Hope I'm doing this right as it is my first post - forgive me if not! I'm pretty sure the number refers to the person's "inscription maritime". This was a register of all men living on or near the coast who could be called up to serve in the French navy in time of war. Anyone who had anything to do with ships or boats was entered.
I think the reference is "fo(lio) 3455 n° 856". The registers are to be found in various record offices and the entry includes information not on BMD certificates such as a man's physical description and details of his professional career...at least that is what I have read - I have no personal experience of these records.
By the way, going back to your previous thread requesting translation of your certificates, you or someone who replied were surprised there was no cause of death on the death certificate. This is quite usual here in France except occasionally in parish burial registers where the death was cause by unusual circumstances such as drowning or being crushed by an overturned cart (examples I have come across).
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