"It is a pity that we, who never believed in the use of force, must suffer for the blunders of little dictators and stupid military leaders...We did not come here to shoot Africans, we came to help them...I was not prepared to let my brave men die for nothing."
- Comdt Patrick Quinlan, Jadotville, September 1961
In 1961, during the United Nations intervention in the Katangan conflict in the Congo, central Africa, a company of Irish peacekeeping troops was forced to surrender to soldiers loyal to Katanga’s prime minister, Moise Tshombe. Originally dispatched to protect Belgian colonists in Jadotville, they were isolated, without water, supplies or support when they were attacked and forced to defend themselves in a brutal and bloody five day battle. Shamefully neglected by their superiors, they were portrayed as cowards upon their return home.
Heroes of Jadotville: the Soldiers’ Story tells, in the words and memories of those who fought there, what really happened in Africa that fateful
September. Rose Doyle uses interviews, reports, journals and letters to bring answers and clarity to an episode long ignored. She blows the lid on the real story of what happened in Africa, exposing how Irish peacekeeping soldiers became pawns in an international affair for control of Katanga and its vast mineral wealth.
About the author:
Rose Doyle is a writer and journalist. Her novels, seventeen in all, include Fate and Tomorrow (set in the Congo in 1902) and Shadows Will Fall – both international bestsellers. Trade Names, the book of her long-running series in The Irish Times, was published by New Island in 2004. Comdt Patrick Quinlan, who led the Irish UN troops at Jadotville, was her uncle.