On Friday 22nd November 1963, just five months after his Irish visit, President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

At 9.30 the following evening Lt Col Cyril Mattimoe, Commandant of the Cadet School, Military College, Curragh Camp, received a phone call at his home from the Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Sean MacEoin to inform him that Irish Cadets were to provide a Guard of Honour at the funeral on Monday 25th November.

The Guard of Honour provided by the 36th Cadet Class at Arbour Hill in June 1963 had pleased President Kennedy to such an extent that he requested footage of the drill on his return to the United States. Unfortunately there was no suitable footage extant and the 36th Cadet Class had been commissioned in July 1963 and dispersed across the country. As a result the 37th Cadet Class began their ceremonial drill training prematurely to provide the footage required for a film of the President's tour of Ireland.

Soon afterwards 26 members of this class would, at the invitation of Jacqueline Kennedy, provide the same Guard of Honour at the late President's graveside.

Read Lt Col Mattimoe's personal recollections from the Cadets' trip below. These reminiscences were published in a special edition of An Cosantóir in September 1979 which was issued to commemorate the Cadet School's 50th anniversary.

The Cadets flew from Collinstown Airport (now Dublin Airport) to New York on board the same flight as President Éamon de Valera on Sunday 24th November.

From New York they flew to Washington where they were met by US Army transport and taken to Fort Meyer, Arlington. They were billeted with the 3rd Infantry 'The Old Guard' at Fort Meyer for the duration of their trip. 

Click on the photograph below to look through our photo gallery showing de Valera's inspection of Cadets, their HQ at Fort Meyer and their participation in the funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

Rehearsal

To see a short clip of the Cadets at Kennedy's graveside go to British Pathé's excellent online resource at www.britishpathe/video/selected-originals-president-assassinated The Cadets appear at 09.35 minutes.