IUNVA  |  Honouring Caring Remembering

SEE PHOTOS IN PHOTO GALLERY - OPERATION - MORTHOR

In this article we look at the killing of Trooper Edward Gaffney, C Company 35 Infantry Battalion in action during Operation Morthor and the first Irish personnel who were captured by the Gendarmerie

Trooper Edward Gaffney.

Today we remember the 60th anniversary of the death of Trooper Edward Gaffney, C Company, 35 Infantry Battalion ONUC who was killed on 13th September 1961 in Elisabethville in the Republic of the Congo. He was killed instantly by machine gun fire from a Gendarmerie Staghound armoured car that was crewed by mercenaries.  At 1215 hours a patrol of nine personnel under the command of Sergeant George Shaughnessy travelled in two trucks bringing ammunition and other supplies from the Kasenga Tunnel to the Brigade Reserve at Albert Park. Trooper Gaffney was driving the first vehicle on Churchill Avenue and he was killed in the cab.  The gendarmerie then set the truck on fire. Trooper Gaffney was twenty two years of age, he came from Norristown, Camolin, County Wexford and his home unit was 1 Armoured Car Squadron. 

Operation Morthor.

Operation Morthor commenced at 0400 hours on 13 Sep.  2 Platoon and 3 Platoon, C Company plus the Mortar section were tasked to seize and hold the Kasenga Tunnel at Chavssee de Kasenga (known as the Tunnel). The Gendarmerie counterattacked almost immediately with mortars and sniping.  This action has been called the First Battle of the Tunnel; 36 Infantry Battalion fought in the Second Battle of the Tunnel in December 1961.

C Company 35 Infantry Battalion personnel holding the Tunnel manned trenches from the start of Operation Morthor on 13 Sep until they were relieved by B Company on 18 Sep, and the two Companies rotated each week thereafter.  During this time, they were under fire from Gendarmerie mortars, medium machine guns, rifles and armour cars, this firing was intense up to 15 Sep and it was sporadic up to 21 Sep when a ceasefire agreement came into effect.  On 15 Sep, the Fouga jet dropped bombs or rockets on the positions at the Tunnel and no injuries were suffered.    

1 Platoon C Company minus one section was tasked to seize and hold College St Francois De Sales (known as the Radio College), the other section secured the Factory Camp.    Around 1200 hours the platoon minus at the Radio College was reduced to section strength as personnel were withdrawn, some were redeployed to guard the Italian-run UN Hospital where casualties from the fighting and from the earlier attacks by mobs were being treated. 

Heavy fighting continued across the city throughout the night of 13 Sep as UN positions came under attack.

Hostages.

At 1600 hours on 14 Sep, Lieutenant Tom Ryan, (Platoon Commander 1 Platoon) was guarding the Radio College with one Sergeant, two Corporals and Seven Privates, they had one Bren Light Machine Gun.  He was approached by a French mercenary in civilian attire along with a priest.  They knew the strength of the Irish guard at the Radio College was eleven and they had details of their weapons.  The showed him one Gendarmerie armoured car and a jeep on the street with a recoilless rifle covering the college, at a signal from the mercenary, armed whites in civilian attire and uniformed Gendarmerie appeared from firing positions in the surrounding buildings.  Lt Ryan was forced to surrender in the face of overwhelming opposition. The eleven C Company personnel were the first 35 Battalion personnel to be captured by the Gendarmerie and held as hostages.

While the names of those who surrendered at Jadotville have been in the public domain, little has been written about the Radio Station prisoners.  They were Lieutenant Tom Ryan, Sergeant J O’Driscoll, Corporals M Conway and A Colclough, Privates W Browne, E Donohue, T Daly, J Doyle, C Doolan, P Moriarty and M Moran, 3 Infantry Battalion was the parent unit of all the enlisted personnel.  They were joined in captivity by personnel from the Cahalane Patrol on15 Sep.

They were held initially at a farm southeast of Elisabethville, on 16 Sep they were moved further south to Munama near the border with Northern Rhodesia and about 30 Km from Elisabethville

On 18 Sep, an officer and five enlisted personnel from the Italian Hospital were taken prisoner at the Italian Stores Depot in Elisabethville and they were brought to Munama.  The Irish and Italian prisoners were guarded by between sixty and eighty Paracommandos who were commanded by a French mercenary Captain.  On the night of 21 – 22 Sep the prisoners were moved to Briqueville.  On the following day they were driven on an eighth hour journey to Jadotville where they joined the A Company hostage.   

On 25 Oct, the C Company hostages and other UN personnel were released at the Old Air Strip in Elisabethville in exchange for Gendarmerie and Katangese police who had been captured by the UN.   

Best wishes to all our members out there assisting the H.S.E.and pharmacies fight this virus.Also members who are helping out their fellow veterans by making contact with them.We include here members who are assisting in distributing food cloud  medicines and other items to Veterans in need.Thank you for your service and keep safe.

wallpaper-s7-bigON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL CHAIRMAN AND NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE WE WISH ALL OUR MEMBERS, THEIR FAMILIES AND OUR FELLOW VETERANS A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A BRIGHT NEW YEAR.  KEEP SAFE AND WELL IN THESE STRANGE TIMES.

SEE VIDEO IN VIDEO GALLERY

Sixty years ago on 3rd October 1960,  the Defence Force suffered its first death on overseas service when Company Sergeant Felix Grant, B Company, 33rd Infantry Battalion died at the King Albert Hospital, Albertville in the Republic of the Congo on Monday 3rd October 1960 following an operation for appendicitis.  33rd Infantry Battalion lost a total of twelve men, including those killed in the Niemba Ambush six weeks later 8th November 1960.  

Felix Grant was 43 years of age when he died, and his home unit was the 12th Infantry Battalion.  He was buried at St Patrick’s cemetery Clonmel on 26th October 1960.  He was born in Ballynagross, near Downpatrick, County Down in 1917 and he enlisted in the Defence Forces in Limerick in 1940.  He served for a short time in Ballincollig and then moved to Clonmel.  He married Catherine Lillis in Clonmel in 1945 and they had three children, two boys (twins) and a girl.  The two boys, Tony and Billy later enlisted at the Army Apprentice School and served for some years in the Defence Forces.  Tony completed three tours of duty in Cyprus and one tour in the Sinai with UNEF 11.  He is a member of Post 24 in Clonmel.

80322 Company-Sergeant Felix Grant was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal with  Merit and the citation reads as follows:                                                                                                For distinguished service with the United Nations Force in the Republic of the Congo, for devotion to duty and zeal of a high order. He continued to discharge his duties in an exemplary and devoted manner although suffering from an illness which eventually caused his death.

Press release - I.U.N.V.A Irish Red Cross Beirut Relief Fund
In the immediate aftermath of the tragic explosion in Beirut on Tuesday which has left many
Lebanese citizens dead, injured and now homeless and destitute, the Irish United Nations
Veterans Association have set up a GoFundMe page and is inviting everyone to donate.
The Irish Defence Force have served around the world on peacekeeping missions since 1958
and have served in Lebanon continuously since 1978. We have been recognised as Military
Ambassadors for Ireland and have assisted the Lebanese population in many ways, especially
with humanitarian help and aid from the Irish contingent in the UNIFIL Peace Mission. We
have supported the Lebanese people through every major disaster and incident since 1978.
Today, we have Defence Force Peacekeepers serving in Lebanon, they are continuing our
relationship with all the Lebanese communities. We have a close affiliation with them and
now, we would like to help the people of Beirut, Lebanon at this tragic time.
All proceeds will be donated to the Lebanese Red Cross/International Red Cross through our
own Irish Red Cross. It is imperative to get the funds to the people on the ground doing the
hands-on work and helping those who need it most.
This is the quickest and safest way to transfer the funds. This GoFundMe page will close at
1200 hrs on Monday 31 August and the funds in totality will be presented to Jocelino Jorge,
Head of Fund Raising, Irish Red Cross.
This is what we do, Irish Defence Forces, Veterans, families and friends of the Irish Military
Community, by donating any amount, we will be helping those caught up in this tragic
disaster.
IUNVA, on behalf of all Irish members serving, veterans and families of the military
community would be grateful for your donation to provide comfort and support to the victims
of this disaster.
The Red Cross's immediate actions on the ground would be and not limited to:
-Providing emergency transportation to and from hospitals
-Providing temporary accommodation for the 300,000 people who are displaced
-Providing hygiene and sanitary services and products to the affected
-Food, water, shelter to those affected
This is only the immediate impact and actions. The Red Cross will also be running programs
on rebuilding livelihood once the immediate and secondary phase is 'over
Postal donations, made payable to IUNVA Beirut Relief Fund can be posted to;
Derek Judge, National Secretary, IUNVA, Arbour House, 6, Mount Temple Road, Arbour
Hill, Dublin 7.
or
IUNVA Beirut Relief Fund, Irish Red Cross Head Office, 16 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 D02

GoFundMe <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

John Wade is Secretary of IUNVA Post 2 here in Kerry. Post 2 of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association were proud to have John, who hails from the Creggan Estate in Derry but is resident in Listowel, travel to attend the funeral of John Hume in his hometown.

John met with Pat Hume and the grieving family and offered them the sincere condolences of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association.

He told Pat - "The Irish United Nations Veterans Association offer you our sincerest condolences. We were Peacekeepers and John was a Peacemaker".

This was gratefully acknowledged by Mrs. Hume who was a great strength behind John Hume's determination to bring peace to the island despite the verbal snipers.

When the hearse and family cars turned out from St. Eugene's Cathedral to bring John on his final journey to the City Cemetery, John Wade stood on the roadside of Creggan Hill and saluted the passing hearse, and family cars, whilst all around people loudly applauded.

John-Wade-Post-2-IUNVA-

 

IUNVA-Post-2---John-Wade--Condolences-to-Pat-Hume-and-Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 MEMBERS OF IUNVA AND ONE ESCORTING FUNERAL OF LATE MICHAEL HASLEM - REST IN PEACE MICHAEL.

MICK-HASLAM

 

 UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon meeting members of IUNVA at McKee Barracks on 07 July 2009 during a visit to Ireland.  (Shaking hands with Michael Haslem.)

 MickHaslam-UNSG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 IUNVA PROMOTION VIDEO

The IUNVA promotion video can be viewed by going to Galleries - click on Video Galleries it is the first video in the sequence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GN4DAT15921981jpg--breaking126newcasesofcovid19confirmedinirelandonenewcaseinlimerick COVID---19-Public-Health-Advice

IUNVA Veterans Support

THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE EXTEND THEIR THANKS AND APPRECIATION  TO OUR BRAVE MEMBERS WHO ARE PARTICIPATING VOLUNTARY IN DELIVERING PRESCRIPTIONS, DRIVING DETAILS, FOOD DISTRIBUTION AND MANY OTHER TASKS THEY ARE CURRENTLY UNDERTAKING AT THEIR OWN RISK DURING COVID 19 EPIDEMIC.

During this challenging time please remember that some veterans, their families and more vulnerable members of the community will become quite isolated over the coming weeks.

If you are aware of a veteran, a family member, a neighbour or know of someone in your community who may be vulnerable or uses our services, please keep an eye on them (in compliance with HSE guidelines).

Please ensure they have a phone they can use.

If you are worried about the welfare of a veteran, please contact HQ IUNVA - Tel: +353 (0)1 - 679 1262  - Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There is a lot of untrue stories being published as Fact.  Please ensure to get your Facts from credible sources, the HSE website for information on COVID 19 is:

https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 COVID 19 VIRUS

Due to current situation regarding Covid 19 Virus all meetings and ceremonies in IUNVA are deferred until further notice.  We will keep you informed, keep safe and healthy.

 

 

 

 

MajorGeneralKieranBrennanTHE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES THAT MAJ. GEN. KIERAN BRENNAN HAS ACCEPTED THE POST OF DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF IUNVA.  HE HAS AGREED TO REPRESENT US AT MEETINGS WITH DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.  CEREMONIAL AND TO ASSIST US IN ANY WAY THAT WILL BENEFIT OUR ASSOCIATION.

 HIS APPOINTMENT WILL BE RATIFIED AT NEXT AGC.

 

 

Code of Conduct Agreement Peer Counselling Group

Participants who present under the influence of substances / intoxicated will not be permitted to engage in the group.

Participants who do not agree to engage in any extra supports recommended by the group counsellor will not be permitted to attend the group – one to one engagement with alternative professional supports (physical attendance / telephone) enables participants and the group to maintain its primary focus as a Peer Counselling Group.

The counsellor works from an evidence based best practice approach in line with BACP Standards. Evidence identifies the benefit (Catharsis) of peer group counselling to enable a more effective group therapy by giving the participant the opportunity to discuss their adverse and positive experiences in a therapeutic focused setting. The role of the group is to support participants through discussion; understanding; validation of issues and to empower participants through a collective supportive group process and setting.

Counsellors are responsible for managing the group and are duty bound to maintain a safe effective functioning environment in line with IUNVA policies.  They receive supervision re their group facilitation and through this process are required to explore/discuss group dynamics; challenges; positive/negative areas to enable IUNVA to provide necessary supports to maintain a supportive functioning group.

IUNVA reserve the right to withdraw access to the group if an individual’s behaviour (internally/externally) undermines or impacts negatively on the group and/or any of its participants 

 

 

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THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE WISH ALL OUR MEMBERS, THEIR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A BRIGHT NEW YEAR.

 

Funeral of Brendan Grace RIP

BrendanOn 13th July 2019 IUNVA received a personal request from the family of Brendan Grace through the undertaker for 30 members of IUNVA to provide a Guard of Honour and a Piper at the St. Nicholas of Myra Church,  Francis Street, Dublin'in the Liberties on Monday 15th July 2019.  This was a great honour for our Association and we gladly accepted the request with deepest sympathy and dignity.  On arrival at the church the remains were piped by Anto Byrne IUNVA Piper through a Guard of honour of 30 members of IUNVA, under Michael Dillon the Parade Commander.  IUNVA offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Grace Family on their loss and are honoured to have taken part in Brendan's Funeral.

KillarneyUN Peacekeepers honoured at Killarney ceremony

IRISH UN VETERANS HONOURED IN KILLARNEY  JUNE 4th 2019 Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe pictured after accepting the Mons Hugh O'Flaherty Humanitarian Award 2019 on behalf of the Defence Forces in St. Mary's Church of Ireland, Killarney on Tuesday evening. Also in photo are Mayor of Killarney Niall Kelleher, Jim Casey, Chairman, IUNVA, Major General Kieran Brennan, Deputy Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Patrick Flynn and UN Veteran John O'Mahony, Hugh O'Flaherty, Pearl Dineen, Jerry O'Grady and invited guests. Photo: Don MacMonaglePress release: Before a large audience in the unique and beautiful St Mary’s Church of Ireland in Killarney, including foreign Ambassadors and Diplomats and UN Veterans, Killarney’s Deputy Mayor Niall Kelleher presented the Hugh O’Flaherty Humanitarian Award Scroll last evening to Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe and Irish UN Veterans Chairman Jim Casey. Representing the Hugh O’Flaherty Family and Memorial Society, Judge Hugh O’Flaherty and Pearl Dineen presented the International Humanitarian Medal to Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Kieran Brennan and Brigadier General Patrick Flynn. The Award Ceremony was preceded by a powerful performance by Donal Courtney of his acclaimed one-man play “God Has No Country”, receiving a standing ovation from all present. In his introduction, Memorial Society Chairman Jerry O’Grady said, “Heroes are often defined as those who give of themselves, often putting their own lives at risk for the greater good of others. By this measure, without seeking fame or fortune, the brave men and women of the Irish Defence Forces wearing the iconic blue beret, are truly heroes, deserving of our unbridled admiration and support” Addressing the gathering, Deputy Mayor Niall Kelleher said, “From Lebanon to Cyprus and from El Salvador to Kosovo, Irish UN peacekeepers have always served with diligence and distinction. Irish Defence Forces in particular have always been warmly welcomed wherever they have served. That honourable service has probably come to greater public attention in recent years through the telling of the story of the Siege of Jadotville, but for decades now, Irish men and women have proudly entered some of the world’s most dangerous and volatile regions. It is important to remember at time too those 86 members of our Defence Forces who have paid the ultimate sacrifice”. In his acceptance speech, Minister Paul Kehoe said, “Just like the incredible humanitarian work carried out by Monsignor O’Flaherty over 75 years ago, the Irish Defence Forces have also brought great honour to Ireland through their participation in peacekeeping operations over the last 60 years. One of the elements that I am often struck by as Minister is the deep respect and admiration for the Irish Defence Forces right around the world”. The Minister added, “Ireland’s unbroken and proud history of participation in UN missions is one of the things that helps makes us stand out as a nation. It strengthens our values; it deepens our international relations; it shows that one small country can make a huge difference on the global stage. As Minister, I am determined that we continue our great Peacekeeping tradition”. The minister paid a special tribute to one member of the audience, Scartaglin native Irish UN Veteran John O’Mahony. In 1980 while serving in the Lebanon, John was shot and seriously injured but happily he survived. Sadly, two of his colleagues, Pte Derek Smallhorne and Pte Thomas Barrett were killed. The final element of the Award Ceremony was the presentation of a generous bursary to the Veterans Association by Donal Hickey, Vice Chair of the Muckross House Trustees Board. Included in the audience were four members of the Raaijmakers family from the Netherlands. Their uncle Anton Musters (Fr Anselmus) was an Augustinian Priest in Rome and an active member of the Rome Escape Line. One month before the Liberation of Rome, he was captured by the Gestapo, interrogated and tortured, but he refused to reveal any information on the Rome organisation. He was being transported to a prison camp in Germany when he escaped during a stopover in Florence and returned to Rome on the day of Liberation. If Fr Anselmus had given up the Rome Organisation during torture, it is probable the Msgr Hugh and many others would not have survived the war. His bravery saved the lives of many of the Escape Line organisers. Earlier in the day, to mark the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Rome, two symbolic trees were planted in the Graveyard of the O’Connell Memorial Church in Cahersiveen, the burial place of Monsignor Hug O’Flaherty. Further Information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2019-Humanitarian-Award-Framed-Scroll-1Humanitarian Award Ceremony 4th June 2019

Killarney Co. Kerry

The Hugh O'Flaherty Annual Commemorations Award  for 2019 will be awarded to Defence Forces and Irish United Nations Veterans Associations for their Service on UN Peacekeeping missions for the past 50 years.

Presenting Party:

  • Mayor of Killarney

O’Flaherty Family or Society Representative

 

Accepting Party:

  • Minister Paul Kehoe
  • COS Mark Mellett
  • Defence Forces Member (Selected by COS)
  • IUNVA Representative Chairman Jim Casey

Speakers

  • MC – Jerry O’Grady (O’Flaherty Society)
  • Pre-Award – Mayor of Killarney
  • Jim Casey
  • Post-Award – Minister Paul Kehoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Contact IUNVA

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Mount Temple Road
Dublin 7 

T: +353(0)1-6791262
E: iunvahq7@gmail.com

 

 

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