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Sgt James Rea, RM 22554

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harry hackedoff
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Sgt James Rea, RM 22554

#1 Post by harry hackedoff »

Sgt James Rea RM22554 1963- 1972.

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Jim Rea presenting a canoeing award to former 3 Para, Jase Swales on the completion of the two day Avon Descent Canoe Race.


It is my sad duty to report the passing of former Sgt Jimmy Rea today 4th May.

Jimmy passed over the bar,doing what he loved most.
Out on the Canning river in Perth Western Australia, in his canoe in the company of friends from the RMA and Airborne Forces, when he suffered a fatal heart attack.

Jim hailed from Mitchelstown county Tipperary and joined the Corps in 1963 after serving nine years in the Irish Army including a short spell with the UN in the Congo. Serving overseas in Aden and Singapore, Jim was a keen member of PT Branch where he excelled at martial arts and particularly judo.
Jimmy emigrated to Western Australia with his wife Jenny, former RM WREN, in 1973 where he eventually re-established his association with the Corps via RMA.

Jim was a keen advocate of the active lifestyle and would organise abseiling, canoeing or thirty milers for the benefit of not just our Members but their families as well. And it is in this context that Jimmy will be sorely missed. He was a surrogate uncle/grandad to scores of children over the past thirty years and was never happier than when he was giving detailed instruction on bush survival to some wide-eyed six year old. A natural teacher, Jim had the rare ability to transform the mundane into the wondrous and he would always hold his young audience spellbound (and quite a few Bootys as well!).


An absolute privilege to call him a friend, his passing is keenly felt by the many who share that privilege.

RMA WA offer our deepest condolences and warmest support to Jenny, Michael and Steven and the rest of Jim`s family back in Ireland at this sad time.

Rest Easy, Jim
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Pilgrim Norway
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#2 Post by Pilgrim Norway »

Well done Jim - a job well completed - rest well !

My condolences to Jims family.
Trog
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anglo-saxon

#3 Post by anglo-saxon »

Thoughts and prayers for Jim and his family.

Murphy
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#4 Post by Murphy »

RIP, Jim. Condolences to your family. You crossed the bar doing what you enjoyed.

harry hackedoff
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#5 Post by harry hackedoff »

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harry hackedoff
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#6 Post by harry hackedoff »

A hoy there, :wink:

I knew Jimmy for six years, ever since we first came down here. We`ve shared many happy times together out in the bush, on the oggin and round my gaff and my wife and son love him as an uncle/grandad.
To me he was an older brother and I love him dearly.
In all the times we shared together Jim hardly mentioned the nine years he`d spent as a soldier in the Irish Army prior to his joining the Corps.
Only after his passing did I hear about the time in `61 when he was serving with A Coy, 35 Btn, Irish Army , and the part he played in the events in the Belgian Congo.
Beyond help, outnumbered twenty to one against a merc army with ground support aircraft and artillery, the young Irish lads fought off numerous attacks for five days till they had nothing left and their CO surrendered to the Belgian mercenaries who used the lads as hostages.
Ignored by the Irish govt till lately, the lads are only now having the attention they deserve, back home in Eire.

Clock this,
Quote from Western People

Military History

Siege at Jadotville
By Declan Power
Maverick House, 299pp
Paperback,

There aren’t too many events in the history of twentieth century Ireland that have not been discussed and analysed ad nauseum over the years. But the events in the Congo in September 1961 – in which an Irish army contingent was forced to surrender after being surrounded by native and mercenary troops – is one of those episodes that has never really garnered the analysis or attention it deserves.
Declan Power, a journalist and a former member of the Irish Army, has redressed that anomaly with his new book, ‘Siege at Jadotville’, the story of the Irish Army’s forgotten battle in the Congo. The book is a timely and important reminder of an event that the Irish Army swept under the carpet for a variety of reasons.
‘Siege at Jadotville’ is based on interviews with survivors of the incident, several of whom have campaigned for years to have their story told. In Declan Power, they have found a writer with expertise and empathy; a former army officer who understands only too well the challenges that the men of Irish A Company faced as the enemy laid siege on their position in September 1961.
There are many who will have only a vague recollection of the events in the Congo in the early 1960s; others were not even born. The United Nations – still a relatively new organisation – had decided to intervene in the former Belgian colony in Central Africa after independence was declared. Ostensibly, the troops that were sent to the Congo were to undertake peace-keeping missions. They were, effectively, expected to become policemen and no-one anticipated they would find themselves in a war.
Ireland was still struggling to find its feet on the international stage and the unrest in the Congo offered the Irish Government an ideal opportunity to show that it was willing to participate in peace-keeping missions around the world. The bona fides of the Government of the day cannot be doubted but it is all too clear in hindsight that the Irish Army was ill-prepared for even the most docile peace-keeping task. Many of the members of ‘A’ Company who left for the Congo in the summer of 1961 were raw teenagers who had never even heard a gun fired. Others were veteran soldiers but they were still poor equipped for the terrifying situation in which they were to find themselves in the Congo. It was a recipe for disaster and the great miracle was that all the men managed to escape unscathed from the debacle that was to unfold during their tour of duty.
If the Irish Army was a little wet behind the ears the United Nations was as innocent as the child unborn. Its officials – including Irish-born Conor Cruise O’Brien – travelled to the Congo with noble intentions but they quickly found themselves being outmaneouvred by the politically astute local leaders. The United Nations found itself floundering as it stumbled from one moment of indecision to another. It could not make up its mind whether its troops should have a hands-on approach in their involvement in the Congo. In the end, the Irish troops found themselves utterly confused as they became pawns in a frustrating bureaucratic maze.
In September 1961, the ‘A’ Company of the Irish Army was sent to the town of Jadotville, which was fast becoming a hotbed of agitation. Ostensibly, they were in the town to provide security for the Belgian settlers who felt under threat from the native Congolese. Ironically, it was the settlers, who were attempting to gain independence from the Congo, who turned on the Irish.
Buoyed by the arrival of mercenary troops in the area, the locals attacked the ‘A’ company position while the men were attending morning Mass. The Irish dug in and a battle ensued for several days, resulting in the deaths of a large number of locals and mercenaries.
Although the Irish contingent battled heroically to hold its position it soon realised it was hopelessly cut off from the other UN battalions in the area. The commander, Kerry-born Pat Quinlan, decided to surrender to the locals rather than risk the pointless deaths of his young men. It was a decision for which he would be unfairly criticised in years to come and if Power’s book does nothing else it vindicates the name of Quinlan who was clearly a courageous, pragmatic and intelligent commandant.
‘Siege at Jadotville’ is an exceptionally fine account of the Irish Army’s first, tentative steps onto the international stage. The events of September 1961 were part of the Army’s learning curve and senior officers should have recognised it as exactly that from the very outset. Instead, attempts were made to blame Commandant Quinlan and, while no-one ever openly suggested it, the men of ‘A’ Company were always under the impression that they were viewed as cowards within the ranks of the Irish Army.
Fortunately, the record has now been set straight thanks to Declan Power. ‘Siege at Jadotville’ is a fine book, well-written and expertly researched. It offers a clear insight into a period of Irish history that was in danger of been forgotten forever. With this book, Power has done the State some service.
Unquote.
Jim was remembered by all who served with him as the consummate professional Soldier, with a depth of experience matched by few.
To those of us who knew him in later life, his sheer enthusiasm for life was astounding, matched only by his ability to simply enthuse.
To count this man as a friend and brother is my privilege and I miss him so much.
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harry hackedoff
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#7 Post by harry hackedoff »

ANZAC Day 08, 25th April. Last phot I have of Jim, bright winter sunshine waiting for the off
L2R Taff Reid, Jim, meself, Pat Trevis and Paul (facing)



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