Fredrick Forsyth


What is not commonly known is that the English writer Frederick Forsyth was also in Biafra on two occasions as a reporter, although now its common knowledge that privatley he supported the Biafran’s.

Forsyth the son of a furrier was born in Ashford, Kent on 25th August 1938. He was educated at Tonbridge School and later attended the University of Granada in Spain. As a national service man he became one of the youngest pilots in the Royal Air Force at the tender age of just 19, Later becoming a journalist and in 1961 he joined Reuters. Then in 1965 once again he was on the move and joined the BBC news team, where he served as an assistant diplomatic correspondent.

From July to September 1967, he served as a war correspondent covering the Nigerian Biafran War. He left the BBC in 1968 after controversy arose over his alleged bias reporting towards the Biafran cause and accusations that he falsified segments of his reports. Returning to Biafra as a freelance reporter.
However, Forsyth did not write his first book until his final return to the UK. 'The Biafra Story' was not released until 1969, and was not the succsess Forsyth had exspected.

However, he also went on to write ‘Dogs of War’ (his third novel published in 1974), and many believe that he used his two visits to Biafra to gather information for this very successful book. The mercenaries Mike Hoare, Bob Denard, and "Black Jack" Schramme are all named in the novel. It was also known that Forsyth under the pretence of reasearch approached several people for mercenary informion, like what would it cost to mount sutch an opperation with a handful of men, to which he was told 240,000 U.S dollars. Later Forsyth admitted that arms dealers were the most frightening people he had ever met. And that at one time was frightened for his life, leaving a country with just his passport and the cloths on his.

Forsyth's African activities of that time are an extremely controversial subject, and it is difficult to separate fact and fiction, however, as UK National Archives documents released in 2005 disclose, in early 1973 several people in Gibraltar were planning a coup d'état against Equatorial Guinea and President Francisco Macias Nguema, in the manner described in the Dogs of War. After a tip-off from the British Embassy inMadrid the Spanish authoriies boarded a boat called the  'Albatross' and arrested Scottish Mercenary Alexander Ramsay Gay along with several other mercenaies in the Canary Islands on 23rd January 1973, thus foiling the plot. As a matter of interest Alexandra Gay had also  served in Biafra. Although it is difficult to separate what Forsyth pretended to do versus what he might have planned to do, it is now reasonably clear, in view of the released documents, that several people were planning a coup d'état as described by Forsyth, at the time he was researching for his novel.

In 1978 Forsyth's research material became the subject of a feature story published in the London Times that suggested he had in fact commissioned the operation in real life back in 1973.

Fredirick Forsyth went on to write 'The Day Of The Jackal' and that book upset both Britain and France.