Learn About James Wilson.
Born James McNally in Newry, County Down, Ireland in 1836, he joined the British Army at the age of 17 (enlisting under a false name), before returning to Ireland where he became a Fenian in 1864. On 10 February 1866, he was arrested by the police, who discovered him hiding in a safe house in Dublin. Wilson, along with other military Fenians, was tried, found guilty of desertion and mutinous conduct, and sentenced to death. However, this sentence was later commuted to penal servitude for life, and they were transported to Western Australia. In October 1867, Wilson and sixty one other Fenians began the long sea voyage on board the Hougoumont to Australia.