"Our fate as a company has always been to put our duty
to the nation before all else."
Hypolite Worms, 1949
1 September, 5:45 a.m.: German troops invaded Poland; 10:30 a.m. the French government announced the mobilisation of its forces and declared a state of siege. All merchant vessels of more than 500 tonnes were requisitioned, the majority being placed under the control of the newly created Maritime Transport Department (DTM) for the duration of the war. 23 of Worms & Cie's 24 coastal vessels were thus mobilised, 15 chartered by the DTM and 8 taken over by the National Navy and converted into patrol boats, the 9 cargo ships of the Nouvelle Compagnie Havraise Péninsulaire (NCHP) and the 8 tankers of the Société Française de Transports Pétroliers (SFTP) suffering a similar fate. 2 September: end of the pool agreement between NCHP and the Messageries Maritimes and with the Scandinavian East Africa Line. 3 September: at 11 a.m. Britain declared war on Germany, followed by France at 5 p.m., both thus fulfilling their commitment under the mutual assistance agreement with Poland (Anglo-Polish Treaty of 25 August 1939). War in the North and East of Europe threw maritime shipping into complete disarray. No longer in direct control of its fleet, Worms & Cie suspended all its liner services. Branches were temporarily closed and staff repatriated to France as military operations spread. Cooperative established for chartering and selling ships with Jean Nelson-Pautier as its Chairman. Delivery of the "Picardie" and "Limousin" to the SFTP, which also took control of the "Capitaine-Damiani", the "Vendée" and the "Phénix" (September-November).
October: at the request of the Minister of Armaments, Raoul Dautry, Jacques Barnaud was appointed to head the French procurement mission in the Scandinavian countries. Renewal of the Boards of the Établissements Japy Frères and the Société Centrale d'Achats pour le Nord de l'Europe. Worms' interests in the Netherlands and Canada put in order (end October) by Georges F. Doriot (a friend of H. Worms, J. Barnaud and G. Le Roy Ladurie but neither related nor politically linked to the founder of the PPF).
23 November: Hypolite Worms named by the Minister of the Merchant Marine, Alphonse Rio, to head the French delegation to the Anglo-French Maritime Transport Executive Committee. With the assistance of Henri Cangardel, Head of the Maritime Transport Mission in London, his role was to work with his British counterparts in enforcing plans to pool the shipping resources that would be required by France and Britain during the war in accordance with the decision made by French Council President, Édouard Daladier, and British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. More specifically, he was to coordinate the transport requirements of the two countries, negotiate tonnage agreements with the Allies and Neutral States and distribute the volumes thus acquired. 29 November: together with Raymond Meynial and Robert Labbé, H. Worms moved to London, where the Committee was based.
December: J. Barnaud summoned to the Ministry of Finance by Paul Reynaud and Yves Bouthillier and given responsibility for foreign payment issues, in particular foreign currency availability in France and control of purchases abroad.
Winter 1939-early 1940: SFTP took control of four new ships purchased by the French Government from Norwegian shipping companies. End 1939: liquidity facilities granted by Worms & Cie to La Préservatrice, while the Établissements Puzenat signed an undertaking for 40 millions of renewable war orders. Over the year, Worms sold 774,000 tonnes of coal (567,000 tonnes in the first half of the year) compared to 1,845,000 tonnes in 1938.
With a workforce substantially larger than before the war, the Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Maritime (ACSM) were part of the war effort, working for the national defence under the French Navy: 11 ships of the auxiliary fleet armed and converted. Delivery of the coal ship "Égée" and 2 chaser-minesweeper-repair ships. January: acquisition by the Société Tunisienne des Hyperphosphates Réno of a 51% stake in the Compagnie Sétoise de Produits Chimiques, an operation conducted with the assistance of Worms, to whom the stake was subsequently to revert. Withdrawal from the Comptoir Financier des Matières Premières. Delivery of the oil tanker "Dauphiné" to the SFTP (January-February). 8-9 January: sinking of the "Barsac". 11 January: injection of further capital into Worms & Cie raising equity from 4 million to 40 million francs through incorporation of reserves. Letter sent by Alphonse Rio to H. Worms congratulating him on an agreement signed with his British counterpart.
February: the "Picardie" sunk and the "Vendée" ran ground, both ships managed by SFTP on behalf of the government.
March: further capital injected into La Préservatrice, a sizeable proportion of which was put up by Worms (April). Creation of the Société Privée de Réescompte in association with the bank Vernes & Cie and Michel Goudchaux. 20 March: under fire in the Assembly from those who accused him of weakness (Léon Blum) and those who were critical of the conditions in which France had gone to war, Édouard Daladier handed over the reins of power to his Minister of Finance, Paul Reynaud who gave in to pressure from the radicals and made him his Minister of National Defence and War. J. Barnaud had moved in similar circles to Paul Reynaud since 1927 and G. Le Roy Ladurie since 1932, and both were also acquainted with his private secretary, Paul Baudouin.
9 April-8 June: invasion of Norway by the German Army. Agreement negotiated by the Anglo-French Mission in London, under the terms of which a large part of the Norwegian fleet was placed at the disposal of Britain and France. Similar agreements in the pipeline with the Netherlands and Sweden: H. Worms was successful in ensuring that the operation be conducted in a way beneficial to France.
May: French managers at the Hamburg branch repatriated and Antwerp branch temporarily closed. 10 May: German troops invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg (triggering the Battle of the Ardennes). Overwhelmed by these first military feats of the German Reich, Neville Chamberlain stepped down as Prime Minister in favour of Winston Churchill, who promptly established a coalition government. At the request of Paul Reynaud, G. Le Roy Ladurie housed the Comte de Paris for a few days on the latter's return from an unofficial mission to the Italian Court. 13 May: French defences breached at Sedan and Dinant (14 May) opening the way for major enemy operations in the hinterland. 14 May: Surrender of Rotterdam. Seizure of NV Wester Financiering Maatschappij, a 100% subsidiary of Worms & Cie and owner of the company's shipping facilities in Rotterdam and Danzig. Opening of the branch in La Riche near Tours (Indre-et-Loire). 16 May: capitulation of the Netherlands. Opening of the restaurant La Popote, at 45, rue Tronchet, for Worms staff, managers and guests. 17 May: German Reich harnessed the exchange rate of the French franc to the German mark. 18 May: Cabinet reshuffle by Paul Reynaud, Reynaud himself taking over the Defence portfolio from Édouard Daladier, placed in charge of Foreign Affairs, Marshal Pétain entering the Government as Vice-President of the Council, George Mandel transferring from the Colonies Ministry to the Ministry of the Interior and General Weygand taking over as head of the Armed Forces. 20 May: German order issued in occupied France whereby "all manufacturing and industrial firms and those in the foodstuffs and agriculture, forestry and timber industry sectors must go on working, in the absence of decisions to the contrary for reasons of force majeure". 21 May: German troops reached the Channel. As they progressed on all fronts, people living in the North of France and, shortly afterwards, the Paris region began to flee in droves. [Mission in London:] H. Worms successful in ensuring that France's share of the ships needed for moving raw materials (US steel in particular) would be equal to that of Britain. Breakdown in communications between Paris and London. 25 May: part of the Banking and Shipping Divisions of NCHP and SFTP evacuated to Nantes, and the main Coal Division offices to Bordeaux. Evacuation of the branches in Boulogne and Dieppe. Breakdown in communications with Dunkirk, refugees from the town fleeing to Le Havre, Cherbourg, Saint-Malo and Brest. Plans to replace the Dieppe-Grimsby line. 26 May: Dutch tramp steamers allocated to France. 28 May: start of the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Forces stationed in Dunkirk as well as part of French troops. This operation, baptised "Dynamo", was completed on 4 June 1940. As the German troops continued to advance, the management of ACSM was on the point of destroying the submarines on the stocks, including the "La-Favorite" about to be launched, but delayed the process in the absence of orders from the military authorities. 31 May: submarine chaser No. 14 left Le Trait for Cherbourg.
3 June: Paris bombed by German planes. 5 June: Paul Reynaud reshuffled his team for the third time, relieving Édouard Daladier of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and his Cabinet position, Ludovic O. Frossard taking over the Transport and Public Works portfolio from Anatole de Monzie and Yves Bouthillier moving to Finance. 6 June: start of the French exodus. 8 June: submarine chaser No.16 launched by ACSM. 9 June: following the invasion of Rouen by the Germans, plans for the evacuation of staff and part of the equipment at the Le Trait shipyards were quickly set in motion, the oil supply ships "Charente", "Mayenne" and "La-Baïse", and the submarines "Africaine", "Andromaque" and "La-Favorite" remaining behind on the stocks. Five NCHP ships were stopped and searched at sea by the British Navy: each time the order to scuttle ships was not enforced, giving rise to the rumour that Worms was recommending to the crews of its ships that they should give themselves up to the British. 10 June: as the German troops advanced and it looked increasingly likely that Paris would fall to the enemy, General Weygand advised the authorities to leave the capital and declare it an open city. The main ministerial departments all left for Tours, where the Council of Ministers decided that Parliament and the Government would retreat. On the same day, Italy declared war on France. J. Barnaud's assignments at the Ministries of Armaments and Finance came to an end and he left for Nantes. 11 June: destruction of the repair shops in Le Havre on the orders of the military authorities. 12 June: General Weygand and other senior officials came out in favour of an armistice. Paul Reynaud and a few of his Ministers retorted by referring to the agreement of 28 March 1940 under which France and Britain had undertaken not to sign separate armistices. Break in communications between Paris and London (H. Worms' mission). Loss of the "Cérons" sunk off Veules-les-Roses during the evacuation of Le Havre. 13 June: discussions between Paul Reynaud and Winston Churchill over the possibility of France signing an armistice; after coming under heavy fire from German bombers off Le Havre, the "Ville-de-Majunga" sought refuge first in Brest and then in Casablanca. 14 June: with the occupation of Paris and German forces already as far as the Loire, the Government, deeply split over the issue of whether or not to continue to the war, left Tours for Bordeaux, joined by J. Barnaud at Yves Bouthillier's request. Unable to return to Nantes, Barnaud followed the Government to Vichy. 15 June: talks between G. Le Roy Ladurie and Paul Reynaud in Bordeaux. 16 June: Paul Reynaud, who wanted to continue the war outside metropolitan France, found himself forced to resign. He was replaced as President of the Council by Philippe Pétain, who formed a new pro-armistice government. G. Le Roy Ladurie assisted P. Reynaud in the days that followed in his preparations to take up the post of Ambassador to Washington (plan that failed to materialise). 17 June: Armistice sought with the Germans on the orders of Pétain, the Germans then placing a complete blockade on the United Kingdom. 18 June: historical radio address by General de Gaulle. Meeting between H. Worms and Emmanuel Monick, financial attaché at the French Embassy in London, regarding the need to inform the French government of Britain's determination not to capitulate. E. Monick set out - in vain - for Bordeaux. [Hypolite Worms – London mission:] Britain and the neutral countries granted a further 4,000,000 tonnes of chartered vessels, which, added to the 3,000,000 tonnes of the French Merchant Navy, would suffice to cover annual French transport needs by operating on a rota basis. H. Worms also succeeded in ensuring that no agreements would be negotiated or signed amongst the Allies without French involvement. Decision by the Captain of the "Franche-Comté" (SFTP) to head for England, arriving on 23 June. 20 June: German Navy seized the "Ville-de-Reims" (NCHP) in Nantes. The "Brumaire", a ship belonging to the STMP and chartered to the Société Française de Raffinage, lost at sea after being hit by German bombs. G. Le Roy Ladurie summoned by Pierre Laval to Bordeaux for "obscure reasons" but which may have concerned the possibility of an arrangement with Paul Baudouin. 21-22 June: in agreement with René Mayer, Hypolite Worms instructed the head of the Maritime Transport Mission in New York to despatch two steamers carrying shells, rifles and machines guns to Liverpool. 22 June: signature of the armistice between France and Germany in Rethondes: as a consequence of capitulation, France was divided into two zones by a demarcation line with 14 crossing points, Germany occupying two-thirds of the country and keeping French soldiers prisoner until the end of the war. The French Government was forced to disarm its fleet but the colonies escaped occupation. Radio speech by General de Gaulle for establishment of the Free French Forces. Ships bound for French ports intercepted by the British authorities and sent to ports in the United Kingdom. Nine Worms vessels docked in British ports seized by the British Admiralty. Six ships in ports on the Atlantic Coast seized by the Germans. Ships sailing in the Mediterranean continued to be requisitioned by the French Government. The result of the armistice was that, since most of the ships had been chartered by the French delegation to the Anglo-French Maritime Transport Executive Committee for the duration of the conflict, mainly from Dutch and Norwegian shipping lines, in other words, companies in countries still at war with Germany alongside Britain, they were no longer allowed to sail to French ports. The British authorities also refused to allow these ships to be covered by the War Risks Insurance Office. France was therefore threatened with having to bear the costs, estimated at between 15 and 20 million francs per day, for the hire of ships unable to leave the ports and not insured against war risk. The insurance issue was a huge problem because, were any of the chartered vessels to be lost, France would have to refund their owners. The German army and the Kriegsmarine took control of port facilities, repair shops and shipyards. Staff had the choice of executing German orders or facing deportation to Germany. Return of the staff and management of ACSM to Le Trait. Pierre Grédy, Chief Executive of the Port Said branch, undertook - in his own name and that of Worms - to support the war efforts of the Allies in his geographical area and the company subsequently received several plaudits from the Ministry of Shipping, Shipping Board, Ministry of Supply and Contraband Control. 23 June: Pierre Laval and Adrien Marquet named Ministers of State by Pétain. 24 June: departure of Paul Reynaud; "Ville-de-Reims" (NCHP) seized in Nantes by the German Army. 25 June: return to Paris envisaged by the heads of the London missions. In application of the Hague Convention, the German authorities commandeered the ships on the stocks of the Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Maritime as spoils of war. 27 June: Laval became Vice-President of the Council. 28 June: date on which Britain took over the ships chartered by France [Worms agreements]. 29 June: having left Bordeaux, now in the occupied zone, for Clermont-Ferrand, the French authorities decided to move to Vichy for want of suitable premises. Return of G. Le Roy Ladurie to Paris.
July: creation of the Free French Merchant Navy. Traffic re-established between Oran, Algiers, Philippeville, Bougie, Tunis, Bizerte and all ports from Port-Vendres to Nice. 1 July: arrival of the government in Vichy. 2 July: re-opening of Worms head office in Paris. 2-3 July: Operation Catapult – the British Admiralty fearing that the French fleet would fall into the hands of the Axis powers, decided to "neutralise it". In the face of the refusal of the French Navy to take orders from the British and disarm, Admiral Sommerville opened fire on the squadron moored at Mers-El-Kébir, near Oran where the "Champagne" and "Lorraine" (SFTP) were unloading. Most of the ships in the port suffered major damage. Some 1,300 sailors lost their lives to the general stupor of all concerned. At the same time, ships docked in Britain were taken by force. 3-4 July: G. Le Roy Ladurie arrived in Vichy where Worms had offices and where he informed Marshal Pétain, Admiral Darlan and General Weygand of the situation in Paris and was granted an audience by President Lebrun. 4 July: end of diplomatic relations between the Vichy Government and Britain. Signature by H. Worms of an agreement with the Ministry of Shipping over the transfer to Britain of the two million tonnes of allied and neutral ships (Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch and Greek) chartered by France, Britain taking over all France's current and future commitments in this regard. Thanks to this agreement, the cargoes on board these ships were not requisitioned but bought. 4-5 July: H. Worms received the agreement of Admiral Darlan. 6 July: Anglo-French missions disbanded, financial agreement with the British Treasury. 7 July: H. Worms negotiated a further agreement allowing a 30-day option during which neutral ships that had not been delivered to Britain and were still in ports in mainland France or the colonies would continue to be insured by the War Risks Insurance Office. Order received by the ACSM from the Kriegsmarine, under threat of requisition of the shipyards, for 4 dumb tanker barges. 10 July: formation of the French State – Chambers adjourned once Marshal Pétain had been granted constitutive powers. The government embarked on a "national revolution" on the "work, family, fatherland" theme. In response to a proposal from Yves Bouthillier, J. Barnaud appointed deputy to Léon Noël, French Ambassador, was named Delegate General in the occupied territories and placed at the head of their administration. 12 July: formation of a new government. 14 juillet: René Belin accepted the portfolio of Secretary of State for Labour under Marshal Pétain, and successfully insisting that his ministry be extended to include Industrial Production. 17 July: the British authorities boarded the "Franche-Comté" (SFTP) to announce the advantages that would be enjoyed by those taking the side of General de Gaulle. 17 July-8 August: the "Languedoc" seized by the British authorities on its arrival in Trinidad. The "Saintonge" based in Belfast taken under the control of the British government. 19 July: "To protect his inheritance and defend the interests of his staff", Hypolite Worms opted to return to France on learning that the occupying forces had decided to force the closure of his company. He therefore embarked on the "Orduna" in Liverpool bound for Lisbon. 25 July: Reopening of the Le Trait shipyards. Requisition of the "Château-Palmer" by the German authorities. 26 July: arrival of H. Worms in Valencia. Before reaching Spain, the French delegations had to pass through Lisbon, where Paul Morand, their leader, managed to obtain permission from the French Embassy in Portugal to travel to Vichy by train through Spain. 30 July: Britain announced a blockade of the coasts of France, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, a measure that interfered with relations with the company's branches the United Kingdom. It also prevented coal from being imported from Britain, forcing Worms to focus more on re-sales on the domestic market, despite the fact that its sales offices were located essentially in the ports and therefore at some distance from the mines. End July: the German government demanded of the French government that it cease all trade with British territories (dominions and colonies included), the aim of the Reich being to clip Britain's wings and prevent it from building up its war reserves. Summoned to Vichy, J. Barnaud was asked by Y. Bouthillier to take over as Head of Belin's Cabinet at the Ministry of Industrial Production and Labour and, after some hesitation, decided to accept the post. July-August: at the request of the Ministry of Armaments seeking to ward off intervention by a German group, Worms agreed to acquire a majority share in the Swiss-based firm Metalla via the company Foulonneau & Pitavino, Metalla having a controlling interest in the Moroccan firm Le Molybdène, through the intermediary of the Société des Recherches Minières du Falta. Le Molybdène exploited molybdenite deposits in the Atlas mountains, very rare mineral used in the manufacture of special steels for arms production and therefore of great interest to Germany.
1 August: H. Worms in Vichy to report on his mission to Britain to Admirals Darlan and Auphand, and to Messrs. Baudouin, Piétri, Lemery and Bouthillier. Joined by G. Le Roy Ladurie. 4 and 6 August: requisition by the German Army of the "Ville-de-Metz" and "Malgache" (belonging to the French State), docked in Bordeaux. 6 August: the ACSM ordered by the Germans to keep on building the "La-Charente" and "La-Mayenne", and to put four petrol-driven tanker barges on the stocks, the French Navy also instructing the yards to complete the construction of three oil tankers, namely the "La-Charente", "La-Mayenne" and "La-Baïse" and the Admiralty confirming the order for two "Malgache" type vessels. 8 August: "Château-Palmer" requisitioned by the occupying forces. 10 August: J. Barnaud joined H. Worms in Vichy. 11-13 August: H. Worms ordered to Paris on a ten-day mission for the Secretariat of State for the Navy. 16 August: bill passed obliging all industrial and commercial companies to set up organising committees if their situation so warranted. 21 August: oil classed as a war material and stocks in metropolitan France placed under control in both the occupied and "free" zones. 27 August: the vessel "Le-Trait" requisitioned by the Germans. 28 August: return of H. Worms from Paris to Vichy. 30 August: the "Pontet-Canet" requisitioned by the German authorities. August-September: loss of the "Listrac", interned in Plymouth in 1940, and, like the "Pessac", used by the British. G. Le Roy Ladurie received by a Pierre Laval very antagonistic towards both him and Worms & Cie. Some time before 21 October, H. Worms granted an audience by Laval only to be accused of being hostile to his policy. Despite repeated denials, Laval continued to fustigate certain members of H. Worms' entourage, especially Le Roy Ladurie, whom he accused of monarchist sentiments.
September: Creation of the Raw Materials Distribution Offices. First moves on the part of the occupying powers vis-à-vis the Entreprises Japy Frères to commandeer a large proportion, if not all, of its production. 2 September: German Admiralty ordered work on the submarine "La-Favorite" to resume. 15 September: Approval of two provisional texts governing ship charters in times of war, setting out the relations between the State and the shipping company and the conditions for chartering and contracting technical management for the Transport Division of the Merchant Navy. For ships of over 500 tonnes, the agreement included provision for compensation to release funds to renew the fleet. In the meanwhile, shipowners would continue to run and fit out their ships, unless requisitioned by the military forces. 17-21 September: verbal refusal by ACSM to go back to work on the "La-Favorite" on the pretext that such an order could only be issued by the French Admiralty. On or around 22 September, departure of H. Worms from Vichy to which he would only return once or twice briefly at the end of 1940 or in early 1941. 23 September: SARL Manufacture Centrale des Machines Agricoles C. Puzenat converted into a limited company. 27-29 September: the Le Trait shipyards informed Admiral Darlan, Naval Minister in Vichy, of what the Germans were asking. Decision postponed until the Chief Engineer and Head of the German Procurement Unit could have the last word in Paris. Autumn: Germany demanded delivery of 110 tonnes of molybdenum. Private difference of opinion between G. Le Roy Ladurie and Paul Baudouin.
October: first "report" from Dr. Henri Martin (doctor, former member of the Cagoule or Secret Committee of Revolutionary Action, founder of a private intelligence service) on "Synarchy", "a mysterious secret society", the aim of which was to "ward off the 'socialist' tendencies of the national revolution and petainism, to protect Jewish, British and American and all foreign economic interests in general and prevent all efforts to organise continental Europe into an economic entity excluding the Anglo-Saxons". 3 October: without any pressure from the German occupying forces, the Vichy government voted legislation on the status of Jews. 4-5 October: the ACSM shipyards ordered by the German Admiralty to resume work immediately, an order that the French Admiralty hastened to confirm. 7 October: letter damning Worms & Cie and Messrs. Baudouin and Bouthillier sent to Marshal Pétain. 8-9 October: instructions from the National Navy to dismantle the submarines "Armide" and "Andromaque", the order for which was cancelled. 11 October: opening of a branch in Saint-Cyprien answerable to the Bordeaux branch. 14-16 October: Michel Goudchaux voluntarily resigned as managing partner: although a catholic by confession he was classified as Jewish under the official order of 27 September 1940. 17 October: loss of the "Languedoc" (SFTP) hit by a torpedo off Iceland. 18 October: Official edict regarding Jewish-owned companies. Change in the acts of association of the company following the resignation of Michel Goudchaux. Jacques Barnaud, who had resigned from all his positions as Board member, remained managing partner, albeit it unpaid, alongside H. Worms. 19 October: Mrs. Jean Labbé, sister of Michel Goudchaux, split her fortune between her two sons, Léon and Robert Labbé. 21 October: publication in Paris-Soir of a first vituperative article against Worms & Cie, hatred being levelled against H. Worms for having delivered up the French fleet to the British or for his British sympathies, a refrain that would be taken up on numerous occasions throughout the occupation by the collaborationist press ("Paris-Soir" of 21, 23, 24 October, 3 November 1940, "Au Pilori" of 8-29 November, 20 December 1940, 28 February, 6 October 1941, "L'Œuvre" of 26 February, 3 and 6 August 1941, the "Franciste" of 1 November 1941, "L'Appel" of 5 March 1942, "France Europe" of 21 November 1942, etc.). 22 October: meeting between Laval and Hitler in Montoire. 23 October: order received by ACSM from the Kriegsmarine for 3 motorised cargo vessels. 25 October: transfer of Michel Goudchaux's shares in the company to his three daughters, giving them the status of limited partners. Nomination of Wilhelm Beines von Ziegesar, Manager of the Cottbus subsidiary of the Commerzbank AG to the post of Board member/auditor of Worms & Cie and vesting him with the widest possible management powers under the terms of the order of 20 May 1940. Olivier de Sèze appointed to be his deputy. Worms & Cie was the only French company, other than foreign banks based in France, for which such treatment was reserved. 26-28 October: the campaign waged against Worms by the press prompted protests from Anatole Rio and Admiral Darlan, in particular. 30 October: Wilhelm Beines von Ziegesar and Olivier de Sèze took up their appointments at Worms & Cie. ACSM asked for instructions from the French Admiralty over the order from the German Admiralty to complete the submarine "L'Africaine". 31 October: because of its British stakeholders, Johns I. Jacobs, the Société de Courtage et d'Affrètement Pétroliers - Socap, placed in voluntary liquidation. October-November: opening of a branch of the Banking Division in Marseilles.
November: a representative of the Cologne-based company Otto Wolff, duly authorised by the German government, asked the Le Molybdène to supply it with molybdenite. Raymond Meynial referred the firm to the Organising Committee and then to the Mining Department, the Armistice Commission, the General Resident in Morocco, etc. In early November: Pierre Laval's plans to have H. Worms arrested failed to materialise. 3 November: date on which the last input went into the file opened by the authorities into Worms & Cie. 9 November: creation of the Coal Imports Organising Committee with Louis Vignet as one of its members. 25 November: the Coal Division tried to obtain a substantial share of deliveries of Belgian ore following the decision of the German, Belgian and French authorities over its import. 26 November: the French Admiralty ordered ACSM to complete the "L'Africaine" for the Germans.
December: G. Le Roy Ladurie received a visit from Dr. Hettlage, leading member of the Board of the Commerzbank, who wanted to become managing partner at Worms in replacement of Michel Goudchaux. Equity of Établissements Japy Frères doubled, with Worms holding a 45% stake at the end of the operation. 13 December: Pierre Laval sacked as Vice-President of the Council by Philippe Pétain, who accused him of being too pro-German. Placed under house arrest, Laval was convinced that G. Le Roy Ladurie and H. Worms were responsible for his downfall. 22 December: German Admiralty ordered work to resume on construction of the submarine "L'Africaine" and the fleet supply vessel "Charente". 28 December: on the pretext of not having a valid licence, ACSM declined to continue work.
During the year, Worms sold 496,000 tonnes of coal. Since the blockade had put an end to imports, the branches in France had concentrated on selling the coal produced in French mines and allocated by the Coal Distribution Office to both wholesale and retail clients. In addition, large forestry and wood carbonisation operations had been established. Peat deposits were being worked in Finistère, Loire-Inférieure, Maine-and-Loire, Indre-and-Loire, Charente and Basses-Pyrénées. By means of these replacement activities, Worms was able to keep its staff in jobs (including large numbers of people hostile to the principle of the Obligatory Work Service) and contributed to ensuring the country was supplied with fuel. The company also became the sales agent for Suca gas generators, assembling them in its own works. Extension of the declared scope of activity of the Société Française des Huiles Combustibles, Huilcombus, to include acquisition and exploitation of all forests, sections of forest, wood carbonisation, sale and distribution of wood and charcoal, to cater to changes in the industry and in the sale of fuel.
1 January: opening of an agency in Pau (Basses-Pyrénées). 8 January: report on Synarchy sent to Marcel Déat. The collaborationist paper "Au Pilori" reported that L. Vignet had been named President of the Central Union of French Coal Importers. 17 January: Admiral Darlan informed H. Worms that the Germans were intending to open an account with the Banking Division in the name of the Kriegsmarine (cf. March). 18 January: the vessel "Le Trait" derequisitioned.
February: Worms took over the control of the lignite-extracting companies Sociétés Minières du Sarladais et de Saint-Lon-les-Mines. 1 February: under pressure from Germany regarding the purchase of molybdenite, the company turned to the Mines and Ores Organising Committee arguing that Le Molybdène was not master of its own production. 6 February: establishment of the Société de Courtage Maritime et d'Etudes, Socomet, to take over from Socap, goodwill included. 9-10 February: asked to form a new government to succeed Pierre-Étienne Flandin, who had replaced Pierre Laval as Vice-President of the Council, Admiral Darlan kept the Navy portfolio and took over Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior as well. 13 February: proxy given to Raymond Meynial to act on behalf of and in the name of Hypolite Worms, Jacques Barnaud and the company Worms & Cie. 21 February: the ship "La-Mailleraye" requisitioned by the German authorities. 22-24 February: the press picked up and widely broadcast the rumour of a Synarchist plot, in particular at the time when Darlan was forming his government and nominating, among others, Pierre Pucheu (Chairman and CEO of the Établissements Japy Frères from November 1940 to February 1941) to the post of Secretary of State for Industrial Production and Jacques Barnaud to the General Delegation for Franco-German Economic Relations. February-March: G. Le Roy Ladurie invited to Berlin by Dr. Hettlage but "at the last minute found an excuse not to go". Von Ziegesar had his documents stolen from him by the Gestapo while on a train.
March: return to France of Gladys Worms, who had been living with her family in Britain since the start of the war. Von Ziegesar insisted that Worms should handle the banking transactions of the Kriegsmarine, G. Le Roy Ladurie refusing to open an account in its name. Stake of nearly 30% in the equity of the Société des Machines Agricoles Puzenat. 4 March: the ACSM ordered to resume work on building the submarine "L'Africaine", management citing France-Germany negotiations in progress in Wiesbaden as a delaying tactic. Derequisition of the "Pontet-Canet". 15 March: opening of a branch in Tours, answerable to Nantes. Requests from several German firms for deliveries of molybdenite stalled by Worms on the grounds that production was requisitioned. 17 March: the "Mérignac" requisitioned. March-July: several vessels of the NCHP, "Ville-de-Majunga", "Ville-de-Tamatave", "Ville-de-Rouen" and "Bourbonnais" arrested by the British Navy. 29 March: creation of the General Commissariat for Jewish Affairs.
April-June: exploratory visit to North Africa by Raymond Meynial, in particular to Le Molybdène, which had redirected its business towards the production and sale of copper ores (the galleries of the Azzeggour Mines being used to conceal arms and munitions). Opening of a banking branch in Algiers managed by Lucien Guérin. 15 April: (unofficial) opening of a branch in Landerneau. Further capital injected into the Compagnie Charbonnière de Manutentions et de Transports (16 April-26 June), the Société Privée de Réescompte (17 April) and the Société de Courtage Maritime et d'Etudes (22 April).
14-15 May: in view of the risks run by Le Molybdène by refusing to obey German orders, the Mines and Ores Organising Committee gave it permission to offer a small amount (25 tonnes), subject to the agreement of the French and Moroccan governments. 19 May: death of Jean Coutrot, "presented as being the driving force if not the leader behind the Synarchy movement" and used by those close to Laval and Dr. Martin to give credit to the rumour of a plot hatched by the Worms "trust". 23 May: loss of the "Capitaine-Damiani" (SFTP). 23 May-1 July: participation in the foundation of the Société Franco-Continentale d'Importation et d'Exportation (Cimpex).
June: meeting between G. Le Roy Ladurie and Dr. Hettlage, who announced that Von Ziegesar was about to be replaced by someone "less tolerant" and that the Deutsche Treuhand und Revisionsgesellschaft (German tax and audit company) had been instructed to examine Worms & Cie's business, the risk also existing that the company would be wound up and its assets transferred to the Goering trust. Refusal by the French government to transfer the Société Privée d'Etudes et de Banque (company set up by Worms to handle its stock exchange transactions) to the Commerzbank. Le Molybdène granted an advance of 1,000,000 F by the banking branch in Algiers (a second of 2,000,000 F was to follow) to finance its stocks of molybdenum (most of which had been hidden from the German authorities) and enable the company to shift to producing copper. 4 June: Société de Courtage Maritime et d'Etudes converted into a limited company. 9/17 June: Banque de France performed an audit on the books of the Le Havre branch. 11-18 June: first memos provided by Worms & Cie on its business and shareholdings as input for the enquiry being conducted by the Deutsche Treuhand und Revisionsgesellschaft (bank, ACSM, Société Française des Distilleries de l'Indochine, property companies, Compagnie Minière et Electrique des Landes and Société Minière et Electrique des Landes, Société des Produits Chimiques des Terres Rares, Félix Potin, Société Nationale du Cameroun, Société Industrielle et Minière du Nord et des Alpes, Air France, UEFEN, Scane, shipping businesses, insurance, Coal Divisions and the Compagnie Charbonnières des Appontements de Bassens et de Lagrange, Établissements Japy Frères, Le Molybdène, Manufacture Centrale de Machines Agricoles C. Puzenat, Société Tunisienne de l'Hyperphosphate Réno). This first series of memos would be followed by a second on 12 December 1941 (Société Française d'Entreprises de Dragages & de Travaux Publics, Société Française des Sablières, Estrellas Mining Finance Corporation and Compagnie Minière Coloniale). 14 June: acceptance by the Otto Wolff Group of the offer of 25 tonnes of concentrated molybdenite. Creation of the Société d'Etudes et d'Exploitations Minières. 16 June: injection of further capital into the Compagnie du Gaz de Mulhouse. 23 June: opening of a Mining Division at Worms & Cie under the leadership of Jean Cantacuzène (cf. foundation of the Société d'Etudes et d'Explorations Minières - SETEM), and take over of the Société des Mines de Charrier. 27 June: nomination of Freiherr von Falkenhausen to the post of auditor at Worms & Cie replacing Wilhelm Beines von Ziegesar. End June: to counter Dr. Hettlage, who wanted the limited partnership shares of Goudchaux to be transferred to the Commerzbank, G. Le Roy Ladurie retorted that, if a stake had to be granted, the Commerzbank would be given preference but Worms' staff and managers would stage a collective walk-out.
1 July: arrival of Falkenhausen from the Deutsche Bank, an opponent of the Nazis with little interest in his assignment. In-depth investigation conducted by the Naval Intelligence Service into the Worms Group, which was suspected of "always having cultivated British spying activities in France" (link with the "revelations" on Synarchy). 6-11-22 July 1941: Le Trait village and shipyards (where nearly 1,100 people were employed) bombed by the Allies. 17 July: rumour regarding a secret agreement between the Banks Worms and Lazard said to be sought by Anglo-American capitalists. Extension of Huilcombus' business interests to include all fuels usable to power fixed and mobile engines, especially those on gas-powered vehicles. 17 July-18 August: capital injection into the Société Minière et Electrique des Landes. 18 July: nomination of Pierre Pucheu, first to the post of Secretary of State for the Interior, and then to the post of Minister of the Interior (11 August), several articles in the press describing him as an employee of Banque Worms, considered by some to be Gaullist and pro-British. 24 July: resignation of Pierre Louis-Dreyfus from SFTP. 29 July: pressure put on Le Molybdène to speed up the delivery of the 25 tonnes de molybdenite. July-August: rumour spread that Worms was employing deliberate delaying tactics under cover of business-only cooperation.
6 August: having refused all payment from the company since taking up government positions, J. Barnaud received no share of the 1940-1941 profits. 12-31 August: Le Trait shipyards bombed. Several articles published on the Banque Worms and the synarchist plot. 26 August: German authorities conducted searches at company head offices. P. Laval refused a dinner invitation from G. Le Roy Ladurie. 27 August: attack on Laval and Marcel Déat at Versailles, which caused some people to make a link between this and the previous day's incident.
8 September: 5.5% bonds of the Société Française de Transports Pétroliers (SFTP) issued by Worms & Cie in January 1939 quoted on the Paris market. 16 September: Franco-German agreement on shipbuilding in the occupied zone. 17 September-3 November: shares in the Société Française des Transports Pétroliers held by Louis-Dreyfus & Cie and Pierre Louis-Dreyfus bought out to prevent the German from getting their hands on them. 23 September: rumours of a synarchist plot in political circles plus further rumours of judeo-gaullism in the collaborationist press. 29 September: financial restructuring of the Société des Mines de Charrier. 30 September: the results of the Coal Divisions showed major investment in replacement activities, mainly in the occupied zone: forestry operations (wood for heating or for charcoal) in the Orne, the Yonne and the Landes in particular, construction timber in Bordeaux, buyout of a charcoal plant in Haut Mauco (Landes) and financial involvement in the construction of a second factory at Chateauvillain (Haute-Marne), purchase of sawmills in Tours and at Chemillé sur Dôme. Production of dry peat in Crossac (Loire-Atlantique) with a 250-strong workforce, in addition to similar operations in Brennilis and Tremaouezan (Brittany), Beaugeois (Maine-and-Loire) and Chantemerle (Charente). Sale of Turpin wood stoves, Velleda boilers, Turpin wood carbonisation stoves, solid fuels for gas generators, installation of gas generators on cars and trucks. September-October: plans to direct activities at Le Molybdène towards copper mining to replace molybdenite production, judged inappropriate under the circumstances.
October: growing tension between Vichy and London, diplomatic relations between Egypt and France on the point of breaking down, threat that French property might be seized as a result. Pierre Grédy decided, therefore, to step down at the head of the Port Said branch and hand over provisionally to his British second-in-command, Stanley Acfield, and to return to France. 3 October: German authorities assumed the role of client for the construction of the submarine "La-Favorite", the fleet supply vessel "Charente" and the submarine "L'Africaine". 8 October: Refusal of the Armistice Commission to cede to German demands for molybdenum, lead and manganese. 8-9 October: the fleet supply vessels "Mayenne" and "Baïse" returned to the national Navy, and the Le Trait shipyards advised that they should pursue construction of the "L'Africaine" for the Germans. 15 October: (unofficial) opening of a branch in Angers. 17 October: with the agreement of the Franco-Italian Armistice Commission, the French government took the decision to supply 5 tonnes of molybdenite to Italy, selecting Le Molybdène as supplier (the delivery was never to take place). 27 October: announcement that ordinary and preferential shares in the Établissements Japy Frères were to be placed on the market and capital injected into the Entreprises Albert Cochery.
24 November: agreement between the French and German governments on delivery to Germany of 20 tonnes of molybdenite. 25 November-25 December: capital injected into the Entreprises de Grands Travaux Hydrauliques.
4-12 December: in association with the Société Française des Charbonnages du Tonkin, Worms acquired a stake in the Société des Tourbières de l'Essonne, which thereupon became a limited liability company (SARL). 7 December: attack on Pearl Harbor – world war declared on land and sea. 7-8 December: loss of the "Sauternes". 8 December: announcement that the Insurance company La Préservatrice was to be quoted on the Paris Stock Exchange. 10 December: take over of the Société des Peintures Astral-Celluco, with first a decrease then an increase in its equity. 24 December: foundation of the Compagnie Centrale d'Exploitation Forestière. End December: take over of the control of the Société des Mines de Montmins, a mining company working a tungsten deposit in the Allier. In France, during the year, the company's coal sales stood at 170,000 tonnes, a mere 9% of the figure for 1938.
During the year the Banking Divisions organised the takeover of the Société Française des Peintures et Vernis by Établissements LCH, acquired a share in the Société Générale des Terres Grasses and contributed to the influx of new capital into the Société d'Approvisionnement pour le Chauffage Central. Port Said branch selected by the Dutch government to be the representative for the Middle East of the Netherland Shipping & Trading Committee, the Dutch merchant fleet thus joining the customer portfolio alongside the Turks.
Start of the year: injection of capital into the Société Générale des Matières Grasses. 8 January: loss of the "Jumièges". 10 January: transformation of the Société Privée d'Etudes et de Banque into the Société d'Etudes Privées. 13 January: order issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs for the despatch of 25 tonnes of molybdenum ore to France.
4 February: Le Molybdène in Morocco ordered to deliver 25 tonnes of molybdenite to Marseilles. 16 February: work resumed on construction of the submarine "L'Africaine" by the ACSM under further threats from the Germans. 19 February: start of the Riom trial of those deemed politically responsible for the 1940 defeat.
2 March: the "Lussac" requisitioned by the German authorities. 14 March: signature in Paris of an agreement entitling Le Molybdène to focus on producing and marketing copper ores with the help of a government grant. 25 March: heavy bombing of Le Trait. 27 March: first group of French Jews deported to Auschwitz.
April: report on Worms & Cie submitted to the National Council of the Resistance. 17 April: resignation of Admiral François Darlan. Refusal of H. Worms to reinstate P. Pucheu to his previous position. 18 April: at Hitler's bidding, Pétain signed constitutional act No.11 creating the position of Head of Government, appointing Pierre Laval to the post, which he combined with Foreign Affairs, Information and the Interior. Admiral Auphan named Navy Minister, Jacques Le Roy Ladurie (brother of Gabriel) given the Agriculture portfolio, Jean Bichelonne Industrial Production and Paul Marion Information. 29 April: visit to Worms' head office of a police inspector, who went away with information about company managers and managing partners.
12 May/22 June: Laval decided to send workers to Germany against the release of prisoners of war, J. Barnaud warning Dr Michel (head of the Economic Department of the Military Administration) of the psychological risks of such a decision. 12-13 May: organisation of investment companies based in Canada and New York. 29 May-15 June: increase in the capital of the Ateliers Moisant Laurent Savey. Shares of the Société Minière et Electrique des Lampes quoted on the Paris market.
2nd half of the year: investment in the Société Marocaine d'Etudes et d'Explorations Minières and in the Société des Mines de Sidi-Kamber.
15 June-14 December: increase in the capital of the Société de Produits Chimiques des Terres Rares. 19 June: increase in the capital of the Société Française des Sablières. June-July: bonds issued by the Société Française de Transports Pétroliers.
7 July: organisation of the Bayonne branch and its sub-branches in Pau, Tarbes, Lannemezan, etc. in relation to the extra administrative tasks imposed by the Organising Committees and public bodies. 16-17 July: Police round-up at the Vel' d'Hiv'. 19 July-20 August: further injection of capital into the Société Française des Sablières. 23 July: forced repatriation after 18 months of discussions of the equivalent of 7 million Dutch treasury bills. German request to acquire the building in Danzig belonging to Wester Financiering Maatschappij, a subsidiary of Worms & Cie.
August: Release of Colonel François Michel (interned by the Gestapo since June 1941) following intervention on the part of G. Le Roy Ladurie, in particular. 6-8 August: opening of a ship consignment sales office in Tunis. Worms & Cie refused to sell the building in Danzig (6 August). 14 August: credit facility extended to Struever & Cie on the insistance of the Commerzbank. 20 August-17 December: for 7 months the Le Havre branch successfully delayed the shipment of a consignment of furniture bound for Germany on a ship that finally sailed empty. 24 August: Le Trait heavily hit by bombs. 27 August: Laval's criticisms of Jacques Le Roy Ladurie prompted his brother Gabriel to go to Vichy.
September: report produced by Henri du Moulin de Labarthète on the activities of Jacques Barnaud, François Lehideux, Pierre Pucheu, Paul Marion and Jacques Benoist-Méchin in the government. Visit by Raymond Meynial to Amsterdam to see the auditor of Wester Financiering, who confirmed that the Danzig building had been requisitioned. 4 September: first law passed on the forced departure of 600,000 French workers to Germany. 11 September: Jacques Le Roy Ladurie resigned from his post as Minister of Agriculture. 15 September-22 December: equity of La Préservatrice-Vie doubled. 21-28 September: injection of further capital into the Société des Peintures Astral-Celluco.
October: Raymond Meynial went to North Africa and halted delivery of a second consignment of 35 tonnes of molybdenite demanded by the Germans. 15 October: opening of a branch in Agen. 16 October: credit facility extended to Baumann & Cie at the request of the Commerzbank. End October: establishment of a branch of the Banking Division in Algiers.
November-15 December: reorganisation of the Établissements Fournier-Ferrier (Marseilles) where business had been halted since 1939 because of a dispute with one of the shareholders, the Société Générale des Matières Grasses, and where Falkenhausen was insisting on a block of shares being reserved for the Düsseldorf company, Henkel. 8 November: arrival of the Allies in North Africa with all the ships found there being taken by the Free French Forces in Algiers. Almost all the merchant ships in French ports on the Mediterranean requisitioned by the Germans (Laval-Kaufmann agreements). Loss of the "Ville-du-Havre" (NCHP). Olivier de Sèze, deputy auditor at Worms & Cie, signed up for the army in North Africa. 11 November: Germans invaded unoccupied France, J. Barnaud then making the case to P. Laval and P. Pétain that there was "no longer any point in maintaining a government to represent French sovereignty". Closure of the Worms office in Vichy. 13 November: release of B. Pathé, orchestrated in part by G. Le Roy Ladurie. 14 November: birth of Nicholas Clive Worms, grandson of Hypolite Worms. 17 November: resignation of Jacques Barnaud from his functions as general delegate for French-German economic relations. Cessation of activities at Shipping Division branches in the South of France. 24 November: delivery of the "La-Favorite" at the end of a two-month period in which two of the managers of ACSM had been thrown into prison on accusations of sabotage because of the delay (nearly 2 years) in completing construction of this vessel. 26 November: reorganisation of the agencies in Pau and Agen and closure of that in Landerneau. 27 November: nearly 90 French warships deliberately scuppered in Toulon to prevent them from falling into German hands.
December: start of the campaign in Tunisia. The Société d'Etudes et d'Exploration Minière, granted permission to conduct explorations into the possibility of molybdenum deposits in the Territoire de Belfort, came under pressure from the German high command at the Majestic, the Kommandantur in Épinal and IG Farbenindustrie. 11-14 December: the cargo vessels "Fronsac" and "Pontet-Canet" requisitioned. 28 December: loss of the "Ville-de-Rouen" (NCHP).
In the course of the year, Worms acquired a stake in the Compagnie Charbonnière de Provence - CCP, located in Toulon and specialising in the coal trade, and a further stake in SA Algéronaphte, an Algiers-based company specialising in the distribution of petroleum products in Algeria. The company sold a total of 236,000 tonnes of coal, i.e. 12% of the 1938 figure.
In the early months of the year: "Fronsac" lost and "Pontet-Canet" ran aground. January: report by J. Barnaud on his activities as a member of the government. 11 January: defection of staff at the Puzenat foundries at Dompierre-sur-Besbre. 24 January: loss of the "Ville-de-Majunga" (NCHP). 25 January: the Banking Divisions injected further capital into the insurance company La Préservatrice-Vie.
8 February: publication of a recommendation concerning an increase in the capital of the Ateliers Moisant Laurent Savey. 15 February: the German authorities dismissed Olivier de Sèze from his functions as company deputy auditor. Clandestine storage of military equipment by Le Molybdène. 17 February: release of B. des Champ de Boishebert, in part thanks to sterling efforts by G. Le Roy Ladurie. 22 February: French Navy cancelled the order for four submarines placed with ACSM. 23 February: despite G. Le Roy Ladurie's veto on an agreement between Fournier-Ferrier and Henkel, the German company maintained its pressure throughout the year to obtain the desired stake in France's leading soap company.
Spring: last meeting between G. Le Roy Ladurie and Dr. Hettlage. Spring 1943-1944: charcoal and gas heater timber producers succumbed to German demands and the Coal Divisions succeeded in delivering supplies to the Red Cross, the Secours National and the Assistance Publique.
March: shares acquired the company Noël Ernault. Take-over of the Ateliers de Constructions Mécaniques et d'Outillages - ACMO. 1 March: introduction of SFTP bonds issued between July and August 1942 on the Paris Stock Exchange. Loan issue of the Société des Téléphones Ericsson successfully placed. Deliveries of phosphates to Germany and Hungary by the Société Tunisienne des Hyperphosphates Réno. 8 March: bond issue launched by the Établissements Japy Frères. 23 March-March 1944: Germans requisitioned the "Condé" (NCHP). 31 March: closure of the agency in Pau.
April: increase in the capital of the Ateliers Moisant Laurent Savey. 12 April: part of the coal operations of the Toulouse branch transferred to the Établissements Lacaze-Treil.
May: Control by the German authorities of tungsten production at the Société des Mines de Montmins. 26 May: development of the Banking Division in North Africa and the shipping agency in Algiers since the arrival of the Allies.
June: search warrant issued in respect of the branch in Algiers by the Blockade supervisory auditor and at the request of the White House in connection with Worms' links with Le Molybdène. Disposal of the stake in the Compagnie Minière Coloniale. 2 June-3 July: injection of new capital into the Peintures Astral Celluco. 3 June: creation of a French Committee of National Liberation in Algiers. 21 June-July: injection of new capital into the Établissements Japy Frères.
July: seizure of the Consortium Maritime Tunisien – CMT. Opening of Worms branches in Tunis and Sfax. 3 July: memo from the Mines Department of Morocco instructing Le Molybdène to resume its molybdenite mining operations without delay. 10 July-17 August: Sicily occupied by the Allies, Mussolini arrested. 15-30 July: the Société Tunisienne des Hyperphosphates Réno ordered by the Phosphates Office to deliver its production stocks to the Rohphosphates-Gesellschaft in Hamburg. 27-29 July: loss of the "Château-Yquem", the "Château-Larose" taking over to maintain supplies to Corsica.
3-7 August: the Captain of the "Château-Larose" informed that H. Worms would not hold him to blame in the event of "deliberate" damage to or even scuppering of his ship. 4 August: Le Trait shipyards once again victims of bombing. Delivery of phosphates to the Rohphosphates-Gesellschaft. 10 August: acting on orders received from Laval by telephone, police officers were sent to G. Le Roy Ladurie's home to arrest him but found him out. 16 August: issue of bonds by the Société Minière et Electrique des Lampes.
September: G. Le Roy Ladurie gave a roof to the resistant, Paul Bernard, head of the "Alliance" network. 3-13 September: Mussolini freed by the German troops, proclamation of the Italian Social Republic with Germany occupying two-thirds of Italy. 11 September: Le Trait shipyards bombed for the 9th time. 13 September: Tunis branch accused of fraud. 15-19 September: delivery of the fleet supply ship "Ostfriesland" (ex-"Charente") more than 2 years late.
October: opening of an account in the name of the Rüstungkontor. Stake acquired in the Entrepôts Souterrains d'Hydrocarbures. 4 October: liberation of Corsica. 11 October: loan issue launched by the Établissements Fournier-Ferrier. 13 October-18 December: capital of the Union d'Exportateurs Français pour l'Europe du Nord doubled.
20-23 November: on the strength of the order of 6 October 1943 concerning repression in the event of relations with the enemy and economic warfare, the Blockades commission decided to pursue its enquiries into the role played by Worms & Cie in the running of the company Le Molybdène, itself placed under the authority of a commissioner also responsible for the Shipping and Banking Divisions in Algiers. 24 November: Jean-Robert de Voguë arrested by the Gestapo and condemned to death, a fate he escaped thanks to the intervention of G. Le Roy Ladurie. 29 November: new increase in the capital of the Établissements Japy Frères with some shares being put up for sale on the Paris market.
December: stake taken in the Entrepôts Maritimes de la Manche (oil storage facility). 14 December: ancillary service provided by "Château-Pavie" to Madagascar. 17 December: J. Barnaud resumed his position on the Board of Air France. 21 December: the NCHP decided to double its equity. End of the year: "Ville-de-Majunga" (NCHP) beached. It was from this period and on several occasions that Colonel François Michel, a member of the Resistance Intelligence Service, began to receive political and military information from G. Le Roy Ladurie.
During the year, the Banking Divisions took part in operations to inject new capital into the department store Au Bon Marché and acquired a stake in the Conserveries de Bordeaux. In 1943 Worms sold 183,000 tonnes of coal, i.e. 10% of the 1938 volumes. The only profit-making agencies were those of Pau, Agen and Rochefort. Closure of the aggregates factory in Le Havre. Cessation of activities at a number of peat deposits. Purchase and sale of shares in the Société d'Approvisionnement pour le Chauffage Central and the Compagnie Charbonnière de Provence. Worms & Cie acquired shares in two companies specialising in the fuel merchant business: the Société Française de Combustibles (Le Mans) and the Établissements Carré Richard (Toulon).
January: the Banking Divisions organised and subscribed to increases in the equity of the Compagnie Minière des Vosges (silver-bearing lead deposits in the Vosges), NCHP (5 January-5 February), Au Bon Marché (17 January-29 February), the Société Centrale des Achats pour le Nord de l'Europe (20 January-15 March) and the Société d'Etudes Privées (February).
8 February: Le Trait shipyards and village strafed from the air.
March: Algiers treasury bills placed in G. Le Roy Ladurie's hands by Colonel Navarre invested with a view to funding the Resistance. 3 March/1 April: the repair sheds in Le Havre requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine, which took charge of managing the staff. 4 March: delivery by the Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Maritime (ACSM) of a tanker barge ordered in July 1940. On or around 7 March: G. Le Roy Ladurie arrested by the Gestapo and taken to Fresnes where, for 12 days, he was grilled on his relations with the Resistance, the Wehrmacht and German economic circles suspected of being opposed to the Nazi regime. 8 March-17 August: intervention on the part of G. Le Roy Ladurie to obtain the release of Aimé Lepercq, one of the main leaders of the OCM (Civil and Military organisation). 14 March: financial support given to a resistance group led by Samuel Théodore Monod, alias Maximilien Vox. 19 March: execution of Pierre Pucheu, condemned at his trial in Algiers (4-11 March) for his role as Minister of the Interior under Marshal Pétain. 22 March: dissolution of the Société Franco-Continentale d'Importation et d'Exportation - Cimpex. 28 March-24 April: sale of the building in Danzig belonging to the Wester Financiering Maatschappij.
Spring: Falkenhausen forced the Banking Divisions to open an account for the Rüstungkontor – the procurement department of Germany's Ministry of Armaments.
April: replacement of the supervisory auditor at Worm & Cie in North Africa, who had compiled a file on Le Molybdène for the Blockade authorities, in which he had accused the company of having delivered 25 tonnes of molybdenum to Germany and 5 tonnes to Italy. 19 April: the representative of the Swedish government in Algiers certified that the goods imported into Sweden from French Africa by the Union d'Exportateurs Française pour l'Europe du Nord in particular, had not been re-exported to other countries.
May: report on the enquiry into the Worms Group produced by an anonymous author from outside the company, probably someone in the Gestapo or the French administration. Colonel François Michel informed by G. Le Roy Ladurie that the ACSM were about to launch a submarine. Opening of a current account and acquisition by the Banking Divisions of shares in SPOT, the Société de Production d'Organes de Transmission (Hubert Group). 26 May: transfer of the delivery of phosphates by the Société Tunisienne des Hyperphosphates Réno to the Rohphosphat-Gesellschaft.
June: Colonel Henri Navarre given a contribution towards funding the resistance organisations, G. Le Roy Ladurie informing him of the possibility of entering into negotiations with members of the German elite. 6 June: Allied landings in Normandy. 13 June: foundation of the Institute of Oil, Fuels and Lubricants, later to be re-baptised the French Institute of Petroleum. 15 June: J. Vinson represented Worms & Cie on the Boards of the Compagnie d'Assurances Maritimes, Aériennes et Terrestres, and Lloyd de France-Vie (La Préservatrice Group). 20-26 June: "Château-Larose" scuppered in the port of Marseilles: the vessel had been requisitioned by the German authorities. June-July: occupation of the mine of the Société des Mines de Montmins by German miners and soldiers, prompting the sabotage of the electrical equipment necessary to run the site. June-August: destruction of the repair sheds in Le Havre.
July: report on the secret society among graduates of the Ecole Polytechnique called the "Mouvement synarchique d'empire". 3 July: bonds of the Société Chimique des Bouches du Rhône, a subsidiary of the Société Minière et Electrique des Landes placed with investors. 12 July: first calculations showed that the number of Worms ships "officially" lost stood at 5 out of 24. 12 July-20 November: increase in the equity of the Compagnie Industrielle et Minière du Nord et des Alpes, the parent company of the Société des Produits Chimiques des Terres Rares. 13 July: Le Trait once more hit by bombs. 20 July: botched attempt on the life of Hitler, followed the next day by the kidnapping and probable killing of General Falkenhausen and two of his friends (Roechling and von Hofacker). July-August: loss of the "Lussac".
August: loss of the "La-Mailleraye". Destruction by the Germans before their departure from Le Trait of the submarine "L'Africaine", a vessel ready for delivery since June 1941. Passive opposition to avoid the occupier taking over the company Franconed. 7 August: the "Condé" (NCHP) ran aground. 9 August: order regarding the establishment of republican law on mainland territory. 16 August: the Germans abandoned the Société des Mines de Montmins. 17-20 August: Battle of the Seine. 18-30 August: Le Trait yards and village bombed on a daily basis. 24-26 August: liberation of Paris, G. Le Roy Ladurie intervening to ensure that an isolated German resistance group capitulate without fighting and holding a secret meeting with General von Scholtitz. 30 August: Canadian troops entered Le Trait, where the submarine "L'Africaine" and three cargo ships ordered by the Kriegsmarine were recovered and put back on the stocks.
September: after the attacks in the collaborationist press between October 1940 and early August 1944, Worms was again the subject of a new campaign, this time in the resistance and pro-Gaullist press, the company being presented as having exerted a secret influence on the Vichy governments or as a vital agent of these governments, its head being behind a policy of business collaboration only to conceal a more "wait-and-see" approach. Evaluation of the losses of the Fuel and Shipping Divisions and those of the Le Trait yards. 5 September: liberation of Antwerp, reopening of the Worms branch. Report from the American military attaché in Algiers on the syncharist plot and on the activities of ACSM during the 50 months of occupation. 7 September: H. Worms arrested at 9 o'clock in the morning by two police inspectors, who took him to a police station in the 7th arrondissement of Paris where he was twice interrogated. 8 September: H. Worms freed at 4 p.m. Then, at 10 o'clock at night, he was again taken back to the same police station and kept under arrest. G. Le Roy Ladurie also taken into custody. 11 September: spontaneous testimony on the part of Michel François of the Alliance network in defence of G. Le Roy Ladurie (see August 1942). 12 September: H. Worms transferred to Drancy, then to police headquarters, before being taken back to Drancy, where he was held for 2 days. At the same time, Gaston Bernard was called in by the instructing judge, Georges Thirion, in the case of the "Ministry v. H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie". To help G. Bernard, an accountant, to complete his investigations, Worms & Cie were to send him a series of memos in the next few months outlining the activities of its departments and subsidiaries from the start of the occupation and throughout its duration. 13 September: G. Le Roy Ladurie resigned from the executive of the Banking Divisions. Robert Labbé, who had been the company's authorised signatory, was appointed managing partner and Raymond Meynial, formerly the Deputy Manager of the Banking Divisions, was named statutory manager. Guy Brocard appointed Manager of the Banking Divisions. 14 September: H. Worms transferred to Fresnes prison where he was to remain until he was conditionally released on 21 January 1945. J. Barnaud resigned from his position as managing partner and from his posts as Board member of NCHP, SFTP, Air France, etc. 15 September: H. Worms discovered that G. Le Roy Ladurie was a prisoner in a neighbouring cell and that, arrested on the same day, had ended up in Fresnes at the end of a "series of trials and tribulations". 16-22 September: contact re-established with the branches in France and first assessment made of war losses and damage. 18-20 September: changes officially made to Worms & Cie's company purpose. 19 September: H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie summoned to police headquarters by Inspector Pérez, who announced that they were being charged with "crimes against the external security of the State" in the form of trading with the enemy, the ACSM being suspected of having delivered submarines to the Kriegsmarine and the Banking Divisions of having collaborated with German banks. Police searched the premises at 45, bd Haussmann and the homes of H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie in their presence. 23 September: the two men were taken to the Quai des Orfèvres, formally charged and incarcerated by G. Thirion. 24 September: both men were transferred to the "political" wing of Fresnes prison. First of a series of handwritten notes exchanged between H. Worms, R. Meynial and R. Labbé until December 1945 on different aspects of the case (preparation of cross-examinations and synopses, H. Worms' state of mind, etc.) and on the pursuit of company business. 25 September: after 4 years of silence, it was time to re-establish contact with the branches in Port Said and Suez, which had provided "enormous services to the Allies by easing their passage through the Canal, especially at the time of the battle for Egypt". 26 September: first examinations of H. Worms, accompanied by his lawyers Messrs. Lénard and Poignard, on his education, his family and military status, his assignments during the war, the activities of his company during the occupation and his relations with the Germans. 27 September: first examinations of G. Le Roy Ladurie (with his lawyer Mr. Bizos) on these same subjects.
October: the Americans put a stop to the practice of using local firms in Marseilles and Le Havre for handling operations. 1 October: H. Worms sharing a cell with G. Albertini. 4 October: Renault works seized. 5 October: H. Worms receive a visit from an American delegation. 7 October: seizure of all the vessels ordered by the Germans from ACSM. 13 October: first report from the accountant Gaston Bernard to the investigating judge, G. Thirion, the report, exclusively concerning ACSM, stating clearly that "it was only on orders from the French government, in fulfilment of the Wiesbaden agreements and under pressure from the Germans that the Le Trait shipyards had continued work for the Germans on some of the vessels on the stocks at 25 June 1940, and then only after having called the attention of the French government to the seriousness of delivering war material to the occupying power... In all, only three ships were delivered to the Germans... The others (a submarine, three barges and three small cargo ships), work on which had continued or started after the armistice, were still on the stocks in September 1944. All this showed how little had in fact been produced in the 1940-1944 period. Mr. Worms has declared that this was the result of systematic sabotage and a policy of bringing in a maximum of supplies for a minimum of production." Memo from G. Le Roy Ladurie on the public functions attributed to him and the alleged political role played by the company. 17 October 1944: H. Worms submitted to a 2nd examination, this time the questions posed by G. Thirion geared essentially towards establishing whether or not the company had had links with members of the Vichy government. 18 October: order regarding confiscation of illicit profits; G. Le Roy Ladurie questioned for a second time, this time on his professional and private relations with the German authorities, leading French political figures, members of the Resistance. Testimony of B. Pathé in favour of Gabriel Le Roy Ladurie (see 13 November 1942). 20 October: evidence heard from two engineers of the technical divisions of the national Navy responsible for the supervision of French shipyards, Le Trait in particular. 21 October: Colonel Henri Navarre (see March/June 1944) called to give evidence. 23 October: Colonel François Michel (see August 1942, December 1943) also testified. 24 October: turn of the manager of the Le Trait shipyards. 26 October – 8/11 February 1945: process served to conduct an investigation into the general attitude of the ACSM during the occupation. 28 October: 12 of the 24 vessels in the Worms pre-war fleet reported missing, believed lost. 30 October: creation of the Coal Workers' Trade Union.
3 November: Samuel Théodore Monod, alias Maximilien Vox (see 14 March 1944) heard by the authorities. 5 November: testimony on the part of Bernard des Champ de Boishebert (see 17 February 1943). 7 November: creation of the Association Technique de l'Importation Charbonnière – ATIC (French Coal Importers Association). Second memo from Gaston Bernard on banking sector operations conducted by Worms & Cie. Message from G. Thirion to the Public Prosecutor's office requesting the interim release of H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie, only to receive the reply that "revelations [have just] been made by an official at the Blockade Department in Algiers regarding the activities of Worms & Cie". 8 November: Aimé Lepercq (see 8 March 1944) asked to testify. 8-10 November: organisation of shipping services between June 1940 and June 1944. Resumption of traffic. 11 November: Worms voiced its opposition to the extension to metropolitan France of the order issued in Algiers on 23 November 1943 by the provisional National Liberation Committee (case of Le Molybdène), as a result of which the shipping and banking branches of the company had been placed under the authority of a supervisory auditor. 13 November: reorganisation of the Marseilles branch, situation of shipping companies in France and abroad, status of the fleet, reconstruction of the Le Trait shipyards. 14 November: hearing given to the official in charge of the Economic Warfare and Blockade Departments in Algiers between March and July 1944 regarding a file opened by the Blockade authorities in Algiers and Morocco on the Worms Group and Le Molybdène, and the enquiries undertaken in Paris to establish whether Le Molybdène had voluntarily sold 25 tonnes of concentrate to the Germans or whether the Germans had forced the company to make the sale. 15 November: Search carried out at the Paris offices of Le Molybdène; services provided by Worms since the landings in North Africa. 16 November: H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie grilled on the subject of Le Molybdène and the authority allegedly wielded by Worms & Cie over this subsidiary, H. Worms explaining that, by contrast with the French authorities, the British government had never entertained any suspicions with regard to the company and both men applying for provisional release. 17 November: managers from Le Molybdène, the Chief Inspector of Mines and de R. Meynial all questioned. 18 November: G. Thirion once again lodged a request with the Public Prosecutor's office for the release of Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie but this new application was deflected with the reply that the National Resistance Committee - CNR – had decided to conduct further enquiries into the company's subsidiaries and stakeholder companies and that H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie would be immediately detained on administrative grounds, if they were released from jail. Heavy workload at the company's Egyptian branch thanks to orders from the Ministry of War Transport. 20 November: 3rd report from G. Bernard, this time on Le Molybdène. Information provided by the CNR regarding the economic activities of the Banque Worms in its dealings with the enemy submitted to the Attorney General at the Paris Courts of Appeal. 22 November: H. Worms decided that the time had come to revise his defence tactics now that the "matter [had moved to] the political arena". Among other things, his intention was to circulate "a very concise, very objective synopsis" of the "Worms affair"... to call attention to his plight and "prevent our last remaining friends from beginning to believe that we cannot be totally innocent, given the time it is taking to obtain our release". 23 November: in a new examination, G. Le Roy Ladurie took the opportunity to point out a number of blatant inaccuracies in the CNR's letter and strongly protest against the involvement of a body with no legal status and no specific instructions in a legal investigation. Under such circumstances, he "withdrew (his) request for provisional release made on 16 November 1944". 25 November: turn of H. Worms who also pointed out several mistakes in the CNR letter and also strongly protested against the involvement of a body with no legal status and no specific instructions in a legal investigation and withdrew his request for provisional release submitted [to the judge] on 16 November 1944", H. Worms concluded his statement by outlining his company's management policy in relation to its subsidiaries. H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie quizzed on the Établissements Japy Frères. 28 November: the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Établissements Japy Frères cross-examined. 29 November: examination of the Chief Executive of Japy Frères and a head of department nominated by the staff as chairman of the company's post-war "Purge" Committee. 30 November – 16/17 and 25 January 1045: process served over an investigation into the general attitude of the Établissements Japy Frères during the occupation.
December: reconstruction of the Le Trait shipyards. 2 December: H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie interrogated on the company's shares in Puzenat and in the Société Tunisienne des Hyperphosphates Réno as well as on the relations between this latter firm and the Germans. Ghislaine de Voguë (see 24 November 1943) interviewed. 4 December: the representative of the Blockade management in Algiers questioned on Le Molybdène. 6 December: statements by R. Labbé on the Coal and Shipping Divisions and by the CEO of the Coal Division. 7 December: statements made by the CEO of the SFTP, the CEO of NCHP, the CEO of the Shipping Division. Report on a visit to England by the Deputy Manager of the Marseilles branch, who claimed to have made the following declaration to his counterparts there: "As regards the banking activities of Worms & Cie, Banque de France statistics show that the amount of the credit facilities the bank was forced to grant to German interests, along similar lines to other French banks, was not more than 1.5% of the total amount for all transactions of this nature conducted by the Paris banks and 0.6% of the total for all French banks." 8 December: H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie questioned on alleged trade deals between Worms & Cie and the enemy via two of its subsidiaries working with Northern Europe: the Union des Exportateurs Français pour l'Europe du Nord (UEFEN) and the Société Centrale d'Achats pour l'Europe du Nord (Scane). 13 December-May 1946: nationalisation of the Houillères du Nord et du Pas-de-Calais. 20 December: application for the provisional release of H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie, demonstrating that the charges brought against them did not hold water. The judge, G. Thirion, received a document from someone called Latourette listing the companies that Worms supposedly controlled in France and Indochina. 22 December-6 February 1945: process served in relation to the Mining Division (search report and statements gathered from various employees at the Société des Mines de Montmins and the Société des Mines du Charrier). 27 December: statement by the founder of the Compagnie Sétoise de Produits Chimiques. 29 December: 4th report from Gaston Bernard to G. Thirion, this time on the companies Japy and Puzenat.
In 1944, Worms sold 112,000 tonnes of coal, i.e. 6% of the 1938 figure. Over the four years of the occupation, total sales thus stood at 1,197,000 tonnes, i.e. 65% of sales in 1938.
January: injection of further capital into the Entreprises de Grands Travaux Hydrauliques. 3 January: the Mining Department submitted a report for signature to the Minister of Industrial Production, the report being intended for the Blockade authorities and completely clearing the company Le Molybdène of the charges levelled against it – whilst not rescinding the order of 23 November 1943 with regard to Worms & Cie. Statement by Jean Nelson-Pautier, member of the Board of the Société Tunisienne des Hyperphosphates Réno, which resulted the next day (4 January) in further hearings for H. Worms, G. Le Roy Ladurie and the CEO of the company. 4 January-13 February: process served and investigations conducted at Puzenat. 6 January: order regarding confiscation of illicit profits. 8 January-6 February: process served for the mining companies (Société des Mines de Montmins and Société des Mines du Charrier). 9 January: the G. Thirion tabled a further request for provisional release, signed by H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie on 6 January, with the Public Prosecutor's office. 16-25 January: process served (dated 30 November 1944) in relation to the Établissements Japy Frères. 21 January: H. Worms and G. Le Roy Ladurie provisionally released and placed under house arrest, H. Worms going to live at Bourbon-Lancy and G. Le Roy Ladurie enlisting as a "maréchal des logis" (sergeant) in the 3rd regiment of the Moroccan Spahis of the Leclerc Division.
4-11 February: Yalta Conference among Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt - demilitarisation of Germany with the country split into 3, and subsequently 4 occupied zones. 10 February: process served (dated 26 October 1944) with respect to ACSM. Submarine "l'Africaine" put back on the stocks ready for the rebuilding of Le Trait, R Labbé sending P. Abbat to visit shipyards in the UK, USA and Scandinavia, given the emerging need to make the department into a separate company to make it easier to find funds for modernisation of the site.
6 March: H. Worms voiced his opposition to the addition of a timber division to the coal business, in view of his firm conviction that wood as a fuel would soon cease to exist in the post-war period. Preparations for the resumption of sailings to the UK, Marseilles-Ports in the North and Bordeaux-Hamburg. 22 March: suggestion of a protest on the part of NCHP vis-à-vis the Merchant Navy over "the fact that the only company currently offering services with Madagascar and La Réunion was the Messageries (contractual and independent)". Organisation of civil aviation – key role played in 1944 by H. Worms and J. Barnaud in the link between Air France and the Chargeurs Réunis. Need to reinforce the position of Worms & Cie in relation to "collieries in the Saar, Ruhr, the Netherlands and Belgium" and to maintain contact with the British. Investigation into the conditions for transferring operations at Le Trait to an independent company. 23 March: Worms & Cie disposed of its stake in the Société Immobilière du Boulevard Haussmann. Activities at NCHP. Official steps taken by Worms & Cie to obtain a share in air traffic between France and the UK in association with SNCF. 29 March: order making trade with the enemy a punishable offence.
April-23 May: return to Louis Dreyfus & Cie and Pierre Louis-Dreyfus of the SFTP shares that the other shareholders (including the State) had bought out to avoid them being confiscated by the occupying powers came under scrutiny in relation to the order issued on 12 November 1943 regarding spoils taken by the enemy or under its control and their return to the victims. Launch of the oil tanker "Prairial" (SFTP). 10 April: G. Le Roy Ladurie suffered a leg injury. 13 April: visit by the management of the Shipping Divisions to SFTP and Chargeurs Réunis – fate of the ships placed at the disposal of the shipping lines and requisitioned by the German authorities. 18-22 April: exchange of notes concerning Air France shares held by Worms & Cie, the return of H. Worms to his position in the CCAF, the situation at SNCG, the Möller agreements on the construction of 8 oil tankers, 4 for the State and 4 for Worms, etc. H. Worms remarked that the same insinuations as regards the company's links with Shell-Royal Dutch and Samuels Bank in London were still to be found in the April 1942 reports from the Blockade management and the National Resistance Committee (CNR), the press campaign in Paris-Soir in October 1940 and the enquiry conducted by the Deutsche Treuhand und Revisionsgesellschaft. 22-30 April: G. Le Roy Ladurie returned to Paris where "his hospital bed rapidly became the rallying point for the cream of Paris society wishing to keep him amused", much to the concern of H. Worms. 23 April: rumours of an investigation being conducted into the company by the Ministry of Shipping led H. Worms to wonder their purpose was to "clear it of all suspicions or place it, albeit unofficially, on a black list so it would be boycotted by British shipping companies for its allegedly chequered past."
2 May-28 December: written exchanges between Worms & Cie, its legal advisors and solicitors, the Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Maritime and the administrative authorities over the creation of the Société Anonyme des Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Maritime. 8 May: capitulation of Germany. Presentation of Worms & Cie in Egypt, the "current manager of which is British" and whose management had, since the armistice, given every satisfaction to the British and American authorities. 15-19 May: exchange of letters with H. Worms over the reorganisation of the shipping sector, the nationalisation of Transat and Messageries Maritimes (business handled by Worms & Cie agencies in Egypt in particular, services to Madagascar, etc.), resumption of Worms services with the UK, establishment of a national coastal shipping conference Worms was supposed to head, situation at SFTP (Dreyfus shares), etc., replacement of the Worms branch in Newcastle by a separate company and possibility of closing Hull and Grimsby, traffic with Norway, Denmark or Germany.
10 June: contract signed by Pierre Poulain (Compagnie Nationale de Navigation and Société de Transports Maritimes Pétroliers) with the Odense shipyards (Denmark) under the terms of which 1/3rd of the construction programmes would go to France, including half of this for the Worms Group. 26 June: nationalisation of Air France, Air Bleu, Air France Transatlantique, under State control since September 1944 and which would become the national carrier Air France in 1948.
2 July: R. Labbé replaced J. Barnaud on the Board of SFTP. 17 July-2 August: Potsdam conference organised by the USA, UK and USSR to decide on the fate of Germany, Italy, Japan and Poland. Roland Gada, ex-Manager of Worms & Cie Danzig appointed to the post of Deputy at the Merchant Navy in Berlin to follow naval issues in the Soviet zone. 25 July: creation of the "Société Anonyme des Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Maritime" – ACSM (with effect from 1 January 1946) for the purpose of "taking over and pursuing the business of shipbuilding and repairs formerly belonging to Messrs. Worms & Cie in Le Trait (Seine-Inférieure) and to this end, the acquisition through input of capital or otherwise, or on a leasehold basis with or without promise of sale, of the trading name, contracts in progress, customer portfolio, tools, equipment, stocks, land, buildings, workers' houses and plant." 26 July: resumption of shipping traffic with Britain, the assignment with the Navy enabling 7 Worms vessels to be involved, plans in the Baltic, ship delivery schedule (for NCHP and SFTP) in execution of the contract with the Denmark-based Möller shipyards. By-laws of the ACSM, a company with a registered capital of 10 million francs underwritten by Worms & Cie and limited partners including H. Worms, R. Labbé and Raymond Meynial, and the l’Union Immobilière France Étranger, officially lodged. 30 July: constitutive assembly of the ACSM with R. Labbé by appointed its Chairman (31 July-2 August).
August: the Traffic Division resumed its task of prospecting for customers for coastal shipping lines with letters being exchanged between Worms & Cie and the Société Nantaise de Consignation et de Gérance on the subject. 6-9 August: Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed by H-bombs. 7 August: statement made by Olivier de Sèze. 22 August: account by R. Labbé of a trip he had made to the UK (foundation of Worms & Co. Ltd). 27 August: plans to establish a shipping line with Sweden. 31 August: modernisation of French shipyards, Le Trait in particular.
2 September: armistice between the USA and Japan. 3 September: release of French business assets in England and Egypt seized by the authorities. 5 September: British determined to exercise a monopoly over German coal traffic shipments exported by sea (Ghent, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg). 10 September: Merchant Navy keen for the NCHP to create a shipping line between France and Iran, with the possibility of a call in Egypt. 14 September: loan floated by the Société Chimique des Bouches du Rhône. 29 September: stake acquired in Seriac, a semi-public company serving as an intermediary for French firms wishing to do business in Syria and the Lebanon. Plans to set up a coastal shipping company in the Mediterranean. 30 September: delay in derequisitioning French merchant vessels. Tensions in dealings with the Messageries Maritimes and the Chargeurs Réunis regarding services to and from Madagascar.
October: loan floated by Établissements Japy Frères. 12 October: Foundation of the Bureau of Petroleum Research (BRP) by the government. 16 October-27 December: proposal regarding leasing arrangements between Worms & Cie and the Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Maritime for company goodwill, furniture, property and houses, etc. located in the village of Le Trait. 30 October: assets of Le Molybdène unfrozen. Enquiry by the American administration into whether or not Worms should be placed on the black list.
November: foundation of France Estrellas by the Société d’Études Privées in association with Worms & Cie. 3/23 November: the Minister of Finances informed Worms of his decision to send the files on Messrs. Worms, Le Roy Ladurie and Barnaud to the Interprofessional Purge Commission. 16-28 November: transfer of the shipbuilding contracts in progress to the Société Anonyme des Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Maritime. 22 November: decision not to become involved in the "battle over the nationalisation" of Transat and Messageries, two major clients of the bank. 28 November: end of the freeze on profits made since 1940 in Egypt, where they had been held by the Egyptian authorities, and their return to France. 30 November: Worms & Cie informed that in recent months it "had been placed on a "confidential list" restricting [its] activities as regards transactions with the United States."
2 December: nationalisation of the Banque de France, the Société Générale and the Crédit Lyonnais and two other banks that together would form the Banque Nationale de Paris (Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’industrie and Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris). 21 December: creation of the General Planning Commission, the first Chairman of which was Jean Monnet (3 January 1946). 27 December: shareholding association between Worms & Cie and the Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Maritime over creation of raw materials stocks, products under construction and finished products, etc. 31 December: G. Bernard submitted the report on his investigations to Judge Thirion, concluding that: "the percentage of operations conducted by the Banque Worms with the German clearing house only represented 1.47% of all the transactions conducted by the other Parisian banks with this same agency (percentage established from the figures entered for clearance operations in the books of the Reichskreditkasse in Paris), whereas according to the Paris Bank Clearing House the activities of Banque Worms account for some 3% of all banking transactions on the Paris market. This means that if Worms had extended credit facilities to the Germans in proportion to its importance on the Paris markets, it would have had to conduct substantially twice the volume of transactions with the Germans than it in fact did. In general, the other Parisian banks afforded proportionally more credit facilities to the Germans … The operations conducted by Banque Worms in the German sector represented 9.8% of all its business but, in the light of the losses suffered in this sector, the net profit for the whole of the occupation period is just 941,000 francs, in other words just 3.8% of the total net profits of the Banking Division over the same period."
During the year, the company acquired a stake in the Établissements Trautmann in Strasbourg (coal and fuel merchants) and in the Société Parisienne de Réception de Combustibles – PARECO (reception and handling of full trainloads of coal). It was from this time that, with the complete stoppage of British exports, the sluggish development of those from Central Europe, the development of oil heating and nationalisation policy began radically to change the profile of the Coal Division.
Sources: André Kaspi, La Deuxième Guerre mondiale (The Second World War); Journal de la France et des Français – political, cultural and religious chronology from Clovis to 2000, Quarto Gallimard, 2001.