Castlebar resident Noel Carey, now in his eighties, is the last surviving officer of the Siege of Jadotville, that occurred back in 1961, when he was part of an Irish Battalion deployed to the Congo as part of an United Nations peace mission.
A movie on the historic battle entitled 'Jadotville' starred actorJamie Dornan.
Jamie liaised with Noel as he prepared for his role as Commnading Officer, Pat Quinlan in the film.
There have been many TV documentaries produced on 'Jadotville' , and Noel has featured as a guest on many of these.
Noel served in the Irish Defence Forces for over 20 years, mainly with the 6th Infantry Battalion in Athlone.
He was a young Platoon Commander with A Company of the 35th Irish Battalion which deployed to the Congo in 1961. A Company ended up fighting a heroic battle against mercenary soldiers and Katangese soldiers for over five days at Jadotville.They endured artillery, machine gun fire and numerous attacks by both day and night during this time. They were also attacked and bombed and machined gunned from the air.
The events at Jadotville received little publicity at the time and it was really with the publication of Declan Power’s book, The Siege of Jadotville, and the subsequent film starring Jamie Dornan that the members of A Company finally got the recognition they deserved.
At a special ceremony held in Custume Barracks, Athlone, in 2017 the surviving members of A Company 35th Battalion were presented with the Jadotville Medal by the Minister for Defence and the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces.
Noel has been telling Midwest News about some of what occurred sixty years ago now…