This revealing book is based on the personal reminiscences of Irish Army veterans who served with the UN peacekeeping forces in the Congo from 1960 to 1964. In addition to tracking down foot soldiers, retired battalion commanders and journalists who covered the Congo, the author has also spoken to Belgians who were part of the pre-independence administration in the huge African colony, Swedish soldiers who played key roles as interpreters for Irish Army units, a Congolese clergyman and a Congolese journalist from Kinshasa. The book also takes a refreshing and controversial look at the Congo in the immediate wake of independence in mid-1960, after almost a century of Belgian rule. Here, published for the first time, are secret dossiers and previously unpublished photographs of military and civilian life in the newly independent Congo, which challenges the received understanding of such events as the Niemba massacre and the fighting to end the secession of Katanga, including the battle of Jadotville. The Irish Army in the Congo provides fascinating background to the development of UN peacekeeping missions around the world. This was the first major overseas mission in which Irish troops had ever been involved and the personal accounts gathered for this book shed valuable light on this chapter of Irish military history.
Table of Contents
Editor’s Foreward ~ Dr David O’Donoghue
Preface ~ Colonel Ned Doyle, retd.
- The Journalist’s Tale ~ Mr. Cathal O’Shannon
- The Dream of an Independent Congo Died with Lumumba ~ Rev. Dr. Daniel did-Mbwangi Diafwila
- To the Congo on a Wing and a Prayer ~ Lt. Col Mortimer Buckley, retd.
- Reminiscences of a Colonial Administrator ~ Mr. Emmanuel de Beer de Laer
- The UN Special Representative’s View ~ Dr Conor Cruise O’Brien
- A Better Future Beckons Beyond Shadows of the Past ~ Mr. J. J. Arthur Malu-Malu
- A Belgian Prosecutor Remembers ~ Mr. Jacques de Jaer
- Reporting the Congo Under Fire ~ Mr. Alan Bestic
- The Scars of Niemba ~ Brig.-Gen. P.D. Hogan, retd.
- Reliving the Nightmare ~ Mr. Thomas Kenny
- A Niemba Survivor Remembers ~ Mr. Joseph Fitzpatrick
- A Swedish Interpreter’s Viewpoint ~ Mr. Stig von Bayer
- Plus ca Change … ~ Lt Col Eoghan O’Neill, retd.
- Through Belgian Eyes: The Decade of Transition ~ Mme. Henriette Cardon-Sips
- Fighting for Our Lives With ‘Jadotville Jack’ ~ Mr. Pat Dunleavy
- Remembering Jadotville ~ Mr Lars Froberg
- A Retired Chief of Staff Reflects on the Congo ~ Lt-General Louis Hogan, retd.
- The Army Doctor’s Story ~ Dr Joseph Laffan
- An Army Chaplain Remembers ~ Fr. Ronald Neville
- To the Congo with Some Rosary Beads ~ Fr Colum Swan
- The View From Léopoldville HQ ~ Major-General Vincent Savino, retd.
- Memories of an Irish UN Liaison Officer ~ Captain Pádraig O Siochrú, retd.
- The Foot Soliders’ Stories
- Key Dates
- Record of Irish Army’s Unit Service with ONUC, 1960-1964
- Baluba Report on Niemba Battle, 8 Nov 1960
- Original French Text
- Extracts from 33rd Battalion’s Unit History on the Discovery of the Remains of Tpr Browne in 1962
- Report – Recovery of Remains of Tpr Browne in the Niemba Area (Nov 1962)
About the Author
David O’Donoghue is the author of Hitler’s Irish Voices: The Story of German Radio’s Wartime Irish Service, which is considered the standard historical work on Nazi broadcast propaganda to neutral Ireland in the 1939-45 period. Dr. O’Donoghue holds a PhD from Dublin City University and is a regular contributor on historical matters to the Sunday Business Post (Dublin). He works as a reporter in the Irish Parliament (Oireachtas Eireann).