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  • The Congo

    Has anyone any stories about the Congo?
    Irish peacekeepers there were involved in several large actions, as well as taking many casualties.
    Probably the three most known are:
    Niemba.
    Elizabethville
    Jadotville.
    .
    .
    .
    With 50,000 men getting killed a week, who's going to miss a pigeon?

    Guns don't kill people, bullets kill people.

  • #2
    http://www.limerick-leader.ie/issues/20000226/talk.html

    Army man Mick lifts the lid on the Jadotville incident

    IF you ever had an association, or even an interest in the Irish army, then you will have a keen interest in a new book recently published by Mick O'Farrell. 'Tough at the Bottom' is, according to Mick, "the first of its genre to date in Ireland", giving the reader an insider's glimpse into the day-to-day routine of army life as seen by a young officer. The book is humorous and sometimes irreverent with enough straight talking to leave little doubt about the author's intent to make the story as authentic as possible.

    Mick O'Farrell is a native of Abbeyside, Dungarvan, County Waterford and he joined the army as a cadet in the early 1950s, serving a tough two years in the Cadet School in the Curragh before being posted as a 2nd Lieutenant to the 13th Infantry Battalion in Clonmel. The remainder of his army service was divided between the 3rd Battalion, the General Training Depot and the Medical Corps on the Curragh, interspersed with stints on courses, interment camp duty, the border and Portlaoise prison. He retired in 1975 with the rank of captain.

    Mick was an outstanding sportsman during his younger days. He played inter county football with Waterford and Tipperary and was also a useful hurler. He played rugby for a season with Garryowen and was also a top athlete, winning the All-Ireland Decathlon in 1956 and the all-army all-round title seven years in a row. Mick was almost the complete all-rounder being also proficient in boxing, swimming and badminton and in later years he trained winnings teams Bective Rangers, Wicklow, Baltinglass, Brickey Rangers and Ashford.

    "There's been a terrific response to the book, particularly from the army people. It is almost a sell-out with close on 5,000 copies already sold. It took me two years to write but during my research I discovered a lot of facts about the Battle of Jadotville which took place in the Congo in July of 1961. Many in the army felt that C Company that day had left the Irish army down by throwing in the towel and had failed to fight on. After interviewing some of the soldiers on duty in that incident I discovered that there was a different side to that story. The men had been exposed to the most appalling danger, had no water, no ammunition and no food and claimed to have been abandoned. The five day battle was the biggest ever fought by the Irish army but to date no campaign or bravery medals have been awarded."

    While it was not his initial intention to focus on this chapter of Irish army history, it has again become a major talking point in certain circles: "A few of the soldiers that I spoke to researching Jadotville were living in the Limerick area. All of them wanted to give their own account of the incident and for the first time in my life I was listening to an entirely new version of events. Many of these survivors I personally know to be brave and honourable men. Never once was I conscious of an attempt to put a new slant on events in the hope of being allowed to wriggle off the hook."

    As a result of this book, Michael O'Farrell now hopes that the army will take a new look at the Jadotville incident: "I am very confident that they will at least allow the survivors to put forward their own version of events. That is the very least that is owed to those brave few survivors of Jadotville. Honour and the good name of the men involved demands no less than a full enquiry even at this late stage."

    Mick knew Limerick well in his younger days and was a regular visitor. His first cousins, Noel and Tommy O'Farrell of the Ennis Road, were close friends and he would holiday annually in this city up to the age of ten. In later years, when he was stationed in Clonmel, Jack Ryan who was a prominent rugby player with Garryowen at the time, invited him to play with the light blues and O'Farrell played a couple of games with them on the right wing. Very speedy, Mick was a sprint champion at the time but found it difficult to settle at Dooradoyle claiming this week that "the only pass I got from the Garryowen centres was a hospital pass."

    'Tough at the Bottom' makes easy and very interesting reading and it is little wonder that is already causing a degree of controversy. The book breathes life not just into the officers but also the ordinary rank and file non-commissioned officers and privates. Cooks, barbers, batmen, drivers, medical orderlies, bakers and bottle-washers, they are all there in this 226 page work that is already being followed by a follow-up publication by the same author.

    "I publish my own books and my next one will deal with health and fitness. One of my brothers dies when he was only 36 and a few of his friends also passed away before they reached 40. I put that down to unhealthy eating habits. They lived on junk food. I am hoping that my next book will educate young people on how to eat well and stay healthy. After that book I plan to write one on two other favourite passions of mine - racing and gambling - both of whom have provided a most wonderful part of my life."

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    • #3
      was in easons in liffey valley shopping centre today (for those of you not in the know, its just off the N4 at palmerston) and saw a book written on the first two battalions in the congo, the 33rd and 34th (?) for sale by an ex-IAC guy. lots of photos. softback, slightly bigger than A4 size and retailing at around e19
      "Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here...this is the War Room!"

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      • #4
        I got that the other day, very readable,lots of photos. Basic background to the events,but a nice one for the coffee table nonetheless.

        And its the 32nd and 33rd.


        Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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        • #5
          Anyone like to pass on the name of the book?

          IAS

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          • #6
            The Congo-1960


            Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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            • #7
              Thanks GF!

              IAS

              Comment


              • #8
                I posted that in the military books section when I bought it two months a go...just goes to show how much heed people pay to these sections.
                Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

                Comment


                • #9
                  sorry hpt *bows head in shame* :(
                  "Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here...this is the War Room!"

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