Legion of Honour
Legion of Honour was an institution that was open to all men,
although initially only Frenchmen, who had either acted bravely
on the battlefield or had served civil France in some exemplary
was created in 1802 by Napoleon
Bonaparte as part of a reward system for good service
and its inductees received the Legion's small white-enamelled
cross, which hung on a red-silk ribbon, as a public show of
the medal was presented by Bonaparte himself, although the
more usual way for a soldier to get the coveted recognition
was via his senior regimental officer who would be told the
number of new legionnaires to be created and then picked the
Recipients earnt great respect from their peers, as well as
Legion also ran a hospital for its members.
48,000 men became part of the Legion, only 1200 of them civilians,
but all were stipulated as being equals by Bonaparte.
1806 there were 13,000 surviving legionnaires, in 1807 foreign
troops were made eligible and by 1814 the Legion had to cater
for 25,000 living members.