Niemba Ambush – Peter Feely
Interviewed for MAOHP - 24/06/2016
Reference Code: IE_MA_MAC_006_MAOHP_001_L
Location(s): Curragh Camp
In this piece of audio taken from an interview on 24th June 2016, you will hear retired Colonel Peter Feely, a veteran of the Congo and one of three Platoon Commanders at the Battle of the Tunnel (December 1961). Colonel Feely was one of 14 men from 'A' Company of 36th Battalion, who received a DSM (Distinguished Service Medal). Here, Colonel Feely speaks about how the news filtered through about the Niemba Ambush (November 1960). He explains that a match was ongoing when the news came through and many of the soldiers playing knew some of those killed. Peter explains how the name Baluba became a derogatory name within the Irish army. The Niemba Ambush occurred on 8 November 1960 when an Irish Army platoon was ambushed in the Congo by Baluba tribesmen. Nine Irish soldiers were killed in the ambush which was the first time the Irish Army was involved in a battle on foreign soil. The army were in the Congo on a peacekeeping mission, as part of the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC). The nine Irish soldiers who died at Niemba were as follows: Lieutenant Kevin Gleeson of Carlow, Sergeant Hugh Gaynor of Leixlip, Corporal Peter Kelly of Templeogue, Corporal Liam Dougan of Cabra, Private Matthew Farrell of Jamestown, Dublin, Trooper Thomas Fennell of Donnycarney, Trooper Anthony Browne of Rialto, Private Michael McGuinn of Carlow, and Private Gerard Killeen of Rathmines. Some 25 Baluba tribesmen were also killed.