• December 4, 2017

A ceremony took place in Athlone on December 2nd 2017 to honour Irish veterans of the UN Congo peacekeeping force that fought in the Siege of Jadotville.

The event is one of a number this year which has hghlighted the long overlooked courage of the very small UN detachment at Jadotville (155 men) who resisted attacks by a force of over 3000 including foreign mercenaries. The attackers also were assisted by aircraft.

This afternoons event at Custume Barracks, Athlone will see surviving members of the 35th Infantry Battalion and families of the deceased awarded the Jadotville Medal by Defence Minister Paul Kehoe.

It follows years of campaigning for the men to be honoured for their bravery during the UN peacekeeping operation in the Congo in 1961.

The 155 troops, drawn mainly from the barracks in Athlone and Mullingar, survived almost a week of sustained attacks from thousands of rebels.

A specially commissioned medal, An Bonn Jadotville 2017 has the word “Jadotville” depicted on its clasp while the medal ribbon represents a combination of an Irish tricolour and the United Nations Operation in Congo mission medal.

The medal also depicts a warrior of the ancient Fianna with a sword and shield: to the left is a reproduction of the Irish overseas flash while surrounding the central motif are the words “Cosaint Chalma” (Valiant Defence) and “Misneach” (Courage).
The reverse contains a unique unit identification representing A Coy, 35 Cathlan Eireannach (Irish Battalion).

Image: UN peacekeepers at Jadotville just prior to the battle

Bernard Moffatt
pp Celtic League



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