Original WWI French Foreign Legion Officer M-1915 Kepi by Union and Travail
Original Item: Only One Available. From its foundation until World War I the Foreign Legion normally wore the uniform of the French line infantry for parade with a few special distinctions. In the early 20th century the legionnaire wore a red kepi with blue band and piping, dark blue tunic with red collar, red cuff patches, and red trousers. Distinctive features were the green epaulets (replacing the red of the line) worn with red woolen fringes; plus the embroidered Legion badge of a red flaming grenade, worn on the kepi front instead of a regimental number.
This is an officer's lovely example of a French Foreign Legion kepi. This is the lower height style kepi that the FFL first started using after phasing out the floppy or "bummer" style kepis. This style was only worn for a short time during WWI into the early 1920's. This cap features an early style bullion embroidered insignia to the front.
This example is a high quality private purchase kepi. It was issued to an officer with quatrefoil design to the crown. There is quite a bit of mothing present and old repairs, but does not take away from the beauty. Interior has a leather sweatband which is unfortunately degraded quite a bit with cracking present as well as repairs, material loss and detach. The polished black cotton lining is soiled but still solid with a full maker’s stamp still present:
UNION & TRAVAIL
4042 PASSAGE CHATELET
A lovely example that comes more than ready for further research and display.
With the declaration of war on 29 July 1914, a call was made for foreigners residing in France to support their adopted country. While many would have preferred direct enlistment in the regular French Army, the only option immediately available was that of the Foreign Legion. On one day only (3 August 1914) a reported 8,000 volunteers applied to enlist in the Paris recruiting office of the Legion.
In World War I, the Foreign Legion fought in many critical battles on the Western Front, including Artois, Champagne, Somme, Aisne, and Verdun (in 1917), and also suffered heavy casualties during 1918. The Foreign Legion was also in the Dardanelles and Macedonian front, and was highly decorated for its efforts. Many young foreigners volunteered for the Foreign Legion when the war broke out in 1914. There were marked differences between the idealistic volunteers of 1914 and the hardened men of the old Legion, making assimilation difficult. Nevertheless, the old and the new men of the Foreign Legion fought and died in vicious battles on the Western front, including Belloy-en-Santerre during the Battle of the Somme, where the poet Alan Seeger, after being mortally wounded by machine-gun fire, cheered on the rest of his advancing battalion.
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