‘Mad Mike’ Hoare believed you get more out of life by living dangerously. And yet about 35 family and friends gathered in Durban, South Africa, on 17 March, St Patrick’s Day, to honour Mike as he turned 100 years old. Among them were five of the Wild Geese who fought with him in the Congo in the 1960s to crush a communist rebellion, rescue 2000 nuns and priests from barbarity, and defeat Che Guevara.
Asked his secrets for longevity, the Irishman always says, “Laughter is the best medicine. But more seriously, there is very little that two asprins cannot fix. And never go and see doctors because they will only find something wrong with you.” Now THAT's Irish for you.
Mike is the subject of an authoritative new biography titled ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare: The Legend, written by his son, journalist Chris Hoare; the book is available in bookshops in Ireland and the UK, and through several online outlets.
Mike was schooled in England and, during World War 2, was the ‘best bloody soldier in the British Army’. He was demobbed as major after seeing action at Kohima, India, qualified in London as a chartered accountant and emigrated to South Africa.
Going rogue, he started living dangerously to get more out of life, including trans-Africa motorbike trips, bluewater sailing, exploring remote areas, and leading safaris in the Kalahari Desert. Here Mike got to know the CIA agent who was to change his life … and Nelson Mandela’s. Later Mike was technical advisor to the film The Wild Geese, which starred Richard Burton playing the Mike Hoare character!
In 1981 Mike led 50 ‘Frothblowers’ in a bid to depose the socialist government of the Seychelles. Things went wrong and soon Mike was to spend three years in jail for hijacking a Boeing 707 before being granted an amnesty.
Mike, who is living quietly in Durban, South Africa, now, is seen here with five of his 'Wild Geese' soldiers who came to Mike's 100th birthday party to honour him.