HAMEL Yvonne was born on March 28, 1916, in Var department.
In December 1941, she entered the Resistance alongside her father who was the head of the 1st “COMBAT” Headquarters office commanded by Colonel BLUM.
On June 1, 1943, she volunteered to be a P3 liaison officer, in charge of 4th class mission, within the “GALLIA R.P.A.” network. In this regard, she used to carry out several liaison missions in Lyon, Istres, Draguignan, Marseille, Antibes and Cannes. At Toulouse, she participated in the parachuting of weapons for the Secret Army, and transported weapons.
In the night of August 14 breaking 15, 1944, when Operation Anvil-Dragoon started, with the dropping in the valley of Argens, between Muy and Fréjus, south east of Draguignan, of over 5000 parachutists who were welcome and immediately supported by the F.F.I. (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur), who had gotten the news over British radio. In Lavandou, at Cape Negro and Levant islands, French and American rangers infiltrated and conquered several strategic positions, while three U.S. divisions landed at the Var beaches, within the sector between Cavalaire and St Raphael. The following day French troops went to the front with the purpose of freeing Toulon and Marseille.
On August 25, 1944, after helping an American parachutist, Yvonne Hamel was captured by the Gestapo alongside nine other persons, including her younger sister. Her tormenters pulled out several nails of hers. Despite the unbearable pains inflicted on her, she would not utter a word. Even when hit with the butt of the riffle, she still would not speak. Having failed to receive any information from her, the Gestapo troops imprisoned her in a requisitioned property, where she thought she would spend her last days on earth.
Sensing her time was up, the Gestapo finally released Yvonne Hamel, especially as after a week of fierce fighting, French colonial troops had freed the city of Toulon on August 27, imprisoning 17000 Germans, meanwhile in Marseille, which had rebelled, the Resistance and General de Monsabert infantry division, which had merged, made, on August 28, 37000 German soldiers to surrender.
On Yvonne Hamel’s attestation "for services rendered to Free France" it can be read, inscribed in the handwriting of General de GAULLE, the following words:
responding to the call of endangered France,
you assembled Free French Forces.
You were a member of the volunteer team of good buddies
who maintained our country in the war and saved our honour.”
The general ended his quotation by telling Yvonne HAMEL:
“…All I can do is to extend to you my sincerely thanks, on behalf of France.
Charles de Gaulle, September 1, 1945.”
Yvonne HAMEL, Knight of the Legion of Honour, Resistance Volunteer Serviceman Cross, medallist of the Free France Volunteer Services, Resistance medallist, today, still continues to testify her fight for freedom, in the schools of her dear department of the Var.