About

This blog is about the classic French Foreign Legion that existed prior to World War Two.  It was created about three years ago as a place to share some of what I was learning about the Foreign Legion as I had begun the process in writing a Role Playing Game (RPG) featuring the Foreign Legion called Mon Legionnaire.  I thought a blog would be a good idea to record my progress and share some of the things I created and found out about the Foreign Legion.   However, I soon discovered the joys of what Mortimer Adler described as “syntopical reading”.   This type of reading-analysis is where you read several books on the same subject in order to start comparing and contrasting the various relevant works.  I’ve since expanded my scope from simply reading many books on a subject to assimilating movies, comics, hobby games, miniatures (and just about everything else under the sun).  This blog has now become a place for me to share things I’ve discovered about the Foreign Legion and to post some of my creative efforts stuff for others to see.  It’s also become a great way to meet like minded people and add their discoveries and creation to the collective accumulation of posts.

Some hobby enthusiasts specialize in certain historical periods such as WWII, Napoleon, Ancients, or naval warfare.  My hobbies and interests used to cover just about every conceivable military topic there was and I was quickly running out of shelf space in the garage and book shelves.   I had tank models, board games, movies, magazines and books on just about every period of war there was.   I realized I had to narrow my interests down to a few subjects and so I decided to stick to the Foreign Legion when I created this blog.  This for me, although on the surface is very narrow in scope has become a lifetime hobby and neatly intertwines many of my other pastimes: blogging (writing), history, painting mini’s, building terrain for the mini’s, reading and researching, learning French, drawing and painting, digital photography and graphics, war gaming/RPG gaming, desktop publishing, and of course the French Foreign Legion.

I’m a retired U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst and former military contractor with too little time on my hands for all the hobbies I have.  I hope you like this blog and please take some time to provide feedback or comments.

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48 Responses to About

  1. Frans says:

    Hi, found your side while searching the internet for new data about the Legion.
    Very interresting approach to the subject, nice side. My main interest are the Dutchmen that served in the Legion, I believe you already found my side. If I can support your efforts in some way let me know.

    Like

    • Je vous remercie de votre intérêt pour MonLegionnaire. Je suis honoré.

      Like

    • AALEME says:

      Bonjour,

      webmaster du site de l’Amicale des Anciens de la Légion étrangère de Montpellier et Environs, site thématique sur la Légion étrangère, nous avons des approches communes sur le sujet qui nous passionne. Je me devais, de faire partager à nos internautes votre travail, et si, j’avais dû mettre un titre à : http://aaleme.fr/index.php/breves/4413-mon-legionnaire-, j’aurai certainement écrit : plus de 160 nationalités, mais celle-là, je ne la connaissait pas…
      Bon vent au site : mon legionnaire.
      Et au plaisir de trouver des documents peu connus en Europe.
      Cordialement.
      Président AALEME.

      Like

  2. AALEME says:

    Good evening,

    I saw your link to AALEME and I thank you.

    I draw your attention to page: you should http://aaleme.fr/index.php/legion-etrangere/livres/a-lire-en-ligne/809-livresanglais interresser.

    Cordially.

    AALEME.

    Like

  3. atuspress says:

    Any chance I could contact you via email? I’d like to get your assistance on a publication I’m working on related to the Foreign Legion.

    Like

  4. M Marcelin says:

    Hello, I found your site while looking for info on the Legion. My great uncle, Elie Thoby, joined circa 1895 and died at Sidi Bel Abbess circa 1920. Originally from Haiti, he attended St Cyr and joined after graduation. That is the extent of my info on him. Any chance you could point me in the right direction for access to his Foreign Legion records?

    Like

  5. What a great site with great information about the Foreign Legion. I am just starting a project to bring an Foreign Legion Flames of War army to the wargaming table, and I am trying to be (relatively) historically accurate while playing up the legend of the Legion as much as possible. I expect that I will be spending a fair amount of time over the next few months visiting your site. Thank you for pulling together this wonderful resource.

    Like

    • Jack Wagner says:

      Nick,

      Thanks for the kind comments. I’m glad you enjoy the blog. Let me know if need any help in anything. A friend of mine played FOW extensively but was limited to WWII. I’ll be interested how your project turns out. I found your blog, Spotting Round, and really like what you have there as well. I did see some 15mm Foreign Legion Sappers (WWII N. Africa) on eBay so I’m convinced there are some nice miniatures out there. If you are trying to break away from WWII you might try a game pitting the FFL against the Riffs. The Moroccan rebels captured loads of Spanish weapons to include MG’s, cannon and grenades and used them against the French. The French even had some armored cars and light tanks employed.

      Like

  6. Hello Mon Legionnaire! I just finished a poster for the 150th Caerone Day, that I thought you might enjoy. mercenarygraphics dot deviantart dot com/art/Camerone-366399739

    Like

  7. Eugene Olivier says:

    While checking out data on the Legion prior to 150th Camerone Day I came across your blog. Wow! I’m impressed. I never thought I’d ever find someone as passionate about the FFL as I am. I mean the old Legion. Not that interested in the modern Legion although I visited Aubagne in 2007. I have given your previous postings an overall cursory glance and intend to plague you with comments & contributions when i digest it all in deatail. I have a wealth of material collected over sixty years. e.g. After the fall of Dien Bien Phu legionnaires were shipped back to Algeria. Some deserted by jumping overboard while passing through the Suez Canal. Then the troopship PASTEUR took them round the Cape (South Africa). Again desertions. I kept the press cuttings in my scrap-book. I wrote to the HQ at Aubagne telling them, as I was about to realize a life-long ambition (visit their museum). General Champfleury replied. He wanted them as there was zilch re the desertions in Durban in the Legion Archives. I got VIP welcome on my arrival and was escorted on a guided tour by a Major Guyot. That’s all for now. Much more to come. I look forward to a most interesting correspondence. Is it possible to get your email address? I could send you stuff for Mon Legionnaire (e.g copies of a classics Illustrated UNDER TWO FLAGS and a Famous Authors comic-strip of Beau Geste, my own novel called BEAU QUEST, Luck of the Legion strips, all that i ever found in print on the Legion (Indo-China, Algeria trouble, pics of my diarama of Fort Zinderneuf with 150 1:72 figures, pics of models Beau, Dig & John in 54mm Airfix, my own GOOD GESTE tales a-la-Wren, etc) I presume you live in USA. I am visiting Seattle in August/september
    Au revoir,
    Legionnaire Eugene Olivier, Deuxieme Classe

    Like

  8. Joyeux Nöel!
    I have posted a pair of Christmas cards with a Legion motif.
    I hope you enjoy (and are not annoyed at the shameless promotion).
    Best regards.
    Erik
    Holiday cards available here: http://www.cafepress.com/mercenarygraphx/10889385

    Like

    • Jack Wagner says:

      No problem Erik. Those look nice. Earlier this year I asked my son to buy me a coffee mug for my BD. Gave him the link too. Still waiting. Hopefully Christmas.

      Like

      • Thank you very much.
        I usually try to get permission before posting my wares.
        Your son must very confident of his position on the inheritance if he cannot come through with a coffee mug however!

        Like

  9. Pingback: Everything about the French Foreign Legion | Karavansara

  10. Hi there! I love your blog! The Legion pulp PDFs are gold; thanks so much! I have a similar page on my site for the Canadian Mounties, which is going again after my former site was hacked and destroyed. I really appreciate your devotion to this cool stuff.

    http://phantomempires.weebly.com/mountie-pulp

    Like

    • Jack Wagner says:

      Dang, that is a nice blog you have on the Mounties. Very well done, and I love your movie reviews. I was contemplating starting something similar last year after a trip to Canada (where I hit some used book stores and found a dozen or so books on the Mounted Police). As a matter of fact I’m looking at my framed Friberg print (from a large Northern Paper calender)–the one with the mountie in church next to the mountain man and Indian. It is right next to my Foreign Legion recruiting poster four feet from me. I have been gathering material for a Mountie related blog for about a year–but I’ve never got anywhere with it yet. So glad you commented here. Hope to talk some more and can share some of the items I’ve found on the net.

      Like

  11. Nice to meet! All the above sounds great and is well agreed upon. 🙂 I appreciate your kind words, as well. I’m coming off a summertime hiatus (it’s camping time here in North Dakota), but an early winter will see me indoors quite a bit, so lots of writing is coming up.

    It was a funny path that brought me to your site, actually. I’m writing a review of the William Boyd movie GO GET-EM HAINES, which also stars the lovely Eleanor Hunt. Well, Miss Hunt was also in the Legion picture WE’RE IN THE LEGION NOW, which I’m also reviewing (as a Legion 2-fer with the 1936 bit o’ Legion genius, UNDER TWO FLAGS). So I went looking for a poster for it, also using the American film title, THE REST CURE. I saw your pulp cover for the original story, and being both a Foreign Legion AND pulp fan, I clicked! Funny thing, the web; it’s a treasure trove. 🙂

    It’s interesting that your page shows up now. This week I found an interesting article about a Mountie who died in 1968 from a tick bite ( http://www.rcmpveteransvancouver.com/barry-bradleys-old-newspaper-clippings-17/ ), and, along with the Mayerthorpe incident, it’s been nudging me to expand my scope a little to include some history. Not being an expert I’m hesitant, but good research and enthusiasm goes a long way, wot?

    If you want to contact me directly, there’s a contact page on my site; please feel free…kindred spirits always welcome!

    Like

  12. Frayzies says:

    I really want to commend you for your effort on this blog. I’m 19 and have had a fascination with the historical Legion for the past few years now, and it was really invigorating to come across your blog. I was actually searching for different Legion miniatures to paint (more specifically a fort to go with my miniatures) and was even happier when I came across your site.

    The only “large” book I’ve managed to grab on the Legion is “The French Foreign Legion: A Complete History of the Legendary Fighting Force” by Douglas Porch. You seem really well informed on Legion-related content, so I imagine you might know of it? Just wanted your opinion on it as a resource for reliable information. Would you happen to have any books you’d recommend specifically? I’m also looking for some nice books for illustrations of Legion uniforms from 1900-1935ish; it seems there’s a good few out there, but I can’t find much in the way of reviews on them. Mostly wanted these for references for painting Legion models, though I do admit I have a Legion-themed graphic novel that I’m in the beginning-stages of working on. Just looking to keep things as historically accurate as I might be able to when exploring possibilities in creative historical fiction. : )

    I’m rambling now. Just wanted to say kudos again for such a neat blog! Definitely going to be frequenting your page.

    Like

    • Jack Wagner says:

      Thanks for visiting and for the encouraging words. The Douglas Porch book is great and very readable (not boring!). Another highly recommended book is Our Friends Beneath the Sands by Martin Windrow. For illustrations, you cannot get better than the Osprey Series–also written by Windrow. There are also lots of illustrations on this blog. Find the “Uniforms” category and it will sort out those posts with uniform illustrations.

      Like

  13. Hey there, I was wondering if you’ve seen this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Scarlet-Riders-Don-Hutchison/dp/0889626472/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410395734&sr=8-1&keywords=scarlet+riders

    It’s a collection of Canadian Mountie pulp stories. It really is a must-have for pulp fans, especially lovers of Mountie stuff! I just got another original printing of an Argosy magazine with a great Mountie novella inside…I wrote about it on my site.

    I’ve been mining Unz.org, and I figured out how to download the PDFs. So much great stuff!

    Like

    • Jack Wagner says:

      You’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg on the Mountie pulps. The cover of that book is actually from Adventure Magazine (Jan 1948). One of the most prolific writers of “Northerns” which often featured Mounties (or rather the recurring Corporal Downey) is James B. Hendryx. He wrote a popular series known as Halfaday Creek featuring Black John Smith (not a mountie) that appeared regularly in Short Stories Magazine for many years. There must be almost 100 of these stories. Altus Press has released the hard to find collections of Halfaday Creek in Kindle and soft cover. I also heard that there is supposed to be another collection of Mountie short stories from the pulps similar to Scarlet Riders. …and don’t forget that there were Northwest-Romances (61 issues) and Northwest Stories (124 issues) that always had at least one or two mountie stories. Like westerns, northern fiction also found it’s way into the “slick” magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Everybody’s, Out West as well as the Boys Life type of juvenile fiction magazines.

      Like

  14. I do have a Halfaday creek in Argosy magazine: http://phantomempires.weebly.com/uploads/5/1/6/4/5164096/9602188_orig.jpg

    I have about 100 original pulps with Mountie stories in them; many were discussed on my old site before it was hacked and destroyed. I’m just getting back up to speed. So many books to write about! 🙂 I have 14o+ Mountie books, both fact and fiction, and 90+ films and cliffhanger serials. I’ll get around to writing about them again…the new project is just getting rolling.

    I’ll look for those kindle books…thanks for the pointers! If you think of the other collection like Scarlet Riders, please let me know!

    Like

  15. Wait…would it be “Best Mounted Police Stories”? If so, I do have that…I have a few Hendryx stories on my Kindle, but no Mountie ones, which will be rectified on payday. 🙂

    Like

    • Jack Wagner says:

      The book I heard mention of was a collection of exclusively pulp stories collected I think from the Northwest Romance / North West Stories pulps. …but this was months ago. Not sure if it is in the works or if the person who mentioned it had good info. Too bad your site was hacked. I would have loved to seen what you posted. I worry about that happening too and every so often back up all the posts manually so in case something happens I can relaunch. I’ll send you an interesting bibliography I found that has helped me track down many of my mountie books. Do you have the book Men in Scarlet by Bernard A. Drew? It’s a nice bibliography too.

      Like

  16. OK, that sounds great!

    My old site was a labour of love, but I’m excited about the new; in a year it’ll be bigger and better. 🙂

    I’ll look for the bibliography, thanks so much! I think you mean Lawmen in Scarlet? I do have that; I got it, a pristine hardcover, at a garage sale for a buck! 🙂 Life can be magical, hahaha.

    Like

  17. Eugene Olivier says:

    Clayton, Hi I hail from sunny South Africa. I visited Alaska last year. Brrrrr! You can keep your frozen North and your RCMP. While there I “discovered” Robert Service’s poems. You must read CLANCY OF THE MOUNTIES which is part of his BALLADS OF A CHEEKAKO.

    Like

    • Hallo! Ek hou baie van jou land…too bad mine was too cold for you, hahaha. I used to live in Alaska, now I’m in North Dakota, which is also cold! I went to South Africa in 1987 to see the Cricket! I love Cricket; it’s the best sport.
      Dankie for the suggestion; I’m a big Service fan, and I have his complete works. I also love Kindle books, and if you don’t have his BALLADS OF A CHEEKAKO for your Kindle (if you have one), here it is!
      http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=130359

      (A bit off topic, Jack…sorry)

      Like

    • Jack Wagner says:

      I recently rediscovered Jack London–another author who became hugely successful writing about the frozen north. I found a Jack London omnibus that has many of his short story collections. “To the Man on Trail” is a story about a man fleeing from the NWMP by sled. Mounties pop up periodically in several of his other stories. There are plenty of Kindle books that bundle his short stories and are very affordable ($1.99).

      Like

      • He’s actually my very first literary inspiration. He’s the guy that got me to go to the Yukon territory two summers in a row for four months each time, got me hobo-ing about the country for 6-7 month stretches, eventually leading me to global travel. He was an amazing person beyond his novels, too. What an incredible guy.

        Like

  18. Robert Ertelt says:

    page 39 of the Newsome story “Duty” is missing

    Like

  19. ben adams says:

    Great Legion reading. Thanks !

    Like

  20. Michel says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for compiling all these data on Foreign Legion.
    I used a lot of your posts as a source of inspiration when designing some ‘desert forts’ to display FFL 54mm figures.
    Some pictures are available here :https://www.facebook.com/pages/Forlorn-Hope-Soldiers/320339908172294
    Cheers,
    Michel

    Like

  21. Hai says:

    Dear Sir
    I’m translating a memoir written in Polish by a Polish legionaire who had been in Tonkin (Northern Vietnam) in 1907. I’m loong at some photos from that period like this one http://www.photo-memory.eu/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/tonkin-legion-etrangere-02.jpg and wonder what colour were their hat and clothes as in contrary to the white one of the gentlemen on the right, and not the ‘brown-yellow’ as seen in some illustration i.e. by Mike Chappell in Martin Windrow’s book cover. And some of them have something white wearing at chest hight (not the two black boxes on the bell) – what is that for?
    Best regard
    le Hai.

    Like

  22. ricky44nz says:

    Hi Jack.
    I have posted a link to your site on my Facebook page to 3 ex-Legionnaire sites and have had a lot of likes and a few have shared your link so thank you again !

    Like

  23. I am working with the World War I Native American Warriors Facebook Group. We have what we understand to be a photo of French Foreign Legion officers from what may be the 1918 delegation to the U.S. about which you blogged. We’d like your assistance in learning more about the photo.

    You can view the photo at:

    https://www.facebook.com/NativeAmericanWarriorsWWI/

    This is what we know about the photo:

    The source of the photo was the French Foreign Legion. The place was identified as Dayton, Ohio in October, 1918. After reviewing your blog, I am wondering if it could be from their Cincinnati visit.

    These are clues we have gathered from studying the photo:

    The American Indian men and women are wearing Plains Indian regalia.

    An American Indian man may be wearing Lakota bead work including a pipe bag.

    “Security Motor Company”, the sign in the background, was an auto distributor in Oklahoma City.

    That may place this photo in Oklahoma.

    This appears to be in an arena with stadium seating and a dirt floor.

    That suggests a venue such as the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds.

    Among the information we wish to confirm if this is from the 1918 French Foreign Legion visit and from what tribe are the American Indians.

    Of course, please feel free to post the photo on your blog and write about it.

    Thank you.

    Like

    • Jack Wagner says:

      Thank you for sharing this photo. It is indeed a picture of the Foreign Legion members during their 4th Liberty Loan fund-raising tour of the United States in 1918. It was most likely taken at an unidentified airport (Oklahoma City) although I believe the detachment mostly traveled by train. This could have been to accommodate a large crowd. Their schedule had them visiting Kansas City on September 27th and Oklahoma City on the 28th. I sent you a couple of files that might be of interest. One is from the Feb 1919 French magazine Le Miroir that has a small article and pictures about the visit and the other has a small map map of the tour.

      Liked by 1 person

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