This article was originally published in Familia, journal of the Ulster Historical Foundation (volume 2, no. 7, 1991). Published annually.

The Irish in South Africa

- The Police, A Case Study: Notes

by Donal P. McCracken, University of Durban-Westville

  1. For a detailed analysis of the Irish in the region, see D.P. McCracken. (ed.), The Irish in southern Africa. 1795-1910, (Perskor, Johannesburg. forthcoming in 1991). The author is grateful to Mrs P. A. McCracken for assistance in researching this article and to the University of Durban-Westville for providing a research grant.
  2. See, for example, R.H. Henderson, An Ulsterman in Africa, (Cape Town, 1944 and 1945 ed.).
  3. Jack Jewell, A history of the Durban City Police, (Durban, 1989). For Irishmen. see pp.41 and 99-103. See also Natal Archives, Durban corporation papers, superintendent of police reports, 5/25/31-5, (1865-1903); minutes of the borough police board, Al/I, (1856-61); and reports El/I, (1897).
  4. For Irish policemen in the pioneering days of Rhodesia. see D.W. Lowry, 'The Irish in Rhodesia', in McCracken, (ed.), The Irish in southern Africa, (forthcoming); and Col. A.S. Hickson, 'The Mashonaland Irish', Rhodesiana, no.5(1960), pp.1-6.

  5. Dictionary of South African Biography, p.786; and Barry Ronan, Forty South African Years, (London,1919), pp.174-5. Inspector Lorimer of Armagh set up the Cape's CID unit.

  6. See S. Monick, Shamrock and springbok: The Irish impact on South African military history, 1689-1914, (Johannesburg,1989).

  7. Cape Archives, Cape Town, Cape Mounted Rifles papers, CMR, DD,7/33, (1855-59).

  8. The Cape Archives contains an extensive collection of papers on the Cape Mounted Police. These are in 161 boxes; vol. 87A also contains enrolment names for the Griqualand West Border Poice for the early 1880s. On 1 October 1900 The Bandolier, the regimental monthly of the Cape Mounted Police, began to be published in Kimberley. The South African Library in Cape Town has an incomplete run of this periodical.

  9. The Natal Archives in Pietermaritzburg houses 16 volumes of manuscript material on the Natal Mounted Police. Volumes 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10 contain enrolment details. Books on the force include H.P. Holt, The Mounted Police of Natal, (London, 1913), and Major Arthur A. Wood, Nonqquai: Natal past and present, (Ilfracombe, 1962).
  10. On the Irish 1820 settlers, see G.B. Dickason, Irish settlers to the Cape: A history of the Clanwilliam 1820 settlers from Cork harbour, (Cape Town, 1973).

  11. D.H. Akenson, Occasional papers on the Irish in South Africa, (Grahamstown, Rhodes, 1991),p.64.

  12. D. P. McCracken, The Irish Pro-Boers, 1877-1902, (Perskor, Johannesburg, 1988), pp.141-9.

  13. P. Colum, Arthur Griffith, (Dublin, 1959), p.32.

  14. M.C. Seton, 'Irishmen in South Africa', The Gael, January 1900, P.19.

  15. T.K. Daniel, 'Irish networks', in McCracken, (ed.), Irish in southern Africa, (forthcoming).

  16. Natal Volunteer Record: Annals and rolls of service in the Anglo-Boer war, 1899-1900, (Durban, n.d.), pp.89-93 and 181-4.
  17. G.A. Chadwick, The role of the fifth (Irish) brigade in the battles of Colenso and Tuqela Heights, (pamphlet, Durban, 1990).

  18. The Times, 20 June 1901; and 'The Irish hospital corps (field force) in South Africa', The Royal Irish Constabulary Magazine, vol.1, no.9, July 1912; 11.1, Nov.1912; 11.2, Dec. 1912,11.4, Feb 1913; 11.5, March1913; and 11.6, April 1913.

  19. The Bandolier, l August 1908.

  20. Personal communications from Dr J. Tate, Mr Stanley Fletcher and Mrs M. Verrier.

  21. The names of many notable Irish policemen in South Africa can be found in either the volumes of the Dictionary of South African biography or Men of the times (the Cape edition is dated 1906 and the Transvaal edition 1905). On the other side of the coin, some South African prisons had a high proportion of Irish inmates. See, for example, the Cape Archives, P.O.C. (Breakwater Prison), Vol.11,1986.