Billy 'Botha'.

Billy Botha 2 RIR Royal Irish Rifles

During September 1900, when British troops were fighting the Boers, a troop of Mounted Infantry of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles attacked the farm of Commandant Philip Botha, the brother of the Boer leader. As the farm caught fire, Trooper Paddy Flynn, noticing a dog inside the farmhouse, rescued it.

Billy PostcardSome time later when Flynn was in hospital, his dog accompanied a patrol, which the Boers surrounded. During the action the Boers saw a dog limping towards them but because of the dog's apparent injuries did not fire at the animal.

'Billy' passed through the Boer lines and made his way back to base and his bedridden master. Flynn saw a message attached to Billy's collar and alerted his unit, which promptly sent reinforcements, thus saving the beleaguered patrol.

Billy became the Regimental Mascot until he died in 1915. He was wounded twice and earned two Boer War campaign medals with the Rifles, proudly wearing them whenever he paraded with the Regiment.

Billy photoBilly (top-right) and his medals are currently held in the Royal Ulster Rifles collection, and the museum has other related ephemera including postcards and photographs.

Please click on the 'Attachments' below to view a traditional comic book story about Billy and then click on backbrowser to return to this VMG site.