Lt Col ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare died in his sleep aged 100 years in Durban, South Africa, on 2 February 2020. Mike’s biographer, Chris Hoare, said, “Mike Hoare lived by the philosophy that you get more out of life by living dangerously, so it is all the more remarkable that he lived more than 100 years.

“Most people who met Mike described him as a legend, and as an officer and a gentleman; only a few realised there was a bit of pirate thrown in. Known as ‘Mad Mike’, he was short and dapper, impossibly charming, unaccountably enigmatic, always polite, strangely proper, absolutely sane, good natured, a brilliant leader and an absolute legend …”

Mike Hoare was born in 1919 in India of Irish seafaring stock, and was educated in England. In the British army in WW2, he initially attended a small-arms school and officer training school. Later he saw action at Kohima, India, and in Burma. He was demobilised from the Armoured Corps as major.

He qualified as a chartered accountant in London and emigrated to South Africa in 1948. He graduated to the African bush, first by doing long-distance mountain hikes, then on motorbikes (Cape Town to Cairo, and Mombasa to Lobito) and later as a safari leader in the Kalahari Desert. In 1961 he commanded a unit of mercenary troops in Katanga. In 1964/5 he led 300 “Wild Geese” in the Congo to suppress a communist-inspired rebel uprising, becoming a household name in many parts of the world.

In 1981 he led a failed coup attempt in the Seychelles, and served nearly three years in South African jails for air piracy. He lived in France for 20 years, making a study of the Cathar phenomenon, before returning to South Africa in 2009.

In 2018 Chris Hoare published an authoritative biography of Mike’s life titled ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare: The Legend. Go to Contacts to enquire about buying a copy. A softcover book signed by Chris is US $28, plus courier. Mike Hoare’s seven published books are available as audio books with Mike reading, from www.audible.com.

Chris Hoare appeared on the CNBC TV programme Talking Books on 1 April 2019, talking about his father’s extraordinary life. Take a look at the 14-minute insert on this link: https://www.cnbcafrica.com/videos/2019/04/04/talking-books-ep-60-mad-mike-hoare-the-legend-a-biography-by-chris-hoare/

And Chris spent almost an hour in conversation with Roman Cabarnac on the Renegade Report podcast. Go to this internet link:  https://renegadereport.co.za/2019/04/02/11818/