The late Sgt Jim Barron

A HERO who was the first soldier on the scene of a bloody massacre of Irish peacekeepers on a UN mission over 50 years ago in Africa has passed away.

A HERO who was the first soldier on the scene of a bloody massacre of Irish peacekeepers on a UN mission over 50 years ago in Africa has passed away.

Sgt Jim Barron, 21 Connolly Street, Kilkenny was on duty at a village called Niemba, near the city of Katanga on November 8, 1960 when word came that his colleagues had been attacked by Baluba tribesman and killed. He rushed to their defence but the ambush was over. The 88 year old spoke many times about his fallen comrades and how their death had affected all the other Irish soldiers on the country’s first overseas mission with the UN.

Jim later went on to became a military policeman and was stationed at James Stephens barracks in Kilkenny city. In 1966 he was responsible for setting up the army’s Special Investigation Board and he served on it for many years.

Jim was afforded a full military funeral and soldiers came from all over the country to pay their final respects to a man who served his country with honour while abroad in Cyprus and The Lebanon. He was pre-deceased by his wife, Ellen and is survived by his son, Lorcan and daughter Mrs Kay Owens, New York; grandchildren, Nicola, Jamie, Courtney and Kyle and great-grandson Aaron.