FAMOUS LEGIONNAIRES
Prince Aage [DENMARK] | Prince Amilakhvari [GEORGIA] | Francois Faber [LUXEMBOURG] | Ernst Junger [GERMANY] | Helie De Saint Marc [FRANCE] | Pierre Mesmer [FRANCE] | Simon Murray [GREAT BRITAIN] | Jean Marie Le Pen [FRANCE] | Cole Porter [UNITED STATES] | Alan Seeger [UNITED STATES] | Dominique Vandenberg [BELGIUM]    
   

Prince Aage (DENMARK)

Prince Aage (1887-1940) was the great-great grandson of French King Louis-Philippe (founder of the French Foreign Legion). When he was 14 years old a lieutenant from the Foreign Legion visited his family and he became enraptured with his stories. In 1909 he entered the Danish army and, in 1913, was commissioned a sub-lieutenant in the Royal Life Guards. After the war, he visited the US and spent some time in France before returning to Denmark. He secured permission from the King to resign his commission in order to enlist in the French Foreign Legion and did so in 1922. In the spring of 1923 he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2e Etrangere (2nd Regiment) in Morocco, where the Legion was then heavily engaged in the Middle Atlas mountains. By June the prince had been shot in the left thigh at the Battle of El Mers; receiving the Croix de Guerre. By April 1925, Abd-el-Krim's Riffian warriors had beaten the Spanish and began attacking the Legion border outposts. From 1923 to 1925, he was almost continually in action against one or another of the revolting native tribes. He was in the heaviest fighting against Abd-El-Krim, took part in the relief of the blockhouse at Bibano and witnessed the capture, by Krim's forces, of the French outposts.

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Prince Amilakhvari (GEORGIA)

Prince Dimitri Amilakhvari (1906-1942) was a Georgian nobleman and French Resistance hero during World War II, Lieutenant Colonel of the French Foreign Legion.   Amilakhvari was born in the aristocratic family in a village Bazorkino (Northern caucasus, Russia). His father was Prince Giorgi Amilakhvari. Dimitri was a grandson of General Ivane Amilakhvari (1829-1905). After the occupation of Georgia by the Bolshevik Russia's Red Army in 1921, his family moved to Istanbul and later, in 1922 to France. In 1926 he graduated from the High Military School. In 1926-1933 Amilakhvari served in North Africa. In 1932-1933 he participated in all important operations in the south of Morocco. In 1940, before the occupation of France, Amilakhvari served in Algiers. Later he joined the Free French forces in England. In 1941 he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel and was appointed as Commander of the Brigade. Amilakhvari fought his last battles in Libya in 1942. That same year he received a Croix de Liberation. During the fights at Bir-Hakeim (1942) he wrote: "We, foreigners, have only one way to prove to France our gratitude: to be killed..." General Charles De Gaulle named him and his legionnaires the "honour of France " for their heroic defense of the Allies positions. Amilakhvari fell during the battle of El-Alamein in 1942.

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François Faber (LUXEMBOURG)

François Faber (1887-1915) was a Luxembourgian cyclist. He was born in France, but because his father was a Luxembourger, he got the Luxembourgian nationality. In 1906, he participated in the Tour de France for the first time. He didn't reach the finish. The next year he was 7th in the Tour and in 1908 took second and won two stages. In 1909 he dominated the Tour. He won five consecutive stages, a record that is still unbroken. In his career he won 19 Tour de France stages, Paris-Brussels, Bordeaux-Paris, Sedan-Brussels, Paris-Tours (twice), Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Lombardy. When the First World War broke out Faber joined the French Foreign Legion. On May 9, 1915 at Carency near Arras he received a telegram saying his wife had given birth to a daughter. Cheering he jumped out of the trench and was killed by a German bullet. The GP François Faber, a small race in Luxembourg, is named after him.

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Ernst Jünger (GERMANY)

Ernst Jünger, German writer, 18951998,  was born in Heidelberg and grew up iin Hanover as the son of a pharmacist. Jünger went to school between the years of 1901 and 1913 and was member of the "Wandervogel"-movement. He ran away from home to join the French Foreign Legion where he served in North Africa . Jünger's early war novels were based on arduous army experience. Strongly influenced by Nietzsche, they glorified war and its sacrifice as the greatest physical and mental stimulants. Among these works are Storm of Steel (1929), Feuer und Blut (1924), and Copse 125 (1930). Later he opposed Hitler and rejected his own militarism in a mystical plea for peace, expressed in his diaries of the war years and in the futuristic novels On the Marble Cliffs (1947), an allegorical attack on Nazism; Garten und Strassen (1942); and Heliopolis (1949). His later works include The Glass Bees (1961) and Aladdin's Problem (1992).Throughout his life he had experimented with drugs as: ether, cocaine, and hashish; thirty years later he used mescaline and LSD. His experiments were recorded comprehensively in Annäherungen (1970). He met several times with LSD inventor Albert Hofmann and they took LSD together.     His 100th birthday on March 29, 1995, was met with praises from various individuals and fans, including François Mitterrand.

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Hélie Denoix de Saint Marc (FRANCE)

Hélie Denoix de Saint Marc is a French former resistant, then military officer, and was notorious for participating in the Generals' Putsch against Charles de Gaulle. He joined the resistance at the age of 19. Caught in July 1943, he was sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp. After the Second World War, he joined the French Foreign Legion and was sent to the First Indochina War. In Algeria, during the Algerian war of independence, at the head of the 1st foreign paratroop regiment, he accepted to support the April 1961 Generals' Putsch against president Charles de Gaulle. The putschists loathed de Gaulle's acceptance of Algerian independence. As the putsch failed, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was freed on Christmas, 1966.

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Pierre Mesmer (FRANCE)

Pierre Messmer (born 1916) is a French Gaullist politician. A veteran of the Free French Forces, he fought at the Battle of Bir Hakeim. He became prime minister under Georges Pompidou in 1972.

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Simon Murray (GREAT BRITAIN)

Although Simon Murray is a multi-millionaire businessman, his early years were as unconventional as it gets. Having dropped out of high school, he joined the French Foreign Legion. Murray spent his five years fighting the Algerian fellagah in the Atlas mountains as a second-class private with the Legion's parachute regiment. His bestselling book Legionnaire, is as gutsy and gory a thriller as you could hope to read, and one that shows Murray is not a man to mess with. Frederick Forsyth considers it "a modern classic." In 1966, after leaving the Legion, Murray found a job in Hong Kong with Jardine Matheson. Over the next three decades he rose to become one of the leading players in the burgeoning Far East business scene. In 1998, in collaboration with Deutsche Bank, he set up GEMS, the £300 million-plus investment fund he still runs. He works out of London and Hong Kong, sits on the board of a range of companies including the luxury goods firm Richmont, and has been duly honoured as an Officer of the Order of Merit of the Republic of France.

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Jean-Marie Le Pen (FRANCE)

Jean-Marie Le Pen (born 1928) is a controversial French politician. He is the president of the nationalist party Front National, widely considered to be far right. Le Pen is known for advocating a ban on immigration to France from countries outside Europe, and withdrawal or at least far greater independence from the European Union. He has run in several French presidential elections, qualifying for the second-round of the 2002 election, where he challenged current president Jacques Chirac. He joined the Foreign Legion in 1954, seeing action in Indochina and Algeria .

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Cole Porter (UNITED STATES)

Cole Porter (18911964) was an American composer and songwriter. His worksinclude the musical comedies Kiss Me, Kate (1948), Fifty Million Frenchmen and Anything Goes, as well as songs like "Night and Day," "I Get a Kick Out of You," and "I've Got You Under My Skin." Porter was born in Peru , Indiana, into a wealthy family; his grandfather was a coal and timber speculator. His mother started Cole Porter in musical training at an early age. Porter's grandfather wanted the boy to become a lawyer, and with that career in mind, Porter attended Yale University beginning in 1909, and spent a year at Harvard Law School in 1913. Porter enlisted in the French Foreign Legion and served in North Africa. He was transferred in 1917 to the French Officers School at Fontainebleau and was assigned to teach gunnery to American soldiers. He set up a luxury apartment in Paris and alternated between his officer duties and leading a playboy lifestyle.

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Alan Seeger (UNITED STATES)

Alan Seeger (1888-1916), was twenty-eight when he had his rendezvous with death at Belloy-en-Santerre on July 4, 1916. Seeger spent two years in the French Foreign Legion; as an American citizen he could not join the French military, so he did the next best thing and joined the Legion. After graduating from Harvard in 1910, specializing in Italian studies, Seeger lived for two years in Greenwich Village, and later in Paris' Latin Quarter where he wrote poetry and enjoyed the life of a young bohemian. The poetry he wrote then and while he was at the front was not published until 1917, a year after his death.

His prolific poem Rendezvous:
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
shall not fail that rendezvous

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Dominiquie Vandenberg (BELGIUM)

Born, 1971 in Belgium, Dominiquie Vandenberg is an accomplished Hollywood actor, producer, and fight choreographer. Vandenberg began studying Kudokan Judo at the age of 4. At the age of 10, he studied Greco-Roman wrestling, and followed it up with Kyokushin Karate and Muay Thai Boxing. Vandenberg served in the Foreign Legion's 2nd Parachute Regiment. During his last 6 months in the Legion, Vandenberg worked as a hand-to-hand combat instrcutor and learned Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. He also studied Krav Maga (Israeli martial arts) and Sambo. In 1994, he moved the US where he began his film career in 1995's Mortal Kombat as a stuntman, followed by an appearance in Barb Wire and a short film called Death Row: The Tournament. In 2002, he trained Leonardo DiCaprio in Savate and knife fighting for the film Gangs of New York. Martin Scorsese was so impressed that not only did he hire a role for Vandenberg himself, but he also cast Vandenberg as the action choreographer.

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