A company of soldiers which fought against overwhelming odds in the Congo for three days are to be finally honoured by the state today.
The Siege of Jadotville in December 1961 was one of the most dramatic events in the Irish army’s history.
The 150 troops of ‘A’ Company fought for three days against up to 4,000 Kataganians in the Congo town but had to surrender after they became hopelessly cut off from other UN forces.
Defence Minister Willie O’Dea is to unveil a commemorative plaque at Custume Army Barracks in Athlone at 4.30pm with the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Jim Sreenan.
The ceremony is the first official recognition of ‘A’ company’s courage and determination in the face of extreme adversity.
They killed and wounded hundreds of the opposing Katanga Forces and held their positions until they ran out of ammunition, food and water.
But many of the soldiers, who were all handed back unharmed to the UN, felt they were viewed as cowards within the Army and that the incident had been airbrushed out of military history.
It was the subject of a recently-published book, ‘Siege at Jadotville’ by the journalist and former army officer Declan Power.