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).