Jean-Jacques AUDUC was born on July 9, 1931, at Cérans-Fouilletourte, near Mans, in the Sarthe department.
When the Second World War broke out, he was a pupil of Marceau school in his neighbourhood of Saint Pavin. Despite difficulties related to the mobility of several teachers, he managed to obtain his first school leaving certificate. He subsequently trained as a forester to become nurseryman.
When he turned 9, he heard people saying, in his family, - his father and mother are Sarthe Resistant members – barbaric acts and looting carried out by the Nazis. His father, who had been thrown in jail, escaped in 1941. The entire family entered into active fighting as from 1943 for the “Buck master” networks, organised by a dropped British officer and radio operator. On June 1, 1943, Jean-Jacques officially entered the Herculean network as a P1 agent. He was 11 years 11 months. He served as a messenger, who transported messages concealed in the handlebars and the pump of his bicycle. Jean-Jacques was assigned to carry or to obtain messages from the networks to Calandre hotel in Mans where a radiator was used as an inbox. 25 km to go and 25 km to return in a single day this liaison little boy of barely 12 years...
During an observation mission, while flying a kite, he was able to get quite close to the Mans aviation field to see that the three flights of Junkers we in the woods. This information was transmitted to London. Jean-Jacques equally accomplished watch and signalling missions to ensure the successive dropping of weapons from Great Britain, which served the Resistance fighters. His family hosted, for a period of three months, three Allied pilots shot in France. Jean-Jacques made an American airman to pass in front of German troops, pretending he was his dumb brother.
When his trick was denounced, his parents were caught on November 2, 1943, while he himself became wanted. He took refuge at Chartres and later on at Paris where he had a very difficult time, without documents or a feed card. He however managed to survive by doing odd jobs. The British secret services, after locating him, repatriated him to the Mans sector, where he took refuge at Father Berthe’s house, in Parigné-le-Pôlin. In August 1944, he returned free to Sarthe, where he joined the FFI – Internal French Forces – at the age of 13, to participate in the continuation of the chasing away of the Germans, who were in full flight. Since he was too young to join the FFL – Free French Forces – he was taken by the English troops and sent to England into various families.
Upon Liberation, he met with his parents upon return from their rather stressful stay in deportation. The family reunited itself, but his mother died in 1949 as a result of her stay in the Ravensbrück concentration camp.
Jean-Jacques AUDUC received, on June 13, 1945, the Second World War Cross with a vermeil star for his action of September 21, 1943, while he was barely 12. General de Gaulle commended him in the Order of the Nation on February 13, 1946; he was made knight of the Legion of Honour in 1988 and was promoted to Commander of the Cross of Liberty, USA. Jean-Jacques is the youngest serviceman ever to have received the Second World War cross, with a vermeil star.