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He leaves his past outside the recruiting office door. In the Legion one finds strange mixtures of good and bad, latent heroism, and sometimes a degraded soul. All these aspects, when fused together, emit an iron energy, an instructive zest for adventure, an astonishing fount of initiative and a supreme disdain for death. The composite legionnaire has all the sublime virtues brought out by war and displays virility and superiority. Yet he lives in a fantasy world, and if he is ever in trouble he will blame le cafard, a name adopted by legionnaires to mean a form of temporary madness peculiar to the legion brought about by a variety of circumstances, including boredom.
Ward Price, In Morocco with the Legion (Random House and Curtis Brown). Every effort has been made to clear permissions, and all omissions are unintentional. If permission has not been granted please contact the publisher, who will include a credit in subsequent printings and editions. Thanks too to my agent Andrew Lownie, and to Graeme Blaikie, Iain MacGregor and Kate McLelland at Mainstream Publishing. And a special thanks to Victoria. Table of Contents Title Page Copyright Page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS PART I - THE MAKING OF A LEGIONNAIRE CHAPTER 1 - CROSSING THE LINE CHAPTER 2 - THE POWER OF TRADITION CHAPTER 3 - BASIC TRAINING CHAPTER 4 - INTO THE LEGION PART II - LIFE IN THE LEGION CHAPTER 5 - BARRACK-ROOM CULTURE CHAPTER 6 - THE LEGION ON CAMPAIGN CHAPTER 7 - DEPRESSION AND DESERTION PART III - THE LEGION AT WAR CHAPTER 8 - AN EMPIRE IN AFRICA CHAPTER 9 - THE CONQUEST OF INDOCHINA CHAPTER 10 - THE FIRST WORLD WAR: DEATH IN THE TRENCHES CHAPTER 11 - THE INTER-WAR YEARS CHAPTER 12 - THE SECOND WORLD WAR: A HOUSE DIVIDED CHAPTER 13 - TRAGEDY IN VIETNAM CHAPTER 14 - THE END IN ALGERIA CHAPTER 15 - POST-COLONIAL CONFLICTS POSTSCRIPT APPENDIX SOURCE NOTES SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX PART I THE MAKING OF A LEGIONNAIRE Pain is only weakness leaving the body ...
After a stormy Mediterranean crossing, Murray and his fellow recruits arrived in Oran, before being transferred, first to Sidi-bel-Abbès and then Mascara to undertake ‘instruction’. In today’s Legion, those who have passed the selection course at Aubagne are sent to Castelnaudary in south-west France to begin four months of hard basic training. CHAPTER 2 THE POWER OF TRADITION Before leaving Aubgane for basic training at Castelnaudary, the engagé volontaire (EV) will be taken around the Legion’s museum.