Figure 1.--These boys from the Riaumont school wear the distinctive uniform of red caps, blue shirts, red kerchiefs, and lederhosen.
Riaumont is a Catholic school in the northern France has a traditional school uniform. The boys wear a uniform inspired by the Spahis which were a unit of the french
colonial army. The school has a Scout unit which also believes in a traditionally styled uniform.
Riaumont is the name of a district of town of Lievin in northern France near Belgium. In this district, there is a wood in which the "children's village" of Riaumont is located. The school (Saint Jean Bosco) and the center of scouting form the "village of the child" of Riaumont. The religious order which directs the whole is the "Holy Cross of Riaumont" which is a monastic order.
Boys at the school wear destinctive bright red caps, blue shirts, red Scout-like scarves, lederhosen, light grey kneesocks, and hiking boots. This uniform is worn by all of the boys at Riaumont through 15 years of age. The boys don't have a casual uniform. They all wear shirts or pullovers with lederhosen, both summer and winter.
The name of spahis has a link with the red cap (un "calot" in French) that the spahis of the colonial army carried. This wasca popular cap for French boys in the 1950s and 60s. A French contributor reports, "I have at the age of 4 years (in 1961) wore a calot. We were inspired by the spahis and their "calot". I think that it was popular with some of the children at the time in homage to the French Army.
The boys wear a red neckerchief ("foulard" in french) is red. This is unique for a school. The neckerchief is more a garment associated with scouts.
Lederhosen or leather short pants were adopted by Father Revet for the first child at Riaumont because they were durable and economic and economic--the leather lasted for ever. Lederhosen soon became almost a symbol for Riaumont.
Spahi is the Turkish form of the Persian word Sipahi, from which come the English word Sepoy--the term for the iregualar calvary of the Turkish Army before 1836. Turkish troops were stationed in Barbary (North Africa). The native Algeriam calvary in the French service before Algerian independence were still named spahis. The spahis were a calvary unit in the French Army, with soldiers from Algeria, Morocco and France. The most famous unit of spahis were the first regiment of Moroccan spahis which landed on D-Day at the Normandie invasion with British forces and finished the war at Hitler's BERTCHESGADEN mountain estate. The regiment had many casualties (half the of unit). As
they wore their red caps they were easy targets.
Figure 2.--The school sponsors a strong Scout unit.
A home for orphans was founded in the 1950s, by a Catholic priest Father Revet. From this beginning the school eventually grew. The destinctive uniform was adopted by the founder and has been retained by the school to this day.
The boys are 11 to 15 years, perhaps a few 16 years old. It is a French college which normally accomodates pupils of 11-16 years
Available information from the school is in French which HBC will retain here for French visitors to HBC: Située dans les locaux du bâtiment Beaumanoir, l'école libre hors contrat Saint Jean Bosco accueille les enfants de la 6 e à la 3 e et prépare à l'examen officiel du Brevet des Collèges. Le programme est celui du Cours Hattemer par correspondance auprès duquel les enfants sont inscrits. Les cours sont assurés par les Frères de Riaumont et par des professeurs bénévoles (mais qualifiés) venant de l'extérieur. Les classes sont très peu nombreuses, entre cinq(!) et une quinzaine d'élèves, ce qui permet aux professeurs de suivre personnellement chacun. La photo ci-contre montre une étude où plusieurs classes sont réunies. Tous les élèves sont garçons de Riaumont mais les cours de catéchisme du mercredi sont ouverts aux enfants des environs. Pour les garçons de Riaumont, après l'école plusieurs activités leurs sont proposées: Bricolage (Photo ci-dessous à gauche)
Imprimerie (Photo ci-dessous à droite)
Film (le vendredi soir et uniquement des cassettes vidéo choisies en fonction de leur âge)
Jeu au château fort
S'occuper de la ferme
Lecture à la bibliothèque enfants
Sport sur l'un de deux terrains
A French contributor provides the following translation: Located in the "Beaumanoir" building, the private catholic school "Saint Jean Bosco" accomodates the children of the 6 E to the 3 E and prepares them for the official examination of the Patent of the Colleges. The academic program is that of the Hattemer correspondence course with which the children are registered. The courses are supervised by the Riaumont Brothers and qualified volunteer teachers which come in from outside. The classes are made up of relatively smal groups, between 5 (!) and 15 pupils, which makes it possible for the teachers to personally follow each boy. The photograph opposite shows a study where several classes are joined together. All the pupils are boys of Riaumont but the courses Wednesday catechism classes are opened to
the children of the surrounding area. For the Riaumont boys, after the school, several activities can be pursued. There are do-it-yourself printing works, films Friday evening (selected video cassettes suitable for their age), playing around the castle, taking care farm, choral society, practing musicalminstruments, reading in the library, heraldic art, sport on one of two grounds, and more.
A French contributor has provided some basic information about the school. The school is a private Catholic school. It is the only school that adopted this destinctive uniform. Riaumont was founded in the 1950s by Father Revet. It was initially, a home to care for orphaned boys--rather like Boys' Town in America. More an orphanage than a school. Father Revet began with a child entrusted to his care by a court. Gradually other children were entrusted to his care at the home.
Father Revet's home by the 1970s was caring for almost 150 young people of 5 with 17years. The school itself was organized in the early 1980s.
The school has a Scout unit which also believes in a traditional uniform. Like at the school, many of the boys wear short pants lederhosen. The history of the school's Scout troop and uniform is a little complicated. The troop scout existed from the beginning of Riaumont, but their association has varied.
Father Revet did not require his boys to join the Scouts. But he worked with a Scout unit on the town of Liévin where Riaumont is located. Some of the Riaumont boys formed their own kind Scout-like troop: les "spahis " with a different uniform. They adopted the red cap which they wore with their school lederhosen.
Figure 3.--The Riaumont boys in 1999 where the St. George's Scout uniform.
The Scouts in Liévin did not at first wear lederhosen. They followed the uniform guidelines of the Scouts of France. After 1965, the Liévin Scouts separated from the Scouts of France. Father Revet helped form a new association, Scouts of St. George--rather like the Baden Powell Scouts in England. The St. George Scouts adopted lederhosen as pat of their uniform.
Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
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Related Style Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
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[Main school uniform page]
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[Smocks] [Berets] [Knee pants suits] [Short pants suits] [Stockings] [Eton suits]
[Jacket and trousers] [Blazer] [School sandals]