An elite unit of the French Army founded in 1831 to help control French colonial Africa, the Foreign Legion has remained in near-constant combat ever since. Open to foreign nationals since its inception, volunteers swear allegiance to the Legion itself, rather than to France. The units comprise men from myriad cultures and countries, and training is notoriously physically and mentally taxing. Susan Travers is the only woman to have ever officially served. Known as ‘La Miss’ by the legionnaires, she was awarded the Légion d’Honneur, Croix de Guerre and Médaille Militaire and died aged 94 in 2003.