The Rugby History Society


Options
  Home
Return to Articles



 

 

Irish Internationals who Died in the Anglo-Boer War


 

Despite the fact that the Boers were Calvanist’s with a record of discrimination against Catholic’s, there was a great deal of resentment and support of the Boers by the Irish Nationalists. This was largely attributed to the similarities between the two countries. A British controlled country who was seeking independence. Riots in Dublin created a no-go area for British troops; posters applauding Generals De Wet and Botha were plastered on walls and lamp posts and the flag of the Transvaal Republic flew defiantly in many Irish villages.

In all, over 20,000 British and Empire soldiers died in the Boer War and over 1,000 of these were Irish troops.

There is one Irish International rugby player who died in the Anglo-Boer War. He is

Lieutenant Pierce Edmond O'Brien Butler 15th January 1902

Commemorated on the Maitland Memorial

He was born on 12th January 1877, the eldest son of Major Pierce O’Brien-Butler and Marcela (nee Hynes). His family is descended from the Barons of Dunboyne. He was educated at Belvedere College ,

He played rugby for Monkstown. And won six caps for Ireland at full-back.

Date

Opposition

Venue

Attendance

Result

Score (HT)

20th Feb 1897

Scotland

Powerhall, Edinburgh

 

Lost

3(0)-8(3)

5th Feb 1898

England

Athletic Ground, Richmond

20,000

Won

9(6)-0(6)

19th Feb 1898

Scotland

Balmoral Showgrounds, Belfast

12,000

Lost

0-8

18th Feb 1899

Scotland

Inverleith, Edinburgh

 

Won

9(6)-3(0)

18th Mar 1899

Wales

National Stadium, Cardiff

40,000

Won

3(3)-0(0)

3rd Feb 1900

England

Athletic Ground, Richmond

10,000

Lost

4(4)-15(7)

 

Above the Ireland side that beat England on 5th February 1898. Back Row: J.Ryan ( Tipperary ),  M.Ryan ( Tipperary ), J.Franks ( Dublin University ), W.G.Byron (North of Ireland ), L.Q.Bulger (Lansdowne), ?, ?. Seated: J.L.Davis (Monkstown), J.McIlwaine (North of Ireland ), H.Lindsay (Wanderers), S.Lee (North of Ireland ) (Captain), J.H.Lytle (North of Ireland ), G.G.Allen ( Derry ), L.HGwynn (Monkstown), ?. On Ground: O'Brien-Butler (Monkstown), F.Purser ( Dublin University ), L.Magee (Bective).

He embarked for South Africa , February 1900 on the Servia, with the 5th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers and had served continuously during the war up to the date of his death. He gained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on 4 March 1900 in the service of the Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was transferred into the Army Service Corps and was promoted to Lieutenant in November 1901.

 

Above the SS Servia which was used to transport troops during the Boer War. It had previously been used as a passenger ship between Liverpool and New York .

He died of dysentery at Wyndberg, Cape Town , South Africa on 15th January 1902. Six weeks later the Boer War was over. The last of the Boers surrendered in May 1902 and the war ended with the Treaty of Vereeniging signed on 31st May 1902.

 

Above the Maitland Memorial. Image copyright Martin Edwards

Both his brothers Captain Capel O'Brien Butler and Captain Charles Paget O'Brien Butler, as well as his brother-in-law Captain Hugh O'Brien were killed in World War 1.

 

Above his name, along with his brothers, also appears on the Belvedere College Memorial, Great Denmark Street , Dublin .

http://sites.google.com/site/caseybooks/

http://www.cliftonrfchistory.co.uk/

 

with the assistance of and thanks to Willow Murray IRFU, Paul McCandless,

Martin Edwards www.roll-of-honour.com

Statistics www.scrum.com

   

© Patrick Casey, 2010
For Permission to reproduce this article please CLICK HERE