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Last French troops leave Vietnam, June 1956

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Hello readers.

This month, June of 1956 the last French troops left Vietnam. At that time the French military left about 90,000 personnel who died for France. Of these 11,600 belonged to the French Foreign Legion but not including the several thousand of Indochinese troops who fell while serving in the Legion's formations.

During the 1980's France was able to negotiate a treaty with Vietnam to recover remains of their fallen as possible and transfer those remains to a central national cemetery in France near Frejus.

This writer wishes to place here the particulars of three legionnaires with whom he was close and who lost their lives on the battlefield:

- Leg. Naundorf, Erhard, Mle. ( service number) 55842. During his second deployment in Vietnam he died for France from wounds on Sep. 5, 1952. He had survived the severe combats at Hoa Binh in February 1952 during which his company, the 12./13.DBLE lost a third of its strength. His final resting place is at Frejus.

-Leg. Zimmermann, Joachim, Mle. 81158. Lost his life for France February 11, 1952 while serving with the 8. Escadron of the 1.REC ( 1.Foreign Cavalry Regiment ). his final resting place is also at Frejus.

- Leg.1. cl.  Armbrecht, Kurt ( Bob ), Mle. 82815. Missing in action during the battle of Dien Bien Phu while serving with the 1.BEP ( 1.Foreign Parachute Battalion ) and declared having died in action for France with date of end of combat actions, the 8.May, 1954. He was a childhood friend and neighbor .

Placed here also with fond and respectful remembrance of all the comrades of all branches of the French military with whom the undersigned served during his time in Vietnam and this does include the many  Vietnamese personnel serving with him.

Bernhard H. Holst

ex- 1.REC, Mle.80921

Edited by Bernhard H.Holst
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2 hours ago, Chris Boonzaier said:

I wonder if they were buried at Frejus because it was no longer possible to identify remains? is it a mass grave or individual ones?


All the best


Hello Chris.

The French official web site indicates that Leg.Naundorf and Zimmermann are buried in individual graves and give locations. As shown in some pictures some time ago the graves in Vietnam were marked with crosses or stone markers ( Muslims and others) bearing the particulars of the soldier. As far as I know these were not destroyed so that identifications were possible later. Also I.D. tags should have been still present though the wear of these was not strictly enforced. 

Bernhard H. Holst

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