From pretty well my first day in uniform 30 years ago, I heard the chat. It was mostly about the money, rarely about the risk.

To my mind the focus should have been the other way round, and that is why I never bit. And down those decades, whenever I was in some hotspot, there they were.

They were generally bearded, which until recently they were never allowed to be in the Army, and almost exclusively wore sunglasses and baseball caps. Atop their body armour they wore those multi-pocketed waistcoat garments favoured by photographers and fishermen.

They sported cargo pants, again with lots of pockets, and desert boots. It was a uniform parallel in style if not colour, to the military one they had worn in their previous lives.

The only difference was that as soldiers they were legitimately and openly armed, now they had a weapon secreted down the back of their trousers or in an ankle holster.

When I first heard the chat in the mid-90s, the sums of money involved were eye-watering. What they must be like today, I can only imagine.

But I tell you who will know: some of the guys, and it’s mostly guys, up at Faslane.

It is a soldier’s privilege to moan. And whenever soldiers (and Marines) have had a bad day, the moaning turns to speculating on what life is like on the other side, as a highly-paid private security consultant somewhere dangerous.

Governments employ them, businesses employ them, news organisations employ them, and of course charities employ them. Their CVs are usually very impressive, bristling with military experience, on operations usually, and more often than not with special forces.

But this experience is not an aegis. It is not a free pass. If anything, it is quite the reverse.

In Gaza, the three British men who were killed in an Israeli Defence Force drone strike on the World Central Kitchen charity convoy they were hired to protect were all ex-soldiers.

With the exception of Ukraine, Gaza is currently the biggest flashpoint in the world, and the risks for anyone and everyone there are beyond compare. And the reason the payments these people can command are so colossal is purely and simply down to the existential dangers.

As servicemen in a contact with the enemy, they would have had armoured vehicles for protection from which they could fight back, summon reinforcements, call in close air support or dial up an artillery barrage.

But as charity staffers with no access to any such assets, and with a cataclysmic catalogue of IDF failings in the prelude to the attack, there was only going to be one outcome.

But people will still go. The pay packet is irresistible.