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Mercenary ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare dies aged 100

Clinton Maynard

Chris Hoare, son of Michael Hoare & Author / Publisher of ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare: The Legend’, joins Michael to talk about the extraordinary life of his father who he describes as an officer and a gentleman, “with a bit of pirate thrown in”… who passed away early this week at 100.

`Mad Mike’ Hoare became a legend as the leader of the `Wild Geese’ mercenary soldiers in the Congo, and notorious following his failed coup d’etat in the Seychelles.

He fought in the British Army during World War II and in the years after the war he became an adventurer, riding a motorbike from Cape to Cairo; searching for the Lost City of the Kalahari; and becoming the first to run safaris in the Kalahari desert and Okavango delta.

As a `wind of change’ blew over Africa, Mike became a mercenary leader in Katanga in 1961. In 1964/5 Mike, now linked to the CIA, led South African mercenaries against communist rebels in the Congo. He and his men rescued hundreds of missionaries from barbarity.

Mike was one of the few men to have outwitted Che Guevara on a battlefield, and became `the most famous mercenary leader in the world’ as he crushed the Simba rebel revolt.

He went on to work in Rhodesia, Biafra, Cambodia, Angola and Mozambique. In 1977 he was technical advisor to the film The Wild Geese, shot in South Africa; Richard Burton played the Hoare character.

In 1981, Mike and his Frothblowers hijacked an Air India Boeing 707 when his coup attempt in the Seychelles goes awry, they are tried in the Supreme Court in Pietermaritzburg and Mike served 33 months in jail before being pardoned.

After twenty years of living in France, he moved to South Africa, where he led an active life until his death this week.


You can order a copy of ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare: The Legend’ by Chris Hoare from

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Clinton Maynard