Mohamed Hasseine was born in Algeria in 1941.
His childhood, as that of several young Algerians then, was that of a shepherd, who spend their time watching over flocks of sheep and not attending school. In 1954, at the beginning of the Algerian War and the year after, Mohamed Hasseine joined the liberation forces. He was aged fourteen. Three years later, he had already become a sergeant. He disobeyed the orders of his bosses when they asked him to assassinate a gendarme and instead spontaneously surrendered to the one he was ordered to kill. Thereafter, knowing he had been sentenced to death by the F.L.N., he joined the French army as a harki master corporal.
Early 1958, Colonel Trinquier, who had just been made commander of the 3rd colonial parachute regiment at the Tunisian border, created a harka, which became the 5th company of the 3rd RPC. This fighter harka commando was a parachute company designed according to the model of the GCMA (Groupements de Commandos Mixtes Aéroportés) of the Indochina War, whose strength was essentially comprised of rejoined rebels. Aware of the constitution of this harka, Mohamed Hasseine volunteered to serve therein. He was thus integrated into the regular army, demoted from his master corporal rank, but earned the distinction of the 1st class, and consequently obtained French nationality.
Though illiterate, the former sheep shepherd boy subsequently exhibited his warrior and leader capabilities, to the extent that he was rapidly promoted to sergeant and became an aerial acrobatics master of the 4th section of the harka commando of the 3rd RPC. In July 1961, he was one of those who carried out the Bizerte expedition. His unit, renamed the 3rd RPIMa, carried by air to the spot, had to clear the town of Bizerte and Le Goulet.
Then came operation Bulldog, followed by Charrue Longue and Ficelle in which several units of the army participated with the support of the national navy. At the end of the two-day difficult street fight, during which Mohamed Hasseine once more distinguished himself, closed to one hundred French parachutists were either killed or wounded, whereas the losses on the enemy’s side were ten times more. French troops seized 26 canons, 19 mortars, 99 machineguns and machine-rifles, 546 individual weapons.
After the Bizerte episode, Sergeant Hasseine returned to Algeria to take part in various operations in which the 3rd RPIMa was engaged, in the South of the country and in Kabylia.
Algeria having gained independence, Sergeant Hasseine was repatriated to France with his buddies and sent to Bayonne. His short military career ended there. One evening, in a barrack room, a young recruit pulled the pin out of a grenade and due to clumsiness, let it drop. Mohamed Hasseine fell on it, using his body as a shield, and sacrificed his life to protect his colleagues. Then, he was only twenty three.
Mohamed Hasseine’s profile was exceptional. Less than twenty, having already merited three commendations for his deeds of high renown, he was a holder of the military medal. In addition, having received, during the Bizerte battles, his fourth commendation in the order of the army, he was proposed for the red ribbon at the age of twenty one, what probably made this volunteer serviceman, who died a hero, the youngest Knight of the Legion of Honour.