Remembering An Irish Vietnam Veteran



George (Georgie) Nagle was born in the town of Clonmel in County Tipperary Ireland on 18 January 1946. He lived with his family in Barron Park and went to the local school in Clonmel. 

On 02 March 1963 after he had reached the age of 17, George joined the Irish Army (Defence Forces). He enlisted at Kickham Barracks in Clonmel, his home town.

The barracks at that time was home to B and D Companies of the 12th Infantry Battalion. HQ and other battalion elements were located in Sarsfield Barracks in Limerick City.

813822 Pte. George Nagle completed his Basic and Advanced Training and after that he carried out the normal daily military duties of the peacetime soldier at that time. Later in early 1964 he volunteered for overseas service as part of the Irish Contingent with the United Nations Force In Cyprus.

From June to December 1964 he served a six month tour as a member of 6 Pl B Coy 40th Irish Battalion UNFICYP. On completion of the tour George was awarded the UNFICYP Service Medal. He returned home to his parent unit, D Coy in Kickham Barracks, and in early 1965 he again volunteered  for overseas service in Cyprus. This time George served as a member of the 42 Irish Battalion UNFICYP.

In October 1966 George applied for his discharge (by purchase) from the Army, in order to pursue a new life in Australia.


In 1989 the Irish Government instituted a new medal in recognition of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for Peacekeeping, to the United Nations, the previous year.The medal titled ' The Irish UN Peacekeepers Medal' was awarded to serving members of the Irish Defence Forces who were previously awarded a UN medal, and to all those who subsequently served on overseas missions.

Former members of the Defence Forces who served overseas or their next of kin, if deceased, were eligable for the award of  the medal on formal application and proof of service.

In 2007 the family of Ex Private George Nagle, 12 Infantry Bn were presented with his 'Irish UN Peacekeepers Medal'.


                          UNFICYP MISSION



The background to the Cyprus conflict is complicated and centuries old, but in simple terms it stemmed from divisions between the islands greek and Turkish communities. In 1960 Cyprus gained its independance from Britain. The new country's first years were beset by problems, mainly greek Cypriot dissatisfaction with the constitution, which they felt gave the Turkish community disproportionate representation.

When attempts were made to amend the constitution the two communities began to prepare for conflict. Assistance was requested from the UN and this led to the establishment of UNFICYP.
Ireland agreed to participate and in the early stages of the mission was contributing over a thousand troops who were responsible for the entire western portion of the island. The Irish Armoured Group, equipped with the new Panhard AML60s, acted as the Force Mobile Reserve.

The mission had three main aims: to prevent the recurrence of fighting; to help maintain law and order; and to contribute to the restoration of normal conditions. The deployment of UN troops in potential troublespots quickly managed to achieve the mission's first aim.

A coup by the Army Colonels in Greece in 1968 led to a resurgence of support in Cyprus for union with Greece. In 1973, most of the Irish contingent was transferred to the UN Emergency Force (UNEF II) in Sinai in the wake of the Yom Kippur War. In July 1974 a coup in Cyprus led to expectations of immediate union with Greece. Before this could happen Turkish forces invaded and secured the north of the island.After hostilities ended a buffer zone was formed between the two parts of the island and it was the maintenance of this 'Green Line' that would become UNFICYP's main role. Decades of political deadlock followed and the situation remains unresolved. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sponsored the most recent attempt at reconciliation but, while it was accepted by the Turkish community, it was rejected by the Greek community.

Ireland's involvement with UNFICYP came to an end in May 2005 after 41 years of service.