One of the unsung great character actors of British/South African martial films, Ian Yule, passed away last week in Chichester, West Sussex, aged 87, where he had been retired since 2015 under the good auspices of the South African Legion and The Honourable Artillery Company.
Volunteering for the British Army as a gunner in the Royal Artillery, and later as a cherry beret-wearing Para, he fought in Korea before leaving the official military for one that was more unofficial— that of Mad Mike Hoare’s 5 Commando in the Congo. From there, he served in points further south, ending his active uniformed service with the SADF during the Bush War period.
Noted for his role as SAS
mercenary private military contractor Tosh Donaldson in the 1978 film The Wild Geese— where he also served as a technical advisor alongside Hoare himself– Yule also appeared in Shangani Patrol (1970), Zulu Dawn (1979), and Shamwari (1982), among others, usually as a grizzled British NCO, which was probably an easy lift. In all, he would appear as a stuntman in another 50 films including Ben-Hur (1959) and The Longest Day (1962).
Colonel Thomas Michael “Mad Mike” Hoare
Colonel Thomas Michael “Mad Mike” Hoare, who fought in the British Army in WWII before going on to lead the famous (infamous?) mercenary unit known as 4 Commando under the Katangan flag then 5 Commando in the CNA, among other “Wild Geese” on the Continent during the Cold War.
Via Bushwar Militaria & Books, Durban:
“It is with a heavy but accepting heart that I announce that my father, Mike Hoare, died in his sleep and with dignity at a care facility in Durban today, 2 February 2020, aged 100 years.
He was an adventurer, soldier, explorer, yachtsman, motorcyclist, safari leader, author, hiker, raconteur, last of breed, and legend. Charming, enigmatic, fearless, proper, and a brilliant leader, ‘Mad Mike’ was an officer and a gentleman – with a bit of brigand thrown in.
But Mike described himself as ‘a genuine adventurer’. He identified with Sir Francis Drake, and liked the idea of going out sailing, and bringing Spanish booty back for the queen who would make you a knight. ‘You were respectable – even though you were a thief,’ he said.
Mike Hoare became world-famous when his ‘Wild Geese’ saved southern Africa from the Reds when they crushed the Simbas in the Congo in 1965. And world infamous when his attempt to overthrow the socialist government of Seychelles failed.
Rest in eternal peace, Colonel. We salute you”