What a fantastic weekend in Listowel, not only was it covered in sunshine but it saw Listowel being put on the map once again. We had a Huey helicopter and The Jadotvill Congo Veterans, Re-enactors, A Living History Park with trade stands, Vikings and the replica Spitfire from 2016 in the town. Trojan work was done by the Listowel Tidy Towns and the council personnel in keeping the town clean and neat for the visitors.
The Congo Veterans were there to attend the 6 annual remembrance ceremony which is held on this weekend every year organised by the Listowel Military Tattoo Limited in association and the 15th Batt. FCA/PDF and the32nd RDF Battalion Reunion with the showing of the film the Siege of Jadotville. The 15th battalion was made up of 6 companies A<B<C<D<E<F based in Tralee, Listowel, Killarney, Dingle, Killorglin, Cahersivene. In 2005 all, were disbanded and the FCA halls sold off.
The 6 companies then became the 32n Reserve Defence Forces. Last year was The Reunion first year and was launched by Mr. John O Mahony from Scartaglin, a former UN veteran shot and injured while 2 of his comrades Derek Smallhorn and Tom Barrett were executed by Lebanese Militia in the Lebanon in 1980. John was a former FCA man. This year John was invited to Australia to lead the annual ANZAS Day Veterans parade and was unable to be with us.
The family of Comdt. Patrick Quinlan from Waterville who brought all his men out alive in the battle of Jadotville were in town for the weekend also. Leo was showing the film on the Friday night and launched the reunion on the Saturday Night. After the Reunion he done a talk on the notes his father had kept up to and during the battle, their capture and incrassation for a month and their treatment on their return to Ireland by both the Government and the army. He then presented specially designed scrolls to the veterans who had been and fought with his father in Jadotville
3 Jadotville Veterans attended; Mr. John Gorman & Tom Gunn from Westmeath and Noel Stanley from Offaly and a special Scroll was Commissioned by the 15th/32nd and presented to them by Leo Quinlan. Over 200 attended the Seanchai centre on the nights.
Well over a 150 veterans came on the Saturday for the Remembrance Parade, which was led by the Killorglin pipe band. Five countries were represented and 20 wreaths were laid by
different organisations including the Listowel Municipal Council Chair person Aoife Thornton and tourism officer with KCC Joan Mc Carthy. Supt Daniel Keane represented the Gardai with Managing General Kevin Cotter representing the Government.
Rescue 116 was remebbered with the laying of a wreath for all the lost crew members.
After the parade there was a Remembrance Mass in St. Mary Church with the flags being taken to the altar and Canon Declan O Connor officiated with Reverend (Ret) Joe hardy in attendance. The mass was shared with the school kids that were making their First Holy Communion and a big thanks to them and their parents for allowing us to share their evening.
Mr & Mrs Leo Quinlan with their sons Ronnie & Mark with his Wife Miriam with their son and daughter arrived on Friday and were with us through Sunday to enjoy the sites and the shopping in Listowel. They were in town as the guests of the 15th/32nd battalion for the weekend to attend the 15th Batt. FCA/PDF and the 32nd RDF second Reunion which this year was held at the Seanchai Centre and this year saw the showing of the Siege of Jadotville film on the Friday night and the reunion with a talk by Leo Quinlan who incidentally was the Commandant in Ballymullen Tralee in charge of the 15th Battalion in the mid 1980s. A big thank you to the organiser Michael Guerin, Patsy Curtin, John Wade, Bobby Woods, Paul Clark, Michael McNamara, Rico Stein, Trish Mulvihill, Damien Stack, Gerard Doherty, Christy Walsh, Denis Leahy, Fr, Hegarty and Joe Hardy Rev. Ret. Our thanks also to the Listowel Municipal Council for funding they provided to run the event, The Seanchai Centre and the Listowel Arms Hotel
On the Saturday the Listowel Military Tattoo Limited held a special event where they Honoured John L O’ Sullivan a Tralee Vietnam and highly decorated Huey Helicopter Pilot and an exhibition was held in the Seanchai for Mr. O Sullivan’s family. Comrades and Veterans came from as far as America for the day well done to Padraig Nolan and all the committee of the LMT for organising that event.
On Sunday afternoon the town was given a rude awakement when the invasion started with shots being fire and the sound of exploding shells were heard with full scale street battle between the German and the American forces defending the town, sadly the Americans were routed but glad to say it was all in good fun and a huge crowd had gathered in glorious sunshine. The combatants shook hands and headed off to get some well deserved refreshments. The Sunday night saw the Bomb Shell Belles from the UK with Foyer Jazz keeping Veterans, Reenactors and all that attended the 40s dance in the Listowel Arms Hotel dancing well into the small hours.