Got these photos from Pat McManus who served in B Coy in the Coastguard Station and was a contemporary of Peter Campbell. The motor bike photo is of Pat in Waterford and the other may be Kilkenny 1965 with left to right Liam ??, Charlie O’Driscoll ,??, Pat McManus
On the day of the Christmas party in the late 1980’s (I think it might have been 1987) we got to do riot training in ‘The Brugha’ before we headed off to the Hotel Pierre (as it then was) for the customary meal and feed of drink.
It was one of the better ‘Christmas events’ we enjoyed in the 1980’s; up there with the fund raising gun pull (tow) from Dalkey to Cathal Brugha in aid of the Children’s hospital in Crumlin.
The 2nd Battalion lent the equipment, while we provided our own rioters most of whom were recruits who relished the opportunity to legitimately throw things at us. The Barracks provided a suitable battleground in the form of a street like location in the laneway behind our stores and an ample supply of turf as ammunition for the mob to use.
I recall Noel Lyster and Sammy Campbell instructed us in the drills. Advancing; strategically repositioning to the rear; and opening the front rank for a snatch squad to charge out and come back with the prisoners. I remember somebody querying a statement that “…you drive everybody off the street”, with a question “..and what about innocent bystanders”? “Son”, came the reply, “by the time you get on the streets there will be no innocent bystanders”.
That set the mood for the afternoon.
The Platoon gets ready. The front rank was made up of the cream of B Company Left to right Kev Phelan dresses the front rank “number two, left foot forward slightly, STEADY… number three back slightly…STEADY’. Des FitzGerald wonders if the shield is the right way up or not and what would happen if it was upside down. The Colonel worries that this is all going to end badly in a personal liability claim that will drag on for ages and make loads of money for some lawyer. Kev Connolly crouches behind the shield to ensure his famous good looks are not damaged by somebody breaking his nose. Eamon Timlin adopts a casual poise while wondering if it is time for a smoke yet.
The Platoon advances towards the very naughty boys. The snatch squads, who carried short shields, were behind the first rank of long shields. They must have been incredibly short or lying down because they cannot be seen in the photo.
The rioters. They entered into the spirit of the occasion with great gusto…it was much nicer to flinging things at the NCO’s (mainly making up the front rank) and the trained men than being marched around the square.
Peter O’Brien and Alan Kavanagh show off the style of clothing and latest colours in Irish military fashion that year…big shoulders and Green. No change there then.
Rossa Lyons poses like some war-tourist in Beirut or Belfast getting a picture for the album. He took the photos with my camera although some of us in the Platoon below were not convinced that he hadn’t brought a personal stock of turf up on the roof to join in…
Another shot of the front rank but with Des FitzGerald missing as he takes the photo and tries to get clear instructions from Noel Lyster as to which way was up on the big shields.
Admin edit: The author of this memoir is Dermot Bradley, who is sadly no longer with us. Dermot went on to be a highly respected historian and decorated civilian in Germany. His honours included the Verdienstkreuz 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bundeswehr Cross of Honour in Gold (1993) and Honorary President of the Association of Defence and Security Policy in Nordrhein-Westfalen.
It was a great day for our “army”, having used tank operations of the German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and Colonel General Heinz Guderian. After 24 hours of “fighting” we had won the day. This was in September 1959. The eldest of our “soldiers” was just under 16 years of age. We were well (-self) trained soldiers, having read everything available about the First and Second World Wars and Ireland’s policy of neutrality. We were the born soldiers, divided into two groups. All the local boys played our War Games. It was clear that we decided things so that our “German” group should win more frequently than the “Allied” group.
Recollections by Capt Kevin Browne, Bn Adjutant 21 Inf Bn
Like many before and after me my first formal introduction to the FCA was a visit by two recruiting personnel to my School. It was October 1968 and I had just completed my Intermediate Certificate and moved into 5th Year in St Michael’s CBS, Eblana Avenue, Dun Laoghaire. While I had seen people in Uniforms before at Corpus Christi processions etc I had never thought about the FCA or anything to do with the Army.
Think about the sort of thing you might say to someone in the mess with a few pints on board.
I will have to keep a eye out here for any libel maybe even have to get legal council to look over all posts, over the years I am sure we have collected a sufficient number of “barrack room lawyers” to get a solid opinion.
My brother Conor died suddenly on 27th July 2012. Like our Dad, and his brothers Michael and Brian, he joined B Coy, 21 Bn. I gathered a selection of photos for his family and these are the ones from his … Continue reading →