From Sidi Bel-Abbès to Aubagne

Joseph Cosgrove

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I received this from Ossie O. in it's original French. I thought I would share it as it may come in useful for those who are joining, have joined and those who are retired from. For those going to join, it will look a bit better when you go in front of the interviewer 'gestapo' telling them that you have wanted to join since you were five years old, to know a bit about it's history. Why not start with "From Bel-Abbès to Aubagne" ?

The Foreign Legion

In 1962, following the Evian Accords, 10,000 legionnaires and their families had to leave the Algerian city of Sidi-Bel-Abbès which they had built by their hands since their installation in 1843. But where to repatriate them? No camp can accommodate them all. The Legion will therefore be scattered in the south of France: Puyloubier, Corsica ... and Aubagne.

The rumor

At the beginning of 1962, the Demand camp was occupied. The Mobile Gendarmerie Training Center and the Regional Group for the Exploitation of Transmissions (G.R.E.T) 809 took up residence there a few years earlier, succeeding the Army. However, from mid-May 1962, rumors were rife about the arrival of the Foreign Legion in Aubagne, rumors relayed by the local newspaper "Le Provençal".

The news is confirmed in June: Aubagne will be the next seat of the Foreign Legion. From July, hundreds of soldiers embark for the metropolis and begin to pile up in a La Demand camp unsuitable to receive so many soldiers. A plan to redevelop the camp of several billion francs is then planned. Families are temporarily housed at the Legion rest camp in La Ciotat. The Minister of the Armed Forces Pierre Messmer in person supervises the operations.

The arrival

On October 24, the Legion bade farewell to Sidi-Bel-Abbès. The next day, the last legionaries of Algeria as well as the commander of the 1st RE, Colonel Vaillant, board the liner Sidi-Bel-Abbès in the direction of the port of La Joliette in Marseille. He docks there on October 26 at 4 p.m. The Legion is greeted with all honors and to music by General Houssay, commander of the 9th Military Region. The arrival at La Demand camp will be at 6 p.m. by torchlight. We play La Marseillaise, then Le Boudin.

The Legion and Aubagne must then learn to tame themselves. On November 3, Colonel Vaillant and a few officers were received at the town hall by the mayor Yves Chouquet and most of the municipal councilors, Senator Delpuech and the deputy Leenhardt, the parish priest, representatives of the gendarmerie, firefighters, police and various associations and organizations linked to the city.


Installation and integration

Upon arrival in Aubagne, the Foreign Legion participated in commemorative and patriotic events in the city. Thus, on November 11, 1962, many officers of the 1st Foreign Regiment participated in the commemoration of the Armistice in Aubagne. A few weeks later, on December 1, the famous Music of the Foreign Legion roamed the city, from the Ganteaume district to Cours Voltaire where it gave a concert. It only remains for our legionaries to build a camp in their image. First, the Monument to the Dead, erected in 1931 in Algeria, is reconstructed at the end of the sacred road and inaugurated in 1963 during the centenary of Camerone which is also the first in metropolitan France. This is followed by the construction of the new Viénot district and that of the Museum of the Foreign Legion, completed in 1966.

Did you know ?

>The first stone is still visible today at the reception of the Viénot barracks.

>In 2014, the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment set up camp at Carpiagne, thus strengthening the presence of the Legion in Aubagne!

>Camerone commemorates ... a defeat of the Foreign Legion in Mexico in 1863! But the heroic resistance of a handful of legionaries against an army of Mexicans made it a legendary battle whose story is told every year during the parade.

>The Monument to the Dead, the sacred way (alley) as well as the crypt and the hall of honor were listed as Historic Monuments in January 2019.

1578801679148.png Legionnaires and family departing.1578801746249.png Plans for the installation

1578801821669.png Arrival of the regimental colors in Aubagne 26 Oct 1962 at 18:00 hours

1578802010628.png Preparing the shipment of the monument aux morts.
1578802142211.png Laying of the 1st stone by the general Houssay Feb 04 1964.
(translate Google)
 

Pink Floyd

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I received this from Ossie O. in it's original French. I thought I would share it as it may come in useful for those who are joining, have joined and those who are retired from. For those going to join, it will look a bit better when you go in front of the interviewer 'gestapo' telling them that you have wanted to join since you were five years old, to know a bit about it's history. Why not start with "From Bel-Abbès to Aubagne" ?

The Foreign Legion

In 1962, following the Evian Accords, 10,000 legionnaires and their families had to leave the Algerian city of Sidi-Bel-Abbès which they had built by their hands since their installation in 1843. But where to repatriate them? No camp can accommodate them all. The Legion will therefore be scattered in the south of France: Puyloubier, Corsica ... and Aubagne.

The rumor

At the beginning of 1962, the Demand camp was occupied. The Mobile Gendarmerie Training Center and the Regional Group for the Exploitation of Transmissions (G.R.E.T) 809 took up residence there a few years earlier, succeeding the Army. However, from mid-May 1962, rumors were rife about the arrival of the Foreign Legion in Aubagne, rumors relayed by the local newspaper "Le Provençal".

The news is confirmed in June: Aubagne will be the next seat of the Foreign Legion. From July, hundreds of soldiers embark for the metropolis and begin to pile up in a La Demand camp unsuitable to receive so many soldiers. A plan to redevelop the camp of several billion francs is then planned. Families are temporarily housed at the Legion rest camp in La Ciotat. The Minister of the Armed Forces Pierre Messmer in person supervises the operations.

The arrival

On October 24, the Legion bade farewell to Sidi-Bel-Abbès. The next day, the last legionaries of Algeria as well as the commander of the 1st RE, Colonel Vaillant, board the liner Sidi-Bel-Abbès in the direction of the port of La Joliette in Marseille. He docks there on October 26 at 4 p.m. The Legion is greeted with all honors and to music by General Houssay, commander of the 9th Military Region. The arrival at La Demand camp will be at 6 p.m. by torchlight. We play La Marseillaise, then Le Boudin.

The Legion and Aubagne must then learn to tame themselves. On November 3, Colonel Vaillant and a few officers were received at the town hall by the mayor Yves Chouquet and most of the municipal councilors, Senator Delpuech and the deputy Leenhardt, the parish priest, representatives of the gendarmerie, firefighters, police and various associations and organizations linked to the city.


Installation and integration

Upon arrival in Aubagne, the Foreign Legion participated in commemorative and patriotic events in the city. Thus, on November 11, 1962, many officers of the 1st Foreign Regiment participated in the commemoration of the Armistice in Aubagne. A few weeks later, on December 1, the famous Music of the Foreign Legion roamed the city, from the Ganteaume district to Cours Voltaire where it gave a concert. It only remains for our legionaries to build a camp in their image. First, the Monument to the Dead, erected in 1931 in Algeria, is reconstructed at the end of the sacred road and inaugurated in 1963 during the centenary of Camerone which is also the first in metropolitan France. This is followed by the construction of the new Viénot district and that of the Museum of the Foreign Legion, completed in 1966.

Did you know ?

>The first stone is still visible today at the reception of the Viénot barracks.

>In 2014, the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment set up camp at Carpiagne, thus strengthening the presence of the Legion in Aubagne!

>Camerone commemorates ... a defeat of the Foreign Legion in Mexico in 1863! But the heroic resistance of a handful of legionaries against an army of Mexicans made it a legendary battle whose story is told every year during the parade.

>The Monument to the Dead, the sacred way (alley) as well as the crypt and the hall of honor were listed as Historic Monuments in January 2019.

View attachment 5660 Legionnaires and family departing.View attachment 5661 Plans for the installation

View attachment 5662 Arrival of the regimental colors in Aubagne 26 Oct 1962 at 18:00 hours

View attachment 5663 Preparing the shipment of the monument aux morts.
View attachment 5664 Laying of the 1st stone by the general Houssay Feb 04 1964.
(translate Google)
Cheers Joe...email received. I will get back to you on those requests mid-week.
 

jonny

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Thanks Joe, great memories! I witnessed some of this myself, leaving Sidi Bel Abbes in June 1962, after 5 years in Algeria, fighting the fellaghas, and embarking on the liner Sidi-Bel-Abbes in Oran for transfer to Marseille a few days later. Spending about a month on the Legion camp at La Malmousque, on the corniche in Marseille, before mustering on another Norwegian ship and continuing my discovery of the world. All of 22 years old by then. But not much wiser. 😅
 

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Rapace

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6AD4E38D-BF95-4DB0-B09B-10A17EB6AD3E.png
The civilian in this picture is (then) Defense Minister Pierre Messmer, a former Legion officer who fought with the Free French during WW2. The man who managed to convince De Gaulle not to disband the whole Legion after the 1961 coup in Algiers. Couldn’t “save” the 1er REP, though, which was too deeply involved.
 
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View attachment 5678
The civilian in this picture is (then) Defense Minister Pierre Messmer, a former Legion officer who fought with the Free French during WW2. The man who managed to convince De Gaulle not to disband the whole Legion after the 1961 coup in Algiers. Couldn’t “save” the 1er REP though which was too deeply involved.
Yes, there were some very brave French men & women in WW2.
 
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@ Pink Floyd.. It was a guy called Kiwi Ray. I think i got them confused 😁
 
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Joseph Cosgrove

Joseph Cosgrove

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View attachment 5678
The civilian in this picture is (then) Defense Minister Pierre Messmer, a former Legion officer who fought with the Free French during WW2. The man who managed to convince De Gaulle not to disband the whole Legion after the 1961 coup in Algiers. Couldn’t “save” the 1er REP, though, which was too deeply involved.
Correct, I was just too lazy to put in their names, I'm so sorry :cry:
Le Ministre des Armées Pierre Messmer et le colonel Vaillant du 1er RE discutent du plan d'aménagement du camp de La Demande, le 15 octobre 1962.
© Légion étrangère

;)
 
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