John Thomond O'Brien
John Thomond O'Brien (1786–1861), also known in Spanish as Juan Thomond O'Brien, was an Argentine Army officer born in 1786 in Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow, son of Martin O'Brien and Honoria O'Connor. He fought in the Chilean War of Independence.
John Thomond O'Brien left Ireland and arrived in Buenos Aires in 1812 to open a merchant house. On his way there, his ship crashed onto the rocks of Fernando Po Island in west Africa. Only he and a few others survived to continue their journey.
Soon after arriving in Buenos Aires, the local people gave him the name Don Juan O'Brien. He enlisted in the army and fought in Uruguay with General Miguel Estanislao Soler. In 1816 O'Brien joined General José de San Martín's mounted grenadiers regiment in the Andes army. After the battle of Chacabuco, he was promoted to captain and appointed aide-de-camp to General San Martín.
In 1938 John (Juan) Thomond O'Brien's remains were sent back to Argentina where he received an official funeral. On January 23, 2017 his remains were again reinterred with military honours in Mendoza, Argentina. A town was also named after him, as was the Chilean Oberon class submarine O'Brien.
In 2006 a plaque was placed on the library of Baltinglass reading, in part, "In memory of General John Thomond O'Brien ... Hero of the independence wars of Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, and Peru."
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