Jean Antoine Toussaint Graziani was born at Mondovi, Algeria, in 1926.
He had a rather stressful childhood in Algiers. He was aged 16 in 1942 when the American army landed in Algeria. Burning with the desire to fight, he immediately joined the American troops. Detached to the British army and then liberated, he integrated the French Internal Forces as a volunteer, got transferred to the Air Infantry and was sent to Scotland, where he underwent a SAS parachutist commando training. Made private and transferred to the 3rd SAS at the orders of Major Chateau-Jobert, he was parachuted in France to carry out various sabotage operations aimed at retarding the withdrawal of German troops. He was the only one among his colleagues who was not wounded in the operations. Promoted to sergeant in recognition of a job well done, he was sent to Holland to take part in yet another very risky mission, Operation Amherst, during which twenty percent of the SAS troops were killed.
At the end of the war, after passing through Coetquidan, he was promoted to second lieutenant after which, he volunteered to go and serve in Indochina, where he landed in 1946. Through out 1947, he led several actions against the Vietminh and was rewarded with a promotion to lieutenant. After spending sometime in France and Algeria, he returned to Indochina, within the 3rd BCCP, where he led an adventurous life, marked not only by fierce battles, but also "distractions" like women and alcohol, which dampened his warring spirit.
In October 1950, Lieutenant Graziani was captured and made prisoner by the Vietminh. He escaped but was caught and thrown back into the enemy’s jail where he wallowed for four years during which he served as an example to his fellow inmates. Liberated in September 1954, he was repatriated the following month.
In 1955, he was transferred to Morocco, at the military headquarters, where he received the rank of captain. In 1957, he moved to Algeria to participate in the Battle of Algiers within the framework of the 2nd Bureau of the 10th DP. In July 1958, he was transferred to the 6th RPC, where he became the commander of the 4th Company. In October of the same year, he was wounded in the chest when a grenade exploded during an operation in Palestro. Before the wound had healed completely, he escaped from the Tizi-Ouzou hospital where he was receiving treatment and returned to his company. He enjoyed so much adoration from his men. On January 6, 1959, the 6th RPC caught up with three Katibas and one zonal commando, being six hundred men in all. To break the encirclement, Amirouche troops launched a violent attack on the 4th company. At the end of the bloody hand-to-hand fight that ensued, 300 rebels were killed and the 6th RPC parachutists suffered 21 dead and 32 wounded. Captain Graziani, who was still commander, was badly wounded by a bullet from an automatic pistol. Evacuated by helicopter to the Tizi-Ouzou hospital, Captain Graziani, then 33, gave up the ghost the following day. Colonel Romain-Desfossés in a funeral oration said:
Goodbye, at last, to Captain Graziani.
A true Hero, I must say.
Violent, hot-blooded, enthusiastic,
plain-speaking and less calculative,
at times obsessive, but always direct, striving tirelessly
to push the limits of what one can set as personal objectives.
He is a symbol, the symbol of youthfulness with conviction,
the symbol of the young generation of captains,
who are the symbol of our army.
In turn a monk-warrior, family head, hero, soldier and adventurer, Jean Graziani lived the way he had wanted, and obtained the glorious end, which deep down in his heart, he had yearned for. Wounded twice, commended seven times, killed in action, Captain Graziani, officer of the Legion of Honour, was holder of several decorations including the Military Medal (he received at 18), the Second World War Cross, the TOE War Cross and the Military Value Cross.