[Joining] My Father the Legionnaire

#1
My father was a legionnaire from 1958/59 through to 1965, Corporal in 2e Rep stationed in Algiers and the Congo. In 2005 he was invited to go to Aubagne for the celebration of 175 years of the Legion being held on Camerone Day, this was the first time he had been back in 39 yrs. My father passed away a couple of days ago (16.10.2018).
 
#3
Legiondaughter,(y)

A warm welcome to the forum. Great respect for your father's service and my condolences for your sad loss.

Chas trained by WW2 Cdos. 80 next b/day.:unsure:
 
#7
Sorry for your loss. Did you write to the Legion to inform them ? They have an obituary notification service in the magazine Képi blanc. Do you know his numéro matricule (legionnaire's number given upon enlistment)?
 
#8
2e REP did not serve in the Congo in the 60's, so was your father there as a mercenary?
Unfortunately I don't have a lot of details from my father. What little he wrote down about the Congo was a very tame version of what he verbally told me after many rum & dry gingers.
What he did write down was that in 1964 they landed in a place called Kamini (I think that's the right spelling) then to Stanleyville to help the white mercenaries rescue French Citizens, they spent 9 months there before heading to another French protectorate (Djibouti) on the Red Sea. He had to go overland wouldn’t let planes fly over their territory, drove through, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan.

Sorry for your loss. Did you write to the Legion to inform them ? They have an obituary notification service in the magazine Képi blanc. Do you know his numéro matricule (legionnaire's number given upon enlistment)?
Thank you, yes I have written to the Legion. My stepmother has his medals, beret etc at the moment, these will be given to me after the funeral.

Legiondaughter,(y)

A warm welcome to the forum. Great respect for your father's service and my condolences for your sad loss.

Chas trained by WW2 Cdos. 80 next b/day.:unsure:
Thank you, much appreciated.

Welcome to the forum and sorry for your loss.
Thank you kindly.
 
#9
Unfortunately I don't have a lot of details from my father. What little he wrote down about the Congo was a very tame version of what he verbally told me after many rum & dry gingers.
What he did write down was that in 1964 they landed in a place called Kamini (I think that's the right spelling) then to Stanleyville to help the white mercenaries rescue French Citizens, they spent 9 months there before heading to another French protectorate (Djibouti) on the Red Sea. He had to go overland wouldn’t let planes fly over their territory, drove through, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan.
Hello and firstly of course my condolences on the loss of your father. Re his time in Congo, as Peter Lyderik mentioned, it was definitely not there as an active legionnaire, but most probably as a mercenary. He wouldn't have been the only one, since a number of former legionnaires served in post-independence embattled Congo as mercenaries, the most famous being former 1er REP Intelligence Officer Roger Faulques.
In 1964 the Katanga secession (a region South of Congo), led by Moïse Tshombé, was over, but the country was still fighting against other rebellions, the most famous being the “Simba” (lion in Swahili) rebellion led by Pierre Mulélé. In Nov 1964, flying from Kamina, an airbase that Belgium (the former colonial power) had retained after the independence, 350 Belgian para-commandos were dropped on Stanleyville (called today Kisangani), during operation code-named Dragon Rouge (French for Red Dragoon), to rescue European hostages taken by rebels. The Belgian airborne detachment made junction with a ground column essentially composed of mercenaries under Mike “Mad Mike” Hoare's command, a British mercenary hired by Tshombé who, after a few years in exile following the failed Katanga secession, had been called back by Pdt Kasa-Vubu and was serving as Congolese PM. Hoare, along with French Robert “Bob” Denard and Belgian Jean Schramme are the most famous mercenary leaders during this period.
 

mark wake

Actual or Former Legionnaire
Legionnaire
Pro Member
Premium Member
#10
My father was a legionnaire from 1958/59 through to 1965, Corporal in 2e Rep stationed in Algiers and the Congo. In 2005 he was invited to go to Aubagne for the celebration of 175 years of the Legion being held on Camerone Day, this was the first time he had been back in 39 yrs. My father passed away a couple of days ago (16.10.2018).
Respects to your father. the REP did not serve in the Congo during the 60s. Perhaps he did some mercenary work?
 
#11
Hello and firstly of course my condolences on the loss of your father. Re his time in Congo, as Peter Lyderik mentioned, it was definitely not there as an active legionnaire, but most probably as a mercenary. He wouldn't have been the only one, since a number of former legionnaires served in post-independence embattled Congo as mercenaries, the most famous being former 1er REP Intelligence Officer Roger Faulques.
In 1964 the Katanga secession (a region South of Congo), led by Moïse Tshombé, was over, but the country was still fighting against other rebellions, the most famous being the “Simba” (lion in Swahili) rebellion led by Pierre Mulélé. In Nov 1964, flying from Kamina, an airbase that Belgium (the former colonial power) had retained after the independence, 350 Belgian para-commandos were dropped on Stanleyville (called today Kisangani), during operation code-named Dragon Rouge (French for Red Dragoon), to rescue European hostages taken by rebels. The Belgian airborne detachment made junction with a ground column essentially composed of mercenaries under Mike “Mad Mike” Hoare's command, a British mercenary hired by Tshombé who, after a few years in exile following the failed Katanga secession, had been called back by Pdt Kasa-Vubu and was serving as Congolese PM. Hoare, along with French Robert “Bob” Denard and Belgian Jean Schramme are the most famous mercenary leaders during this period.
Thank you Rapace, this now helps make some sense of my father's writings. There is a section just before he says he goes to the Congo, where he says: “Parade was before Col Cailloud who presented us with our Corporal galons. Back to regiment all different, new faces. Assigned to 4th section most. I am going on guerrilla and jungle course hailed as the best in Europe, weapon handling, grenades, rocket launchers, all while blindfolded.
We are doing some training on African tribes and customs, must have something for us to do. There is a lot of fighting going on in all parts of Africa and we can’t do any more in Algiers although we can stay there or another 6 months."

"1964 - Sgt Peltzer left today after 15 yrs, don’t know how he will settle down to life outside.
On the move to central, Africa to rescue French citizens in the Congo of all places. Landed at a place called kamini met by white mercenaries and major Mike Hoare their commander. Getting ready to head for Stanleyville,130 klms, being fired on from both sides of the track from the simba or rebels, we just sprayed each side with huge fire power.
Believe some real bad atrocities happened here, thousands killed, but Belgium paratroopers rescued the rest. Went passed a statue of Lumumba who was a dictator with simba backing, he was thrown out and also communist backed. The statue was where they committed all the atrocities."
 
#12
That makes sense. The colonel mentioned in the beginning is Col Caillaud (not Cailloud) who was 2e REP Commanding Officer in 1963-65 when the regiment was based in Bou-Sfer, next to the naval base of Mers-El-Kebir, near Oran (west of Algeria). Following the end of the Algeria war, France retained the right to use this base for 5 years. 2e REP started moving to its current base in Corsica in 1965 and by 1967 it was entirely installed in what is called today Camp Raffalli, near Calvi. During this transition period, between the end of the Algeria war and the move to France, the morale was quite low, legionnaires who couldn't get out of their base were getting bored, many deserted and it's Col Caillaud who decided that each company of the regiment would more particularly train in one domain (1re Cie, urban warfare, 2e Cie, Mountain Warfare, etc.). This specialisation at company level, inside the same regiment is unique in the French military.
For the paragraph where he speaks of Congo, it seems clear that he was in the ground detachment which, starting from Kamina (not Kamini) made a junction with the airborne detachment of Belgian paratroopers dropped over Stanleyville during Operation Dragon Rouge. This column, nicknamed Ommegang (a Flamish name, describing a traditional religious parade in the region of Brussels) was a mix of regular Congolese soldiers, former gendarmes from Katanga, who teamed up with the regular army after the end of the Katanga secession (Jan 63), and mercenaries from all walks of life commanded by “Mad Mike” Hoare, as mentioned in my previous post and in your father's writings. In the 60s, mercenaries in Congo were nickmaned in French “les Affreux” (the Dreadful) because of their overall look (often unshaven and dirty after spending many days in the bush). Pierre Mulélé, leader of the Simba rebellion considered himself as an heir of Patrice Lumumba, a ‘progressist’ who served for a few months as the newly independent Congo PM before being assassinated in Jan 61.
 

Joseph Cosgrove

Moderator
Legionnaire
#14
Hi spooker, that video that you wanted to post for public view isn't really Cervens material. If anyone is interested in the 1964 Stanleyville massacre aftermath, Ossie O sent me an URL. Be careful, even the film advises you to be over 18. Real footage of cadavers etc. PM me.
 
#15
Very sorry for your loss, Legiondaughter. May he rest in peace.

Hi spooker, that video that you wanted to post for public view isn't really cervens materiel. If anyone is interested in the 1964 Stanleyville masacre aftermath, Ossie O sent me an URL. Be careful, even the film advises you to be over 18. Real footage of cadavers etc. PM me.
There is a video on Youtube that has the old song "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" on it, which shows footage from 66 and 67 I believe. I hope never to set foot in Africa again for as long as I live.
 

Joseph Cosgrove

Moderator
Legionnaire
#16
There is a video on Youtube that has the old song "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" on it, which shows footage from 66 and 67 I believe. I hope never to set foot in Africa again for as long as I live.
If you join the Legion, there is a strong chance you will go to Africa at least once during your five, and I don't just mean Mali.
 

DCLXVI

Legionnaire
#20
ArtyFO,
Join the club !;) Remember it is all in the mind. Chas. RMV202910 Mne 20/06/1956.(y)
Chas, the “has been” as you said. Back to signing off with commando this and commando that. I have actually seen a few forums for the former Commandos of your day. I presume you have to have been or are a commando to join them tho. Oh well, we are all commandos, especially in the Legion. Commandos everywhere.
 

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