NORWEGIANS IN THE FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION
The French Foreign Legion is a military service branch of the French Army. The year is 2017. Why do men from different countries enlist in the Legion at all in year 2017? –even Norwegians have left Norway to join the French Foreign Legion. The Norwegian historian and officer, Knut Flovik Thoresen, has spent at least two years making research and studies about the history of the Legion -and above all: The main reasons for joining the French Foreign Legion in year 2017. Let me turn to his book: “ Norwegians in the French Foreign Legion from 1831 to 2017 “ (Original title: Nordmenn i Fremmedlegionen fra 1831 til 2017).
When Norwegian sailors joined the Legion before the Second World the main reason was not to become a citizen of France. No. Many of the sailors had enjoyed the party life in bars located in the harbors for too long time. When the ship had left the harbor without the young sailor, he joined the Legion to make a living for five years. The stories published about the untrained sailors making a life in the Legion are stories about unqualified persons who should not have enlisted at all. It is seldom you read such stories to-day because the official standard and qualifications of those who want to join the Legion, are high. No drunken sailor or former criminals are accepted any more- that is past and
The life of the Legion was a risky life and not a romantic life: So far the official number of men killed during the service in the Legion is sixteen. Sous-lieutenant Oscar Tønsberg from Christiania(Oslo) was killed in Mexico close to Montealo in December 1866. Truls Andersen was killed in Mexico in December 1866 too.
Reading the stories about the young boys who had survived the time in the Legion create a wish for more detailed information. Maybe the writer of the book is already making preparations for another book contenting more facts about the life of the former legionaries?