This amazing collection of vintage photographs recently appeared on Flickr in an album format posted by Hans-Michael Tappen of Munich. It is a remarkable set of 382 original photographs affixed to several pages of a photo album that belonged to a German member of the Foreign Legionnaire. These were scanned into high resolution digital images by Herr Tappen and uploaded to Flicker over several days. The album itself was kept secure in a red leather pouch that you can see here and which looks like it is a souvenir from North Africa.
The pictures were taken in the early half of the 1930’s and depict various scenes of Legionnaire Leutener’s postings in North Africa to include Algeria, Morocco and the Saharan Desert. I suspect that he was a specialized or expert mechanic of some sort because there are many pictures of various vehicles, tool rooms, equipment and many airplanes. Some of the Algerian locations I recognize as the aviation base at Colomb Béchar, the Foreign Legion barracks at Ain Sefra, and at lease one or two desert posts such as Bordj Estienne (actually a commercial venue), Casbah Servieres and Poste Reggan near Adrar. There even seems to be a rare picture of the inside of a barracks room at Sidi Bel Abbes and several of the barracks exteriors at Aïn Séfra. Below are some of the pictures to be found in the album…just to give you a taste of what an incredible find this is. Much more to follow on these photographs as I put on my thinking cap and delve deeper on some of the details I might provide.
Thank you Herr Tappen for sharing these on Flickr. It’s a real nice treat to view these.
Hi there, just wanted to drop a line and let you know that I very much appreciate what you do on this website, and kudos for all your hard work. I’m an old fan of Foreign Legion movies and tales. Your web site is really fascinating to me. Also, I have an off the wall question, and you seem like you would be the man to ask. Briefly, I’m sure your are familiar with P.C. Wren and his novels and tales, particularly the Beau Geste series or “Trilogy” as they call it. I just recently discovered that there was a fourth novel in the series, written by Wren in the mid 1930s, called “Spanish Maine”. I can’t find any info on this novel and it’s driving me nuts. Have you heard anything about this book, or have you ever read it perhaps? One other quick thing- have you ever seen the old Victor Mature film “Timbuktu”? It’s about the first year of World War Two in North Africa (Per Vichy) and an anti Arab revolt against the French in Algeria. King of cliché and non PC, but you might enjoy it if you can find an old copy somewhere. Thanks, Tim Cook
I’m glad you like the blog and thanks for your comments. Spanish Maine was published in 1935. In the U.S. it was titled The Desert Heritage. A good copy of Spanish Maine can be found for $20.00 or more. There is also a digital copy (for Kindle) to be had from Amazon called “The Geste Novels Part B (The Collected Novels of P. C. Wren Book 1)” and the story appears in another ebook called “The Foreign Legion Stories 4”. I’ve never read Spanish Maines and did not know it had any Foreign Legion in the plot but based on what you told me did a bit of research and found other people referring to the book as the fourth Beau Geste novel. I thought that I nailed down Wren’s Foreign Legion works in one of my posts a couple of years ago (31 July 2012) but I seem to keep finding more. I much prefer his short stories however and highly recommend a series of four eBooks called Collected Short Stories of Percival Christopher Wren by John Espley. I’m going to track down a copy of Spanish Maine and add it to my reading pile/book collection. Timbuktu also has Yvonne DeCarlo before she became Lily Munster–can’t believe how good looking she was back then. Excellent movie.
Thanks for the quick response, I’ll check up on that book under the alternate title.
Thanks for that info Mr. Wagner, I’ll try to track down the novel on Amazon and look up that book of short stories you referenced. Have a good day, and please continue the good work. It’s great reading and a great resource.