Godefroy Scamaroni, fondly called Fred, was born on October 24, 1914, at Ajaccio.
This son of a lawyer attended school at Saint Brieuc, and later on at Brive and Charleville-Mézières, and then Paris. In 1934, he obtained a law degree.
Lieutenant Scamaroni became a wanted man
1934 : Having enlisted for military service before call-up, Fred Scamaroni was admitted in the Saint-Maixent school. He was appointed second lieutenant, and posted to the 119th RI.
1936 : He became the chief of cabinet for the prefect of Doubs, and later on for the one of Calvados.
1938 : He reintegrated the 119th RI.
1940 : May 17, he received a certificate in air observation. Two days later, he was wounded during an air confrontation. He was promoted to lieutenant and evacuated to Caen.
In June, after moving to London, he joined the Free French Forces (FFL) within which he obtained his pilot’s licence. He volunteered to go on mission to Senegal, and was taken prisoner at Ouakam. After attempting to escape, he was finally released.
1941 : Immediately he was liberated, Lieutenant Scamaroni went underground, within the framework of the Freedom network. In May, he landed in Corsica where he organized an active resistance network. But the network was rapidly infiltrated by Axis agents. He returned to London in December. He became a wanted man.
Captain “Severi” landed from a submarine
1942 : After reintegrating the Free French Forces, he was posted to the staff of General de Gaulle where he was made captain. He trained BCRA (Central Bureau for Intelligence and Action) agents and organized parachuting and resistance operations in Corsica, which was then occupied by 80,000 Italian soldiers.
1943 : In the night of January 7, Captain Scamaroni, who had adopted “Severi” as his intelligence cover name, landed from a submarine in the Gulf of Valinco, accompanied by an English officer and a radio operator, to execute a very important but highly risky mission. At that stage of the war, General Leclerc was already in Tunisia, while German General Von Paulus had surrendered at Stalingrad.
”Severi” started collecting and transmitting intelligence information about he enemy, locating possible parachuting and landing points, coordinating recruitments for the Free French Forces, organizing and consolidating the entire Corsica resistance.
Subjected to unbearable tortures, he saw death as a better alternative
In the night of March 17, he was arrested by Italian gendarmes and put under custody at the Ajaccio Citadel with 22 members of the R2 Corsica network. Handed over to the OVRA, the Italian Gestapo, he was subjected to long and awful interrogations, brutalized, scorched with red-hot iron, and had his nails pulled out.
While in cell, afraid a word might be squeezed out of his lips, he decided to outsmart his torturers by committing suicide using a piece of wire which he thrust through his throat. His tormenters only returned to find him dead, leaving behind the following inscription on the wall:
”I did not speak. Long live De Gaulle! Long live France! Ajaccio, March 19, 1943.”
Before taking away his life, this is what he told his cell neighbour, across the wall that separated them: “Tell my mother and my sisters that it wasn’t that difficult to die and that I was happy to die.”
Having voluntarily opted to sacrifice his tender life rather than reveal his secrets, Fred Scamaroni clearly accomplished his commitment beyond ordinary limits. This won him the admiration of all, including his torturers and the Italian military prosecutor who, before the tribunal, could not help making a funeral oration in his honour. He will forever be the symbol of the Corsican soul in its most savage and most noble facets.