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Recalling a FIRE on L.E. CLIONA 29th May 1962

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  • Recalling a FIRE on L.E. CLIONA 29th May 1962

    It was a serene day , flat calm, and wall to wall sunshine, when the Cliona left Haulbowline on 29th May 1962,with full crew, 20 trainees, with Staffs, and a large media group, including RTE News team and cameras. There were more than 100 personnel on board as the big interest item was a demonstration of all the Anti-Submarine measures including Hedgehog and patterns of 10 LIVE Depth Charges.
    During an exercise involving a release of 10 Depth Charges, there was an unexpected shockwave, which resulted in a fuel supply pipe to a boiler burner breaking, causing fuel to be sprayed over the boiler fronts , followed by a spectacular boiler room fire.
    The L/Stoker on duty, and his assistant were forced to retire, suffering some burns, but not before L/Stoker W. Mynes closed the valve supplying the fuel thereby limiting the potential supply of fuel to the fire.
    The on scene fire team was lead by Lieut. P. O'Mahony, the ship's XO, his persistence and unwavering courage, despite fire re-ignitions, eventually extinguished the fire, after more than 90 minutes.
    In the wash up many weeks later the bravery of O'Mahony, and Mynes, went unrewarded and remain so to this day. This was despite an attempt by an officer involved in the Inquiry into a fire on L.E.Aisling, looking back at the Cliona fire. In that "look back" he highlighted the bravery of O'Mahony and Mynes and recommended that they be duly rewarded.
    The now elderly retired servicemen deserve to receive DSM's. O'Mahony's bravery was spectacular standing on full fuel tanks and the engineroom casing buckling from heat. He was a sight to behold!
    Surely somebody in authority can now see merit in an appropriate award.

  • #2
    We are not very good at admitting we made a mistake in the past and reversing our previous decisions.

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    • #3
      France awarded medals associated with 1914-18 war 100 years late, as did the US Government albeit posthumously. Medals are a recognition that a state has gratitude for the exemplary actions of it's service men. There should be no time limit in rewarding courage and distinguished service, whenever it is revealed.

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      • #4
        Question: If Lieut. O'Mahony was the XO what was he doing fighting the fire in the engine room. Where was the engineer officer? His and L/S Mynes bravery should now be rewarded.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Lorenco View Post
          Question: If Lieut. O'Mahony was the XO what was he doing fighting the fire in the engine room. Where was the engineer officer? His and L/S Mynes bravery should now be rewarded.
          Probably managing damage control as is his job as opposed to actual firefighting.

          the Departmentment quoted the statute of limitations on awards on this one when it was originally raised.

          However as we all know this was overturned when it came to the awarding of medals to the Tramore Crash crew so precedent has been set and they should be award those medals appropriate.

          A more modern equivalent would have been the fire on Aisling back in the 80s when an engine room fire came close to setting off a pallet of ammunition on the after deck and two DSMs were awarded, so they are warranted.
          Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

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          • #6
            Clip of same as seen on RTE Documentary about the Naval Service made back in 1996.

            https://youtu.be/0mzwGIXgfTg
            German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
            German 2: Private? I am a general!
            German 1: That is the bad news.

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            • #7
              The XO was tasked on the ships FIRE Plan as i/c incident. He actually became hands on and was fighting the fire himself with one hose and a party of bucket armed coolers trying to stop re-ignition.The fortunate thing was the fuel tanks were full of fuel expanded by heat and no oxygen to ignite otherwise we were all history.
              Time curtailments on granting awards are just a misuse of power. Both will someday be gone forever.

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              • #8
                It seems to me that it happened in an era where the state was reluctant to encourage praise for any action which may have highlighted it's shortcomings. Jadotville being another fine example. An Army unit acted heroically in defending their post until there was no option but surrender. When they got home the attitude seemed to be that they should have fought with their bare hands instead of facing the shame of being taken prisoner by local militants.
                This of course was also a time when Irelands favourite alcoholics, the Dubliners, topped the charts with their song mocking the Navy. And the state were happy to go along with that status quo.
                The story must be told. The heroism must be rewarded.
                German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
                German 2: Private? I am a general!
                German 1: That is the bad news.

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                • #9
                  Hear hear, all on board LE CLIONA did their job as professional Naval Service personnel, no less or more than their counterparts in other Navies of the world...........RN or RCN in WW2 incidents for example..........
                  If crew , officers or Commanders show duty , leadership or courage above and beyond their normal daily duties it is only right that they are commended and rewarded in a manner equal to and in step with other armed forces worldwide.We have a relatively new small Navy but we have so much potential.Ireland should be more than proud of her Irish Naval Service, we are doing great humanitarian work in the Med , tonne for tonne we seem to be "punching above our weight".

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ancientmariner View Post
                    The XO was tasked on the ships FIRE Plan as i/c incident. He actually became hands on and was fighting the fire himself with one hose and a party of bucket armed coolers trying to stop re-ignition.The fortunate thing was the fuel tanks were full of fuel expanded by heat and no oxygen to ignite otherwise we were all history.
                    Time curtailments on granting awards are just a misuse of power. Both will someday be gone forever.
                    I didn't realise that you were THAT ancient a mariner!

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                    • #11
                      Incoming!!
                      German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
                      German 2: Private? I am a general!
                      German 1: That is the bad news.

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                      • #12
                        But standing on a firm foundation of ,I hope, unbiased opinion and a fantastic Maritime Library of books and memories!

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                        • #13
                          Sounds like a good example of damage control alright. They do deserve some recognition.I wonder was the cause from the settings on the DC's not being set properly?

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                          • #14
                            I am concerned at the campaign for the awarding of these medals, retrospectively. While the motives are clear, the manner in which they are carrying on is, in my opinion, counter productive.

                            http://www.irishseamensrelativesasso.../Le_Cliona.htm

                            They launched their campaign relatively recently (by their own account) and got the support of all people, Clare Daly, who was quick to say she submitted a dail question on the matter. Hello Luv, the Dail is not sitting at the moment. Don't expect an answer until Late September. The English Parlimentary party too have offered their support. They seem to consist of a prolific Letter to the times writer based in Trinity College. Otherwise, just another nutter, albeit with letters and a large collection of British Public school ties and blazers. Anyone heard of Gerald Morgan?

                            They open their campaign by criticising the Minister they are hoping to convince. That is not the way to move forward.
                            "Irish Minister for Defence Turns His Back On Forgotten Irish Naval Heroes of LÉ Cliona - SHAMEFUL". That attitude is hardly going to change minds?
                            There seems to be some axe-grinding with regards to Captain Pete Kavanagh also, and the author, who may or may not be Peter Mulvany feels that this man should have done more during his time to ensure these men were properly recognised. True, but hardly appropriate now given he is long dead.
                            There is a way to deal with these matters, and you have to do it in a dignified manner, otherwise you sully the reputation of those you are trying to honour.
                            German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
                            German 2: Private? I am a general!
                            German 1: That is the bad news.

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                            • #15
                              Well they are only going about the way everyone else who wanted previous decisions or lack of decisions re-examined, make a big public stink about it. It is how the survivors of Niemba finally got their recognition, Jadotville was finally considered a good thing, and the deserters during WW2 got their grovelling apology.

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