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60th Anniversary death of CS Grant

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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.

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