Roger Faulques

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Roger Faulques
Nickname(s)"L'homme aux milles vies" ("The Man of a Thousand Lives")[1]
Born14 December 1924
Zweibrücken, Germany
Died6 December 2011(2011-12-06) (aged 86)
Nice, France
AllegianceFrance French Army
Service/branchForeign Legion
Years of service1944–1964
Commands heldPlatoon ranking students (PEG) of 1st Foreign Parachute Battalion (1er BEP)

Roger "René" Faulques (14 December 1924 – 6 November 2011)[2] was a French Army Colonel, a graduate of the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr, and a paratrooper officer of the French Foreign Legion.


Roger Faulques was a maquis resistance fighter in 1944[1] and took part in the last battles of World War II in the French First Army. As a Corporal, he received the Croix de guerre at the age of 20. Noted for his fighting spirit and sense of command, he was admitted to the Military School of Saint-Cyr, which had changed its terms of recruitment to overcome the lack of officers in the French army at the end of World War II. In 1946 he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and was assigned, at his own request, to the Foreign Legion, within the 3rd Régiment Etranger d'Infanterie (3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment).[1]

Faulques served in the First Indochina War as a Lieutenant with the 1er BEP (1st Foreign Parachute Battalion) and participated in the struggles of this unit until its destruction in October 1950. On 26 February 1948, in command of a group of legionaries, Faulques was ambushed on Route Coloniale 3. Having lost half of his legionaries, Faulques led his men in hand-to-hand fighting until wounded in both feet by a machine gun bullet. His legionaries evacuated Faulques in extremis from the line of fire. Repatriated to the mainland for treatment, at the age of 23 Faulques was an appointed a Chevalier of the légion d'honneur and held five citations.[1]

After recovering from his wounds, Faulques saw action in the Battle of RC 4, when he was placed in command of the training platoon of 1er BEP, which lost nearly 80% of its force during the evacuation of Cao Bang in September and October 1950. Seriously wounded four times during this battle (right shoulder shattered by bullets, chest opened by a volley, left elbow and right femur shattered by bullets), he lay on the ground for three days, left for dead. Having survived, Faulques was captured by the Vietminh[1] who, judging him mortally wounded, released Faulques to the French authorities with other gravely injured prisoners. Mentioned in dispatches Faulques was made an Officer of the légion d'honneur[3] for exceptional services and was again repatriated to France. His injuries required him to spend several years in the Val-de-Grâce military hospital.

Ending the war in Indochina with six wounds and eight citations, Roger Faulques then served in French Algeria as an intelligence officer of the 1er REP during the Battle of Algiers.[2] He participated in the torture practiced in Algeria and was the architect of the dismantling of several networks of the FLN.[1][2]

Faulques and Captain Yves de La Bourdonnaye were given leave by army minister Pierre Messmer, to provide support to the Katanga rebellion in the former Belgian Congo.[1]

In December 1961, UN troops launched an offensive against Katanga. The defense plan was designed by Faulques. UN aviation attacked the mercenaries, who were also shelled by mortar. Swedish peacekeepers entered Elizabethville, followed by the Indian brigade of General Raja, and the Massart camp, where the Katanga forces were, was attacked by the United Nations. Faulques' men, well informed by the local population, fought back effectively. On December 21, a cease-fire was signed in Kitona.[1]

Having left the army, Faulques began a mercenary career, alongside his friend Bob Denard, first in North Yemen[4] from August 1963 to the end of 1964, in support of MI6 (British intelligence),[1] then in Biafra on behalf of the French government.[1][5] According to David Smiley in Arabian Assignment (page 156), the French and Belgian mercenaries alternated in the early 1960s between the Yemeni and Congo theaters since in the Congo they had women and alcohol at will but were rarely paid, while in Yemen they are paid but were deprived of women and alcohol.[6]

Faulques served as a model for certain characters in the novels of Jean Lartéguy, Les Centurions, Les Prétoriens (The Praetorians) and Les Chimères Noires (The Hounds of Hell) and in Declan Power's book The Siege of Jadotville.

In 2010, Colonel Faulques was honored at the Foreign Legion's Camerone ceremony.[1]


Legion Honneur GO ribbon.svg Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 ribbon.svgBronze-star-device-3d.png Croix de Guerre des Theatres d'Operations Exterieurs ribbon.svgService star silver.pngService star silver.pngBronze-star-device-3d.png Croix de la Valeur Militaire ribbon.svgAward star (gold).pngAward star (gold).pngService star silver.png
Croix du Combattant (1930 France) ribbon.svg Medaille d'Outre-Mer (Coloniale) ribbon.svg Medaille commemorative de la Guerre 1939-1945 ribbon.svg Medaille commemorative de la Campagne d'Indochine ribbon.svg
Medaille commemorative des Operations du Moyen-Orient ribbon.svg Medaille commemorative des Operations de securite et de Maintien de l'ordre ribbon.svg LAO Order of the a Million Elephants and the White Parasol - Officer BAR.png Barrette d'officier du Merite civil Tai.png
Merite militaire tai ribbon.svg Vietnamese Gallantry Cross ribbon.svgBronze-star-device-3d.png Medaille (Insigne) des Blesses Militaires ribbon.svgGolden Red Star.svgGolden Red Star.svgGolden Red Star.svg Medaille (Insigne) des Blesses Militaires ribbon.svgGolden Red Star.svgGolden Red Star.svgGolden Red Star.svg


Foreign Decorations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k GUISNEL, Jean (30 April 2010). "Cérémonies de Camerone: le grand retour du commandant Roger Faulques, mercenaire du Katanga (Camerone Ceremonies: Return of Commandant Roger Faulques, Katanga Mercenary)". Le Point.
  2. ^ a b c "Décès du commandant Roger Faulques (Demise of Ccommandant Roger Faulques)". Le Figaro. 8 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Le commandant Roger Faulques est mort". Novopress. 8 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Obituaries: Colonel Jim Johnson, 1924-2008, OBE". Daily Telegraph.
  5. ^ "La mort de Roger Faulques, l'aventure de l'Indochine au Biafra". Ouest-France. 7 November 2011.
  6. ^ Dorril, Stephen (1 January 2002). MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service. Simon and Schuster – via Google Books.
  • The Mercenaries 1960-1980 Historia; Special Issue 406 bis (1980).
  • Pierre Lunel, Bob Denard, King of Fortune. First edition, 1991. Regarding Yemen, in this book the spotlight is given to the French while the essential role of the British, who were the organizers and contractors is obscured. So the colonel of SAS "Johnny" Cooper [fr] it appears as a simple "English radioman", and Colonel David Smiley is mentioned only once (page 244) (photographs).
  • David Smiley; Peter Kemp (1975). Arabian Assignment. Editions Cooper. Written by an officer who participated in the field, to British intervention on behalf of MI6, Oman (1958-1961) and Yemen (1963-1967). Notebook with photographs.
  • Colonel David Smiley Irregular Regular, Michael Russell, Norwich, 1994 (ISBN 0859552020).
  • Stephen Dorril (2000). MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service. New York: The Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-0379-8. All MI6 operations are detailed. Chapter 19 is devoted to Albania ("Project Valuable"), chapter 30 deals with Oman and Muscat, Chapter 31 with Yemen. Index online

External links[edit]