Soldiering for Nine Decades?

Ninety Years in the French Army

Today’s edition of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” included the peculiar remark about a French soldier who served ninety years in their army–all without a single promotion! Having served nearly a quarter of a century in uniform myself, I found it daunting to imagine nearly a century in the ranks.

A little research verified the fact. Jean Theurel (1699-1807) was a fusilier with the unbelievable record. And his service was uninterrupted, despite being severely wounded in battle twice. As for finishing his career as a private, it turns out that he had turned down many opportunities for promotion. Although he was lauded as the “oldest soldier in Europe,” it’s hard to imagine anyone else serving longer on a different continent. (Or wanting to, for that matter…)


The Dashing Octogenarian This painting reveals a much more dignified portrayal of the veteran than does your illustrated version (which does not at all befit the proper decorum of a scriptorium).

Serving one’s country with integrity is an honorary thing. But better by far is following the Lord of Hosts and the Prince of Peace.

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