It is with sadness that we report the passing of Jean-Louis Ferrer, Vice President of AVEN. Those of you who attended the final AGM of the old BNTVA at Gateshead in 2017 may remember Jean-Louis who attended as part of the French delegation.
Here he is remembered by AVEN colleagues, Arlette Dellac and Jean-Luc Sans.
“On the 1st of August at 2:30 pm at the church in the village where Jean-Louis Ferrer had lived, eleven veterans gathered under a scorching sun to stand beside the standard of ‘Tarn-et-Garonne’ in a moving tribute to our friend and AVEN vice-president. We came from the surrounding Départements: Tarn-et-Garonne, Lot, Tarn et de l’Hérault, all to pay tribute to Jean-Louis. Our President Jean-Luc had asked me to represent him and I read with great emotion the tribute he had written. Our friend was cremated so there was no following service at the cemetery. We have given a plaque and spray of flowers to be laid on his final resting place.”
“There are in life characters who deserve to be known. Jean-Louis was one of them. He was a child of the South and when it was time to do his apprenticeship, Jean-Louis chose to enlist in the Navy and to board the ‘Paul Bousquet’ training ship in Sète. He was later crew member on board the ‘La Bourdonnais’ ocean liner under the flag of the ‘Messageries Maritimes’ on the Indian Ocean line (Marseille via Suez, East Africa, Mascareignes).
We may have met in Moruroa during the nuclear tests as he served as quartermaster on the ‘Médoc’ base ship between 1971 to 1972. I was also there at that time but on another ship. Returning home, he chose to serve in the Gendarmerie and underwent his basic training in Berlin before he was appointed in the St-Laurent-de-Mure brigade. He then passed the entrance examination as an officer of the criminal investigation department and entered the Montpellier task force with the rank of Sergeant. He had completed his military career in La Grande Motte with the rank of Warrant Officer.
After he had retired to the country, not far away from where he had grown up in Le Pignan, he continued to serve the public as a modest municipal Police Officer.
Aware of the fact that he had witnessed 5 nuclear tests in Polynesia, he was one of the first Veterans to join the Association des Vétérans des Essais Nucléaires (AVEN) when it initially formed. He became Department President, then a member of the Board of Trustees. His natural charisma and his pragmatism led me to ask him to join the executive board and assist me as the administrative Vice-President.
He was a man of dialogue with a keen intelligence. I appreciated very much his natural authority as well as his skills to manage conflicts and unexpected incidents. He was discreet and he smiled about monumental egos that are sometimes to be found in organisations like ours.
He never mentioned his gold medal from the Ministry of Defence nor made reference to his numerous commendations and congratulations from his official hierarchy. We were close comrades in the struggle and management of AVEN. Our similar ideas and common understanding of certain issues, whether broad or more intimate ones, the decency when facing illness, all lead us on the path of becoming very close friends. Unfortunately the “big clock” did not allow enough time for this.
Farewell to our comrade, Farewell to my friend, You are now on the path to eternal peace. Be aware that you belong to those that will not be forgotten.”