French Foreign Legion - Experiences/Advice

J9R4W

Clanker
Hi all,

It had been my ambition for the previous 5 years to join the RM, though after applying last year I was made PMU - I appealed that decision and my appeal was rejected. I was gutted but soon applied to the Army in Jan of this year, and I've learned today that I've also been made PMU. I will appeal this decision as well but obviously it doesn't look great.

Some background info: I first applied when I was 24 but was told to re-apply when 4 years clear of an inhaler prescription which I didn't use, but was still on my records. I'm now 27 and the reason for the PMU this time was that I was prescribed two courses of oral steroids for the treatment of 'asthma' at ages 8 and 12, though in my case it was clearly noted to be a chest infection - you're allowed to take one course of oral steroids but no more than this.

The thing is, I've never been diagnosed with asthma, and my GP wrote a letter saying this and that these were only prescribed for a chest infection, though I was still made PMU by the RM, I'm yet to begin the appeals process with the Army.

At this point, I feel like I'm sick of day to day life, I can't imagine any job or trade that interests me and I have no idea what to do with myself for the rest of my life. I wanted badly to be a soldier, ideally within an elite unit like the RM or Paras, and it seems like my only option currently is the FFL. I'm pretty much at my wits end with it and I'd be interested hear people's serious views on the FFL, how realistic a prospect it is, what life in the Legion is like etc.,

Thanks.
 
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My first observation is 'Integrity'.

You have twice been medically rejected by the Armed Forces of your nation.

I can understand your frustration: however, take a pause and think about what you're considering.

At worst, you're considering a deceitful act to enlist in the Armed Forces of another nation with the potential to become a medical and administrative burden to them.

. . . though I suspect that you maybe brutally surprised at their response if you are found out.
 
My first observation is 'Integrity'.

You have twice been medically rejected by the Armed Forces of your nation.

I can understand your frustration: however, take a pause and think about what you're considering.

At worst, you're considering a deceitful act to enlist in the Armed Forces of another nation with the potential to become a medical and administrative burden to them.

. . . though I suspect that you maybe brutally surprised at their response if you are found out.

I don't think anywhere in this post it says he is going to conceal medical issues. the poster is simply asking if another military avenue open to him might be a possibility with different selection requirements yet you seem to have pegged him as some sort of fraud and jumped on your high horse. Climb off fella, its a reasonable question.
 
I don't think anywhere in this post it says he is going to conceal medical issues. the poster is simply asking if another military avenue open to him might be a possibility with different selection requirements yet you seem to have pegged him as some sort of fraud and jumped on your high horse. Climb off fella, its a reasonable question.

If I've misinterpreted, then I apologise unreservedly.

. . . however, he should begin to see a pattern forming here . . .
 

Herman Munster

Old-Salt
From what I recall of a mate of mine joined long ago, they will certainly subject the op to a thorough medical examination which included back then a physical exertion element. They will also check your background, for this they will hold you at your first point of contact e.g. Lille for as long as it takes until they are either satisfied or they boot you out. During holding time you will require a good book to read for in between the many menial work tasks that they will give you every day to keep you busy. Several decades ago but I'm sure this still holds good today.
 
Hi all,

It had been my ambition for the previous 5 years to join the RM, though after applying last year I was made PMU - I appealed that decision and my appeal was rejected. I was gutted but soon applied to the Army in Jan of this year, and I've learned today that I've also been made PMU. I will appeal this decision but obviously it doesn't look great.

Some background info: I first applied when I was 24 but was told to re-apply when 4 years clear of an inhaler prescription which I didn't use, but was still on my records. I'm now 27 and the reason for the PMU this time was that I was prescribed two courses of oral steroids for the treatment of 'asthma' at ages 8 and 12, though in my case it was clearly noted to be a chest infection - you're allowed to take one course of oral steroids but no more than this.

The thing is, I've never been diagnosed with asthma, and my GP wrote a letter saying this and that these were only prescribed for a chest infection, though I was still made PMU by the RM, I'm yet to begin the appeals process with the Army.

At this point, I feel like I'm sick of day to day life, I can't imagine any job or trade that interests me and I have no idea what to do with myself for the rest of my life. I wanted badly to be a soldier, ideally within an elite unit like the RM or Paras, and it seems like my only option currently is the FFL. I'm pretty much at my wits end with it and I'd be interested hear people's serious views on the FFL, how realistic a prospect it is, what life in the Legion is like etc.,

Thanks.

Just noticed this. Thanks @Bodenplatte

I shall try to answer as well as I can, hopefully later today, when I can have some quiet time on my PC to put a good response together.
 
If I've misinterpreted, then I apologise unreservedly.

. . . however, he should begin to see a pattern forming here . . .
Accepted unreservedly mate but bloke comes across as pretty gen. It may possibly be the case that FFL might look at it differently, I have no idea however if it's what he wants to do then certainly I'd encourage him. As long as he declares it or, perhaps, they have their own standards which include him? At the end of the day, FFL doesn't use Crapita so maybe that's the issue??
 

syrup

LE
From what I recall of a mate of mine joined long ago, they will certainly subject the op to a thorough medical examination which included back then a physical exertion element. They will also check your background, for this they will hold you at your first point of contact e.g. Lille for as long as it takes until they are either satisfied or they boot you out. During holding time you will require a good book to read for in between the many menial work tasks that they will give you every day to keep you busy. Several decades ago but I'm sure this still holds good today.

I'm sure @Condottiere will give us a bit more up to date info but I remember reading that thanks to the influx of Africans and Eastern Europeans in the last few years the Legion can pick and choose who it recruits and they have quite a high reject rate.
 
My first observation is 'Integrity'.

You have twice been medically rejected by the Armed Forces of your nation.

I can understand your frustration: however, take a pause and think about what you're considering.

At worst, you're considering a deceitful act to enlist in the Armed Forces of another nation with the potential to become a medical and administrative burden to them.

. . . though I suspect that you maybe brutally surprised at their response if you are found out.
Plenty of people have squeezed into various armed forces by concealing some sort of medical condtion.

Mick Mannock VC for example. Blind in one eye, memorised the eyesight chart, and went on to become the leading Brit fighter ace in WW1
 
Plenty of people have squeezed into various armed forces by concealing some sort of medical condtion.

Mick Mannock VC for example. Blind in one eye, memorised the eyesight chart, and went on to become the leading Brit fighter ace in WW1

There was a platoon Sgt at the depot, he got the posting there as he was the Corps ace cross country and distance runner. Six months later he had an asthma attack and was discharged. He had managed to hide his asthma for the time he was in and he used his running to control it.

Shame as he was a really sound bloke.
 
I don't think anywhere in this post it says he is going to conceal medical issues. the poster is simply asking if another military avenue open to him might be a possibility with different selection requirements yet you seem to have pegged him as some sort of fraud and jumped on your high horse. Climb off fella, its a reasonable question.
If he doesn't keep his medical issues quiet and that he was rejected by the RM`s he won't get past the the first interview.
 
@J9R4W

I am researching previous posts and conversations on this topic with others so as to re-use some of my previous replies on this topic. It may end up being a slight mish-mash, but I shall try to keep the flow going.

Firstly:

This year (2022) it will be forty-one years since I joined the Foreign Legion and thirty-six since I left, so I'm not the most up to date person. @Jean d'Epee who posts intermittently on the 2 REP thread mentioned above is currently serving and is probably a good bet for more info (depending on if he's still about and when and whether he has time to answer).

However I can give you some pointers which, despite the intervening years, are still very likely to be relevant. Have you read all the posts in the 2 REP thread? Particularly mine, especially the ones that deal with the bullshit, discipline and prevailing attitudes?

Secondly, the medical selection procedures:

At recruit selection will be grilled thoroughly on your background and why you want to join the Legion and it is always recommended to be as truthful as possible, as the questioning is very deep and inconsistencies rapidly become apparent. An unfulfilled desire to join the UK Armed Forces would be a plus point as it underlines your commitment to serve in a military capacity. Rejection on your stated medical grounds in the UK may not be mirrored by the Foreign Legion, A basic medical is undertaken at the Fort de Nogent in Paris (f you present yourself for recruitment in northern France) and a full thorough medical examination is undertaken at the Legion's Depot in Aubagne. Medical conditions | Légion étrangère.

If successful. the full recruitment selection process takes about three weeks from arrival at the recruiting office to departure from Aubagne to the Training Regiment at Castelnaudary. This is an extremely fast process (and you get paid from the day you sign your contract).

Thirdly, you should be aware of the following:

The Legion recruiting process looks for suitable candidates, that not only have the necessary medical health standards, the relevant physical capabilities (be at a good level of fitness when you join) and who score reasonably on the mental and psychometric tests; but also who have the right attitude, motivation and background to be able to "hack" the Legion and "stay the course". From their point of view, medical test results notwithstanding you are not a prime candidate for the following reasons:

Your background as a UK citizen, a nearby country with advanced living standards (equal to France) where you have many other opportunities available to you to fall back on should you so decide, This is vastly different from many recruits who come from much bleaker backgrounds, have spent their last pennies getting there and for whom the Legion is a lifeline to a secure and respected/respectable future. Your commitment will be regarded as suspect. It is up to you to show them that you really want to become and to stay (at least for the initial five years) a Legionnaire. Coming to the Legion "for adventure" is viewed as suspect as most who do so are quickly disillusioned. There is not much adventure in cleaning toilet rims with a toothbrush while a "Caporal" berates you for being a dirty slacker. When I joined, the British "Rosbifs" had the greatest reputation for desertion.

Your social background is taken into account. I may be very wrong, but I will hazard a guess by the standard of your written English that you are reasonably educated and given the fact that you are in your late twenties relatively mature and worldly-wise, your social class/status may be above most of your peers and of a lot of the non-Officer cadres above you. There will be a question of "fitting in" and "knowing your place" in the hierarchy. Your willingness and ability to do this will be questioned.

Any higher education level (admirable in itself), is a hindrance as a ranker in the Legion. Legionnaires with higher levels of education tend to be disparagingly reffered to as "intellectuels de gauche" by their fellow rankers especially the Junior and Senior NCOs. Critical thinking and initiative is not something that is generally encouraged until the rank of "Sergent". The level of basic training is pitched at the lowest common denominator. It is all in French and it is geared to non-Francophone (i.e non-French speaking) recruits. Blind obedience is de riguer, often to what seem like demeaning and non-sensical orders.

As I've mentioned French, here's a good place to explain that prior knowledge of the French language is not a requirement for joining the Legion. However the more you know to begin with, the easier should be your progression. But an ability to quickly pick it up is a major attribute and good for promotion prospects.

Even when reaching your Regiment, many of your immediate superiors and seniors are likely to be less educated, less cultured, less sensitive than you. You will be expected to conform to their brutishness and brutality. If you don't or if you show any sign of resistance, aggrieviation, or if you try to "argue your case" then not only you, but your fellow recruit cohort or your peers on arrrival at your Regiment will feel the brunt of the wrath of the "Caporaux", the JNCOs who are your immediate masters.

You are a cog in the machine and any remaining "imperfections" that prevent you meshing in gear with all the other cogs will be ground away, or the cog itself will be broken and potentially discarded.

In the beginning, you will be subject to a relatively severe restriction of your civil liberties, very basic communal living arrangements, a complete lack of privacy, seemingly arbitrary disciplinary measures (some of them physical), much menial physical work (some of it seemingly pointless), a miniscule amount of "free time", a lack of opportunity to contact the outside world. In fact some recruits from "developed" countries have compared it to prison conditions. You must be ready for this.

This rigourous conditioning of Legionnaires lasts not only in Basic Training, but also for the first few months after posting to your Regiment (especially in 2 REP), when as the "newbies" the arrivals from Castelnaudary are treated as potentially unreliable and are "tested" by their immediate superiors as to their mettle and their willingness to stay in the Regiment. The supposition is that if they crack at the discipline they are subjected to then, then they are likely to crack in combat and let their comrades down.

This tends to finish by the end of the first year's service (sooner if you are lucky enough to go on an Operational tour). Then things calm down a lot and your life becomes relatively normal (still maintaining Legion practices but without the "beasting" reserved for newbies). But you have to understand that basic soldiering remains very basic in the Legion (apart from specialist courses for which you can be pinged relatively early-on if deemed apt). Legionnaires and Legionnaires First Class are just required to unquestioningly carry out orders and these orders are deliberately kept simple and straightforward.

When you get to "Caporal, Chef d'Equipe" (Corporal, Team Leader) which is possible within two years if you are pinged for the rapid promotion ladder, you are given a handful of other Legionnaires to command and maybe a little bit more leeway depending on your "Sergent, Chef de Groupe" (Sergeant, Section/Squad Commander). If you go on a technical specialisation course, you may get some extra responsibilities. It is only when you get to the rank of "Sergent" (possible within your first five year contract if on the rapid promotion ladder) that things start getting interesting and you can be given a lot more responsibility and possibility to "do your own thing" and use your initiative.

All this may seem very strange and quite odd. However, it is a system which takes in recruits from all over the world, many from seemingly inappropriate backgrounds and moulds them into a cohesive and effective fighting force.

If you join, you must be strong-willed, resilient (especially mentally), physically robust, willing to endure hardship, pain and anguish. You must remain clear-headed and objective and understand that there is a method behind the madness (though from time to time the odd headcase/nutjob may lurk there as well - these you have to watch out for). There is no point in signing that five year contract and then flunking out for whatever reason.

There is much opportunity in the Legion and particularly in 2 REP (I am biased, of course). Once you are through the first-year shitty end of the stick, the remaining four-fifths of the original contract can be very rewarding. Then if you want to stay on and the Legion wants you, potentially a full career beckons. A contract with the Legion is definitely two-way. You pledge allegiance to them and they will look after you. The Legion is an integral part of the French Army and you have the full support and resources of a First World military machine. Pay and promotional prospects are good, healthcare and medical support are good. Pensions and injury/disability, social security provision are good. Living terms and conditions although restricted until the end of your initial first five year contract (or earlier if you make the rank of "Sergent") are then equal to the rest of the French Army.

Further continuation separately, as too long for one post.
 
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Continued from above

I've just re-read the above. I may be painting too bleak a picture (perhaps rightly so), but despite the hardships of the first year, there were a lot of positives as well.

The Foreign Legion tends to peel away the superficial layers of self-regard that people cloak themselves in, revealing to them their real personality that lies beneath. In adversity you find your inner strength (or less fortunately in some cases your inherent weakness). I came away from the Legion, knowing myself a lot better. But belonging to a "warrior caste" (as regiments like 2 REP see themselves) can also give you a feeling of (false) superhuman invincibility (especially if still quite young). This is usually tempered with time and experience.

The feeling of extreme joy of belonging to an elite is something that stays with you for the rest of your life. I still vividly remember the shake-out run all the 150 or so members of my Company (the "Third Herd") did when we all reunited at our base-camp in Biltine after a month's small unit patrolling in northern Chad. Our Captain, Company Commander took us out just as dawn was smearing a smidgeon of light across the eastern horizon and we headed that way for an isolated rocky outcrop about six or seven kilometres away across the gently undulating desert, which in that area was mostly either rocky or hard-packed sand. Our breaths slightly panting in the still, cool air of a Sahara morning. As we rounded the piton, onto quite a flattish piece of terrain, the Company naturally and silently spread out in line abreast with the Captain in the middle. A concerted rhythmic footfall spread out from the centre..... DUM, dum, dum, dum; DUM, dum, dum, dum; DUM, dum, dum, dum; DUM, dum, dum, dum; .............. We were as one. A primordial impi running to battle with the rising sun at our backs. God, it felt good!

In my five years, I learned fluent French (admittedly with a reasonable start from school) by trying as hard as I could to perfect the language. Without any further coursework, I later sat and passed with distinction the UK Defence School of Languages French Diploma with a NATO SLP of 4444. I picked up a smattering of other languages and notably an understanding of many other races, cultures and social backgrounds. I deepened my instinctive dislike of racism (when cut, we all bleed red).

I visited places, experienced various sensations, expanded my horizons, tested myself, did things I never dreamed that I could/would do. As a young man without any responsibilities I became a bit of a chancer and screwed up a few times. But I was allowed to bounce back. The Foreign Legion has a high tolerance level for young Legionnaires that show promise, though that means that one has to accept the harsh punishments that are meted out and show enthusiasm in so doing.

There were highs and lows, but for me, the highs tended to crowd out the lows. I learned about good leadership (and bad). Having been there myself, I developed an understanding for the underdog and the necessity of showing respect to all people, regardless of their background.

It is (as with everythig in life) what you make of it. But in general, the Foreign Legion tends to treat its personnel fairly once they have proved themselves and prospects can be good if they decide that after your first five years they want to keep you (there is a high wastage rate at this point, as there are always young, healthy, fit volunteers ready to fill up the lower ranks).

Pay is not bad (especially in 2 REP) and conditions improve with time served. Leave allocation is good and the operational tempo tends to be maintained (though with the odd lacunae at times, like the late eighties). As a Legionnaire ranker during your first contract, you are clothed, fed, housed and medically looked after without having to pay for it. Your pay is yours to spend on what you want (and after overseas tours you should have a substantial amount of it).

But remember that it will change you. You become a different person once you have been a Legionnaire. The psychological conditioning is intense (like a cult) and the younger you are, the more susceptible you are (I was eighteen when I joined). The Legion extols the "spirit of Camerone" and being prepared to offer the ultimate sacrifice in order to complete the Mission is continuously drummed into you. You also have a certain way of viewing the world, which tends to clash with civilian perspectives in the "Western world". Even more so in these now "woke" times.

I mentioned promotion prospects above. The rate of promotion can be very fast. Firstly, you are comprehensively assessed during the selection phase at Aubagne. On the basis of this you are graded for technical competence which will indicate what specialist technical courses (such as signals, medical, mechanical engineering, administrative) you are suitable for and secondly what leadership potential you have and consequently which one of three promotion ladders you will be placed in. As I understand it, it remains as follows:

F1 is rapid promotion - "Caporal" within two and half years and "Sergent" within five (for the latter they will usually require you to sign an extra contract of at least six months to a year), after that it is possible to reach "Sergent-Chef" three years after "Sergent" and "Adjudant" (UK WO2) equivalent by eleven to twelve years in. As a "Sergent" a separate track now also opens up that if you have obtained French nationality and your language skill is up to scratch, you can try to get a place at the SNCO's Officer School for two years and then Commission. Otherwise you can work your way up through the ranks and Commission as the French equivalent of "Late Entry Officer" for which in the Legion there are many more good slots including command appointments than the British Army.

F2 is normal career path where you are likely to make "Caporal" or "Caporal-Chef" within the first five year Contract and then potentially advance more slowly through to "Adjudant" and "Adjudant-Chef" depending on your performance. Or should you wish to avoid command responsibility but remain in a technical supporting trade you can advance through four grades of "Caporal-Chef".

F3 is that you should make a good Legionnaire, but promotional prospects very much depend on how you shape up (and how quickly) during your first five years. In general if they can't see much prospect at the five year mark, then it's a goodbye from them and you are shown the door.

These categories are applied to you during selection, but they are not set in stone and you may be moved up or down a category by your Company Commander depending upon your performance.

Opportunities to soldier are many. Currently in 2 REP or any of the France based deployable units, you are pretty much guaranteed a four month tour abroad every year. This may be an Operational tour or a rotational tour to a French garrisoned area where you are likely to conduct MACP missions and various readiness and terrain exercises and specialist courses. In 2 REP if you are in one of the five Combat Companies (which you are likely to be posted to as a young Legionnaire) you will undertake their specialist training courses.

Don't count on Operations being always ongoing. Op Barkhane in the Sahel has recently been drawn down. However the chances of going on Ops while in the Legion and particularly in 2 REP remain high and very high respectively. In addition you have the constant Company rotational tours to French overseas possessions, dependencies and countries with which it has treaty obligations - a much bigger footprint than Britain has.

2 REP is the unit which has the fastest response time of any in the French Orbat. Unless the majority of its sub-units are already deployed, it can always mobilise at least a battle-group sized (French acronym GTIA) element for deployment anywhere in the world in six hours and even when not on the French version of Spearhead (which used to be called "Alerte Guepard" but now I am led to understand is renamed) has often been chosen to lead an intervention. If you get to 2 REP and decide to go for the GCP (Pathfinder Platoon / Tier II SF) which is possible after reaching "Caporal" and are successful, you are likely to see a lot of Ops and when not on Ops constant intensive training.

I didn't find it difficult to dedicate myself to the Legion (which was what was emphasised). Although realistically you are an integral part of the French Army and are sent into battle under French colours. For me there was no difference than fighting under British Colours. Both Britain and France are longstanding western democracies with alliances formal and informal stretching to before the First World War and before that they fought alongside each other in Crimea. They are both part of NATO and both were in the Common Market at the time I served. I never had that atavistic aversion to the French that is ingrained in so many Brits (and particularly in the English) and I realised while serving in France that both countries are remarkably alike. We are close kin with mostly similar interests and outlooks. Perhaps it was easier for me, because I am a cosmopolitan Londoner of Polish origin (my fore-families having come to the UK after WW2, fleeing the Soviets) and I had been brought up within the strong Polish community in London in the sixties and seventies during the Cold War. I had both a firmly European outlook and a desire to hit back at Moscow or at least play my part in the showdown if they decided to go for the Channel.

Before the vast post-Falklands wave of Brits joining the Legion, there were very few and they had a bad reputation for deserting and flaking. Most were unsuitable romantic types looking for adventure whose wished for experience clashed with brutal reality. Many deserted. When I got to the REP, out of a Regimental strength of about 1350, there may have been about forty to fifty native English speakers all told and in these I have included those from the States and former dominions / colonies as well as the British Isles. When I left there were over 400, mostly British (of all nations) and Irish and many of whom were former servicemen. Then the Legion attitude to the Brits changed. In the words of my last Company Commander, the "Mafia Anglaise" were the worst troublemakers in Garrison, but the best soldiers in the field.

I was under the impression that out of the former servicemen, most had joined either because they had been to the Falklands and disliked going back to a peacetime army with little prospect of further operational deployment bar NI or they had not been sent to the Falklands and could not see any further opportunity of being sent on another Op like it. These were complemented mostly by a smattering of working-class Brits who had been hard done by the economic downturn of the old industries in "Thatcher's Britain" and needed gainful steady employment and the respect that goes with it and who for one reason or another (mostly petty crime) were unable to serve in the British Armed Forces.

Currently there are far fewer native English speakers, let alone Brits (more Irish proportionally) in the Legion. I was expecting to see an increase with the downsizing of the British Army and the reduction of operations with the curtailment of TELIC in Iraq and HERRICK in Afghanistan, but this does not seem to have occurred yet. Perhaps with the economic double-whammy of Covid-19 and the global economic downturn, there may be an increase in volunteers crossing the Channel.

One other positive attribute about the Legion that I hadn't mentioned is the pension system. When I was in, you only had to do fifteen years to be pensionable (immediately if at least 35 years of age); now I believe that it is eighteen years (which is still not bad considering it is 22 in the British Army). Pension is calculated not only on rank and time served, but also on many other activities that you undertake during your career which all accrue points towards increasing your pension. These include - overseas tours (operational and non-operational), arduous courses passed, time served on arduous/special duties, parachute jumps (static line as well as freefall), diving hours, combat injuries sustained, etc.

On top of having free medical care, there is also a subsidised military medical insurance scheme, (which you would be wise to sign up to for a very small monthly sum). This is offered by two competing civilian companies usually after you arrive in your regiment after basic training and it is up to you to choose which one, if any to take. As I recall, this pays out not only on injury or disability, but also on sickness, hospital admissions, routine operations, convalescence periods etc.

OK, enough of my incoherent rambling. I wish you all the best if I haven't put you off, but I have to be honest, the Legion is not for everyone.

Condottiere

ps. Apologies for any typos. It's late.
 
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If he doesn't keep his medical issues quiet and that he was rejected by the RM`s he won't get past the the first interview.
From what I understood, he didn't have asthma and was prescribed steroid use for a chest infection in early childhood. If there remains a hidden or an underlying issue, it will be discovered very easily at the thorough medical in Aubagne.
 
My first observation is 'Integrity'.

You have twice been medically rejected by the Armed Forces of your nation.

I can understand your frustration: however, take a pause and think about what you're considering.

At worst, you're considering a deceitful act to enlist in the Armed Forces of another nation with the potential to become a medical and administrative burden to them.

. . . though I suspect that you maybe brutally surprised at their response if you are found out.

And even more surprised by the reaction of any locals who find you at the bus stop. They are really proud to be associated with the REP, and really don't react well to people they think are deserting.
 

J9R4W

Clanker
Thank you all for your posts, particularly thanks to @Condottiere for the insight.

It’s very early days for me in considering joining the FFL, so I will re-read and take on board these posts and will be back with some q’s. Cheers.
 

J9R4W

Clanker
Hello all,

Thanks again for the advice posted here, I've had a further look into the FFL and have some Qs :

1) What is the culture like amongst legionnaires? I know this may be impossible to answer amongst such a large unit of c. 8000 men from across the world, but I'd be interested to hear what peoples experience is

2) What type of operations would you say are typical for the FFL? Are they often used as shock troops for raiding style operations? Are they more of the line infantry role? I know there's an airborne battalion as well as infantry battalions too, does it depend on which battalions you're sent to?

3) As some have mentioned re education, yes I am fairly well educated, without getting too personal I studied classical music at a conservatoire, though I'm not from a posh background. I'm from a working class family and was 'gifted' at music from a young age which allowed me to study it at a high level. Would this put me out of sync with the rest of the guys I would potentially be serving with? I tend to be able to get on with most people tbh, and if anything I find the middle classes to be the group I least get on with.

4) How regularly would you expect to be deployed in the the FFL?

5) What is the quality of leadership like in FFL? I've heard stories about officers and NCOs using cruel punishments, one I read about resulted in a fatality in training. Is this something that happens from time to time or is this a rare occurrence? I expect the training to be harsh and difficult, but at the same time I do not want to join a unit with frequent and unnecessary cruelty.

Finally, not a question but If I do decide to go for it, my plan would be to take the Drs note that was written for my appeal when I applied to join the Royal Marines; it basically says that the steroids were prescribed for a chest infection, and that I've never been diagnosed with asthma

Thanks for any info
 

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