Willy CHAVE was born in 1926, at Portes lès Valence, to a family of railway workers.
When war broke out in 1939, he was still a child. In February 1943, aged 17, he joined the Resistance in the René Ladet franc group, known as "Jeannot", a Portois of the Chalets neighbourhood, barely older than him. In this unit, "Georges" took part in about forty acts of sabotage along railways: shunting railways, destroying equipment used by the occupant, notably, derailing three trains with German soldiers on leave on board.
As from June 6, 1944, the Ladet franc unit was put under the Drôme FFI regiment and became the 8th company commanded by René Ladet, with Willy Chave heading the 1st section. Based on the Marquet à Combovin plateau, the 8th company took part in a series of battles till June 28, 1944, when its leader, "Jeannot", was seriously wounded by a grenade piece. He was succeeded by Captain Kirsch. Aged 18, "Georges" maintained his section head title with the rank of FFI second lieutenant, till the Liberation of Valence. After the Liberation, the 8th company was integrated into the Drôme Regiment and subsequently into the 159th RIA, which took part in operations on the Alps front, prior to Alsace. Second Lieutenant Willy Chave, alongside the 159th RIA, took part in the occupation of Austria at Vienna, prior to Innsbruck.
Having become an active second lieutenant upon training at Aix en Provence, he served twice for a period of 30 months in Indochina. As a volunteer in Algeria, he served there twice for 32 and 30 months respectively.
In 1966, he formed and led the 75th infantry battalion at the Baquet de Valence barracks. Upon retirement in 1974, Colonel Chave served in the reserves till 1986. Highly involved in civilian life and associations, he became the regional director for Road Safety for 16 years. He chaired the Legion of Honour members section for 30 years. In 1995, he, alongside others, founded the Drôme FFI section, and became the deputy president. He chaired the Drôme Volunteer Servicemen section and performed high-level functions in more than a dozen military or patriotic associations.
As Commander of the Legion of Honour, wounded at the front, Colonel Willy Chave, besides receiving 13 commendations, held the Second World War Cross, the Overseas Operations Cross, the Military Valour Cross and a series of other awards.