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A Canadian in the French Foreign Legion

By Joel Adam Struthers
Foreword by Benoit Desmeulles
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Paperback : 9781771121057, 250 pages, March 2019
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781771121064, 250 pages, March 2019
Audiobook : 9781771124867, 250 pages, August 2020

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Table of contents





Acronyms and abbreviations



Chapter 1: TheRoad to France

Chapter 2:Strasbourg

Chapter 3:Aubagne

Chapter 4: Rouge

Chapter 5: Castel

Chapter 6: TheFarm

Chapter 7: 3rdCompany, 3rd Section

Chapter 8: Pieds-Noirs

Chapter 9: LeREP

Chapter 10: 1stCompany, 1st Section

Chapter 11:Pre-Selection

Chapter 12: Caporal

Chapter 13:French Equatorial Africa

Chapter 14:Soldiering

Chapter 15:Mont-Louis

Chapter 16: TheUltimate Sacrifice

Chapter 17:Marseille

Chapter 18: JesusChrist Pose

Chapter 19: GQ

Chapter 20: Partof the Team

Chapter 21: Paris

Chapter 22:

Chapter 23: Biltine

Chapter 24: Alps

Chapter 25: Casede Gaulle

Chapter 26: DéjàVu

Chapter 27: Groupement

Chapter 28: SaladeNiçoise

Chapter 29: Civile

Epilogue: SystèmeD



Appel: A Canadian in the French Foreign Legion is the first-hand account of the author’s six years as a professional soldier during the 1990s, and his experience in the Legion's elite Groupe des Commandos Parachutistes (GCP). Joel Struthers recounts the dangers and demands of military life, from the rigours of recruitment and operational training in the rugged mountains of France, to face-to-face combat in the grasslands of some of Africa’s most troubled nations.

Told through the eyes of a soldier, and interspersed with humorous anecdotes, Appel is a fascinating story that debunks myths about the French Foreign Legion and shows it more accurately as a professional arm of the French military. Struthers provides insight into the rigorous discipline that the Legion instills in its young recruits, – who trade their identities as individuals for a life of adventure and a role in a unified fighting force whose motto is “Honour and Loyalty. ”

Foreword by Col. Benoit Desmeulles, former commanding officer of the Legions 2e Régiment Étranger Parachutistes.


For readers wanting to learn about the reality of soldiering in the contemporary French Foreign Legion, unemcumbered by the myth and conceit which characterize so many of the past descriptions of 'la Légion', this is the book for you.

- Michael Boire, Canadian Military Journal 19, No. 2 (Spring 2019)

"Travelling through these pages, you will discover how a restless young Canadian turned himself into a professional soldier, and then a pathfinder immersed in a system that, even if could always be improved, remains a reference in terms of soldiering. You will appreciate the quasi-monastic life—made of satisfaction, celebration, hard training, operational commitments, but also of routine and service—of these soldiers who decided to leave everything they had to come and serve in the Legion. And finally you will discover from the inside this esprit de corps that empowers the Corps and helps these hommes sans noms to cope with the tensions of their new lives. "

- Col. Benoit Desmeulles, from the Foreword

"In Appel, Joel Struthers has illustrated a soldier’s life on and off duty through his vast experience in diverse training activities and operations. Those with a military background will find this a fascinating story, laced with humour, and told through the eyes of a professional soldier in a renowned military organization, the French Foreign Legion. Those who have not experienced military life will be equally fascinated with a soldier’s insights into the dangerous and demanding profession of arms."

- LGen (Retired) RR Crabbe, CMM, MSC, MSM, CD, B Sc