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2003

Past Newsletters & Articles etc.

MILITARY HERITAGE TOURS 2003 NEWSLETTER
2003 will be a busy year for MHT and we are looking forward to an interesting programme.
As plans develop and as tours are completed, we will publish updates from time to time and will keep you informed as time goes on

TOURS
2003 will be our second year "on the ground" and we will for the first time be going overseas to where the Irish soldier fought in World War 1 and World War 2. Normandy will be our first port of call. A tour to Arnhem is also in the pipeline. We intend also to visit the Somme, the details of which will be announced soon.
The popular home tours continue and have expanded. The Williamite Tour has gone from 3 days to a full week and the West Cork Trail will be repeated several times, according to demand. Details of the 1916 Tour will be on the web shortly.

SEMINAR
In addition to tours we are planning MHTL's first seminar to take place on the weekend of 12/13 April in the National Folklife Museum, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The theme of this seminar will be Connaught's Military Heritage. This seminar arose from Remembrance Sunday, which was held in Swinford, Co. Mayo. Among the topics that will be discussed will be:
Connaught Wild Geese
Connaught Rangers
Connaught Soldiers in the Great War
Connaught Soldiers in the War of Independence
Connaught Soldiers today.
In addition to the above themes there will be help desks and lectures devoted to how to trace your veteran relatives and the care and maintenance of militaria.
The following individuals and organisations will attend:
Mr. Michael Feeney and Mr. P.J. Clarke of Mayo Reconciliation
Mr. David Truesdale, co-author of "Irish Winners of the Victoria Cross" and author of "Brotherhood of the Cauldron"
The Military Heritage Trust of Ireland
The Somme Heritage Centre, Mr. Craig McGuicken
Military Archives, Commandant Laing
Irish Veterans Memorial Project
RMFA
RDFA
Conaught Rangers Association, Mr. Oliver Fallon.
Military Heritage Tours
An Cosantóir
This seminar is proving to be very popular and a large attendance is expected. Apply to dbuckley@anu.ie for a Registration Sheet

DEDICATION
The second project is the dedication of the grave of Sergeant Major Coughlan VC. This old Irish warrior lies in an unmarked grave in Westport, Co. Mayo where he died of natural causes in Feb 1915 aged 89. He won his VC in 1857, for heroism under fire, while saving comrade soldiers during an action in the Indian Mutiny. A collection will be organised to facilitate the erection of a suitable headstone over this warriors grave. The date of the ceremony to be announced.

BOOK LAUNCH
In January Mr. David Truesdale will hold the Dublin launch of his latest book Brotherhood of the Cauldron. This book deals with the Irish in the British Airborne Forces. Details of MHTL's Arnhem tour will be announced at this launch

FORTHCOMING EVENTS
Normandy Tours March 07 and 28
Seminar on Connaught's Military Heritage 12/13 April
1916 Tour April 21/23
The Williamite Trail July 01
West Cork Trail throughout the year.

FUTURE EVENTS
The Somme



SEPT 2003 NEWSLETTER

OLD COMRADES DAY.

On 07 June 2003, the Royal Irish Regiment hosted their annual Old Comrades Day, in St. Patrick's
Barracks, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. This year's parade was unique and historic. Representatives from
the Disbanded Irish Regiments Associations in the Republic were present. Personnel from the Royal
Dublin Fusiliers Association, Royal Munster Fusiliers and Connaught Rangers Associations were
kindly invited to St. Patrick's Barracks for the occasion.
The parade was reviewed by GOC Northern Ireland, Lt Gen P C C Trousdel CB who is the Regimental Colonel of the RIR. The Rev'd D D Caldwell CF TD RD, Chaplain to the Royal Ulster Rifles and the Royal Irish Rangers Association blessed the new Standard and the March Past included the Colours of all the Irish Regiments, past and present.
The day was most successful at every level. The guests included serving and retired Irish Army Officers and enlisted ranks. This represented a very important moment in the history of both Armies. This scenario could not have been contemplated in the recent past. Time has moved on and attitudes have changed. In spite of the differences between the peoples of this island and in these islands there is also much that we share. Some people may be uncomfortable with some aspects of history, but history is what happened and the maturity to recognise shared aspects of our history is something to be welcomed and is part of the healing process.
The tradition of Irish soldiering is a proud one. Irish soldiers have served world wide in numerous armies. Irish soldiers are honoured world-wide and the Republic's Day of Commemoration pays tribute to all Irish soldiers who fell in war and on peacekeeping operations, no matter what uniform they wore. It is therefore right and proper that we should also honour the Irish tradition in the British Army. The hospitality extended to the visitors from the Republic was overwhelming. Military Heritage Tours was delighted to be involved in this most historic occasion and look forward to future shared events.



MILITARY VEHICLES CLUB OF IRELAND

On Aug 31 the newly formed Military Vehicles Club of Ireland displayed their wares in an impressive manner at a vintage show at Abbeyshrule, Co. Longford. This is a club that is very promising and it has attracted a lot of members from all over Ireland. Exhibits included old Irish Army vehicles along with WW2 vintage vehicles, the "newest" being a UNIFIL water truck. Also an impressive array of revolvers, pistols, rifles, sub,light,medium and heavy machineguns.



NEWSLETTER SEPT 2003
NORMANDY TOURS

Tours to Normandy continue in 2004, the 60th Anniversary year. The tour for the actually anniversary is practically booked out. A similar tour is being run in the spring and depending on demand, will be run accordingly.
Again contact us through the website or at dbuckley@anu.ie
(Also see Photo Gallery)

OTHER TOURS
If anybody or any group, no matter how small wants a tour organised other that what is advertised do not hesitate to ask and we will organise a package for you.

EDUCATIONAL GROUPS
We will provide tours for whatever level, be it 2nd Level Transition Year or more advanced. Also University Departments are very welcome to contact us.

MILITARY HERITAGE TOURS, AN OVERVIEW
It is now true to say that MHT represents much more than simply a tour company. It has in a very true sense become a facilitation company. This was never more obvious than at the Old Comrades Day in Ballymena.
It was heart-warming to experience the warmth and sincerity of the welcome accorded to the group, which we brought to the event. The level of hospitality that we received was extraordinary and it reflects the openness of our hosts and that the army that they are and are proud to serve.
To see some of our number meet old friends whom they had not seen for over 30 years and to see others settle down to exchange stories about mutual friends from both Armies from long ago and not so long ago made the whole trip even more worthwhile. Our experience of that event emphasises the need to do much more to bring service and ex-service men and women of both forces together in an appreciation of our shared tradition.
It is now time to bury the past, to move away from the unpleasantness and rancour caused by the last 30 years of civil unrest and political upheaval. The two forces were after all facing the same threat from terrorists of various persuasions, but terrorists nevertheless. The Irish Army was fortunate in that they escaped the level of violence and viciousness experienced by their opposite numbers in Northern Ireland. This was due largely to a (cynical) policy pursued by the IRA to avoid engaging the forces of what they call the "Free State", a policy retained because it suited them under the circumstances. The time is now right for us to commemorate together our shared and sometimes diverse military traditions.
2004 marks the 90thAnniversary of the start of WW1, an event that was to reach into every street of every city, town and village in this country and decimate a generation. It also marks 60 years since D Day, the turning point in another savage war in which so many Irishmen, North and South, Catholic, Protestant and others fought and died. The slaughter and waste of WW1 was a major tragedy for this island, and, without the sacrifice of those men who fought and died in WW" we would have been plunged into an age of darkness and barbarism unequalled in the history of mankind. We must now remember and commemorate all of these together and with those other Irish soldiers whom through the centuries served loyally and well in the Armies of Britain, France, Austria, Spain, the USA and many more who are less well known. The line comes to mind "In those foreign fields from Dunkerque to Belgrade lie the Soldiers and Chiefs of the Irish Brigade".
We must now bring groups from both military traditions, together with those who have not served, but who are interested in and appreciate our shared legacy to the battlefields of Europe, Gallopolli and further afield to honour our dead and to build understanding, comradeship and trust among us living on and sharing this small island for the term of our fragile and too short lives.
For far too long has our shared tradition been hidden and obscured, for many reasons, all of which we know. We, on both sides of the border were victims of systems, which presented a very singular version of our history. It dealt with each tradition in isolation and never showed the other side in an objective light or never referred to shared experiences, sacrifices or hardships. These are the issues, which we must address. We must undo the airbrushing of our shared history. Many of us may not like the outcome of many historical events, but History is as it happened and if we understand and accept this, then we are well on our way to accepting and respecting each other.
We are not trying to glorify war, rather we want to present the humanity of those who served and the bond of brotherhood that drew together men from all parts of Ireland and from al political and religious persuasions to serve in a common cause. We want also to reflect on the individual tragedy of each life lost.
We can then stand on a WW1 battlefield with a mixed group from Northern Ireland and the Republic and commemorate the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division and then with the same group move to the battlefield of Fontenoy to honour the Irishmen of both sides who fell in that battle. On the French side there were six Irish regiments of Foot and one of Horse in the service of King Louis XV. They faced many Irishmen on the Allied side serving in many Regiments including the illustrious Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.
We will have moved a long way to achieving our objective of helping to create a better place, in which all of us of whatever tradition or background and regardless of where we served, can appreciate each other for what we really are, and not as perhaps we imagined each other to be, and move freely amongst all our Brothers-in-Arms.

IN REMEMBRANCE
Your prayers are requested for an old comrade and friend of MHTL
Lt Col Mick (Dingle) Daly, 2 Eastern Brigade Logistics Officer, formerly of 27 Bn and 8 Bn and numerous overseas missions was laid to rest on 04 Sept 03. Sincere condolences to his wife Christine, his mother, brothers and his innumerable comrades.
A fine soldier and a dreadful loss, May he rest in Peace.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anaim dílís (That his noble soul maybe at God's right hand side)



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