Congo veteran Martin Flanagn is pictured with Lt. Col. Mark Lennon, Mary Flanagan, Timmy Flanagan and Sgt. Major Graham Nuttall at the IUNVA Congo veterans presentations in Custume Barracks. Photo Paul Molloy.

Flanagan was part of the final trip to Congo

by David Flynn

Popular Athlone family man Martin Flanagan joined the army just after he turned 17 years of age, and the following year he was on the army’s final trip to the Congo.

“I got on the plane and didn’t know what it was. I thought it was a bus,” he said laughing. “We were the last crowd and I wasn’t even 18 years old, and I was there with Tom O’Connor from St Joseph’s Villas,” said Martin.

He said that first they went to Kolwezi in the Congo and there was about fifteen in his platoon, but everything had finished up by the time they got there.

“There was also Paddy Joyce from Sarsfield Square there, and he minded me,” said Martin laughing. “There was a good few from Mullingar as well. There were good times, and we used to play volleyball and basketball there. We saw no danger when we were there.”

Martin remained 35 years in the Defence Forces.

See full story from the Custume Barracks event here

Read Pat McCrossan's army story here

See Michael Curtin's story here