Art Magennis DSM, Commandant (retired), was born in Ardglass, County Down in September 1919. In June 1940 he and a friend travelled from Down to Dublin to join the Irish army after hearing the then Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera, on the radio. He went on to serve in the Defence Forces for thirty-nine years until his retirement in September 1979. In 1961 he went overseas with the 35th Infantry Battalion to the Congo where he was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for his service. Comdt Magennis was interviewed for the Military Archives Oral History Project in June 2016.

In this clip, Commandant Magennis remembers that journey in June 1940 to Dublin and being taken to Cathal Brugha Barracks by his uncle Eamon, who was also in the Irish Army.

In this clip, Commandant Magennis recounts his first meal with the Irish Army after he enlisted in June 1940.

In this clip, Commandant Magennis remembers with pride, his first time dressing in the full Irish Army uniform to go into Dublin City.

In this clip, Commandant Magennis remembers his arrival in the Congo for the first time in 1961 and his witnessing of a plane crash close to their base. 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 to the newly independent central African country. From 1960 to 1964, 26 Irish soldiers lost their lives in the Congo.

In this clip, Commandant Magennis speaks about his connection to the story of Trooper Pat Mullins. Mullins, an 18-year-old soldier from Kilbehenny on the Cork-Limerick border was killed on 14 September 1961, when his armoured car was ambushed in the city of Elisabethville in Katanga. Trooper Mullins was killed after a gun battle in which he heroically tried to protect a dying colleague, Corporal Nolan. After Mullins was eventually killed, both bodies were removed by the Katangese. Only after a determined search operation led by Art Magennis, was the body of Nolan recovered. However, the body of Trooper Pat Mullins was never recovered. Together with Private Kevin Joyce from Galway who was kidnapped and killed in the Lebanon in 1981, they are the only Irish soldiers to remain Missing in Action from Ireland's UN missions.

In this clip, Commandant Magennis briefly reflects back over his career and words of advice he received as a young cadet in June 1940.