The Minister with responsibility for Defence Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D., together with His Excellency, the British Ambassador Mr. Robin Barnett, and Mr. John Green, Chairman of Glasnevin Trust, today attended a ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery to honour Major Edward "Mick" Mannock, recipient of the Victoria Cross. The ceremony was also attended by Air Chief Marshal, Sir Stephen Hillier, the Chief of the Air Staff in the UK, and Brigadier General Sean Clancy, General Officer Commanding the Air Corp who laid wreaths at the Cross of Sacrifice as part of the ceremony. Among those also present were senior Military personnel, members of the Royal Air Forces Association and representatives from the Organisation of National Ex Servicemen and Women.
The ceremony commenced with Mr. Green welcoming the invited guests and reminding people of the personal story, qualities and attributes of Major Edward "Mick" Mannock. Mr. Green said,
"If you want to get an insight into the complexity of our history in the decade leading up to up to our Independence even a shallow dive into the life and times of "Mick" Mannock will open your eyes. The son of a bigamist, deserter, Corporal, raised by his abandoned Ballincollig mother as a Corkman he fended for himself from an early age. It was not just his severe astigmatism in his left eye which made him atypical of his fellow flying Officers. He was an Irish Nationalist, a home ruler, a trade unionist and a socialist who believed the World War would finally give the "downtrodden" their chance".
Addressing the gathering Minister Kehoe said "As a member of Government it is my great privilege to lead and partake in events that provide us with an opportunity to look back on the journey we have taken with a strong focus on our joint history and shared experiences. Events such as today prompt us to recall shared loss of loved ones, while bringing to mind the sacrifice, courage and idealism of our forebears who laid the foundation for the freedoms we enjoy in our time." He went on to say "it gives me great pleasure to be unveiling the V.C. stone here today which will act as a lasting testament to the bravery and heroism of Major Edward "Mick" Mannock V.C.
The British Ambassador to Ireland, Robin Barnett, said that he was honoured to be involved in such an important commemoration at Glasnevin Cemetery and was delighted that the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, had been able to attend and recognise such an important officer in the Royal Air Force's history. The outstanding gallantry of the proud Irish nationalist Major Edward Corringham 'Mick' Mannock, one of the most decorated officers ever to serve in British uniform, reminds us of the contribution made by so many brave men and women from both of our islands during critical and at times complex episodes in our shared history. Today's event is another important opportunity in this decade of centenaries to ensure that we commemorate our shared past in a manner that demonstrates mutual respect, is historically accurate and promotes reconciliation.
Other elements of the ceremony included the reading of a historical reflection by Corporal Michael Whelan of the Air Corp, the laying of wreaths, a minutes silence followed by a pipers lament and the sounding of the last post and reveille. The ceremony then concluded.
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