LATE SOLDIER HONOURED
THE Late Cpl Michael Nolan was remembered on Saturday at the sixth annual Remembrance and Wreath Laying Ceremony in honour of the Irish UN peacekeeper. The ceremony took place at St Oliver Plunket’s Church in Gragecon and was hosted by Post 21, Irish United Nations Veterans Association (IUNVA).
Michael’s brother, also called Michael, and his sister Treasa, were both in attendance. Also present at the ceremony was the brother of Trooper Patrick Mullins. Patrick also died while serving in the Congo, but his body was never found - one of only two Irish UN peacekeepers still ‘missing in action’.
The Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Edward Timmins, addressed the ceremony and laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Wicklow. Also present were senior army officers from DFTC Curragh ad 2nd Brigade, members of An Garda Siochana, members of Post 21 other IUNVA posts, members of the Organisation of National Ex Service Men and Women (ONET), 3rd Bn Association (The Bloods) and other organisations.
Fr Ger Ahern PP and Rev Mairt Hanley led the Prayers at the Ecumenical Service.
Post 21 IUNVA President, Tony Duggan, also laid a wreath of flowers as the ceremony was drawing to a close.
Afterwards everyone gathered in Grangecon Community Hall to reflect on the day and enjoy some refreshments.
Cpl Michael Nolan was killed fifty six years ago on the 15th Sept in Elizabethville. He is one of two men from Wicklow to die in the Congo, the other was Mick McGuinn from Baltinglass.
Michael grew up in Colbinstown and went to school in Grangecon National School, now the Community Hall.
He is still remembered by his school friends, particularly John O’Toole who is involved with the Grangecon Tidy Towns Committee. He died aged 22, along with 18-year-old Trooper Mullins, when their armoured car was ambushed in Katanga, a breakaway province of Congo on September 15, 1961. Both fought bravely against overwhelming mercenary forces.
Post 21 IUNVA at the commemoration and wreath-laying for Corporal Michael Nolan at St Oliver Plunkett’s Church in Grangecon on Saturday. ABOVE: Michael Nolan lays some flowers.
(Clockwise from top, left): Rev Mairt Hanley, Cllr Edward Timmins, Cormac Becton and Fr Gerard Ahern.