La Caserne du 1er Étranger – Bâtiment central. Photo Albert

SIDI-BEL-ABBÈS. – La Caserne du 1er Étranger – Bâtiment central.

The original photograph, to produce the above shown postcard, must have been taken before 1931 when the Monument aux Morts de la Légion was not yet installed.
Its blue tone and quality, however, is more something that of a, what French postcard collectors refer to as, Carte postale semi moderne. These CSM postcards were issued between 1930 and 1940.

The best know reference to learn more about this postcard and postcards of the French Foreign Legion in general is the book bij Jacques GANDINI “LA LÉGION A TRAVERS LES CARTES POSTALES 1900-1962”.
Although the book already dates from 1997, I am not aware of any better source.
Gandini indicates in his book, that despite the fact hundreds of postcard are shown in it, it is certainly not a complete overview of all postcard ever made about the Legion.
The above shown postcard is not mentioned or shown in the book.

Photo Albert

Gandini however does mention the editor of the postcard; Photo Albert and shows 14 postcards issued by them on pages 40 and 41 of his book. Gandini writes about Photo Albert:

“Établissements Photo-Albert, avec différentes adresses à Alger deviennent ensuite Editions Photo-Africanes, 1 rue Feuillet – Alger avec ou sans sigle EPA au recto”

The overview in Gandini’s book starts with a card showing the legend:

17 SIDI-BEL-ABBÈS. -Caserne 1er Étranger de la Légion Etrangere

The image of the postcard shows the entrance of the Legion barracks. Also the photograph for this postcard was taken before the Monument aux Morts de la Légion was build.

Written about this postcard is:
“Photoypie Etabl. Photo Albert, 44, Quai Nord, Alger – CSM non numérotées, bleue ou bistre”

Note that although the postcard is clearly numbered (17) it is written it is not.

This is the same address as can be found on the back of:

SIDI-BEL-ABBÈS. – La Caserne du 1er Étranger – Bâtiment central.

It is therefore assumed it belongs to the same postcard serie.
No other of the Photo Albert postcards with the address 44, Quai Nord, Alger are shown in Gandini’s book.
Unfortunately the quality of the image of 17 SIDI-BEL-ABBÈS. -Caserne 1er Étranger de la Légion Etrangere is not good enough to see whether there is any further text on the front of the postcard.

In case of SIDI-BEL-ABBÈS. – La Caserne du 1er Étranger – Bâtiment central, there is.
Printed is “Edition Imprimerie du Progrès” and Coll Krone [?, very difficult to read] Photo Albert.

Overall a postcard with an interesting image of the barracks of the Legion before 1931 of an editor that only issued a limited number of postcards depicting the French Foreign Legion.
This specific postcard is not mentioned in Gandini’s book.
Probably Photo Albert used the older image , made before 1930, and issued it in its apparently for that period fashionable blue tone in the 1930’s.

Digital Colourisation

Remarkable enough when toning the blue shades to grays it was still possible to digital colourise the image.

The same location several years later when the Monument aux Morts de la Légion was installed.
Original caption of this image was:
“Une prise d’armes dans le cour d’honneur de la caserne de la légion étrangère à Sidi-bel-Abbès
devant le monument aux Morts.
Saluant le drapeau, le lieutenant-colonel Azan, commandant le 1er étranger.

Etablissements PHOTO ALBERT
Vues et Types d’Algérie. Tunisie et Maroc
Direction : 44. Quai Nord. ALGER
Tél. : 23-10 — Ateliers : 17-10
Phototypie d’Art et d’industrie
Exécution de tous Travaux photographique
Titre : L’Echo d’Alger : journal républicain du matin
Éditeur : (Alger)
Date d’édition : 1924-12-11


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