Sergeant René M.A. MATHIEU

(trained as Roger MILHAUD)

Born of French nationality on 27 November 1921, in Metz, France, Mathieu was the son of Joseph Mathieu, a retired civil servant, and Amélie Mathieu (née Huchot), and had had six brothers and three sisters.  He was educated in Metz at the École de Chambière until 1935 and then at the École Professionnelle. After leaving technical school he had worked for the typewriter firm ‘Le Progres’.

Mathieu served in the French Army in 1939-1940 and was made a prisoner of war, but was then released in 1940 under the terms of the Armistice as he was from the Lorraine region which was to be annexed, with Alsace, into the German Reich.   After his release from prisoner of war camp and an abortive attempt to cross into Switzerland, Mathieu left Metz in August 1940 to avoid the German occupation and conscription into the German forces and he lived in the unoccupied zone in Grenoble for five months before taking a job in cahors and then going on to Algiers in May 1941. On the way, he must have passed through the hands of F Section’s Virginia Hall in Lyon, as Mathieu was later to recognize her at a training establishment in Britain. On arrival in Algiers, Mathieu again gained employment as a typewriter mechanic. 

After his eventual arrival in Algeria, Mathieu served a further eight months’ service, from February to September 1942 in Blida, in the Chantiers de Jeunesse Française (CJF), a paramilitary youth training organization that had, to some extent, replaced National Service after the Armistice....... [Remainder of case study is complete - contact author for further details].

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