60th anniversary marked with plaque for soldier

60th anniversary Congo marked plaque soldier
03/02/2018. A plaque in memory of Sgt Hugh Gaynor. Pictured (Center) UN – Veteran 2nd Staff Private Thomas C Kenny who survived the Niemba Ambush in 1960 and who served with gt Hugh Gaynor. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

60th anniversary of Congo marked with plaque for soldier

An Irish soldier who died in the Congo in 1960 was honoured at a ceremony in Blanchardstown in Dublin.

Sergeant Hugh Gaynor was one of nine Irish soldiers killed in the Niemba Ambush, when an eleven-man Irish patrol was attacked by Baluba tribesmen four months into their United Nations mission.

Crowds gathered in Sgt Gaynor’s home village of Blanchardstown where the plaque was unveiled by Fingal Mayor Mary McCamley.

The event was organised by a childhood neighbour, retired Air Corp pilot Commandant Frank Russell. Sgt Gaynor’s only surviving daughter, Sally Tallon, was also at the ceremony as were members of the Irish United Nations Veterans Association.

This year is the 60th Anniversary of Ireland sending its Defence Forces to take part in UN peacekeeping around the world. In those years some 87 people lost their lives on missions.

Sergeant Gaynor served with the 33rd Infantry Battalion which was deployed to the Congo in late 1960.

On 8 November 1960, while on patrol at Niemba eleven members of the Platoon led by Lieutenant Kevin Gleeson were ambushed. Nine of the eleven men died including Sergeant Gaynor and Lieutenant Gleeson.

Ireland’s Defence Forces have the longest unbroken record of peacekeeping duties of any country in the world.

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