2022 Foreign Legion Veterans Institution

See a French Army official documentary dedicated to the Foreign Legion Disabled Veterans Institution (IILE) based at Puyloubier, Southern France. The documentary was published on the Army’s official YouTube channel in late 2022.

The Institution des Invalides de la Légion is an official retirement home of the Foreign Legion, open in 1954. Called Domaine Capitaine Dajnou, after the famous commander of the legionnaires in the 1863 Battle of Camerone in Mexico, its initial goal was to offer a home for legionnaires seriously wounded in the First Indochina War. The institution’s vast land area offered them the possibility of farming and cultivation of agricultural food. Later, the home became known for its vining plants (almost 100 acres / 40 hectares) and wine production, as well as handmade souvenir production, to support the running of the institution. There are also olive plants (about 25 acres / 10 hectares) to produce olive oil.

The grape harvest is annually supported by legionnaires from a designated regiment. This is a great opportunity for the currently serving men to meet with the elders, their ancestors.

According to the IILE’s director, Lieutenant Colonel Madonna, the home currently accommodates about 80 veterans, while only 20 of them are those seriously wounded in recent conflicts and campaigns; the rest are retired legionnaires.

We meet with Mr. Cazabonne, 84 years old, a former sergeant of the Foreign Legion. He served first as a French conscript in the Algerian War, between 1957 and 1959, and later in the Legion, from 1965 to early 1983. He has been working in the ceramic studio of the IILE, one of the two studios to produce handmade souvenirs, for more then 39 years. As he says, the Legion gave him a lot and he wanted to repay her it. He also serves as the fanion bearer of the institution.


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