Jacques Alphonse de Peretti was born at Levie Alta Rocca, in Corsica, in 1912.
After having been a pupil at the community school of Levie, he attended secondary school at Ajaccio, and subsequently studied agronomy and obtained an engineer diploma. Called to serve in the army, he passed, with flying colours, the entrance examination for reserve officer cadets.
When the Second World War broke out, Lieutenant De Peretti decided to rejoin the army to take part in the war, and was sent to the first battalion of the 173rd alpine half-brigade. The latter, engaged in the Aisne battle, attacked by superior forces, fought resolutely from May 17 to June 18, 1940. But the unit having been surrounded, Lieutenant De Peretti was captured. He managed to escape alongside two of his buddies and returned to his unit. Sent on compulsory retirement, he returned to Corsica, in his village of Levie.
On November 8, 1942, Corsica was occupied by 80000 Italian soldiers reinforced, as from December 12, 1942, by 12000 SS from the German Reichsführer division. De Peretti, entered the Resistance, where he met his bosom friend Paul Nicolaï, had 250 partisans to which he administered military training, in preparation for an armed attack against the forces of occupation. He was offered the opportunity in 1943. On September 15, as a very huge convoy was moving along the Sotta road, at Levie, with 60 trunks transporting 2000 German soldiers and "Blackshirts", escorted by 7 tanks, it was attacked by the resistance fighters of Sotta who had erected several barricades on the road. Three trucks were destroyed and several German troops were killed. The resistance fighters, having not been able to blow off the Baccino tunnel, succeeded to destroy that of Rajo, thereby immobilising the enemy forces 700 m away from the entrance. Very huge losses were inflicted on them by members of the Resistance with sub-machine-guns, grenades and two machine-rifles. On September 17, the Germans decided to give up and turn back after having suffered a casualty of 200 dead, 400 wounded, 27 trucks and 8 motorcycles destroyed or captured. The Resistance casualty was only 10 dead and 10 wounded.
On January 3, 1944, General Giraud paid tribute to the village of Levie in the following words: "It spectacularly distinguished itself in warfare, against the Germans, in battles where courage and the spirit of sacrifice compensated for the deficiency in material means; inflicted serious losses on the enemy; was one of the most efficient architects of the liberation of Corsica". General Mollard added: “I have always said and thought that the attack which you carried out with much braveness and spontaneity was the best and purest feat of arm in the liberation of Corsica and I am convinced that this action was crucial in the decision taken by the Germans to rapidly withdraw from the island”. Corsica was the first French department to be liberated.
Lieutenant De Peretti subsequently participated, as a volunteer, in the Italian campaign within Field Marshall Juin’s expeditionary corps. He went on board at Bizerte, on February 17, 1944, and landed, on February 18, at Naples. He was transferred to the 3rd Algerian infantry regiment, within the 3rd DIA, on March 9 the same year. The division crossed the Gustav line and Lieutenant De Peretti participated in the Garigliano offensive till the capture of Rome. On May 14, the 3rd DIA cleaned the Ausente valley, and on the 18, Cassino was finally captured, after three days of fierce fighting which recorded over 1000 dead!
On May 20, 1944, all Allied forces attacked mine-protected bunkers and forts. The French captured Santa Olivia, mounts Coronella, Fontamino, Croce and the Mandrone massif. Pico and Ponte Corvo were, on their part, captured on the 25.
Captain De Peretti was described using the following glorious words: “Great warlord, who on May 15, 1944, attacked Bastia; blocked at 200 metres away from the crest by fire from several enemy automatic weapons, he, however, managed to snick across the German fortified line. On the 17, despite his losses of the previous days, he captured Monte Del Oro by surprise. On May 22, responsible for the defence of Mount Leucio, he confronted a powerful attack from the enemy and hung hopelessly to the earth till the following morning, inflicting severe losses on the enemy. On May 25, finally, he took his company to Cervaro, which he occupied in person, thus covering the regiment that was heading for San Giovanni”.
In August 1944, during the Provence landing, Captain De Peretti once more distinguished himself, thus earning this new commendation: “Top-rate company commander who, on August 21, 1944, having been assigned to block the Valette-Dardennes-Toulon road and to stop all traffic along that road, clashed against a German fortress at the Ripelle castle. Through a judicious encircling operation, the enemy’s garrison was successfully defeated. Counter attacked twice, threaten at night by infiltrations of the enemy, which absolutely wanted to regain this position it considered strategic, he did not only succeed to remain steadfast, but also enhanced his situation to the extent of making the Valette-Toulon road impassable to the enemy. Several enemy troops were taken prisoner and a huge booty was capture. Signed by Charles de Gaulle”. Captain Peretti subsequently participated in the French campaign and the liberation of the national territory within the framework of missions assigned to the 3rd DIA. On October 21, 1944, he was seriously wounded on the lap, in the Vosges.
This great French soldier thereafter continued his military career in the Indochina war, after which he left for that of Algeria. At the end, he received a prestigious command, that of the French battalion in Berlin. He ended his career as a lieutenant-colonel and went on retirement to Levie, where he died on February 9, 2010, at the age of 97.
Commander of the Legion of Honour, Jacques Alphonse de Peretti received 10 commendations. He was holder of the Second World War cross, the overseas operations cross, the military valour cross, the volunteer servicemen cross, and several other awards. His career is marked by several heroic actions which earned him the Legion of Honour at the front, the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star Medal.
In September 1984, during the golden jubilee celebration of the liberation, the Mouthe council, in the Doubs, inaugurated a memorial plaque bearing the following words “On September 4, 1944, the 3rd regiment of Algerian infantrymen of ‘Captain De Peretti’ liberated Mouthe”.