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David B 1812

Col. 'Mad' Mike Hoare and 5 Commando 'Wild Geese'

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COL. 'Mad' MIKE HOARE - Commanding Officer of
5 COMMANDO Battalion, the 'WILD GEESE'

Born in India,and educated in England, Mike Hoare served

in the British Army in an armoured corps in North Africa in

WWII attaining the rank of Captain. Hoare first became

involved in the Belgian Congo in 1960-61 as a mercenary

with "4 Commando" in actions in the Katanga Province.

The 'Wild Geese' saw action in the BELGIAN CONGO
in 1964-65 - in support of the Belgian Forces against the

terrorist groups who were attacking and killing innocent

local Congolese and Belgian civilians at that time,

including missionary nuns and priests giving service to

the locals in the Belgian Congo.

Col. Hoare is shown here, wearing his full undress uniform,
and the famous "5 Commando / Wild Geese" shoulder
patch can be clearly seen, sewn on the Colonel's shirt.

This badge can be found all over the internet in many COPIED

and, I suppose, fraudulent forms, held out to be 'Wild Geese'

badges. There can only have been a small number of original

badges - as far as I am aware, 5 Commando, as a Regiment,

originally only had 300 or so men, and we have no guarantee that

all their badges survived. However, later in 1964 and into 1965,

the Commando became a two-battalion force.

Below is an original badge, from my collection, STILL sewn

onto the khaki shirt from which it was cut.

DOES any GMIC member have experience of this badge, or can

anyone provide further information, for me please?

Also does anyone know the value of this, what I suspect

to be, a very rarely found (in the original state) badge?

David B 1812


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Whoa- I had no idea originals even existed.

Over at the Military Pictures forum there is actually a chap who I think served with Hoare (Tompkins) and later had some dealings with the psychopath Callan in Angola.

See here:


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Ulsterman wrote:

"Whoa- I had no idea originals even existed."


What makes you say that? What is Col Hoare wearing in the photo?

And if not an "original" - the same as I have, why would the Founder

of the Regiment be wearing a 'copy' of the badge of his own Regiment?

And if Col Hoare is not wearing an 'original' "Wild Geese" badge, then

what in your opinion is he wearing?

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You misunderstand-my apologies, "still existed" is what I meant. I assumed all the mercenary stuff had been disposed of after the Congo war was over and people got arrested.

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Dear "U-M",

Ah, I see - my apologies also for misunderstanding you, too. Sorry.

No, as far as I am aware this IS an original - you should see the

absolute rubbish for sale on the internet, as "supposed" badges.

Many of them not even close, nor good copies - and yet people

must still be buying them.............and making them....... so it is

a market, very largely, of poor copies..........

And so I was wondering if any other members on the site had one.

I don't think that they are commonly found.

By the way, I did read up on the link you posted on the mercenaries

in Angola in the '70s. Very interesting. Appear to be a merciless,

blood-thirsty bunch, I must say. It is difficult to imagine some of the

things that occurred there, and some of the things they did......

Best wishes,


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Unfortunately I have certainly not come across another example of this badge in my travels etc. So it is an important photo and reference on this item going forward I would suggest.


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The Wild Geese Badge or Patch as worn by:
Col. Mad Mike Hoare and 5 Commando 1964 / 1965

In an effort to identify what I think are ORIGINAL badges (or patches)
I have now done some considerable research and comparison, using my 53
years of skill as a philatelist (where much of ones time is spent looking at detail
and difference) and I think what appears below may now be considered as a
reasonably definitive study and analysis of the subject:

So I have ordered the photographs alphabetically, A, B, C, D, E, and so forth.

Photo A: Col Mike Hoare, showing the Wild Geese / 5 Commando badge
worn here on his right upper shirt sleeve.

Photo B: Col Hoare, same uniform, in a overexposed photo, where the
badge is barely visible, but nevertheless, present.

Photo C: An ORIGINAL BADGE, from the BENNETT Collection. It is important
to note the stitch pattern on the second vertical leg of the first M
of Commando. Also the position of the right and left wings of the
goose, and the tail and legs. And the black stich in the right wing.
Only two lines of black stitching in the right wing. Also the eye of
the goose appearing as a black dot. The stitching of the lettering
of the badge does not have a crisp finish, as do the copies.

Photo D: Another ORIGINAL found for sale on the internet for GBP 420. The
badge shows signs of having been used and the removed from a
garment, by the visible frayed edges and loose stitching. The badge
displays ALL the same characteristics of the badge in Photo C.

Photo E: This is a third ORIGINAL again with exactly the same characteristics
of the two badges illustrated in C and D. Again, with frayed edges
and stitching. Appeared for sale on the internet, along with some other
Wild Geese / 5 Commando memorabilia and papers, including a beret
and was priced at S.A. Rand 8,500

Photo F: A Wild Geese copy - it appears to be a combination of screen printing
and embroidery. The goose is in black, and the overall badge is on a
camouflage background. Seen on many websites, for sale at prices which
vary from Au$25 to US$26.

Photo G: A copy of the Wild Geese patch, more similar to an original in colouring,
but the goose is incorrect. The right wing has seven lines of black stitching
(only two on the original). The left wing, tail and leg positions are incorrect,
as is the position of the eye. The lettering is also very different. Prices for
this copy vary from US$15 to C$18.

Photo H: Yet a third type of copy. Although superficially similar to G above, the
wing pattern is different. The upper right wing top feather is MUCH more
square. Also the neck is thinner, and appears longer, and the feet are
less prominent.

Photo I: Here, just to PROVE that badge F is a copy, it appears here, printed on
the very same camouflage background, but with a SECOND Wild Goose
variation one which apparently is intended to represent an island
note the sea, islands and palm trees. This is probably an attempt to refer
to the foray of Col. Hoare and a group of mercenaries to the Seychelles
in 1978. Leading what were supposed to be a group of beer drinking
tourists to the islands, Col. Hoare called the group: Ye Ancient Order of
Froth Blowers. In any event, the coup failed, they were all arrested and
jailed. That the second (lower) badge makes reference to the Wild Geese
in name and also in illustration just shows the ignorance of the makers
of the copy, when no such names were used in the operation. This badge
is advertised at US$45; Au$47 and GBP30

Photo J: A variation of the lower Wild Geese Island badge, this time sold alone,
(without the 5 Commando copy) and for around US$15.

Photo K: A Wild Geese variation probably not made with intention to deceive,
and possibly having commemorative purpose. May not even be related
to the 5 Commando Wild Geese. No price.

Photo L: Another Wild Geese embroidered badge, but NOT intended to be an
exact copy. Advertised and sold as a badge intended to commemorate
and celebrate the Wild Geese. Sold for S.A. Rand 180.

Photo M: This is what appears to be not a patch type badge, but very probably a
blazer pocket badge. It alludes to 5 Commando and has a very poor
rendition of the flying Wild Goose with only one wing. The badge also
shows two knives or bayonets, with the dates 1964 1965. Finally in a
wreath below (and very indistinct) appears what I take to read: "Armee
Natcionale Congolese" or something similar. Sold on the internet for
S.A. Rand 1,060

And so, members, that concludes my study on the Wild Geese / 5 Commando badge,
or arm-patch, if you prefer. Any questions, comments or opinion would be welcome.

David B 1812

David B 1812

Edited by David B 1812

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For some reason I cannot get photos "K" and "M" to load

but I am trying........................

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I am having severe technical problems loading my last

two photos - and I don't know why............

"K" is an ordinary .jpeg file of 6.86kb


"M" is an ordinary .jpeg file of 16.0kb

and try as I might, I cannot get them to load

HELP !!!!!!!!

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Friends, for what it is worth, i can add to this discussion. I am Mike's son, in Durban, South Africa. (I also cannot see badges K and M). Badge J was made to order for Mike pre-trial (ie early 1982) to raise funds. Sold mainly in America as I recall. About 100 mm diameter. Photos A and B were taken on set, during the filming of The Wild Geese in SA in 1977, but Mike wore his 5 Commando uniform as he was the technical / military advisor. Feel free to reply to partner@iafrica.com as I don't generally get back to these forum discussions ... regards, Chris.

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Welcome to the forum Chris, and thank you for the additional information.

I do hope you will visit us in the future.



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Thank you for posting this very informational thread. I remember reading about Col Hoare and have seen the movie countless times. I am envious of your collection.

I notice that he wears some unique shoulder boards of rank. Did they have their own rank system in the organization?

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I wonder how one would go about telling the difference between the real thing and the hundreds of badges made for the movie. I have seen too many of these 5 Commando badges for sale to feel comfortable. I still see props from Zulu Dawn coming up for sale, so with the movie badges being nearly 37 years old,one wonders how many out there are props. With Col Mike on set, they must have got the uniforms pretty on the button.

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Members may be pleased to know that Mike Hoare is still alive and well and living in South Africa. Having bought a copy of the Corgi edition of "Commando" back in the 1970s I was delighted to see that personalised and signed copies are available. Mine arrived from South Africa last week and can vouch for the authenticity of the sale. Further details are available here:


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he must be getting on  by now!  I suppose the car dealership is long gone and he's living on all the 'loot' he allegedly gathered in his years as a 'Wild Goose' ;)


Edited by peter monahan

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I think that he is 95 or 96. He seems to have been out of the public eye for many years.

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Yes, Mike will be 97 on 17 March this year. His general health is ok to good. Living quietly, cryptic crosswords, cricket on TV, dozing off in the sun, etc;  either with us, or my brother, in South Africa. re the badges, there were two sizes made in the first half of 1982: 105 mm and 60 mm. Probably 3500 were sold to raise funds for the post-Seychelles trial.

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Hello can anyone here tell me what the addition of the Blue enamel star and backing is for? This is an additional plate that fits over the fixing on the reverse. I have asked Chris Hoare who was more than helpful but unfortunately Mike cannot really remember but feel it was something done by several men although not to his approval, Andrew

5CDO 010.JPG

Edited by stemereshop

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I have original wild geese patches also commando 5 patches also other memorabilia including khaki uniform worn by my father who served under mad mike was wondering about the value and who would be interested jason

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Being interested in all things about Mercenaries through all the times (their backround, motivation, life, etc.), I found Mike Hoare (his books about Africa, the time back in the 60s).

Reading his "Congo Mercenary" was a joy. So I tried to get more indepth information.

A few days ago I got this beret insignia. I think it's an orig. but would like to know it for sure.



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