In no particular order here are the odds and ends related to the French Foreign Legion that I’ve come across this month.
1. The Expendables. In case someone missed last December’s issue of Vanity Fair, I bring to your attention a great piece entitled The Expendables written by William Langewiesche, the international correspondent for that magazine. It covers the modern Foreign Legion and dwells a bit on their operations in French Guiana. (I’ve cleaned up a print version below.)
2. Here Comes the Foreign Legion. In a similar vein, in case you missed it, you should check out the American Spectator article from Feb 2010 entitled Here Comes the Foreign Legion. It’s another well written piece by Joseph A. Harris, the magazine’s Paris correspondent. Harris has also written more recent, and very good, articles on the recent French involvement in North Africa.
3. 1er R.E.C. I seem to find more and more Foreign Legion books to add to my running wish list. Here are a couple of items about the modern Foreign Legion that look promising. The first is the September/October issue of Uniformes magazine which is a French language publication devoted to military uniforms, insignias and other militaria. It covers the uniforms and equipment of the Foreign Legion’s 1st Cavalry Regiment (1er R.E.C) in Indochina. The second magazine is another French publication that covers the French special operations forces and it’s recent issue also is about the 1er R.E.C.
4. The Compass of Naivety. Yet another new book. This one is written by Clive Chabrier who, in 1959, left England on a lark for France and was unwillingly shanghaied into the Foreign Legion. He eventually wound up in the 1er R.E.P. before it was disbanded and fought for a time in war torn Algeria. He eventually deserted and wound up on an English ship to Australia where he quickly disembarked for more adventurous travel in the Outback. You can hear Mr. Chabrier recount his amazing tale at the ABC Kimberly website.