Niemba - In Memoriam



Scipio

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Fair play, Cruimh. The Irish Army have a laudable peacekeeping record, and despite a lack of funding over many years, have proven themselves to be top soldiers.

It's a pity that such relatively large peacekeeping deployments as have been carried out in the past seem less and less available for Irish soldiers today. The Army Ranger Wing is one part of the Army which, I'm sure, would value more opportunities abroad.
 

former wesleyan

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Catalpa

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From my old Blog Irish History on this Day:

8 November 1960: An eleven-man Irish patrol under Lt Kevin Gleeson was ambushed by Baluba tribesmen at a river crossing near the village of Niemba, in the Congo. The patrol was surrounded by up to 100 African warriors who attacked them with primitive weapons and killed all but two of their number. Though well armed with 2 Bren guns, 4 Gustaf sub-machine guns and 4 rifles it seems the men were taken unawares and unable to organise any effective resistance befoe been overcome. One of the party, the Medical Officer, carried no weapon at all. Nor did they have any wireless equipment to which to signal their plight. Their opponents carried bows and arrows, spears, panga knives and clubs. The action had commenced at approximately 3 p.m. local time. The first search party left Albertville at 10.30 p.m., arrived at Niemba at 3.45 a.m. and was on the scene of the ambush about first light on 9 November. The remains of eight of the victims were found almost immediately but those of Trooper Anthony Browne could not be located. An intensive search for him proved fruitless and he was officially posted "missing - presumed dead". It was not until a year later almost to the date that Trooper Brown's body was found. Trooper Brown had survived the ambush and wandered in the jungle until he came upon some Baluba women who gave him up to a party of Baluba men, who murdered him.

Two of the Platoon survived to tell the story of the ambush. They were Troopers Thomas Kenny and Private Joe Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick recalled that:

The air was suddenly black with a shower of arrows, and the Buluba let out blood-curdling yells that sounded like a war cry and rushed down the road like madmen, jumping in the air and waving their weapons.

The names of the men who were ambushed were:

KIA:
Lt Kevin Gleeson (Co)
Sgt Hugh Gaynor
Cpl. Liam Duggan
Pte.Matthew Farrell (Unarmed Medic)
Pte Gerard Kileen
Cpl. Peter Kelly, Driver
Tpr Thomas Fellell
Pte. Michael McGuinn

Murdered on Capture:
Tpr Anthony Browne

Survived:
Pte Joseph Fitzpatrick
Pte Thomas Kenny

The death of nine Irish soldiers on the Irish Army’s first large scale overseas Mission shocked the Nation when word of this terrible massacre reached Home. Many recalled the hope and pride that had been felt by the Irish People when the soldiers had departed from Ireland just a few short months beforehand.

RIP
 

Green eyed monster

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It is hard to celebrate anything in the last 100 years of Congo's history apart from the rise of Patrice Lumumba.

The UN Security Council endorsed the removal of Lumumba and paved the way for the rise of the warlords, i wonder what the country might have accomplished if it wasn't for the Western need to see colonialism replaced with a horrible internal dictatorship?

The Irish fought bravely against the pro-colonialists in this war but overall the Congo would continue it's plunge into hell, it's agony is still ongoing and it has neither the intelligence and vision of a Lumumba or even the security of a Mobutu now. When the Irish defenders were captured i wonder did they see any white faces among the Katangans? There must have been many European mercenaries there at least. Good to be on the side fighting against that sort.

Pity the example shown by the Irish in the Congo, was not followed in the Balkans
You mean the Dutch UN at Srebrenica?
 


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