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There are certain names that inspire confidence.
Imagine the scene. Into the midst of the well padded armchairs the news seeps like sewage into a reservoir.
Rumour, on winged feet, flits from chair to chair, and the room gradually becomes still.
Men who have kedged gunboats off the sandbanks in rivers we will not name, in total darkness and under the barrels of the enemy guns; sit weeping silently. Others who have stared down dust devils dancing over the killing fields of Afghanistan sit blank eyed, staring unseeing at the wall, suddenly broken.
Men who have drunk in squalid bars in Sihanoukville, or the Terminal Bar in New York, or even the Sandgate now drain their glasses, make their excuses and decamp to the gents.
And into the silence somebody drops a name, “Lauderdale.”
Immediately the cry goes up, “Send for Lauderdale. And suddenly there is laugher and shouting for…
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