Born in Ireland, Ray Kane was in the South African Police when Nelson Mandela received his life sentence on Robben Island in 1964. In 1965, while hitch-hiking through Tanzania en route from Durban to England Ray Kane crossed the path that Che Guevara and his Cuban Brigade would take later into the Congo and military defeat by mercenaries. The juxtaposition in time and space of two of the 20th century’s greatest revolutionaries gave Ray Kane the idea for his first novel, The Sowti Squad.
In Sudan and suspected of being a mercenary, Ray Kane was deported by the government from Juba into Uganda from where he hitchhiked through Kenya to Mombasa. The Braemar Castle, en route from Cape Town to London, was in port. Fortunately, a crewman had broken a leg, leaving the ship a man short. Ray Kane became Seaman Kane and worked his passage to Tilbury (London) docks as a dining room steward.
Commissioned into the British Army in 1965, Ray Kane served in Germany and Libya before joining the Omani Army as a Contract Officer. Commissioned as a captain then promoted major within 18 months, Ray Kane served for two years as Red Company Commander, Desert Regiment, in the Dhofar War. He led the Red Company palace assault group that seized Sultan Said bin Taimur al-Busaidi on 23 July 1970, in the coup d’état that started Oman’s renaissance, and in which Ray Kane was wounded by pistol-fire in the leg.
Leaving Red Company in 1972, Ray Kane next commanded Firqa Forces – tribesmen irregulars, mostly ex-enemy. He was “sacked on-the-spot”, and quite rightly too, in Kane’s opinion, by Colonel Mike “Oddjob” Harvey in May 1972, after shooting-up the RAF Salalah (Dhofar) Officers’ Mess and its open-air cinema.
Asked by friends if he had been drunk, mad or both Ray Kane replied:
‘Neither, I did it for the Craic.’
Ray Kane’s novels, The Sowti Squad, The Frankincense Tree and The Daughters of Mohammad are available on Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iTunes (for all Apple devices), Smashwords, Sony eReader, etc. His memoir is in its final edit.