Mike Hoare (1919 - ) was born in India of Irish parents on 17 March, spent some of his early days in Ireland and was educated in England. He served in the British Army for seven years and was demobilised with the rank of major. He qualified in London as a chartered accountant after World War 2 and emigrated to South Africa.
In 1961, Hoare commanded a unit of mercenary soldiers in Katanga, and another in the Congo in 1964 and 1965. After working as an accountant in the Far East he sailed a 100-ton Baltic trader around the Mediterranean Sea for three years with his family as crew.
Extract from Congo Warriors.
I woke Hans and Mark Forrester. We jeeped down to the palace and walked the hundred metres or so towards the cathedral. It was a stormy night. Heavy monsoon clouds careered across the sky at great speed, chased by a half gale. From time to time a full moon would break through to shine brilliantly, painting everything with a silvery glow. It was bright enough to cast a solid shadow. Near the great west door I could make out a small group of men, clustered together. Round them was another ring of people. One of them was the bishop. I could see his purple sash. I stopped close behind him. He said nothing but pointed to the inner group. I looked. The moon came out strongly at that moment and filled the yard with an unnaturally bright light. I felt a hand grasp my left elbow. It was Hans. Another gripped my right. It was Mark.
In the middle of the circle of black men a white girl was standing, her hair matted, her clothes torn and dishevelled. On her face was a look of unutterable sadness as one by one each member of the group came up to her, knelt at her feet and kissed the hem of her tattered skirt. She placed her hands gently on their head and spoke to them in turn, words of loving kindness. Now they knelt in a semicircle, in prayer, as she bade them goodbye. She spoke so softly I could hardly make out what she was saying. The bishop translated. “The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace.” Farewell, my dear, dear friends. I shall never forget you. Never. And thank you.’
They withdrew one at a time into the darkness of the passage by the west door. My heart was thumping.
Nobody moved. I found it impossible to look away from that beautiful alabastine face, filled as it was with compassion and suffering, while the bishop told us the story. The villagers had brought the young girl in barely an hour ago. She was the only survivor of a truck that had been blasted from the air. They had found her wandering in the bush last November, three month ago. They had taken her to their village, looked after her and protected her from the rebels. Now they heard the rebels had gone, they had brought her back.
It was a heroic story. My first impulse was to meet the men, to reward them, to help them in some way, to repay them for their deeds of kindness. I walked quickly over to their leader, a tiny, shrivelled man, standing in front of the others in the darknesss of the stone passage leading to the great western door. They all held their cloaks in front of their faces.
1967. Congo Mercenary. London: Robert hale.
1977. Three Years with Sylvia. London: Robert Hale.
1987 (1986). The Seychelles Affair. London: Corgi Paperback.
1989. The Road to Kalamata. New York: Lexington Books.
1991. Congo Warriors. London: Robert Hale.
2007. Mokoro - A cry for help! Durban: Partners in Publishing.
2008. Congo Mercenary, The Road to Kalamata, Congo Warriors, and the The Seychelles Affair all republished by Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado, USA.
2010. Mike Hoare's Adventures in Africa. Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press
2013. The Last Days of the Cathars. Self-published.