Report Decades’ Reunion – 26 October 2022
Following the Artillery Club’s inaugural Decades’ Reunion in 2016, this annual event took place in 2017 and 2018 in The Cadet School. Unfortunately, on account of the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions, the Artillery Club was unable to host Decades’ Reunions in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
This year’s Annual Artillery Club’s Decades’ Reunion, with the approval of
Brigadier-General Brendan McGuinness, GOC Defence Forces Training Centre, took place on Wednesday, 26 October in The Cadet School, with 22 retired or serving Gunner Officers attending the event.
Col Michael Smyth (Retd) coordinated the Reunion on behalf of the Artillery Committee.
Whereas the intent of the 2022 Reunion was to focus on Gunner Officers from the Permanent Defence Force, An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil and the Army Reserve, commissioned in 1942, 52, 62, 72, 82, 92, 2002, 2012, and 2022, on account of the cancellation of the Reunion in 2019, 2020 and 2021, the target attendance was extended to cater for those officers missing out on the cancelled Reunions.
We were honoured to have in our company Lt Gen Noel Bergin (Retd) DSM, one of four Gunner Officers who held the appointment of Chief of Staff of Óglaigh na hÉireann from 1992 through 1995, and a strong supporter of the Artillery Club.
Likewise, we were delighted that Lt Col Jim Dawson (Retd) participated in the Reunion. One of four Gunner Officers elected as an Honorary Member of the Artillery Club, he was born three years after the establishment of the Artillery Corps
Retired and serving Gunner Officers commissioned in 1948, 1952, 1962, 1963, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1981, 1989, 1992, 2001, and 2022, and representatives of the Club’s Committee, Took Post on the day.
The presence of Lt Col Jim Dawson (Retd), Lt Pierce Hosey and 2/Lt Aaron Dalton of the 97 Cadet Class commissioned in 2022, represented a spectrum of seventy-seven Cadet Classes, from the 20 Cadet Class through to the 97. Cadet Class, spanning the period from 1948 through 2022.
On arrival in the Cadets’ Mess, the Group was received by the Cadet Captain Cadet Rory Maher, the Mess President Cadet Cathal Ó Luasa, and members of the 98 Cadet Class, including Cadet Matt O’Neill, Cadet Daragh O’Mahony and Cadet Seana Connaughton.
During Coffee, participants were able to view memorabilia from their cadetship and visit the mess facilities, bringing back nostalgic memories to all. Thereafter, Cadet Kieran Fennely and Cadet Mark Doherty displayed current equipment on issue to Cadets.
Following the visit to the Cadets’ Mess, the Group visited Pearse Hall, Accommodation Passages in B Block, the Drill Shed and the construction site for the new HQ Cadet School incorporating the façade of the old Guard Room.
During a comprehensive briefing in Pearse Hall, Lieutenant-Colonel Jim O’Shea, OC Cadet School provided an insight into key areas pertaining to cadet training and education. Finally, the Group adjourned to Pearse Officers’ Mess for a most enjoyable lunch.
During the lunch, Comdt Martin Hackett (Retd), 23 Infantry Battalion (FCA) presented the Artillery Club with a High Angle Gun Site from a 3.7 inch Ack Ack Gun.
The Artillery Club remains grateful to Lieutenant-Colonel O’Shea, supported by Lieutenant Garry Marron (Artillery Corps), for making the resources of The Cadet School available throughout the day.
Pending the approval of the appropriate authorities, it is envisaged that the 2023 Decades’ Reunion will be held in The Cadet School on Wednesday, 13 September for Gunner Officers commissioned in 1953, 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003, 2013 and 2023.
Photographs courtesy of Brigadier-General Paul Pakenham (Retd) and Colonel Seamus McDermott (Retd)
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