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Also see Link Postcards of the Mexican Revolution
Link McGinty Cannon "Blue Whistler" Postcards

Soldiers of Fortune Postcards
Click on any photo for enlargement.

"Soldiers of Fortune" in the Mexican Revolution
This webpage is a work in progress to document as much as possible about foreign nationals who participated in the actual conflict during the Mexican Revolution 1910-1920. Additional and/or corrected information on this subject actively sought. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

When the Mexican revolution erupted in late 1910, adventurers, soldiers of fortune, filibusterers, insurrectos, call them what you may, traveled to Mexico to join the fight.

They came from all walks of life - professional soldier, cowboy, tradesman, businessman, doctor and newspaperman. They were rich men, poor men, thieves, murderers, and cattle rustlers. A couple of movie stars claimed to have fought with Madero in 1911.

They came from all over the globe - the U.S., France, Sweden, South Africa, Germany, Italy, Holland and Switzerland. Haldeen Braddy called them "a menagerie of international warriors" in his book COCK OF THE WALK.

Whether they joined Madero's El Falange De Los Estranjeros - also known as the "Gringo Rag-Tag Battalion," Villa's American Legion, Obregon's or Carranza's armies, they came to Mexico for gold and glory - most of them received neither.

Brief biographies of several of these intrepid adventurers are detailed below.
American Insurgents
Unused Postcard
American Insurgents & Visitors in Blancos Camp, 2 Miles from Douglas.
unknown, photographer
Americanos
Unused Postcard
Americanos
D.W.Hoffman 13, photographer
Japanse With Insurectos
Unused Postcard
Japanse With Insurectos
J&S Photo, photographer

American Slim
American "Slim"
Jim A. Alexander, photographer

There were several soldiers of fortune named Slim in Mexico; Chicago Slim, Death Valley Slim, Dynamite Slim and Silent Slim to name a few. No definite information could be found about American Slim.
Captain Bulger
Captain James Charles Bulger
Jim A. Alexander, photographer

1881-1965 Born May 31, 1881 in Brooklyn, NY. Joined revolutionists in Honduras in 1897 and later fought in Nicaragua. Enlisted it the U.S. Army at the beginning of the Spanish American War and served in the Philippine Islands. In 1905, he bought a tract of land in Colorado and founded Bulger City midway between Ft. Collins, CO and Cheyenne, WY. The town did not develop as he had planned, and in 1911, he went to Mexico and fought for Madero. He returned to Colorado in 1912 and founded a second city which also failed to develop. When it appeared the U.S. would be drawn into a war with Mexico in 1914, Bulger went to Denver to recruit a volunteer regiment of veterans. During a bout of drinking, he became involved in a fight and murdered one of the owners of the Savoy Hotel. He was convicted and spent the next 46 years in the Colorado State Prison. He was paroled in 1961, but stayed on at the prison as a gardener until his death in 1965. In 1971 the James C. Bulger Post No. 35 of the American Legion was chartered at the Colorado State Prison.
Captain A. W. Lewis
Captain Alfred W. Lewis
Jim A. Alexander, photographer

A Canadian machine gunner and free-lance soldier, who roved the world seeking out wars. Fought for the British in the Boer War. In charge of the Insurrectos artillery who used the Blue Whistler/McGinty cannon at Ojinaga. Resigned after the fall of Ju醨ez in May 1911.
Blue Whistler with American Slim
Unused Postcard
"Blue Whistler" with American "Slim", Captain Bulger, Colonel Villareal and Captain Lewis.
Jim A. Alexander 12, photographer

Guiseppi Garibaldi
Guiseppi Garibaldi
Alexander, photographer
Guiseppi Garibaldi
6/27/1911 Postcard
Guiseppi Garibaldi Second in Command in Madero's Army
Alexander Photo 145, photographer
San Dreben
San Dreben
Sam Dreben
Link SAM DREBEN - Warrior, Patriot, Hero
by Hymer E. Rosen (El Paso)
Courtesy of the Texas Jewish Historical Society
Frank McCoombs
Frank S. McCombs
Jim A. Alexander, photographer
Frank McCoombs
Unused Postcard
Frank McCoombs at Ojinaga.
Jim A. Alexander, photographer
Born circa 1874-1876. Son of wealthy Seattle, WA farmers who was always a soldier of fortune. Served in Greece, China, Nicaragua and with the British and U.S. navies. Joined Mexican insurgents in 1910. He was called El Diablo. Fought in the battles of Mulato and Ojinaga. Tex O'Reilly described him as stone deaf and unable to speak Spanish. He didn't know the meaning of fear - liked to crawl off at night and kill Federal sentries.
Dr. I. J. Bush
Dr. Ira Jefferson Bush
D.W.Hoffman, photographer
Red Cross
2/3/1912 Postcard
Red Cross, Madero's Camp.
D.W.Hoffman 13, photographer
1865-1939 Born in Mississippi three months after Appomattox. Received his medical degree at age 25 and set up practice in Louisiana. Contracted malaria and moved to El Paso for his health. When the revolution broke out in Mexico, Bush was requested to treat some of Pascual Orozco's wounded troops. Later he was hired by Governor Abraham Gonzalez to establish a hospital and medical corps for the insurrectos. The hospital was located in a converted boarding house in El Paso. Dr. Bush also trained Mexican girls as nurses. He and a few friends stole the Blue Whistler/McGinty cannon and transported it to Mexico where it was used at Ojinaga and Ju醨ez. His autobiography GRINGO DOCTOR was published shortly before his death in 1939.

Gen. Pryce
Unused Postcard
Gen. Price
Commanding The Rebels
At
.....unreadable.....
unknown, photographer
Caryl Ap Rhys Pryce was a Welshman in his mid-thirties who had vast experience in the British army. In 1911, he was a mounted policeman in Western Canada when he heard of the fighting in Mexico. He joined the junta that was fighting in Baja, Lower California and was elected commander of a group of Mexicans, IWW's and soldiers of fortune. He and other leaders were indicted for violating U.S. neutrality laws, and the Mexican government charged him with murder and arson in connection with the Battle of Tia Juana. He was released on bail. In 1912, he had the leading role in a movie which recreated the important battles of the Baja revolution. In 1913, the charge against him was dismissed. He returned to Canada and served in that countrys army in WWI. He later transferred to the British army. In 1919, he resigned with the rank of major. He corresponded with the British army records office until 1925. After that, nothing is known of him.

We are looking for a better example of this postcard.
Any help would be appreciated...PLEASE contact me.

Capt. Ivor Thord-Gray
Capt. Ivor Thord-Gray
unknown, photographer
Rebel Artillery
Rebel Artillery. r. to l. Major Merigo, Capt. Thord-Gray, and native gunners. Hermosillo, Dec. 1913.
unknown, photographer
1878-1964 Born April 17, 1878 in Stockholm, Sweden. He spent 12 years in the British Army in Africa, fought in the Boer War and later in the Philippines with the U.S. Army. He went to Mexico in late 1913 and after a short stint as Villa's chief of artillery, he soldiered with Carranza, Obregon and Blanco. In 1914, he left Mexico for service in Europe with the Northumberland Fusiliers. In 1918, he went to Russia as Assistant to the Director of Information, Canadian Siberian Expedition. He transferred to the White Russian army, was wounded, captured by the Red army and released to return to the U.S. because of his wounds. He died on August 18, 1964.

Ivor Thord-Gray
Ivor Thord-Gray, Mexico City, September 1914.
unknown, photographer
Edwin S. O'Reilly
Edwin S. "Tex" O'Reilly
Clark Printing Company,
San Antonio, TX, photographer

Born in Dennison, TX on August 15, 1880. He fought as well as reported wars. He was a reporter for the Associated Press, an adventurer, a policeman in Shanghai. He soldiered in the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the Boxer Rebellion, in Venezuela, Honduras and Nicaragua. In 1911, he was one of Madero's Foreign Legionnaires. Dr.I.J.Bush said that O'Reilly was the biggest liar in the legion while O'Reilly said it was fortunate that he was in Madero's army; otherwise, the revolution would have been lost. He, later, fought with Villa. Lowell Thomas chronicled O'Reilly's life in BORN TO RAISE HELL. His autobiography is ROVING AND FIGHTING: ADVENTURES UNDER FOUR FLAGS.
Edwin S. O'Reilly
8/12/1909 Postcard
San Antonio Daily Light Courier E.S.O'Reilly Who Is Making The Famous 2,200 Mile Ride From San Antonio, Tex. To Washington, D.C. Bearing A Message To President Taft.
Clark Printing Company,
San Antonio, TX, photographer

Edwin S. O'Reilly

B. J. Viljoen
Benjamin Johannes Viljoen
Meyer Ltd. Pretoria, photographer
B. J. Viljoen
Unused Postcard
1334 - Gen. B. J. Viljoen.
Meyer Ltd. Pretoria, photographer
1868-1917 Born in Woodhouse, Eastern Cape Colony. A celebrated South African soldier, a general in the Boer army who immigrated to New Mexico and established a settlement with other Boer farmers. The settlement did not flourish and in 1911, Viljoen went to Mexico and was appointed as a military advisor to Madero. In 1912, he was the Mexican Consul at Breslau, Germany. Died of pneumonia January 14, 1917.
Emil Holmdahl
Emil Holmdahl
unknown, photographer

Born in Ft.Dodge, Iowa in 1883. Enlisted in the 61st Iowa Infantry and served in the Philippine Islands. After discharge, joined Lee Christmas in Honduras. Went to Mexico in 1909 and served in the Rurales under Emilio Kosterlitzky. Holmdahl changed allegiance to Madero after the fall of Ju醨ez. Later, he joined Villa and then Obregon. Returned to the U.S. and worked as a taxi driver. In 1916, he was a guide with Pershing's Punitive expedition. Later served with the U.S. 16th Infantry in WWI. In 1926, while on a prospecting trip to Mexico, he was arrested for desecrating Villa's tomb. Friends arranged his release, and he returned to the U.S.



Check out the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association


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