The real veterans of A Company 35th Battalion, 157 Irishmen who withstood an attack by 3,000 soldiers of the Katanga Gendarmerie troops loyal to the Katangese Prime Minister, Moise Tshombe, while on a UN peace-keeping mission in the Congo in 1961, were awarded medals for bravery yesterday, at the Irish Army’s Custume Barracks in Athlone. Unfortunately, their commander, Pat Quinlan, died in 1997, with their bravery still unacknowledged.
The cast who played the Irish soldiers, and the crew of the true story documentary,’The Siege of Jadotville’, including Jamie Dornan and Jason O’Mara, were delighted, and released this statement:
“The cast and crew of Netflix’s film ‘The Siege of Jadotville’ feel privileged to have played a small part of this story and are delighted to see this day come for these soldiers and their families.
The untested men of A Company and their untried leader, Pat Quinlan, showed us a different type of Irish hero – comrades who left this island to do their duty in a foreign land.
It was their courage, their hidden courage, their unacknowledged courage that inspired all of us. The soldiers who are no longer with us are reminders that A Company and their families have lived under a disgraceful cloud.
Today, 56 years later, they have finally received the recognition they deserve.
Thank you and congratulations.”
For those unfamiliar with this heroic story, Declan Power’s history The Siege of Jadotville: The Irish Army’s Forgotten Battle (2005) was adapted as the film, The Siege of Jadotville, and released in October 2016. It is available to view on Netflix.