Anniversary of Boer War
Sir, – I refer to Anthony Jordan’s letter (January 16th), regarding the “anniversary of the Boer War”. The centenary of the Treaty of Vereeniging on May 31st this year marks the end of the Second Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902.
He mentions the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. They only got the “Royal” added to their regimental title after the hammering they took at the Battle of Colenso where the Transvaal Irish Brigade were on the opposing side.
The Commonwealth Graves Commission maintains the graves of those British soldiers who died in that and all wars.
Those Irish who fought and died on the side of the Boers are commemorated by a monument that used to stand in the suburb of Brixton in Johannesburg. It was erected by money subscribed by people of Irish birth or descent and also subscriptions from the South African and, I think, the Irish governments. The plaque was inscribed in Irish and Afrikaans.
Sometime after 1994 it was removed to the all Afrikaner town of Orania in the Northern Cape Province, where it is in a place of honour. – Yours, etc,
BRIAN P Ó CINNÉIDE,
Durban, South Africa.
A chara, – In response to Colin Blake’s letter (January 7th), regarding the 110th anniversary of the Anglo-Boer War, I wish to point out that many Irish soldiers died on both sides of that war. Three regiments of Irish soldiers fought on the side of the Boers against the British.
It would also be remiss of me to allow the suggestion that those Irishmen who fought on the side of the British should be recognised, supposedly for bravery, fighting an army of farmers, much smaller in numbers to the British army. The main reason the British won that war was because they burned and pillaged the farms of the Boers, slaughtered their animals, and kidnapped their women and children, whom they put into concentration camps, where 30,000 of them died from disease and hunger. The Boers surrendered in order to save the remainder of their women and children.
These figures do not include the thousands of black people were also put into concentration camps and who also died in these camps at the hands of the British. Is this a legacy that we should be proud off? I would go so far as to suggest that that the Fusiliers Arch in St Stephen’s Green should be removed with immediate effect so that we do not give credence to the belief that we commemorate or support the murder of innocent women and children by any so-called Irish man, either at home or abroad.
Perhaps it should be replaced by a memorial to the Irish Pro-Boers!
It may also be of interest for your readers to know that a memorial to the Irish pro-Boer soldiers had been erected in Boxburg, near Johannesburg. Subsequent to 1994, it was due to be destroyed by the ANC. It is now to be found on a hilltop overlooking Orania in the Northern Cape, in a place where the Irish are considered as heroes and will always be welcome. – Is mise,
NIALL Mac AIBAICIN,
Milford, Co Donegal.