Signed "Yours Truly", this photograph of No. 5689 Sergeant Thomas Francis Connelly of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment shows him sometime after the end of the Anglo-Boer War. He wears his Queen's South Africa Medal with six clasps and the King's South Africa Medal with its usual two. He also wears his Distinguished Conduct Medal which he was awarded in 1901.
Connelly received a Mention in Despatches for his actions from General Roberts in the September 10, 1901 edition of The London Gazette. He was cited for the Distinguished Conduct Medal in the 1 September 1901 issue of the Gazette.
For his service in South Africa, Connelly would receive the Queen's South Africa Medal with the clasps: "Paardeberg", "Dreifontein", "Johannesburg", "Diamond Hill", "Belfast" and "Relief of Kimberley". He would also receive the King's South Africa Medal with its usual two clasps: "1901" and "1902".
Following the end of the conflict in South Africa, he deployed to India with his battalion around 1904. Connelly would be selected to represent his regiment in the Delhi Durbar of 1911 and was presented with the medal for that event. Connelly would remain in India until the outbreak of World War One when the 1/Royal Irish Regiment would return to England.
On 14 December 1914 now Sergeant Major Thomas Connolly (all references to him after this date use this spelling of his surname) was appointed Quarter Master and Honorary 2nd Lieutenant and around this time transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment. On 20 January 1915 Connolly was promoted Quarter Master and Honorary Lieutenant. He was appointed Honorary Captain on 7 February 1918.
Connolly was Gazetted for the Military Cross on 12 December 1919 - after the 2nd Battalion had been deployed to Chakratta, India.
Connolly's Medal Index Card shows his entitlement to the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal. The card also shows Connolly's address as being with the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment in Chakratta, India. In addition, the card has a final date of 4 January 1922 which would seem to indicate that Connolly was still with the regiment when it was disbanded in India on 31 July 1922.
Retiring after his regiment's disbandment, Connolly returned to Ireland but soon made the decision to relocate to New Zealand. In 1925 Connolly, his wife Mary, and their daughter Kathleen boarded the SS Suffolk for the trip to New Zealand. In an interview that appeared in the 13 April 1925 issue of the Hawera Star (North Island), Connolly gave Ireland's deplorable economic situation as the reason for his decision to move.
6 5/8 Inches by 4 7/8 Inches
(17 cm x 12.5 cm)