In the Service of Peace – Our Congo Veterans
Photos by John O’Byrne
It was great to spend the day recording the personal accounts of veterans from Ireland’s deployment to the Congo (1960 – 1964) with Opération des Nations Unies au Congo (ONUC). Seamus Ua Trodd, Thomas Gunn, Noel O’Neill, Shay Delaney, and Gregory Leech recalled their memories of service with the 1stInfantry Group, 34th 35th, and 39th Infantry Battalions. The memories of these men were remarkable. Wide and diverse recollections gave a full account of the Ireland’s service in the Congo and what the then young men or teenagers in some cases went through. The first time on a plane, long range patrols in a country the size of western Europe, the Siege of Jadotville, interaction and helping local people, movement controller for UN aircraft, and asking your comrades to write letters home for you.
To us these UN veterans are a national treasure and their accounts should be recorded for future generations
Thank you to the ONE Cathal Brugha for their support in this recording.
This project is supported by the Community Foundation for Ireland.
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