Scamaroni is arrested at his home in Ajaccio and, although in turn subjected to appalling torture, says nothing to his executioners. Brought back to his cell in the citadel of Ajaccio, rather than risking speaking and being recognized under his true identity, he prefers to cut his throat with a wire, leaving a final message written with his blood: "Long live France, long live de Gaulle. "
He died three hours later, on March 20, 1943 at 8 p.m., without having revealed anything about his mission. He is buried in the mass grave of Ajaccio cemetery.
By decree of February 26, 1945, Fred Scamaroni was appointed prefect posthumously from June 17, 1940.
• Knight of the Legion of Honour
• Companion of the Liberation - decree of October 11, 1943
• Cited to the Order of the Nation
• War Cross 39/45
• Distinguished Service Order (GB)
Resistance fighters from Calvados, belonging to different movements and networks, cut off from their leaders by the bombings and the first battles of the Battle of Normandy, regroup under the responsibility of Léonard Gille in Caen, to assume intelligence, liaison and guerrilla action. The FFI PC is hidden at the bottom of the Vinaigrerie, rue de la Haie-Vigné.
Caen was partially liberated on July 9, 1944. From this group, an FFI general staff was formed under the responsibility of Captain Gille, and an FFI company under the orders of Captain Georges Poinlane, killed on August 25, 1944 during the liberation from Lisieux. This company, incorporated into the Operational Liaison Mission near the 2nd Army, assumes missions alongside British, Canadian and BCRA troops: reconnaissance, combat, security, protection of property and people, commando actions. It took the company name Scamaroni in homage to Fred Scamaroui, chief of staff to the prefect of Calvados in 1939.
On August 8, 1944, around thirty members of the Company joined the reinforcement battalion of the Leclerc division integrated into the 3rd American Army in the English Channel. These men, already trained militarily with the experience of the war, leave Avranches on August 9, 1944, with Maurice Schumann, to join the Regiment of March of Chad and the 1st Regiment of March of Moroccan Spahis of the 2nd DB in front of Alençon . In the Écouves forest and in front of Argentan, these volunteers take part in the Normandy campaign, in the closure of the Falaise pocket, in the liberation of Paris, in the Vosges and Alsace countryside, in the elimination of the pocket de Royan, in the German campaign until the capitulation on May 8, 1945. Some others remained in the Canadian army (like Jean Métier) or the British army. The company was dissolved at the end of September 1944.
This website is made out of respect for the victims, the civilians and the veterans of WWII. It generates no financial gain what so ever and it is merely a platform to educate the visitor about WWII.
The personal stories on this website are under copyright of the veterans themselves and the families or people who gave the stories to me. Pictures used on this webiste are owned by the veterans who made them or by whomever made the pictures/videos (mostly these images are in the public domain and can be freely used). Also bits of texts have been used with no harmful intent in any way. If you are the owner of any picture(s) or fragments of texts that you wish to remove from this website please contact me. But I ask you to look at the nature of the website and it's goal, educating the viewer about WW2.
A big THANK YOU to the United States Army Center of Military History for their help in providing the input for these pages. All pages on this website are constantly being refitted with acurate data and texts and it is an ongoing process.
Dear visitor, if you need anything from my website please contact me. I will gladly help you.