- "My sergeant, Barthélèmy, personifies all that is good about this country. He is strong of character, loyal of heart, fierce of spirit."
- ―Indiana Jones[src]
Sergeant Barthélèmy was a member of the Force Publique, the Congolese army serving under Belgian colonial rule. He served under the command of Henri Defense (Indiana Jones), and referred to his commander informally as Indy. From an Ubangi town in the Belgian Congo, he was conscripted into the Force Publique.
In a battle in German East Africa in December 1916, Barthélèmy served alongside Defense, and witnessed Defense being shot by a German bullet, and yet rise unharmed to continue to fight. Emboldened, Barthélèmy joined in Defense's charge and helped to take the German defensive line, and saved Defense's life by shooting the German Major, who was aiming at Defense.
Later, when Major Boucher and Captain Defense were ordered to cross Africa to pick up a shipment of machine guns, Sergeant Barthélèmy led his unit with them. In an Ubangi village wiped out by smallpox, Barthélèmy discovered a survivor - a young boy, untouched by disease. Though ordered by Boucher to leave the boy behind as a potential disease carrier, Barthélèmy secretly brought the boy with the bearers.
Days later, when Defense and Remy Baudouin discovered that Barthélèmy still had the boy, Defense was forced to inform Boucher. Boucher ordered again that the boy be left behind in the morning. Barthélèmy brought the boy to the head of the troop formation the next morning, forcing a confrontation with his superiors. When Boucher drew his pistol on Barthélèmy, Private Zimu and the rest of his Force Publique men stepped forward. Eventually, Boucher backed down when Defense drew his pistol on the major, and Barthélèmy was spared from being shot.
Barthélèmy continued to attend to the boy, helping him decorate the Christmas tree while under a tent in the rain on Christmas Eve.
When Boucher collapsed from illness on the trail, Barthélèmy assisted him, and ordered his men to follow Defense's order to build a litter for Boucher, and not follow Boucher's order to leave him.
When the expedition hired the Collette for traveling downriver, Barthélèmy took a turn at the tiller, teaching the boy how to steer the craft, much to the dismay of the riverboat captain, Zachariah Sloat. When the ship came under attack by separatist rebels, Barthélèmy was shot in the chest while attempting to reach the tiller after the steerer had been shot. With no one else able to reach the tiller, Barthélèmy got his ward to take control of the ship and steer it to safety away from the rebels on the shore.
Seriously wounded, Barthélèmy knew his time was limited, and taught the orphan to grow up strong and wise, and make his people proud. When the ship passed by the German-run hospital at Lambaréné, Defense argued for stopping to get the sick and injured to medical care, but Boucher and Barthélèmy both agreed that it was dangerous to the mission to go to a German doctor.
When the expedition reached Port-Gentil, Barthélèmy was transfered to a French hospital, but succumbed to his wounds before Defense, the boy, and the remaining men could be at his side. When nuns came to cover his corpse, they agreed to take the boy into their care - and asked the boy's name. Defense named the boy Barthélemy after the deceased sergeant.
Personality and traits
Barthélèmy could speak several languages:
- French (presumably with which he converses with his Belgian superior officers)
- Ubangi (his native language, and he speaks to the Ubangi child in it)
- Swahili (he translates "Mungo Kidogo" to Jones from this language from the troops)
- another Congolese language (possibly Lingala) with which Jones is familiar, and issues orders to him and other soldiers in.
Forced into serving in the Belgian army, Barthélèmy was of the political view that Africans, not Europeans, should control Africa's destiny, and felt that many of the Europeans did not value African lives as much as white lives. However, he treated Jones as a loyal friend, despite Jones' wide-eyed idealism of the Belgians' role in Africa.