Teenage Resistance Fighter

With the Maquisards in Occupied France

Hubert Verneret

Available in English for the first time, this eloquent diary details the exploits of a French teenager resistance fighter in occupied France during WWII
Date Published :
November 2017
Publisher :
Contributor(s) :
Patrick Depardon
No associated books available.


September 5, 1944

“The Americans are approaching; we follow their progress impatiently on the radio, by intercepting messages reserved for the commandos. They cannot be beaten now. But it is up to us to do the impossible to speed up the progression of the bulk of their troops, to facilitate the advance of their spearhead, and, above all, to prevent the Germans from withdrawing to the Rhine in good order, with all their equipment.

How many human lives will we manage to save?

How many sons of Utah, or of Georgia, will be able to push open the door of their homes thanks to our action, in the near future?

Yes, I must fight for ‘Louis’ and all these unknown brothers.

For each tank that does not make it, for every ammunition truck pitched into a ditch, how many soldiers will be saved?”

“Hubert Verneret was able to highlight the feelings of young people of his time; they match our memories exactly, whether we lived in France or in Great Britain, whether we were then wearing his Majesty's uniform, or the armbands of the maquisards.”
Colonel Maurice Buckmaster

Hubert Verneret was a fourteen-year-old schoolboy in South Morvan, Burgundy, when the Germans invaded Poland, and fifteen when France fell. A boy scout, he helped refugees, aided the gendarmerie, moved wounded soldiers, and dug out bodies after air raids. Throughout, he wrote an eloquent diary that noted not only his actions but his thoughts and feelings as the French troops retreated and the Germans arrived.

In 1944, aged nineteen, he decided to join the local maquis resistance fighters, operating from a hidden base in the forest. Though constantly in danger as he undertook his duties, his youthful optimism turned to frustration as he felt he was fated never to fight the Germans, never to take a prisoner. As the Allies approached, the maquisards worked to upset and weaken the retreating Germans to aid the Allied advance.. Hubert details the joy with which the maquisards were welcomed in local villages when the fighting ended. Only as he listened to the speech given as the maquisards disband did he understand that his part in the war, while perhaps not heroic as that played by others, was still important in gaining the victory.

Years later, Hubert interviewed local maquisards to understand more about maquis history; their words and excerpts from the diary of a local civilian during the German retreat provide context to Hubert's youthful testimony. This first English edition of Hubert's diary retains the original prefaces by Colonel Buckmaster, chief of the French section of the SOE, and Colonel d'Escrienne, aide de camp to General de Gaulle.

About The Author

A teenager during World War II, he was a dedicated diarist who vividly described the events he saw in South Morvan. Now in his nineties he lives in Paris.


Part I: Hubert Verneret’s Diary

Part II: Twenty-Five Years Later
Interview with Abbot Bonin
Interview with Emile Passard
Interview with Kenneth Mackenzie (“Baptist”)
Interview with Joseph Pinet
The German Debacle: Diary of a Luzy Resident

Part III: Forms of Resistance
The Role of the Resistance in the Liberation of France
The Triad of the SOE, Resistance, and FFI
The Louis Maquis

List of names of maquis members


“For a look at life in occupied France this is an excellent little book, easy to read and easy to understand why things were done the way they were.”

- Army Rumour Service

“This is a beautiful book, so well written from first hand experiences, totally from the heart.”

- Resistance Francaise

“This was written in the middle of the war and it provides a vivid picture of the suffering of the French and the courage of the Maquis and Resistance. Some of the writing is quite beautiful and makes one wish that Verneret had written more books.”

- Bookaddiction

“Verneret relates his experiences as a young member of the French resistance during the late summer and early fall of 1944… Verneret’s work will be valuable to those who have a specialized interest in and are already knowledgeable about the French Resistance to German occupation.”

- Publisher’s Weekly

"A history book that reads like a novel, this testimony comes from one of the last living eyewitnesses, and after its French publication it is now available in English, for the benefit of present and future generations."

- Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent, CNN

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