Gilmour

maim

Actual or Former Legionnaire
Legionnaire
#1
Just had a coffee with my old Coy Commander from Djibouti in 1986-87.
Ex Lt Col Patrick Esteve, Best CO I ever had, Looks the same though.
Marvelous guy,
Thanks Patrick,
Hadn't seen him in nearly 30 yrs.
Best, Stay safe all,
M.
 
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#2
Just had a coffee with my old Coy Commander from Djibouti in 1986-87.
Ex Lt Col Patrick Esteve, Best CO I ever had, Looks the same though. (...)
... Surely you meant, best company Officer Commanding (OC) for you knew Colonel Jean-Claude François, Regimental Commanding Officer (CO), a towering legend to his contemporaries outside the 2e REI as well as inside it like yourself - and certainly myself.

On the handover of the rotating company to the 2e REP in Bouar in the Central African Republic, RCA, the reptilians including David Icke wondered why this officer han't chosen the 2e REP. The reason was that he had wagered a bet that he could hang on to the undercarriage of a Gazelle helicopter flying the entire length of a local air field most likely in French Algeria where he was a young officer. Such ‘flying permission’ was most likely impossible on mainland France. He managed the first turn of the airfield but fell off most likely due to G-forces and braking his collar bone. He was disqualified from airborne training due to his injury and just as well for the 2e REI.

There are several ‘defining tales’ accreddited to him but these are best remembered by his contemporaries.

Keep safe in your travels,
Zigliara

PS Simon Richards, former UK Royal Signals lieutenant, yourself and yers truly played 2e REI regimental rugby in Nîmes in 1985. Simon R. was found OD in Amsterdam with a suspicion of homicide while looking for work in Surinam. His family refused to take his remains and bury him in the UK. He is buried in the FFL graveyard. His uncle, General Sir now Lord David Richards, became Chief of Defence Staff, and stepped down this summer qualifying the 2003 Iraq episode a ‘strategic error’, that is, ‘invasion’ in layman's terms. We are now seeing the blowback of this recent protracted adventurism in current international media following imploding states in the Middle East.
 

maim

Actual or Former Legionnaire
Legionnaire
#3
Good Post Man, I should have said that Patrick was the best Coy Commander I ever knew. François was a legend, I came back to barracks in Nîmes on a Sunday morning late for guard duty in 1985 during a driving course, as such I had to go to rapport Colonel, walked into his office, said guilty and he excused everyone else in the room, put his gloves on and knocked the shit out of me, then said, at least you don't have to do taule!
I reckon his gladiatorial sulute on 14th July is on a par with inviting that drunken old git as guest of honour at Camerone! I remember that match in Nîmes, and the club house after.
Sorry about Si, he was a good man, stay safe, best wishes from Ebola ville, aye, M.
 
#4
That's one the tales told of him. The 14th July salute is as follows: Georgina Dufoix, the French Public Health Minister told François: “Vous légionnaires, vous êtes tous que des grandes gueulesâ€￾ (You legionnaires are all mouth). He took exception to this and replied: “Madame le Ministre, lorsque je serai en face de la tribune, je ne dirai rien mais je vous ferai signe !!â€￾ So, his salute to his heart in the downward movement became controversial. Some speculated it was a masonic salute but he wasn't.

Ten years later, I clarified this Lt.-Col Dufour, François's 2IC. He said that François had been approached by Germanos to be a freemason which he refused as a Catholic in his ‘broad interpretation’. Janvier, another freemason general, ganged up on Soubirou, another Catholic, and 2e REP OPs officer to deny him of the command of the 2e REP. Soubirou was devastated and was left to command the 2e REI as his poor second choice. He prepped the regiment for its participation on ‘Operation Desert Storm’ and handed a gleaming regiment to Derville to command it and get automatically a general's rank.... :( ?...

Anyway, after this ‘unfortunate impulse’ bordering on ‘exhuberance’ by François, it was Serge Gainsbourg who understood the entire event and the «alternatif affirmative» of his mindset, befriended François in the post-parade drinks at the Elysée Palace and introduced him to Pres Mitterand as his “bon amiâ€￾... He cracked jokes between them and the president came to understand François and joked with him. The event went unnoticed in any disciplinary action.

This is why François, a year or so later, invited Serge G. – on his own initiative without consulting anyone else outside the regiment – to Nîmes after Serge had been roughed up and manhandled by Repmen for his reggae version of the national anthem “La Marseillaiseâ€￾. After all, he had his home landline number before the cellphone era. So, François rang Serge who accepted his invite on the regimental Cameron celebrations in 1985, if my recollection serves me right.

The 2e REP complained about François but the 2e REI captured the public imagination when TF1 showed up and the national limelight for a few media minutes. François action conciliated the Foreign Legion with one of France's cultural and singing icons at a stroke. “On se fait la biseâ€￾ said Serge on arrival and I was there like so many other legionnaires crowding around the two !!!!

Some said that François would have been a gangster had not been for the FFL. Anyway, I slept easy in the regiment when he was around 'cause he didn't need rank slides to command the entire regiment besides being the meanest allure. He also forced the entire regiment to pay for Tapanard 1 if you were there with legionniares paying 10 francs and 20 for sous-officiers. Officers must have paid 50 francs or more. He introduced the mule on regimental parade as the main mascot "who would die of liver failure in due course"....That kinda guy...neither died
of Kidney failure...

Lecerf was of the same ilk mit 'gloves actions on' but he managed automatic general rank for his prominent command role on colocation on Mount Igman overlooking Sarajevo with the 33rd Royal Artillery Regiment and Devonshire & Dorset regiment in 1995-1996. The two UK COs were awarded with the 'Légionnaire de 1ère classe' on that occasion... I went down to the former regiment on invitation and came across Lecerf and Soubirou shook hands with both but not with Derville... I'll leave there.

RIP François in legionnaire Valhalla.

Best
Z.

PS Incoming PM.
 
#6
(...) This is why François, a year or so later, invited Serge G. – on his own initiative without consulting anyone else outside the regiment – to Nîmes after Serge had been roughed up and manhandled by Repmen for his reggae version of the national anthem “La Marseillaise”. (...)
I slightly disagree with this part of your account Eagle Eye. The incident between the guys of UNP (Union Nationale des Parachutistes) and Serge Gainsbourg singing (or trying to) his reggae version of La Marseillaise occured several years before he was greeted by Col François in Nîmes, somewhere around 1978 or 79. No Repmen were involved (at least no ‘active’ repmen) as the UNP is an association of former paratroopers, unfortunately largely ‘infiltrated’ by right wing nutcases of the Front National (hence btw the reason why I never joined it after leaving the Army).
I posted a while back a video (an excerpt of the TF1 TV news) where Col François was welcoming Gainsbourg in Nîmes. He had brought as a gift for the Colonel a bottle of Cognac vintage of 1928 (his own year of birth) :D. Gentleman !
 

Don Pedro

Legionnaire
Former Moderator
#7
I wanted to point out it were the lads from 19th R.A.R From Colchester that were on Igman, how would i know? They served me tea, i got them the beers. :D
 

Old Adj

Actual or Ex Legionnaire
Legionnaire
#8
I wanted to point out it were the lads from 19th R.A.R From Colchester that were on Igman, how would i know? They served me tea, i got them the beers. :D
1 D&Ds were there, too, DP. They became 2 REIs sister Regiment and I had the honour of being the interpreter for several of their subsequent visits both at home and away. A sad day for the British Army when they decided to disband that fine Regiment!
 

mulgarat

Actual or Ex Legionnaire - Donator
Legionnaire
#9
Just had a coffee with my old Coy Commander from Djibouti in 1986-87.
Ex Lt Col Patrick Esteve, Best CO I ever had, Looks the same though.
Marvelous guy,
Thanks Patrick,
Hadn't seen him in nearly 30 yrs.
Best, Stay safe all,
M.
Esteve was a brilliant OC. Very decent man.
What was his successors name? Had a lisp, silver spoon aristo type.
Then there was the Adjoint, Eshmont(?). He was a legend.
 
#11
Gainsbourg and François talked to me under the big tent. Gainsbourg whispered some thing and François asked me, ,,why do i have so many tâtons. ..pointing to my hands
I replied, its my address and i like it
Few months later, the song, mon legionnaire was released. ..just saying
 

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