The 21eme Regiment de Ligne
Christopher Perko (Colonel Lamot)
This recreated historical re-enactment unit was formed in 1979 by a few English enthusiasts from the north of England and the Midlands. The reason for choosing 21ème, was because this regiment took part in all the important actions in the Napoleonic epoch and was ALWAYS there!
The re-enacted regiment and its ideology evolved and changed throughout its recreated existence particularly taking it’s final direction after establishing contacts and achieving recognition from our contemporary 21 Régiment de l'Infanterie (R.I.) in Canjuers, thus establishing the firm links between it’s Napoleonic past and it’s contemporary present.
The Regimental contemporary link is made even stronger with the link with the Association Vaubécourt-Guyenne (V.G.), an association of all the 21ème veterans from WW1 (the last surviving stretcher bearer died about 5 years ago), WW2 and the Algerian war. Regimental god mother is Madam the Contess Vaubécourt, a descendant of the original regimental founder in 1589.
Thus we have an interesting phenomenon: a volunteer re-enactment regiment with members stretching from Canada, the US (www.brigade-napoleon.org/infantrie/21eme/21e.htm), Australia ( oz21eme.no-ip.org:1975/), Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium, France, Spain and Germany, a true veritable Napoleonic foreign legion, which has established links with it’s past well beyond the Napoleonic epoch (which it portrays) and present French military.
The regiment is run on military lines, having only an honorary President in a person who is not only descendant of a 21ème Napoleonic officer, but also the president of the V.G. Association, monsieur Lechevin D’ere. He lives in Langres, the town in Haute-Marne where the 21ème was stationed during the greater part of the last century.
The recreated regiment is divided into two companies, the 1ère and the 3ème, and the regimental staff.
The regimental staff is comprised by the Colonel the Capitaine Adjutant-major, a Sergent-Major and a Caporal-fourrier.
The 1st company is commanded by a Lieutenant aided by a sergent and several caporaux
The 3rd company is commanded by a sous-lieutenant, aided by two caporaux.
Only the 1ére compagnie has an eagle.
All major decisions are made by the commanding officer, but only after taking detailed and informative advice from his fellow officers and sous-officiers.
The aim of the regiment is to recreate as far as possible the lives of the soldiers of that old and venerable corps. To this aim the regiment undertakes trips all over the continent and recreates actions on the Napoleonic battlefields. It is also linked with the castle and the museum of the Malmaison where it attends regularly and garrisons the chateau.
We see the recreated 21ème as a superb example of an ancient unit recreated by contemporary Europeans who have achieved the link between its illustrious past and the contemporary present. This will continue because the present is our past in making and so the saga of this famous corps continues, because a regiment if a nation is like a rock in the turbulent sea. It provides the rallying focal point for future generations in unstable times.
I shall be happy if only this is said of us after we have gone: “Yes, they have formed the bridge between the past and present, and have, like the old Scottish clans, gathered that family of 21ème together, thus spanning the centuries in a line of common cause of remembrance.
Dr. Christopher Perko
Hassock Lane North,