Every enlistedman received at the moment of his first incorporation a free livret individuel (“individual booklet”). It was to remain in the soldier's possession from the time of his first incorporation into the active army until his final discharge from the reserve territorial army and even beyond, in case he was called upon to prove that he had completed his full service obligations.
The booklet was to be looked after with the greatest care. While residing at home between terms of service, the soldier was to present his booklet at every summons of the military, judiciary or civil authorities. In case of a call to active duty or convocation for maneuvers, it was to be presented within 24 hours; in all other cases, the period was 8 days. If a man were to lose his booklet, he was to immediately declare it to the local commander of the military police and he would have been is issued a free duplicate. While serving in the ranks, the booklet was to remain on the man. At the start of the war, regulations stated that it was to be kept in the flap pocket of the backpack, which was designed for this purpose. After the first battles though where it was found that many men were either ordered to leave their packs behind when going into an attack or simply lost their packs in the chaos of combat. Consequently, the decision was made on 14 December 1914, the regulation was changed to stipulate that the booklet was to be carried in the interior breast pocket of the greatcoat. While there is no widespread evidence that the booklet itself was kept in some sort of protective case, it was certainly plausible for a case to be made for this purpose, either of wool or impermeable material.
Materials Contained in the Booklet:
Booklet Table of Contents
(Cover): Bears the mobilization class year and the soldier's last name.
(Pages 1 & 2): Civil and military status; services in the active army; rank at the time of discharge from active service; changes that arise in the physical description; marriage since the time of incorporation; dates of travel and discharges.
(Page 3): Deferment of incorporation; adjournment; 4 and 5 year enlistments; reenlistments; highest pay; monthly pay.
(Page 4): Campaigns; wounds; citations and decorations.
(Page 5): End of service; courses.
(Pages 6 to 8): Various, military instructions; employments; vaccinations and revaccinations.
(Page 9): Target practice scores.
(Page 10): Table indicating the man’s measurements, and the types and subdivisions of items corresponding to these measurements.
(Page 11): Items taken by the man; important observations.
(Page 12): Exterior signals of respect.
(Pages 13 to 17): Extract of the Code of Military Justice.
(Pages 18 to 23): Layout of the Law of March 21, 1905.
(Pages 21 to 31): Visa for the military police.
At the rear of the booklet: a hospital ticket, intended to be used while on campaign.
Note: Although already under arms, upon mobilization the soldier was to place at the front of the booklet, where the mobilization insert is located, an insert for the inscription of uniform and equipment items issued to him.
Fascicule de Mobilisation
For every man obliged to military service beyond active army service (active army reserve, territorial army, territorial army reserve), along with those who serve in some way as a service member of the army or the auxiliary, has included with the individual booklet a document called the Fascicule de Mobilisation (“Mobilization Insert”).
This insert indicates to each man his mobilization obligations. The insert was fixed at the front of the booklet and at the back of the first page of the cover using the metallic eyelets. The booklet and the insert were arranged so that the eyelets align.
Different models of inserts and the case where each is employed:
The mobilization insert comes in six models of different color and pattern. In peacetime, every man eligible to be drafted was called up and a lottery was held to determine those who would be actually inducted into the service based off of the needs of a given army corps region. Before 1905, many exemptions were also available. These were dramatically cut back with the passage of the Law of 1905 and then again with the law of 1913. In the final years leading up to the war, virtually the entire cohort of eligible recruits were inducted.
Model: ‘A’ (pink) and ‘A-1’ (green)
The models ‘A’ and ‘A-1’ were used for all men called up to a corps or a service branch of the active army or territorial army. The insert model ‘A’ was used for all men who must travel by rail in order to join their corps or branch. The insert model ‘A-1’ was used for those who had to travel over land [i.e. by foot, horse, cart, automobile, etc.].
For those men placed on deferment of military service (secondary company railway agents, classed in the 3rd category [a common law with deferment], personnel employed in certain services, establishments, certain manufactories and plants, etc.), the insert ‘A’ and ‘A-1’ are completed with an order placed between pages 2 and 3 using a rubber tab.
Model: ‘S’ (white & red striped) and ‘S-1’ (white & green striped) The models ‘S’ and ‘S-1’ were used for men temporarily designated for some sort of special military service. The insert model ‘S’ is reserved for those men who had to travel by rail in order to reach their assigned post. The insert model ‘S-1’ was used for those who had to travel over land.
Model: ‘Z’ (blue)
The model ‘Z’ was used for men whose utilization was not foreseen during peacetime.
Model: ‘Z-1’ (white & blue striped)
The model ‘Z-1’ was used for men placed on deferment of service.
Ordre de Route (page 3 of the insert)
The ordre de route (“transportation orders”) describes the instructions to be followed in case of mobilization. Notably it indicates for those men who must travel by rail the specific station to embark from, the mobilization day when they must present themselves at this station, as well as the station they are to disembark from and the destination and the direction in which they would be directed or must direct themselves.
For men who would not be traveling by rail, the transportation orders indicates the place where the man must join and the day of mobilization on which they must present themselves. The insert models ‘S’ and ‘S-1’ likewise indicated the nature of the service branch to which the man was designated and the place at which he would be be directed after having completed his assignment.
Distribution and Collection of the Booklet
Every individual booklet supplied for the first time with a mobilization insert was presented to the holder by the intermediate of his corps if he was presently under arms, and by the intermediate of the military police in all other cases.
When, on exception, the commander of the recruitment office was obliged to collect the individual booklet of a man, the mobilization insert was removed from the booklet by the military police and left with the man. The insert was replaced in the booklet when it was given to the man through the care of the military police; the distribution of the booklet under these conditions took place with an official presentation.
Reproduction of the Individual Booklet
For reenacting purposes, the webmaster worked with Randall Chapman to reproduce the Model no. 26 booklet (which began use in 1906) to distribute to unit members. A PDF version of the reproduction can be found here:
Model No. 26 Individual Booklet
A translated version of the booklet can be found below. It is worth noting that many fields in the booklet were often not completed in the originals. Therefore, the minimum fields that should be filled out are highlighted in yellow:
Model No. 26 Individual Booklet - Translation
Model No. 26 Individual Booklet - Translation (MS WORD version)
Furthermore, to assist unit members in completing their own copy, the following documentation was created as guidance, which provides information on how to appropriately fill out the various fields in the booklet.
Individual Booklet Help Form
A reproduction copy of the Mobilization Insert (Model 'A') was also created by Mr. Chapman, which can be found here:
An example of an original booklet belonging to Andre Choplin: http://themasq49.free.fr/index_fichiers/MonOncleAndre/Livret_militaire/page_01.htm