Founder and everlasting President of the Volunteer Servicemen Section of Maine-et-Loire
Born on June 20, 1891 , at Philippeville , Algeria , he was seriously wounded during the First World War and was declared invalided out on September 26, 1915 .
In May 1916, he joined the Bessonneau rope-works in Angers . In June 1940, he headed the tether plant of the rope factory while his wife, Isabelle Poutiers, managed a store for drawing office stationery and a workshop for the industrial reproduction of plans at 29, rue Saint Julien.
As from September and October 1940, he created around him a small group of resistant fighters, drawn from amongst his friends, war veterans. Plans brought to the reproduction workshop by the German occupation army for duplication and other essentially military information were collected and transmitted to the Intelligence Service by his nephew, Jean Poutiers.
After the latter was arrested on March 28, 1941 , the group completely lost contact with London .
On June 1, 1941 , Maurice Tardat joint the Confrérie Notre-Dame (Our Lady Brotherhood) led by Colonel Rémy. Tardat’s group took on the name "CND Castille", and he himself assumed the pseudonym "Remember 21". He was arrested once in August 1942 but released for lack of evidence. However, a year later, his network was left leaderless following a massive raid carried out by the Gestapo.
Arrested on September 16, 1943 , Maurice Tardat was jailed at Pré-Pigeon and later on transferred to a concentration camp. J. Pannetier, Chaplain at the Sablé hospital, who was interned at the concentration camp with him, recounts:
"We got to know each other better while in the cell-like wagon that transported us to Compiègne under submachine-gun escort. Full of life, imbued with an unfaltering moral, Mr. Tardat encouraged each one of us to endure the painful days in the hope that they were only fleeting moments as deliverance would be prompt.
That was the attitude of a brave leader; one to whom suffering for a noble cause represented honour and pride, and who never doubted the advent of success...
Meanwhile, Maurice Tardat’s health had deteriorated considerably. He looked like a “human wreck” (please pardon me the expression) animated by bursts of energy attempting to keep on resisting, hang on to life and regain its vigour. He so much believed liberation was on the way. Thanks to Madam Tardat’s frequent and copious parcels, which together with ours we shared amongst ourselves as brothers, he managed to live on through the months of April, May, and June...
The day prior to his death was the day set aside in the month for sending correspondences to France . Listening to him dictate gently, I wrote his last letter. In it, he claimed, as was required by the rules, that he was doing fine and that all was well, and added: “Extend my deepest regards to my very devoted companion whose care for me is immeasurable".
Maurice Tardat died of dysentery at the Buchenwald concentration camp, on May 23, 1944 .
On October 19, 2004 , a memorial plate was put up
at 29, Rue Saint-Julie, Angers,
in honour of this brave Resistance volunteer combatant.