The Department of Defence has confirmed plans to honour Irish soldiers who fought in the Siege of Jadotville in 1961 and whose bravery was highlighted in a recent Netflix film starring Jamie Dornan.
The soldiers are to be awarded with medals for their bravery during the attack on the ‘A’ Company of the 35th Infantry Battalion by Katanga Gendarmerie troops.
The lightly armed Irish soldiers resisted Katangese assaults for a total of six days as a relief force of Irish and Swedish troops unsuccessfully attempted to reach the Irish force.
Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the decision to award these Irish soldiers “fully recognises their bravery and courage during the unique circumstances of the Siege of Jadotville.”
The medals will be awarded to the men of ‘A’ Company, 35th Infantry Battalion and the next of kin of deceased members.
Labour TD Willie Penrose welcomed the announcement made by Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe.
Wonderful news. Government have agreed to present medals to all the heroes from the Siege of Jadotville. They have waited so long for this pic.twitter.com/qZ8TufZhBH— PadraigMacLochlainn (@PadraigMacL) June 13, 2017
Deputy Penrose said, “Most of the 150 UN troops belonging to the “A” Company, who so gallantly defended the post at Jadotville, were based at the Custume Barracks in Athlone, and I know that this is something their families have been calling for, for a long time.”
“So while the awarding of this medal is long overdue, I hope that it will bring some comfort and resolution to the loved ones of these brave soldiers.”
The United Nations Operation in Congo was the first peacekeeping mission in which significant numbers of Irish soldiers took part.
Historical war film, The Siege of Jadotville, which is distributed on Netflix, tells the story of the Irish soldiers who fought in the Siege of Jadotville.
The movie which was first screened at the 2016 Galway Film Festival casts actors Jamie Dornan, Mark Strong and Mikael Persbrandt.
It tells of how ‘A’ Company of the 35th Infantry Battalion took responsibility for the UN post at Jadotville on September 3 1961.
On September 9, they were surrounded by a large force of Katangese Gendarmerie and early on the morning of the September 13, came under attack.
Despite their courageous resistance and the sustained efforts of 35 Infantry Battalion HQ to provide assistance, ‘A’ Company was taken into captivity on September 17.
They were held as prisoners of war for approximately one month, with no loss of life.
The United Nations Operation in Congo was the first peacekeeping mission in which significant numbers of Irish soldiers took part. A total of 6,000 Irish soldiers served in the Congo from 1960 until 1964.
A total of 6,000 Irish soldiers served in the Congo from 1960 until 1964.