Neall Ellis is a South African military aviator and mercenary. Raised in Bulawayo, he joined the South African Air Force after a brief stint in the Rhodesian Army. As a helicopter pilot he was awarded the Honoris Crux decoration in 1983, and later attained field rank. After retiring from the SAAF he contracted for various private military corporations, including Executive Outcomes and Sandline International. During the civil war in Sierra Leone, he and his Mi-24 crew held off Revolutionary United Front (RUF) forces almost single-handedly.[1][2] He also provided fire support for British troops during Operation Barras.


Neall Ellis
Neall Ellis.jpg
Birth nameNeall Ellis
Nickname(s)Nellis, Gunship Ace
Born(1949-11-24)24 November 1949
Johannesburg, South Africa
Years of service
  • ?-1971 (Rhodesia)
  • 1971-1992 (South Africa)
  • 1996-2004 (Sierra Leone)


  1. ^ la Guardia, Anton (18 June 2000). "Airborne adventurer keeps Freetown free". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  2. ^ Combat & Survival magazine 12/06 September 2000 pp26-32 with photos

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