Leaving for Congo
Interviewed for MAOHP - 15/12/2017
Reference Code: MAOHP_010_1
Location(s): Casement Aerodrome Congo
In this clip, Company Sergeant Joe Mallon, a native of Ballysax in County Kildare speaks about his family's feelings on his tour to the Congo. Joe was 17 years of age when he first went to the Congo with the first group to travel there (32nd Battalion). He recalls the day they left Baldonnel and remembers Archbishop John Charles McQuaid blessing them and giving them general absolution. He recalls his feelings as he boarded the Globemaster plane at Baldonnel aerodrome. In July 1960, Irish troops were sent to the Congo as part of the United Nations force. The Belgian Congo became an independent Republic on 30 June 1960. Soon after, the Congolese government requested military assistance from the United Nations to maintain its territorial integrity. On 28 July 1960 Lt-Col Murt Buckley led the 32nd Irish Battalion (including Joe Mallon) to the newly independent central African country. From 1960 to 1964, 26 Irish soldiers lost their lives in the Congo.