Les Suisses dans la Légion, une saga de sang et de fidélité


I know a Swiss who told me he really wanted to join the Legion, but he had first to finish his military obligation in his own country and then be ready to have problems because the Swiss don't want their nationals to go to the Legion. This guy was so enthusiastic that he asked to have all his periods put together (normally the Swiss serve a few days each years), he stayed as long as needed in the Swiss Army and then went by foot from Geneva to Strasburg to join in the PILE there. He really wanted to walk all the distance.

After that, I got no more news but I assume that with his moral he got in and is now at least CPL
The article of Swiss paper Le Temps, mentions the most famous Swiss legionnaire, poet and writer Blaise Cendrars, who lost a hand while serving in the Legion during WWI. He wrote an autobiographical book relating this experience titled “La main coupéeâ€￾ (the severed hand).
Before the Legion was created there was a long tradition of Swiss mercenaries fighting for France. That was in particular the case of the Royal Guard (a bit like the Swiss Guard of the Pope nowadays). Hundreds of Swiss guards were killed in particular while defending the Palais des Tuileries against an angry Parisian crowd on Aug 10, 1792. This violent upheaval will lead to the end of the Constitutional Monarchy regime in force since the 1789 revolution and the establishment of the Ist Republic.
The Swiss Guard was recreated at the Monarchy restoration (after Napoleon's defeat in Waterloo) and definitely disbanded by king Louis-Philippe Ier (the same who decided to create the Foreign Legion in 1831). Many Swiss veterans joined the recently created Foreign Legion.

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