Probably taken sometime around January 1916. Two of the
Legionnaires are wearing decorations. One is wearing an
Eastern Front medal; the other is wearing a bar or ribbon
of some sort. The medal could have been borrowed from one
of the older Legionnaires (Les Anciens) or it could be,
and most likely is, his own. This would indicate that he had
seen some action and possibly distinguished himself in battle.
That would be accurate, time-wise, with the new uniforms
(which were assigned after the big battle of Champagne).
The coat collars look stiff and new and would correspond to
the description in Genet's letter below.
~~ Rich McErlean
By the time the Legion had become the Régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère in
they had donned their fourth set of uniforms since the outbreak of the war:
1914 September: Dark blue coats and scarlet pants.
1914 September: At the front, the scarlet pants were replaced by dark blue ones.
1915 September: Horizon blue uniforms arrived. Same as French line regiments.
*1915 November-Jan 1916: Khaki uniforms assigned. Same as Colonial regiments.
*the French Colonial troops (Zouaves, Morrocans, Senegalese, Tirailleurs Algerians, Tunisians, etc.) now fought alongside the Legion.
The Legion always wore the waist sash, but mostly in review.
On January 6th, 1916, Edmond Genet wrote of his uniform:
"Just to-day we, the squad I'm in, had our picture taken and when it is finished and we get the cards (it is to be on post-cards) I'll send you one. We received our new khaki overcoats yesterday so the picture shows us in them. Eventually the Legion will all be clothed in khaki garb but now only the first battalion has it and most of us only have the overcoats thus far. The casque (helmet) is used by practically all the French troops now to help protect the head from shrapnel and "unspent" bullets, unless they are hit at such a large angle that the metal could possibly cause them to glance off. The casque weighs about 2 pounds. The new khaki uniforms are a great deal better made than are the old gray ones. The overcoats are a bit heavier in material and weight and much superior to the gray. I feel much more like a modern soldier now,-- more American."
~~ All material on this page courtesy of Rich McErlean