A MAN feared lost off St Davids Head in May is believed to be one of France’s most renowned literary translators who could have been visiting old haunts according to his brother.

Dyfed-Powys Police believe that an unidentified man seen in the water on May 6 was Bernard Hoepffner from Dieulefit in Southern France.

A large air, land and sea search was carried out but only a coat was found on rocks and an investigation ensued.

French reports have detailed the extensive work and colourful life of Mr Hoepffner, who has translated works by George Orwell, Mark Twain and Herman Melville, as well as contemporary works. He was also famous for his own literary work.

Not long after beginning his translation career in 1988 Mr Hoepffner, then aged 35, lived in St Davids for a time, with numerous friends visiting him in at an old German submarine surveillance site, where he worked.

His brother, Jacques, told a French reporter: “My hypothesis is that he wanted to walk on an important founding place. He wanted to go down to where he used to go fishing. It is a smuggler’s trail where we went together, very steep, which descends towards the sea.

“It is not very practicable, especially with a backpack, especially at 70 years. I think Bernard got caught in a wave. With the Gulf Stream not far, the sea is very difficult. "

He also farmed land in the Canary Islands before returning to France.

A tribute was held to Mr Hoepffner by ATLAS (Association for the Promotion of Literary Translation) at the House of Poetry in Paris last week.

The organisation also features Mr Hoepffner on its website, highlighting his significant contribution to the industry.

A translated statement reads: “A great self-taught, Bernard Hoepffner has had several lives, including a translator. Prolific, meticulous, driven by curiosity and love of texts, discoverer animated by an entire passion for literature, he found time to take care of others and, for more than thirty years, played a central role in the Recognition of our profession.

“Under his presidency, from 2013 to 2015, ATLAS has taken on a new dimension; We are all happy to have met him, to have taken advantage of his kindness, his benevolence, his intellectual rigor and his humor.”

If anyone has any information concerning the movements of Mr Hoepffner they are asked to contact Dyfed Powys Police by phoning 101.