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heirflick

The Seige of Jadotville

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I know most of you would have by now seen the film 'The Seige of Jadotville',  where 155 men of  A company , 35 Batallion of the Irish Army under the command of Comdt Pat Quinlan defended Jadotville against a force of over 3,000 Katangese for 6 days,  killing over 300  with 1000+ casualties without a single fatality to his troops. I will not talk about the shameful way these men were ignored and branded cowards on return to Ireland by their own units and by the Government,  instead I would like to share with you a true story.

        I had the privilege of meeting a few of the survivors of the seige in Mullingar some time ago and apart from feeling so proud , I gained nothing but the highest respect for them. On to the story.......  one told of when they were in captivity, they were allowed play the ould bit of hurling. After witnessing a fierce clash on the pitch,  one of the guards asked what they were playing.  On being told it was 'hurling' the Irish national game,  the guard smiled and said  'If we knew you played a game like this - we never would have attacked you in the first placce!!

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4 minutes ago, heirflick said:

. . .        I had the privilege of meeting a few of the survivors of the seige in Mullingar some time ago and apart from feeling so proud , I gained nothing but the highest respect for them. On to the story.......  one told of when they were in captivity, they were allowed play the ould bit of hurling. After witnessing a fierce clash on the pitch,  one of the guards asked what they were playing.  On being told it was 'hurling' the Irish national game,  the guard smiled and said  'If we knew you played a game like this - we never would have attacked you in the first place!!

 

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That is a truly superb story.

While I know it's probably not the stuff of a model railway website, I was unaware of how (and now wonder why) these men were so treated on their return.

Did the state ever apologise? If not it seems long overdue.

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The fact that they had to surrender because of lack of supplies and ammunition was seen by the Irish Government as embarrassing and an excuse not to honour these brave men because of political and strategic errors by the UN at the time

Indeed the term Jadotville Jack was used later in the Irish Army to describe anyone who neglected to do his duty.

Great film by the way, check it out if you have not seen it, its on Netflicks.

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Thanks, Wrenn, very interesting. A disgraceful, disgusting way for the state to treat these men. I'm sure they wondered what sort of country they were wearing the uniforms of.

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18 minutes ago, jhb171achill said:

Thanks, Wrenn, very interesting. A disgraceful, disgusting way for the state to treat these men. I'm sure they wondered what sort of country they were wearing the uniforms of.

It was finally announced in June this year  by the Minister for Defence, Paul Kehoe  that the men of A company 35 Battalion that served in this action are finally to receive medals - the type has yet to be decided. I my view nothing but the  Military Medal for Gallantry with Honour is good enough and  I hope they don't drag out the process like they have done  with acknowledging their heroism.

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9 hours ago, WRENNEIRE said:

As if a medal could make up for the way these hero's were treated 

Well said Dave,.  Shameful to treat our soldiers  like that.  Little use a medal when some of them  went to their grave thinking

they were tarnished, when in fact they were Heroes.our government at the time were the cowards for letting them down.

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10 hours ago, WRENNEIRE said:

As if a medal could make up for the way these hero's were treated 

I will not Dave, nor will it ever.  But the past is the past and while it is a discrase that it has taken too long to give them the recognition they deserve (which is a cause for nothing but shame on the Government and the army top brass), their heroism has been acknowledged and celebrated much to the delight of the surviving men and the families of the deceased.   Comdt Quinlans action and that of his men at Jadotville is cited in military textbooks worldwide as the best example of the use of the  'Perimeter Defence' -   a great complement for a small bunch of soldiers who experienced their first action!

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