Black Tyrone

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The "Black Tyrones" are a fictional Irish regiment mentioned in the works of Rudyard Kipling. The poem "The Ballad of Boh Da Thone" mentions their service in Burma (modern Myanmar) in pursuit of a prince-turned-robber named Da Thone and the vain efforts of Captain "Crook" O'Neil and his Black Tyrones to catch him. The regiment is also mentioned in Kipling's short stories Black Jack, The Courting of Dinah Shadd, The Incarnation of Krishna Mulvaney, Love-O'-Women, The Man Who Was, and With the Main Guard.

It is presumably raised from County Tyrone in the Province of Ulster, the recruiting grounds of the real-life Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the later Royal Ulster Rifles.

Why the "Black" Tyrones?[edit]

Its nickname "black" might be because of their uniform facings. Although black was not a facing color (it would make the details on the regimental flag's field hard to see), the dark colors of Rifle Green and Navy Blue have been described as "black". The Royal Winnipeg Rifles, for instance, received their regimental nickname of "The Little Black Devils" for the dark green jackets they wore.

They might have been named for the "Black Irish", an Irish ethnic group descended from Spanish and Portuguese fishermen and sailors.

It might also be a comment for the regiment's character, as many of the Irish Regiments (especially the Inniskilling) had a rowdy and larcenous reputation. Wellington, a celebrated Anglo-Irishman, is famous for saying about the hard-fighting Inniskillings that he "[hanged] more of them than from any other Regiment".


In the 1975 film The Man Who Would Be King (based upon Kipling's writings) a character guarding the Khyber Pass, Private Mulvaney, is said to be "a loudmouth Mick from the Black Tyrones."

See also[edit]