How does the 2 REP (FFL) compare to the British Paras?

There is a growing feeling areas such as New Caledonia could come under chinese threat.

Hence the planned deployment of VAB APCs in an area where light trucks were previously considered sufficient.
My devious mind suggests that what @fantassin does not comment on in my post is more informative than what he does say here as a response.

Or, perhaps, I just may be extrapolating a little too far here! :)
 

Bodenplatte

War Hero
Here's another little snippet.

There were a number of FFL deserters serving in the British Army at one time. How many, I have no way of knowing, and I doubt if there were any centralised stats, but I came across several over the years. Care had to be taken to ensure that these men did not enter any area where French law and rule applied - a bit more difficult before 1966 when there were many more NATO establishments in France including SHAPE and AFCENT. Apparently the French would have nabbed such men and dragged them back in chains to eat frogs and serve in the galleys or whatever.

The chances of the French knowing that a particular individual was a FFL deserter would be slight, normally, especially in those pre-IT days, but the possibility of loose tongues wagging at the wrong time could not be overlooked.

Berlin was a particular problem right up to the end of the Four Power Agreement. Each of the wartime Allies was the supreme legal authority in their zone, though the Western three ceded their powers increasingly. The risk of a man being identified at some point over the course of a typical 3 year tour, and being picked up by Gendarmes in the French secteur was not insignificant.

I came across cases where such men were posted away from their unit to an ERE post somewhere when the Arms Plot took their battalion to Berlin.
 
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Here's another little snippet.

There were a number of FFL deserters serving in the British Army at one time. How many, I have no way of knowing, and I doubt if there were any centralised stats, but I came across several over the years. Care had to be taken to ensure that these men did not enter any area where French law and rule applied - a bit more difficult before 1966 when there were many more NATO establishments in France including SHAPE and AFCENT. Apparently the French would have nabbed such men and dragged them back in chains to eat frogs and serve in the galleys or whatever.

The chances of the French knowing that a particular individual was a FFL deserter would be slight, normally, especially in those pre-IT days, but the possibility of loose tongues wagging at the wrong time could not be overlooked.

Berlin was a particular problem right up to the end of the Four Power Agreement. Each of the wartime Allies was the supreme legal authority in their zone, though the Western three ceded their powers increasingly. The risk of a man being identified at some point over the course of a typical 3 year tour was not insignificant.

I came across cases where such men were posted away from their unit to an ERE post somewhere when the Arms Plot took their battalion to Berlin.
Heard of one who deserted from French Guyana by swimming across some scary river.
He then made it back to UK to go to RMAS. When he went on final exercise, it was the first exercise to go to France in the early 90s, thankfully NATO travel orders were still in use.
He apparently was one of 3 brothers, one went RM, one Brit army and he drew "La Paille Courte" so to speak.
 
Heard of one who deserted from French Guyana by swimming across some scary river.
He then made it back to UK to go to RMAS. When he went on final exercise, it was the first exercise to go to France in the early 90s, thankfully NATO travel orders were still in use.
He apparently was one of 3 brothers, one went RM, one Brit army and he drew "La Paille Courte" so to speak.
Not disputing the main gist of your post, but there was at least one RMAS final exercise in France (La Courtine) before then in the late eighties.

Essentially from about the time when I was in, depending on length of time since desertion, there would be a short period of jail time, followed by an administrative discharge, obviously without a "Certificat de Bonne Conduite". Unless, they actualluy wanted to soldier on.
 

Ned_Seagoon

War Hero
Wasnae me. But that sounds quite plausible for post WW1. IIRC (rough and ready without looking things up, so there may be some errors):

Before WW1 there were only a maximum of two (often multi-batallion) regiments of the Foreign Legion under various nomenclatures that at one stage included 1 RE (Regiment Etranger) and 2 RE with the I for infantry being added at some stage. In WW1 the RMLE was formed which went on to become 3 REI post war. Then along came 1 REC and 4, 5 and 6 REI's between the WW1 and WW2. Various units were formed in WW2, the most famous (and surviving to this day) was 13 DBLE. After the 1940 French armistice, the Legion divided into Vichy and Free French allegiances and the RMLE was formed again which reverted once more to 3 REI post war. Post WW2 along came 2 REC and 1 and 2 REP's.

Currently we have 1 RE (Depot Regt), 2 REI, 3 REI, 4 RE (Trg Regt), 1 REG (formed from 6 REG, which was created to continue 6 REI's traditions when 5 RE was still extant in French Polynesia as mainly an engineer unit), 2 REG (which was created after 5 RE disbanded and maintains it's traditions), 13 DBLE, 1 REC, 2 REP and DLEM (which maintains the traditions of 2 REC), as well as the GRLE (Recruiting Group which also maintains the traditions of 11 REI, one of the temporary WW2 Legion Units).
Interesting. One of my compatriots in our village’s Anciens Combatants is a former commander of 2REC. Served with them throughout the Algerian era. Lovely chap but very reserved and not at all forthcoming on the political dimension of the campaign.
 
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People just think of Dien Bien Phu when the war in Indo China is mentioned but there was some pretty horrendous battles between 1946 to 1954. Wasn't the 1 BEP and 2 BEP pretty much wiped out a couple of times from their formation in 1948 until the war finished in 1954?
Unfortunately yes. The battle to try to keep the RC 4 open was one of them.
The Street Without Joy by Bernard Fall is a good book on the subject.
 
A chap with whom I had business dealings some time back was stationed in Syria with the Legion. He was Czech, and a medical student in Prague when the Germans occupied the rump of his country in March 1939. Wanting to fight back, he supposed that the country which was most likely to be fronting up to the Germans would be France, so he tipped up to the French Embassy and indicated that he would like to join the Legion. They sent him through Europe by train on diplomatic papers to S France, and then onwards to Algeria, from whence, after training, he was posted to Syria.
When France fell Syria was under the control of Vichy, and he found himself fighting on the wrong side. He deserted, and made his way to Palestine and was locally enlisted into the British Army, serving with the Royal Scots Greys.
The RAF was allowed to call for aircrew volunteers from all services after heavy losses and also the advent of 7 man crewed bombers. He volunteered, and his next adventure was flying Wellingtons in an RAF Czech bomber squadron as a WOP/AG. He survived that, and the squadron was converted to Coastal Command at about the time the Eighth Air Force was starting to conduct operations from UK. It seems that there was a scheme whereby RAF personnel were attached to USAAF groups in an advisory role, and he was sent to join a B-17 group, and flew several early missions before returning to the RAF.
Eventually he was granted a permanent commission in the RAF and he served on until the 1960s, his last station on retirement being Brize Norton.
Now that is a life worth putting into print.
 

Bodenplatte

War Hero
Now that is a life worth putting into print.
Chap in question many years dead. I understand family will offer some artifacts to RAF Museum when his son’s generation die.
Our business dealings concerned some items which required good provenance, and I saw various paperwork and photographs which gave good standing to his story, including a photo of him in flying gear standing under the wing of a B-17 with the rest of the crew, and USA QM Corps issue dockets for various items of personal kit.
I can’t remember which Group or station it was though.
 
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Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
French history 1958-68 is insanely complex and much of it is still very obscure, to this day. All sorts of skullduggery going on around the bazaars and the poor old LE, or parts of it, anyway, found itself squarely in the middle of some of it.

Well done to the Legion for managing its way out that.
 
The French have abiding memories of the "Auld Alliance".


(Note: not the Legion band playing, but that of the "Troupes de Marine" the former "Colonial Troops" of which one of the traditional recruiting areas is Britanny.

An edited translation from explanatory notes on the above YouTube page:

"This music dates from 1314. On this date Robert the Bruce, future king of Scotland, defeated the English at the battle of Bannockburn, hence this march. Later he renewed his country's alliance with France in 1429 during the Siege of Orleans. Scottish volunteers played this march when Joan of Arc entered Orléans, and it remains a symbol of Franco-Scottish friendship. This march and still played today by the French army."

ETA: Robert the Bruce was a scion of the Norman-French "de Brus" family which established itself in England and particularly Scotland after the Norman Conquest.

ETA2: Plaque on the wall in the French city of Orleans honouring the contribution of the Scottish troops to the lifting of the siege 1429 and listing the principal Scottish commanders:
View attachment 486821
Got the piccie of t'interweb as I couldn't find the one I took when on holiday celebrating my wife's 40th birthday. On the day I spontaneously got her a beautiful and very unusual cabuchon sapphire ring in an antique jewellers in this gorgeous old city.

ETA3: Another plaque in the city, found on t'interweb while researching the above.
View attachment 486824
I first heard that played at the military funeral for the two Commando Hubert blokes killed last year. It was quite impressive. As you know, French Naval Commando's have a strong link to the UK being part of 4 Commando and landing on D-Day with them.

New recruits being awarded their green berets on the seafront at Ouistreham by the surviving French veterans who landed there on the 6th June 1944.

The Bundeswehr also seem to play the tune, but I have never heard it played by a British army band, even a Jock one.
 
Not disputing the main gist of your post, but there was at least one RMAS final exercise in France (La Courtine) before then in the late eighties.

Essentially from about the time when I was in, depending on length of time since desertion, there would be a short period of jail time, followed by an administrative discharge, obviously without a "Certificat de Bonne Conduite". Unless they actually wanted to soldier on.
Small point, have to refer you to my earlier post, I employed a French lawyer and my service was rectified and I was allowed to go to France at any time I wanted. I worked in Paris for a time. I think if you did it 'legally' then it was OK. If you just tried to wing it you were in the m......
 

Bodenplatte

War Hero
I first heard that played at the military funeral for the two Commando Hubert blokes killed last year. It was quite impressive. As you know, French Naval Commando's have a strong link to the UK being part of 4 Commando and landing on D-Day with them.

New recruits being awarded their green berets on the seafront at Ouistreham by the surviving French veterans who landed there on the 6th June 1944.
Berete pulled down to the right.
 

exsniffer

Old-Salt
It was rumoured that the OC 2 Sqn RAF Regt when they parachuted into Sierra Leone to liberate a working civilian airport had deserted from the FFL.
 
This takes me back a bit! Here's a short clip of a Regimental Police (called "Police Militaire" at the time) patrol in Calvi in the seventies. Althogh I got there in early 1982, the same Finnish Caporal-Chef Pietlainnen was doing the rounds, though this time with another Caporal-Chef called Diallo from Senegal I think. Considering that Pietlainnen was very pale and Diallo very dark, you could imagine the looks they got from tourists in the summer.

Clip from official 2 REP social media.
Note the winter walking out dress uniform worn by the "permissionnaires" and the one without a "permission" chit being taken back to camp. Also note quite a drab street in Calvi, looks like maybe the Rue Clemenceau, quite a dfifference to today if you go on GoogleMaps street view.
 
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