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Mike Hoare

"Mad" Mike Hoare

Biography: Thomas Michael Hoare was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1920. Hoare served in North Africa as an armor officer in the British military during World War II, and achieved the rank of Captain. After the war, he emigrated to Durban, South Africa, where among other employment, he ran safaris. Hoare led mercenary troops in Africa twice (1960 and 1964), and mounted an aborted coup attempt in the Seychelles Islands in November of 1981. Hoare was arrested and tried by the South African government for air piracy in the commandeering of an Air India jet which landed at Mahe Airport in the middle of the coup attempt. Hoare was sentenced to ten years in prison, but was released after three years.

Table of contents
1 Congo Wars
2 The Seychelles Affair
3 Works by Mike Hoare

Congo Wars

Timeframe: 1960-1961. Major Mike Hoare's first mercenary action in the breakaway province of Katanga, in the Congo. His unit is called "4 Commando". During this term, Hoare marries Phyllis Simms, an airline stewardess.

Timeframe: 1964. Colonel Mike Hoare leads mercenary unit called "5 Commando". Hoare and his "Wild Geese" work in concert with Belgian paratroopers, Cuban exile pilots, and others who race frantically to save civilians (mostly Europeans and missionaries) in Stanleyville from the psychopathic Simbas.

The Seychelles Affair

In 1978, Seychelles exiles in South Africa, acting on behalf of ex-president James Mancham, began discussions with officials concerning a coup attempt to be launched in Seychelles.

The operation was entrusted to Hoare who was living in South Africa as a civilian. Among the 53 people selected to carry out the coup: some members of the South African special forces (Recces), several former Rhodesian soldiers and ex-Congo mercenaries.

Hoare and 43 mercenaries were disguised as tourists: rugby players and members of a beer-drinking group called the Ancient Order of Frothblowers. They arrived in a Royal Swazi jet on Mahé, carrying their own weapons. Nine mercenaries (members of Hoare's advance guard) were already on the island on the evening of Wednesday, November 25, 1981.

The coup attempt was unexpectedly triggered off when an alert customs official spotted an AK-47 assault rifle in the luggage of one of the mercenaries.

The invaders fought a brief gun-battle at the airport and 45 live mercenaries escaped aboard an Air India jet (Air India Boeing aircraft Flight 224) which happened to be on the tarmac and which they hijacked. One mercenary had died during the skirmish. Five soldiers, a female accomplice and also Martin Dolinchek (alias Anton Lubic) were left behind.

The mercenaries took some hostages, who were later freed unharmed.

A police sergeant was wounded and an army 2nd lieutenant David Antat was killed.

The Seychelles government arrested the seven (6 men and 1 woman) who remained on the Seychelles and tried the men (June-July 1982). The charges against the woman were dropped. Four of the six were sentenced to death (Brooks, Carey, England and Puren), Dolinchek was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and Sims to 10. After negotiations, all were eventually returned to South Africa in mid-1983.

In January 1982 an International Commission, appointed by the UN Security Council, made an inquiry of this mercenary aggression. The UN report concluded South African defence agencies had been involved in the attempted takeover, including supplying weapons and ammunition.

Hoare and his mercenaries were tried on their return to South Africa, but not for having attempted to organize a coup in a foreign country, but for specific offenses under the Civil Aviation Offenses Act of 1972.

Hoare conducted his own defence towards the end of the trial.

Justice Neville James told the court Hoare, 63, was "an unscrupulous man with a highly cavalier attitude to the truth".

Hoare got 10 years, Peter Duffy, Mike Webb, Tullio Moneta and Pieter Doorewaard (probably the most senior of the Recce Commando reservists) were sentenced to 5 years, Ken Dalgliesh to 1 year, and Charles Goatley to 2 1/2 years.

The South African government opened negotiations for the return of the 6 arrested men. The government paid President René a ransom of $3 million and came to a broader understanding with President René personally.

Works by Mike Hoare

Congo mercenary, London: Hale (1987), ISBN 0709043759

Congo Warriors, London: Hale (1991), ISBN 0709043694

The road to Kalamata : a Congo mercenary's personal memoir, Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books (1989), ISBN 0669207160

The Seychelles affair, Bantam, ISBN 0593011228

Three years with Sylvia, London: Hale, ISBN 0709161948