The only woman who enlisted in the French Foreign Legion

La seule femme qui s'est engagée dans la Légion étrangère française - PhilTeam

Throughout the bloody and gruesome history of human warfare, there are tons of stories of heroism in the face of great danger. All over the world, troops have been willing to risk their lives and physical integrity to ensure the safety of others, and this deserves to be celebrated.

Everyone knows war heroes like John Basilone, but how many of you know Susan Travers? If you don't know, you should.

Susan Travers, quite simply, was a wonderful woman. She left behind a pampered life and a wealthy family to do something big.

One thing leading to another, she eventually became the only woman able to join the prestigious French Foreign Legion, which only accepted male foreign nationals.

Here's how she went from being the daughter of a Royal Navy admiral and heiress to being one of the most badass women in history:


The Winter War

S. Travers first enlisted as a nurse, but soon realized she didn't like the sight of blood or disease and became a paramedic in the French Expeditionary Force. She is sent to Finland to help them during the Winter War against the Soviets, but everything changes when France falls to the Nazis.

The Free French Forces of General De Gaulle

When the Nazis take France, Travers travels to London to take part in the fight. There she was attached to the 13th Demi-Brigade of the French Foreign Legion. This is where she sheds her distaste for blood and gore and gets used to the rough life of a tough fighter.
Her male classmates gave her the nickname "The Miss". That's when she started driving for the older kids.

1st Free French Brigade

After spending several months as a driver for senior officers and demonstrating her extreme ability to navigate the most dangerous conditions, including minefields and rocket attacks, she was assigned as the driver to the commander of the 1st French Brigade. free, Colonel Marie-Pierre Koenig.

Fort of Bir-Hakeim

It was in May 1942 that Rommel's Afrika Korps prepared to attack the fort of Bir Hakeim. Koenig orders all the women to evacuate, but Travers refuses to leave, becoming the only woman among at least 3,500 men. Rommel thought the fort would be taken in 15 minutes but, instead, the Free French held out for 15 days.

Eventually their supplies ran out and Koenig took the lead in a breakout, trying to avoid minefields and German tanks. As the Colonel's driver, Travers did lead the escape, but the convoy was discovered when one of the convoy's vehicles ran over a mine. Travers stepped on the accelerator.


A "delicious feeling"

Once the convoy was discovered, it came under heavy machine gun fire, and Travers continued to press the accelerator. She would have said,

"It's a delightful feeling, going as fast as you can in the dark. My main worry was the engine stalling."

She broke through the German lines, creating a gap through which the others could follow. Once they reached Allied lines, she discovered that the vehicle had at least 11 bullet holes and was badly damaged by shrapnel.
After that, Koenig was sent to North Africa to continue the fight, while Travers remained with the Legion, taking part in operations in Italy, Germany and France. She was eventually injured when she ran over a landmine.

French Foreign Legion

In May 1945, Travers applied to become an official member of the French Foreign Legion. She "failed" to mention her gender and she was accepted into their ranks. She thus became the first - and only - woman to enlist in the French Foreign Legion.

She was sent to Vietnam during the First Indochina War and, at the end of her career, she was decorated with the Military Medal, the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor (the highest order of merit French for military and civil merits).

1 comment


    Tout mon Respect et Honneur a cette personne"la Miss"

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