Killea veteran Bobby Bradley was honoured at a special ceremony today at Killea Parish Hall hosted by the Irish UN Veterans Association.
The Jadotville tiger, from Garshooey, was the proud recipient of the Jadotville Medal (An Bonn Jadotville) which is inscribed with ‘cosaint chalma’ and ‘misneach’, meaning “valiant defence” and “courage”.
Former Private Robert Laurence Bradley was one of the 158 A Company 35th Battalion troops who was deployed to Central Africa in 1961 amid political tumult in the Congo.
11 of these troops were from Donegal; Robert Bradley, James Gormley, Harry Hegarty, Michael McDermott, the late William George Duffy, the late James Harper, the late Patrick Gildea, Leo Boland, the late Patrick Nicell, the late Seamus O’Kane, and the late Sean Kerr.
Defence Minister Paul Kehoe hosted a medal presentation in Athlone last December, but due to ill health Bobby Bradley was unable to attend.
The Seige of Jadotville happened in 1961 during the United Nations intervention in the conflict when a group of Irish soldiers were attacked by Tshombe’s troops while at mass.
Despite a lack of ammunition, the men resisted the assault from 5,000 Katanganese troops for six days before being forced to surrender.
Led by Comdt. Pat Quinlan, not one of the men perished during the assault despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered, and were held as Prisoners of War for a month.
Minister Kehoe marked the 55th anniversary of the Seige in September 2016 by presenting a Unit Citation to the veterans in recognition of their bravery and heroism. This was the first time a Unit Citation has been awarded within the Defence Forces.
You can check out Donegal Daily’s picture special of Bobby Bradley’s medal presentation by following the link below: