Soldier of Fortune

What do Old Soldiers do when they retire? As General of the Army Douglas MacArthur famously quoted at the end of his storied military career: “They just fade away.”

Well, not anymore they don’t. Not in this day and age.

“Special Forces” soldiers are highly trained in a singular skill that is, normally, of little use in civilian life. They are experts at “visiting violence on those who would do the rest of us harm”. (apologies to George Orwell)

Raoul is a mild-mannered British born veteran of the fabled French Foreign Legion. He served in the Legion’s Parachute Regiment – an elite group within an elite fighting force.

Raoul stays at our hostel whenever he’s in Toronto between stints of working in Baghdad and Irbil in war-torn Iraq. He’s heavily involved with reconstruction efforts there. His job is to provide security for workers whose efforts are being sabotaged by dissident forces.

Raoul honed his skills in minor African conflicts and a stint with the Intervention Force in embattled Bosnia. But as well as being able to use a rifle with consummate skill to dissuade the enemy from harming reconstruction workers; he is also proficient at rendering aid to anyone who has been injured. He’s a recent immigrant to Canada and a qualified Para-Medic (military trained, of course) certified in Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland.

We just heard from Raoul and he has booked into the hostel while on a break after four months running supply convoys between Baghdad and Northern Iraq. Construction on his brand new Ottawa condominium will not be finished for some months.

Anyhow, it will be good to welcome Raoul “home”. It’s a compliment to us that of all the hostels in Toronto, he chooses to spend his much needed breaks with us!


Raoul - French Foriegn Legion - Canadiana Backpackers Inn Toronto Backpackers Youth Hostel

Doing his “Beau Geste” thing after returning from Gabon, Africa.


Convoy to Northern Iraq - Canadiana Backpackers Toronto Youth Hostel

Preparing to escort a convoy of supplies from Bagdhad to Northern Iraq.

Unfinished Condo - Canadiana Backpackers Budget Downtown Toronto Accommodation

This is either the site of his future luxury condo in Ottawa, or a bomb cratered building in Baghdad.

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