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Rif Wars, French Foreign Legion documents

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Legionnaire 1er Classe Johann Wagner

1904; Born 3rd September 1904 in Ternitz, Austria, (Ternitz, Neunkirchen, Lower Austria) his father was (cannot read ? Maria Wagner

Someone in the family undertook compulsory conscription in the Austrian Volkswehr serving in the Regiment Hoch- und Deutschmeister (Group photo). The (Instructor) soldier in the centre with the moustache is wearing the Die Jubiläums-Kreuze 1908, The Crown Jubilee Crosses of 1908

1926, Enlisted into the French Foreign Legion, his “livret individual” is well filled in and complete dated 1926, confirming his date of birth, place of birth but changing his name from Johann to Jean.

Noted as Enlisting at Sidi Bel Abbès in Algeria and then posted to the 4eme Regiment based in Morocco as a Grenadier-Voltigeur, he served in Morocco from June 1926 until June 1928.

Citations for the Spanish Médaille de la Paix du Maroc & French Coloniale Medaille Clasp Maroc 1925-1926. Awarded primarily for actions against Abd-el-Krim, which culminated in his surrender on 23 May 1926 (Also confirmed in his livret individual).

In 1926 he transferred to the 1er Regiment; Company des Sapeurs & Pioneers based at Sidi Bel Abbès.

1930; (March) received his “Heimatschein” (Since the middle of the nineteenth century, Austrian citizens, regardless of ethnicity or religion, were required to keep a Heimatschein, a document testifying to their belonging to a certain locality).

1930; He received his Certificat de Bonne Conduct from the 1er Regiment in November 1930 having completed five years.

1931 (February) received his passport (Passport page and photo) (Republic of Austria) 1931, with issued in Marseille.

1938; Austria was incorporated into the Third Reich and at some stage he was called up into the Wehrmacht.

1939; it is entirely possible for him to have been mobilised back into the Hoch- und Deutschmeister regiment (44th Infantry Division) this was formed on 1 April 1938 in Vienna, about two weeks after the Anschluss of Austria it surrendered in 1945 to US forces.

Within the documents is a well-used Wehrmacht “Katholisches Feldgefangbuch” (Katholisches Feldgesangbuch for Wehrmacht. Verlag: E.S. Mittker & Sohn/Berlin) with a handful of catholic prayer cards, although faded and damaged one has the date 1944 and Feldpost Number 40200 (Command 20th Panzer Division) others have Russia and Paris

The last document is an allied Certificate of Discharge, stamped 97 Field Security Section and counter stamped US 8th Armoured Division. (Signed by Alfred L Fein" Captain) (I have found two Doctors of that name but two old for WW2). Dated July 5th, 1945.

Johann is noted as being married with 3 children and his civil occupation is “Eisen Arbiter” Iron Worker and served in the “Heer” Army, Tattoos on both forearms and scar on chin.

His discharge address is noted as Pottschach a three-mile drive from his birthplace of Ternitz.

I would like to research further and have tried unsuccessfully to find out his life post 1930, I have contacted the Standesbeamtin at Ternitz but he has found no details of Johann....welcome your thoughts 






















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That is just fantastic.... must have been a strange feeling to be in occupied Paris during the war... great grouping!!


Are you sure the father was not Jean and the Mother XXXX Maria?

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That is a question for a champion.... Usually you can figure out the writing by having a "feeling" for what it could be... I am guessing one of those old names none of us has ever heard before...

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