Fernand Bonnier of the Vault
See also: Bonnier
Fernand Bonnier of the Vault , born in 1922 with Algiers and shot in this same city on December 26th, 1942, is a mainly known Résistant to have carried out the admiral François Darlan, old chief of the Vichy government and Master of North Africa, which it cut down on December 24th, 1942.
It made its secondary studies with the Lycée Stanislas, in Paris. It was then student in Algiers, where his/her father was journalist with the Algerian Dispatch . Its gesture, which cost him the life, changed considerably gives it political in North Africa, allowing the takeover of civil authorities and military by the general Giraud and in the long term the unification of the decisional bodies of France fighting under the authority of de Gaulle.
Engagement with the Irregular force of Africa
Being those which had not approved the armistice, it took part on November 11th, 1940, with the Triumphal arch, the demonstration anti-allemande of the students. It would have then joined the free zone while passing the line of demarcation clandestinely and, having returned in Algiers, where his/her father was journalist with the Algerian Dispatch , it made there a stay with the Building sites of Youth. After having passed its baccalaureat in 1942, he there was surprised by the allied unloading of November 8th, 1942, at the time of the Opération Torch, and regretted that his/her comrades who had taken part in the putsch of November 8th, and allowed thus the success of the unloading, did not associate it with their company.
Following this unloading, Fernand Bonnier of the Vault was one of the first to be engaged with the Irregular force of Africa in formation under the initial direction of Henri d' Astier of Vigerie, former chief of North-African resistance. This choice of engagement implied necessarily hostile personal convictions with the vichysme. Indeed, this formation had been founded by a group of resistant of November 8th which found unbearable the maintenance with the capacity of the “Admiral of the Fleet” François Darlan compromised manifestly in collaboration, and which, in addition, did not want to be useful under the orders of the generals who had just made draw on our allies with Oran and Morocco, whereas they had delivered without combat Tunisia to the enemy.
When Henri d' Astier was named with the head of the police force like Secretary-assistant inside, by Darlan, which thus hoped (and wrongly) to stick it, the members of the Irregular force of Africa relationships semi-official to the latter maintained, and it was Bonnier which was indicated to ensure this connection. He thus returned often visit, for this purpose, in the residence of Henri d' Astier, where he met also the lieutenant Cordier abbot, him also resistant of November 8th, friend and confessor of Astier.
The unpopularity of DarlanAt that time, from the members of the Irregular force came almost every night to Algiers, where they covered the walls of not very pleasing slogans for Darlan, such as “the admiral with the fleet! ”. Darlan did not incur only reproaches for its treasons passed, but also for its attitude present, since it maintained in the allied camp the worst laws of exclusion of inspiration hitlérienne, as well as Vichyist measurements of repression, such as the internment in the concentration camps of the south of several thousands of resistant French, Spanish republicans and democrats of Central Europe, culprits to be itself committed in 1940 in the Foreign legion in order to fight for France (see Régime of Vichy in released Africa (1942-43)).
Consequently the volunteers to cut down Darlan did not miss among the patriotic elements of the of Algiers population.
ConspiracyIt is in this climate that, passing from the words in the acts, Fernand Bonnier of the Vault drew with the Courte straw with three from his/her comrades in arms, which had taken part, a few weeks earlier with the Putsch of November 8th, 1942 which had taken part in the success of the Torch Operation, that of them which would be devoted to remove France from Darlan, whose presence with the capacity made impossible any union with the Free France.
Following this drawing lot, Bonnier got an old gun " ruby" 7,65, and, on December 24th, 1942, day chosen to achieve its gesture, it met initially the Cordier abbot to which it was confessed. The abbot, after having heard it, gave him by advance taking into account the firmness of his decision, the discharge. Then Bonnier, accompanied conveys some by his/her comrades, was presented at the end of the morning to the Palate of Summer, where, Darlan being absent, it was advised to him to return the afternoon.
The attackHe lunched the same day with Henri d' Astier , and returned to the Palate of Summer when one installed it in a corridor to await Darlan. After having had patience some time, he saw finally the Admiral appearing and moving towards his office, accompanied by the commander Hourcade. Bonnier came to his meeting and cut down it of two balls. Then as Hourcade clung to him, it wounded it of a ball to get clear, but was quickly controlled by the occupants of the close offices. Questioned the evening even by two police officers, he only stated to have acted, and did not appear to worry about the continuation of the events.
Precipitated executionThe next morning, on December 25th, 1942, a captain-judge of instruction, bâcla in less than one hour the instruction the morning of December 25th. After a declaration of Bonnier affirming that it had acted only for reasons of moral cleanliness, this judge, not very curious, estimated to know some sufficiently to close the investigation there, and signed an dismissal order with the military tribunal of Algiers.
This court even sat the evening, and, deprived him also of curiosity, rejected the requests for supplement of investigation, which, however, of right, were introduced by My Viala and Sansonnetti, lawyers of the accused. The remainder of the procedure was held in less than one fifteen minutes, and the court, not holding neither account of the patriotic motivations of Bonnier, nor of its age, condemned it to death.
A recourse in grace, whose appeal was suspensive, was then immediately presented. It should legally have been submitted to the Head of the State, the Pétain marshal, since, as well Darlan as the other members of the Imperial Council exerted their authority in the name of the “prevented Marshal”, which would have resulted in awaiting the end of the hostilities to make it possible this one to decide.
Noguès, senior of the imperial Council, proclaimed Haut-commissaire by interim, under the terms of an ordinance taken by Darlan of December 2nd, 1942, but not published (what withdrew any legal value to him, even in the legal order of Vichy), and, usurping the function of Head of the State of the Marshal, of which however he claimed to hold his capacities, he immediately rejected, in middle of the night, the recourse in grace. Giraud, which then directed military justice as a Commander-in-chief, refused to differ the execution, and gave the order to shoot this resistant young person as of the next morning, with 7:30. Two hours later Giraud knelt in front of the corpse of Darlan .
However, in the night, shortly after the judgment, an event had however occurred, which could have saved Bonnier at the last minute. This one, alarmed by its judgment, had required to speak again with a police officer. It was the Garidacci police chief who heard it. It seems that then, Bonnier revealed that the Abbot Rope-maker was with the current of his company, and that he is also prevailed of the protection of Henri d' Astier , Secretary inside the High commissionership, of which he knew the hostility with Darlan. It until had counted there on this one, in the event of success of its act, but not being with the current of the steps already taken by Astier and its friends, it felt suddenly abandoned. Garidacci preserved to himself this confession without in speaking with whoever, instead of communicating it to its superiors, with the intention, thinks one, to make sing later on its chief, Henri d' Astier, so that it was discovered only a few days later, during an excavation of its office, too late for Bonnier.
Giraud, which had not done anything to prevent the execution, nor to even delay it, was rewarded for it the very same day by the Vichyist members for the imperial Council, which élirent it, without any objection, in the place of Darlan. When various people, whose Henri d' Astier, presented himself to Giraud, hardly elected, to ask the grace of Bonnier, this one answered them that it was too late.
Bonnier of the Vault will be carried out with Hussein-Dey, with the square known as “of shot”. Before dying, Bonnier of the Vault turned to the police officer, Albert Antoine, who was close to him, withdrew his coat, and entrusted it to the police officer, while saying to him “made in gift to poor” .
The posthumous rehabilitationBonnier was rehabilitated by a stop of the Room of the Revisions of the Court of Appeal of Algiers, of December 21st, 1945, which judged that the execution by its care of the Admiral Darlan had been accomplished “in the interest of the release of France”.
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