Archiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2007-11 > 1194908374

From: Bill King <>
Subject: [IRISH-IN-CHICAGO] Boer War
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 16:59:34 -0600 (GMT-06:00)

On Veteran's Day, I read with great personal interest the article on the Boer War. This is a part of Chicago Irish history that I can find little details. The Michael O'Hara in the article was my father's uncle.


When gold and diamonds were discover in the free states that are today The Union of South Africa, the English arrived to take over. The original Dutch settlers known as Boers began a losing battle to hold on to control. The only outside help that they received were from Irish volunteers, not mercinaries, under the leadership of John McBride. McBride wanted to study British military tactics as he was of the opinion that Ireland would soon have to go to war with the British to gain independence. The only group outside of Ireland to join him were from Chicago. McBride fought his way with the Boers across South Africa before returning to Ireland. A few years later, he married Maud Gonne who is frequently connected with William Butler Yeats. McBride's tumultuous marriage did produce one child - Sean. John took part in the 1916 rising. For this action he was executed by the English. Sean went on to help found UNESCO and Amnesty International. For his actions he was awarded the !
Nobel Peace Prize in 1974. As for the Chicago group, many if not all may have given their lives helping the Boers. I hope some of you have information on their fate.

Bill King

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