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Irish Permanent Defence Force Serice Medal

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Hallo Gents, :beer:

I post for your viewing pleasure here pictures of a recently sold Irish pair:

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie...A:IT&ih=022" target="_blank">http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie...A:IT&ih=022</a>

Auction Pictures.

From the sellers auction description:

Original pair of Irish Army medals issued to 803789 J. GALVIN, an Irish Army 10 year service medal named to the above as issued and a Congo Medal, unnamed as issued.

The United Nations Congo medal with original bar was issued to this Irish Soldier for service with the UN in the Congo from August 1960 to January 1961. J Galvin served with A Company 33rd Battalion.

Also with the medals are various photocopies, a list of the men who served with the 32nd and 33rd Battalions, these were the first two Battalions to serve in the Congo. A list of Irish Defence Forces Personnel Kill in Action or died in the Congo. A brief history of the Irish Army?s service in the Congo, a list Battalions, Units and Groups including numbers and time of service

A Company, 33rd Battalion were involved in the Niemba Ambush* in which 8 of J Galvin?s company were Killed in Action by Baluba tribesmen.

Auction price reached: ?211.01.

* With relation to the Niemba Ambush: http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2...6454882002.html

Belated Recognition: a medal at last for Congo survivor..Thursday, April 19, 2007

Nearly a half-century after surviving the single deadliest event in Defence Forces history, Joseph Fitzpatrick has been officially recognised for his service on a 1960 U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo.

Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea presented Mr. Fitzpatrick with a custom-made medallion and plaque during a special presentation at Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin, yesterday.

The presentation was held during Mr O'Dea's review of military personnel who will soon be travelling to Lebanon as a part of a UN peacekeeping mission.

Mr O'Dea praised the efforts of Mr Fitzpatrick, who was aged 18 when he and 10 other Irish soldiers on peacekeeping duty in the newly-independent African nation were ambushed by Baluba tribesmen in the town of Niemba.

"Mr Fitzpatrick showed great courage and tenacity through quite an ordeal," Mr. O'Dea said. "We thought this was an appropriate way to recognise him."

It was recognition that Mr. Fitzpatrick had spent years fighting for with protests, letters and political appeals.

Discrepancy over the details of the November 8th, 1960 ambush in which guns, axes, clubs and poisoned arrows were used, contributed to the delay of any official recognition for Mr. Fitzpatrick and the massacre's only other survivor, Thomas Kenny.

According to the initial Army account, nine of the Irish soldiers and up to 26 members of the Baluba tribe were killed in the fighting. One soldier, Trooper Anthony Browne (19), was posthumously awarded the first-ever An Bonn M?leata Calmachta (Military Medal for Gallantry), the Army's highest honour.

In the report, Trooper Browne was recognised for sacrificing his life for Mr. Kenny.


In the decades following the incident, however, the circumstances surrounding Trooper Browne's death were called into question and in 2006 the official report was altered and calls for recognition of the massacre's two survivors were renewed and finally realised this year.

Mr. Kenny has been offered a similar commendation but has not yet accepted it. He was absent from yesterday's ceremony because of an illness.

But for Mr. Fitzpatrick, accepting the recognition was an important step towards some kind of closure. "The Army, the big brass, have apologised," he said.

"The whole thing of it is that people who have called you a coward for 47 years can't call you a coward any more. And if they did, you've got a medal around your neck to prove them wrong."

? 2007 The Irish Times.

- - - - - - - END OF ARTICLE - -- - - -

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

Edited by Kev in Deva
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Hallo Paul, :beer:

it is possible that the history of the Irish Military in the Congo in the 1960's

is not too well documented or known about outside of Ireland.

Examples with regards the Irish Congo UN Mission:

1. The Battle of Jadotville, where, "A" Company of the Irish Defence Forces, comprising roughly 150 men with only light arms, and outnumbered by at least 20 to 1, held their positions for five days against sustained artillery and aerial bombardment.

"During that time they inflicted casualties of over 300 on opposing Katanga Forces and held their positions until they ran out of ammunition, food and water. While a number of attempts were made to relieve them, even by Gurkhas, none were successful. The members of "A" Company showed tremendous courage, bravery and valour."

As the Daily Mail stated at the time 'they fought like tigers'.

2. Ireland clears Congo soldiers of cowardice. Sunday Times, December 12, 2004 by Richard Oakley.

A GROUP of Irish soldiers, who were wrongly branded cowards in a largely forgotten battle in the Congo, are to be commemorated by the state after a 44-year-fight to have their bravery recognised.

A report, to be published by the Department of Defence, will exonerate the men of wrongdoing and recommend that their efforts be officially recognised.

The soldiers, members of the 35th battalion of the Western Command, endured a gruelling six-day fight against Belgian-led forces in the Battle of Jadotville while on United Nations duty in 1961. They held out against Katangan fighters despite being outnumbered by at least 20 to 1 and depleted supplies.

Despite their bravery, they were accused of cowardice after Lieutenant-Colonel Pat Quinlan, their commanding officer, eventually took a decision to surrender. He had been given an ultimatum from the Katangan forces, who had breached a ceasefire, and decided to give up to save his men.

For years, members of the 150-strong command have campaigned for their heroism to be acknowledged and for questions to be answered about why they were put in a dangerous position. Despite the odds stacked against them, they managed to kill 300 Katangans without sustaining any casualties themselves. When they returned home, however, they were taunted by fellow soldiers.

Until this year, when Michael Smith, the then Minister for Defence, agreed to re-examine their role, they had had little success. The review came after the town council in Athlone, where many of soldiers were based, took the unusual step of writing to the minister following submissions from a number of soldiers and an extensive media campaign.

A board of military officers was asked by Lieutenant-General Jim Sreenan, the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, to investigate the case and produce a report, which has now been passed to Willie O?Dea, the current minister for defence.

?The report exonerates all the men involved. I will be publishing it soon and then we will decide how to commemorate these men,? said the minister.

The outcome has been welcomed by John Gorman, 61, a veteran who has led the campaign to have their reputations restored.

Fighting back tears this weekend, he said he was ?thrilled? but upset that many of the men were no longer alive.

?This is the best news I have heard in my lifetime,? he said. ?We were badly treated. The record was never put straight, our story was never told properly and the truth about what we did was ignored. A lot of men are now in their graves not knowing that they were supposed to have done wrong.?

Austin Berry, the mayor of Athlone, said: ?This goes some way to make up for what happened to these men. It?s what they deserve. A medal should now be struck and each man and the families of those who have died should be publicly presented with it.?

About 150 Irishmen from A company of the Western Command fought the battle against more than 4,000 Belgian-led Katangan forces.

John Gorman was just 17 at the time. He said: ?There were two Swedish companies there before us. Their commander pulled them out. The Irish "B" company was also withdrawn.

?At the same time, "A" company was put in and there are questions to be answered as to why. We had old second world war guns and we were bombed from the air. Our supplies, including bullets, were running out and we had no water.?

?We had killed 300 of the enemy and were hopelessly outnumbered. If this hadn?t happened, all our lives would have been lost.?

All 150 Irish soldiers were later released. Quinlan has passed away and many of the survivors are now in their eighties and nineties.

Dinny McGinley and Denis Naughten, the two Fine Gael deputies who joined the campaign, welcomed the move.

O?Dea is to release the report on his return from a visit to Irish troops working for the UN in Liberia. The minister is to fly out tomorrow along with President Mary McAleese.

- - - - - - End of Article. - - - - - -

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

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That is a very unfortuate story. I sure hope that these men get the recognition they most certainly deserve. I find it shameful that Ireland could turn their back to these veterans, especially for 40+ years.

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my best mates uncle was a medic in the congo and has a good lot of stuff from the time!actully intrestingly he picked up a group of medals he found in a derserted viilage and it had a good few beligum medals and intrestlying a katanga medal in it to which is quiet rare!but il see if i can get a few pics of the stuff though it might take a month or 2!!!!

Edited by paddywhack
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