The MAQUIS BIR-HACHEIM (attached to the Armée Secrète (Secret Army) - A.S. - national Resistance movement)

• André CHABANNE, a former primary school teacher, laid the roots of this maquis in the region of Cherves-Châtelars during the summer of 1943. The first réfractaires (who refused to go to work in Germany) to join the maquis constructed a shelter in the woods at Fougères.

• Guy · Guy PASCAUD, a teacher at Chasseneuil, and Hélène NEBOUT, also a teacher, joined André CHABANNE. Together they are considered as the organisers of this maquis, baptised "BIR-HJACHEIM3 ON 5TH February 1944 by the Regional Military Representative, Claude BONNIER, during his visit to the Château du Châtelars, the new refuge for the maquis.

• Following the clash at Saint-Mary (from 5th to 6th February 1944) which caused numerous victims in the German ranks, several thousand German soldiers as well as members of the Milice started to search for the maquis. On 22nd March 1944, Chasseneuil and the surrounding area were searched, hostages were taken and the Négret maquis was wiped out. Guy PASCAUD was arrested, then deported along with five people suspected of sympathising with his maquis.

• BIR-HACHEIM then chose as its motto "Je maintiendrai" (I will not withdraw)

• In July-August 1944 it was composed of 12 companies which carried out about thirty acts of sabotage and about the same number of clashed with the enemy.

• The BIR-HACHEIM maquis took an active role in the liberation of Angoulême (31st August 1944), several towns in the Charente (Mansle : 1st September, cognac : 2nd September …), and then in the fighting against the pockets of German troops on the Atlantic front near La Rochelle.


•· BIR-HACHEIM : It was so named in memory of the battle of Bir-Hakeim in Libya. This was where members of the Forces Françaises Libres under the command of General KOENIG held out against the German forces of General ROMMEL in June 1942. The French managed to break out after sixteen days.

•· Numerous steles and monuments commemorate the combats and places where the BIR-HACHEIM Maquis was stationed.