WWI S.A. Irish Regiment Brass Cap Badge on Original Shamrock Veld Piece
Dimensions: 2.8 wide x 2.7 cm high
2 flat lugs with its original split pin.
This is a rare badge. This regiment was only formed in 1914 and this badge only worn in German South West Africa for a few months.
The South African Irish Regiment
At the outbreak of World War 1 in August 1914 three officers met at the Irish Club in Johannesburg with a view to raising an Irish regiment from among the citizens of Johannesburg and its environs. They were Maj George Twomey, Capt. J. Jeoffreys, and a Capt. MacDonald. Authority was granted by Defence Headquarters and Lt Col Brennan, VD (Volunteer Decoration), was appointed as Commanding Officer, with Maj Twomey as Recruiting Officer. Recruits were quickly found and the battalion formed up at Booysens Camp, Johannesburg, on 9 September 1914, its establishment consisting of six companies. The Honorary Colonel was Mrs Louis Botha, who was an Irish girl (formerly named Emmett), and the wife of the General.
According to Military Archives the date of the formation of the unit is 1 December 1914. This date, however, is disputed and it would appear that the claim to have been established on 9 September 1914 is recognised as valid. The South African Irish Regiment was a unit within 4 South African Infantry Brigade in Col Skinner's Northern Force and embarked from Cape Town on 21 December 1914. The Force landed at Walvis Bay on the morning of 25 December 1914, and was immediately in action. On 26 December 1914 outposts of the South African Irish came into contact, and conflict, with German patrols. Hence, the unit was in action three months after it was raised. On 11 February 1915 the Northern Force came under the command of Gen Louis Botha.
Prompted by the outbreak of the First World War. A meeting was held on August 9th 1914, to discuss the formation of an Irish regiment for service in German South West Africa. Authority was received on September 29th to form the Irish Regiment, under Major F.H. Brennan. The original name was to have been the Imperial Irish Horse.
The new regiment was to be six companies strong. Recruitment started in Johannesburg on October 7th, and by midday on October 17th the regiment was up to strength. And were gazetted December 1st 1914. Following garrison duty in Pretoria during a Boer Rebellion. The South African Irish Regiment sailed from Cape Town, as part of the 4th Infantry Brigade. And made an unopposed landing at Walvis Bay, in South West Africa on Christmas day 1914. The regiment had an uneventful campaign. Even finding time to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day 1915. With an open-air concert in Swakopmund. When the campaign ended in May 1915. They embarked at Walvis Bay on July 14th, and arrived in Cape Town July 19th.
Demobilization took place on July 23rd 1915. They were officially disbanded on December 31st 1920. After demobilization, some of the men re-enlisted in an Irish company being formed for service in German East Africa. Which became "D" Company of the 5th South African Infantry Regiment. And served in that campaign. The regiment was reformed on November 1st 1939, after the outbreak of the Second World War.