Today the French Foreign Legion celebrated the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Camarón (Bataille de Camerone) that took place this day, April 30th, in Veracruz, Mexico. Although a minor engagement at the time the battle resonates through history as one of the most famous “last stands” against overwhelming odds. It’s an event revered and celebrated in the Foreign Legion, by former legionnaires, and for many years now, the general public who are lucky enough to get an entrance pass to the events. The official event that always includes presenting and displaying the wooden hand of Captain Danjou, who died in the battle, happens at the headquarters of the Foreign Legion in Aubagne, France.
The theme of this year’s observance is “Monsieur légionnaire“. This courteous title pays tribute to the legionnaires who come from all horizons to join the ranks of the Foreign Legion and serve France.
The designated carrier of Captain Danjou’s hand (Porteur de la Main) is an honor most often presented to former legionnaires, both officers and enlisted, who have had a distinguished career or service record in the Foreign Legion. Last year’s presenter was a veteran of Indochina. This year the honor is given for the first time to a military Chaplain. Father Yannick Lallemand, with over 60 years of priesthood, 23 of which were spent in the service of the Foreign Legion Lallemand served three years in the war in Algeria in 1958 before becoming a priest. He joined the Foreign Legion in 1975, was a veteran paratrooper of the 2REP serving in Chad and who also parachuted into Kolweizi in 1978, was a volunteer chaplain to the Chadian Army for 10 years and was a witness and first responder to the terrorist bombing in Beruit that killed 76 French service men in 1983. He retired in 2018 ending his service to the legion by comforting the aging veterans in the retirement homes of the Foreign Legion, in Auriol and Puyloubier.
Go to the Facebook page for the Foreign Legion for some good photographs of the event.
Here there were less than sixty opposed to a whole army. Its numbers crushed them. Life rather than courage abandoned these French soldiers on April 30, 1863
Bonne Fête de Camerone