Saturday, August 1, 2020

Jean Thurel, 74 years a soldier

Jean Thurel enlisted in the French army in 1716 at age 18. He retired after 74 years of service. Thurel lived through the reign of three kings of France; he served under two of them. He lived through the American Revolution, the French Revolution and into the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, to whom he was personally presented. Thurel was shot in the chest during the Siege of Kehl in 1733 and  received six saber slashes to the head at the Battle of Minden in 1759.

“A fusilier, the French Army’s term for a light infantryman, Thurel would see combat several times including during the War of Polish Succession (1733-1735), the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748), the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), and the American Revolution (1775-1783). For those doing the math, he was decidedly old for warfare. At a time that life expectancy in Europe was about 35 years, Thurel would serve until 1792, finally retiring at the age of 94.

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