Chris Hoare reflects on his father’s 100 years

It is more than a year now since Mike set off on his last adventure, and I still receive emails from people expressing their admiration for Mike. Typically they use words like “a boyhood hero of mine”, “a legend”, “a commie hater like me”, and “he was one of a kind”.

Here in South Africa we are all too aware of the recent insurgent attacks in neighbouring Mozambique, and some people are saying “Where is Mike Hoare now that we need him?” A fine compliment, wouldn’t you say.

Looking back at the events of the last year, what stands out for me, as a journalist, is the untruths that were printed as facts in obituaries in what are generally regarded as quality newspapers in England, South Africa and America. The only newspaper to get it right was The Times of London, and if you would like to see their obituary, which covered nearly a whole page, please get in touch using the Contacts tab on this website, and I’ll email you a pdf.

People sometimes ask: What was Mike Hoare’s legacy? Many would say he (and his Wild Geese) saved the Congo – and South Africa by extension – from the Reds, and people recognise that we are speaking English, not Russian, because of Mike and his ‘rough men’. But for how long? The new danger is yellow and it’s on the move …

But for me personally, I often recall how Mike, in my experience and during his whole life, was always polite and always good natured, even when dealing with, putting it politely, idiots. I guess if you can hijack a Boeing 707 politely, as the Air India pilot said he was, it’s downhill all the way thereafter. Mike set a high bar in this regard, and when I don’t get it right these days, I hear him say gently, “Come on now, my boy, you can do better than that.”

In other news, I am happy to say that my book ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare: The Legend, is now in its fourth reprint; the latest edition carries a new ending and photos from Mike’s 100th birthday party showing some of his Wild Geese, and other guests including Eeben Barlow.

If you have a personal Mike Hoare anecdote you would like to share with me, or any 5 Commando memorabilia and/or photos you would like to sell, please get in touch via the Contact tab on this website.

Signed Photo, with Chris Hoare and Mike Hoare

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