About this bookThe French Army have had numerous foreign regiments in its service for centuries; however, few have the mystique and elite status of the French Foreign Legion. It became a haven for the rough, tough, and adventure-seeking crowds of all of Europe. Bred with a fierce and disciplined esprit de corps, these soldiers could expect to fight France’s enemies even in the most desperate of circumstances.
Like his American compatriot Henry Weston Farnsworth, Russell Kelly enlisted in the French Foreign Legion as soon as possible after the declaration of war was made and the start of the awful slaughter of the First World War began. After a scant two months of training, Kelly recounts that he and his fellow soldiers were shipped off to the Front. Within a mere three months, his letters tell of the vicious and confused fighting that he was involved in around Bouzy and then in the Arras sector. He and his unit were heavily engaged during the battle of Artois and after a short spell of rest and recruitment were back in the frontlines near Souchez, where Legionnaire Kelly met his end.
These letters were thought of such quality and interest that they were published in the New York Evening Sun.