For the 2nd Day of Christmas (or the 11th Day if you follow the Christmas carol) here are two tales of escape from the Foreign Legion. They both appeared in the Wide World Magazine. Though the same size as common pulp magazines, Wide World was a slick that specialized in “true narratives” although at some point they started to run adventurous fiction. It published monthly and ran from April 1898 to December 1965 for about 800 issues. There were several articles on the Foreign Legion and I’ve been able to find some of them via various archives. It’s good that each year more yearly editions of this magazine (and others) fall into the public domain.
An Englishman in the French Foreign Legion. This story appeared in the October 1905 issue and seems to be another case of an eager Englishman, a Mr. Gallichan, joining the Foreign Legion strictly for the adventure. The fact he convinced his friend to join with him but promptly decided to desert after three days with the 2REI at Saida tells you much of where this story is going. Interesting nonetheless.
Two Boys in the Foreign Legion. This story appeared in the August 1921 issue of Wide World. This time the two protagonists are literally shanghaied into the Legion while carousing Europe on a lark (more likely drinking and whoring). Of course they are not keen of finding themselves in uniform but they actually stayed for a while and seemed to thrive with the heavy physical activity. Eventually, along with three Italian friends, they make good their escape and good for them too because at one point they fought against an Arab posse that was attempting to capture them and likely killed several of the pursuers.