The French foreign legion in Africa had been created by the French government at the turn of the century to protect the interest of La Republique in mainly the North of Africa. The very definition of the job hardly appealed to the general French population consequently the legion took all peoples of all nationalities who could take upon themselves the oath of allegiance to La Republique, no questions asked. Many were the refugees, exiled and convicted who screamed “Vive Le France” and sought refuge in the legion as a consequence. This was exactly what brought twenty-two year old Rene Picard to the Sahara.
The handsome son of a wealthy wine merchant in Calais, Rene had lived the easy life. His father had nurtured hopes of him joining hands with him at the helm of the family business but all these hopes were dashed the day Rene had accidentally run over a young girl on the street as he negotiated a bend too fast in the buggy he had been driving. The girl had turned out to be the daughter of the mayor of Calais. Fearing for his life, his family had smuggled him out of the country into England and he had joined the French foreign legion from there.