French Nationality Law Through the Years
2017 Challenge A-Z

Those Who Fought in the French Foreign Legion During World War Two

Legion etrangere

Buried among the numerous lists on the superb website of the French military, Mémoire des Hommes, is a collection of filmed pages of names of those foreigners who rushed to fight for France during the brief period from the 1st of September 1939 to the 25th of June 1940. The lists are not complete, pages are missing, there are gaps. Nevertheless, there are many, many names of men from all over the world, including from Germany, who joined this unique legion for foreigners within the French Army.

The typed lists, entitled Listes nominatives des volontaires étrangers à servir la France entre le 1er septembre 1939 et le 25 juin 1940 cover the following military regions:

  • The First, central Seine
  • The Third, just the Rennes subdivision
  • The Fifth
  • The Sixth, which includes some from Alsace but otherwise covers northern France
  • The Seventh
  • The Eighth, covering Lyon, Grenoble, Clermont-Ferrand and others in the eastern mountains
  • The Ninth, covering Marseille, Toulon and the south, including Corsica
  • The Tenth, covering Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia

In clicking on the links above, the page that results may seem blank. You must then click on the list in the column on the left.

The French Foreign Legion was notoriously secretive, allowing people to enlist under false names. These lists provide more than just the names; they also give dates of birth and nationality, which help with identification. For those researching a parent or grandparent who said he fought for France in the French Foreign Legion, this may be a good place to begin your research.

Good luck!

©2017 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy