He has a red eyebrow, calloused hands, a loud talker and an invisible hangover. Normal, he was born in Africa, in India or in Burma, studied in a college in Scotland before returning to roll his hump in Rhodesia, the current Zimbabwe, to survey the Kalahari desert, the tall grasses of Bengal, take part in the forgotten guerrillas where someone has to stand up against “communist leprosy”. The bankers of the City finance him, betray him, he is only there for the lure of gain and for the adventure. But this inflexible Shaun, this indefatigable Allen, this angry Rafer, not always of the last delicacy with the locals who serve him, has a good background. Brutal, but generous. Its sponsors are no less so.
At Bob Denard’s funeral, we sang wild geese. Not surprising. In the film of the same name, Richard Burton and Roger Moore perfectly embody the mythical figure of the English mercenary. An adventurer above all, corresponding in every way to the one described above. But a figure inspired by reality: the character of Richard Burton, commando leader in the film, was in fact Mike Hoare, known as “Mad Mike”, an Irishman, veteran of the Second World War, whom the boredom of his accounting job will push to run the hot corners at the head of his men. The Congo crisis in the 1960s forged its legend; he did a little less well during a failed coup in the Seychelles.