Foreign Legion Transit Company of Saigon

The Foreign Legion Transit Company (CPLE) of Saigon was established in then French Indochina in 1947. The main objective of this Foreign Legion’s transit unit was to provide reception and in/out processing functions for legionnaires freshly arriving to Indochina to join the ongoing First Indochina War (1946-54) and those legionnaires who were leaving Indochina after their prescribed service period (2-3 years) ended. The CPLE of Saigon was disbanded in 1955.

Compagnie de Passage de la Légion Etrangère - CPLE - Saigon - History


CPLE: Foreign Legion Transit Company 1947-55

Foreign Legion Transit Company of Saigon
Compagnie de Passage de la Légion Etrangère (CPLE) de Saigon

CPLE was established on May 1, 1947
– a transit unit of the Legion serving in then French Indochina (Southeast Asia) during the First Indochina War (1946-54), a conflict between the French and the Viet Minh (an independence movement)
– it was stationed in Saigon, Cochinchina (then title for southern Vietnam)
Lieutenant Geoffrey took command

– CPLE was placed at Fort Cai May of Saigon
– the company was used as a transit unit
– it provided in/out processing functions
– the unit served as a reception unit for incoming legionnaires
– it also served for legionnaires leaving Indochina
– for example, over 21,300 legionnaires passed through the company in 1950

– legionnaires stayed there several days
– they were enjoying a rest and waited for a future unit assignment
– CPLE was equipped with a bar-room, library, cinema or assembly room
– it also provided sports equipment and operated several playing areas

– the company also took care of legionnaires’ baggages or mails
– for example, 14 tons of baggages + 125,000 mails passed through in 1950

– CPLE was assigned to the Foreign Legion Depot (DCLE)
– DCLE was the main administration unit of the Legion
– it was based at Sidi Bel Abbes (then HQ of the Legion), Algeria

1949 – 1955:
– CPLE was led by Captain Pardi (1949-51), Captain Schirm (1952-54), Captain Poganowski (1954-55) and Captain Georges (May – Oct 1955)

– August 1954, First Indochina War ended

– in 1954-55, over 2,500 liberated legionnaires from Viet Minh’s POW camps were repatriated through the company

– CPLE of Saigon was disbanded on October 31, 1955


Foreign Legion Transit Company of Saigon - CPLE - Saigon - Insignia
The insignia of CPLE (created 1948)
Legionnaires arriving at Saigon - CPLE - 1950s
Legionnaires arriving at Saigon (1950s). They head for CPLE directly.
Foreign Legion Transit Company of Saigon - Fort Cai May - Guard
The CPLE duty guard at the entrance to Fort Cai May, Saigon
Foreign Legion Transit Company of Saigon - CPLE - Saigon - Fort Cai May
The CPLE inside Fort Cai May (1950s). Note the Legio Patria Nostra motto.



Information sources: (Germans in French Indochina 1946-56)
Insignes Legion (FFL insignia & badges)
Foreign Legion annual bulletins


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The page was updated on: January 04, 2017


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