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France

Last remaining member of resistance network dies

Article published on the 2009-02-15 Latest update 2009-02-17 12:50 TU

A German crew rolls out a V1(Photo: Wikimedia)

A German crew rolls out a V1
(Photo: Wikimedia)

Joseph Brocard, the last remaining member of the French Agir resistance network died on Saturday, aged 88. The network made an essential contribution to allied forces against the Germans during World War II.

Brocard was involved in a resistance movement that identified and mapped launching sites of the German V1 cruise missile so that allied bombers could destroy them.

The Agir movement, created by French Colonel Michel Hollard at the
start of the war, was a self-contained intelligence network involving
around 100 agents.

Its members were volunteers recruited from all walks of life, and it
used minimal communications in order to protect the identity of those
involved.

Brocard helped map over 100 launching sites of the V1 warhead, constructed around the Pas de Calais area. Most of the missiles were
aimed at London.

"Monsieur Brocard, who has just died, will have been on a very
sensitive mission, locating and giving a lot of information about
launching sites," says Roger Thorn of the Royal British Legion.

The V1 flying bomb, also known as the Buzz bomb, was an early cruise missile fired from special "ski" platforms.

It was designed to have devastating effect on densely populated areas
and was propelled by a simple pulse jet engine.

"Local reconnaissance was vital," Thorn told RFI. "It was critical, you can't put a figure, you can't put a percentage of gain on it, but Churchill and de Gaulle at the end of the war did not hesitate to show the
contribution of the resistance movement."

Tribute: Roger Thorn of the Royal British Legion

15/02/2009 by Daniel Finnan


Brocard was awarded France's prestigious Légion d'honneur and Croix de guerre and the British King's Medal for Courage.

Hundreds of V1s fell on London during 1944, killing more than 6,000 people, before the Agir group passed on details of the launching sites.

It is estimated that the group's work helped reduce the threat from the
warheads by some 90 per cent, and Hollard, its founder, was dubbed
"the man who saved London".

Brocard's family made the announcement in the French newspaper Le Figaro.