By PRO IUNVA
Tpr Michael Kennedy was born in Oct 1949 and he grew up in Gracefield, Portarlington on the Co. Offaly side of the town, he was the third youngest of six children. In Dec 1966 he joined the DF at the Curragh Training Camp. His father, Henry, had served in the Cavalry Corps in the Curragh during the Emergency. On completion of recruit training in the GTD, Michael was assigned to 1 Armd Car Sqn at Plunkett Barracks. He completed driving and gunnery courses and he qualified as a crewman on the Panhard AML 60 armoured car.
In Mar 1969 he deployed as a member of the Armd Car Gp, 12 Inf Gp, UNFICYP. On Tuesday 1 Jul, he collected the unit pay officer and Jim Casey from UNFICYP HQ in Nicosia and they travelled to Famagusta where the Irish contingent had set up a rest and recreation centre for personnel. They arrived around l300 hours and they had a light lunch. A number of personnel went to the beach after 1500 hours. At 1515, Jim Casey heard a commotion, he saw Michael Kennedy was face down in the water, he swam to him and pulled him to the shore. Jim and others started artificial respiration, they were joined by a Greek Cypriot doctor but all efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
He was repatriated to Dublin on Friday 4 Jul 1969 and he was buried at St Michael’s Cemetery, Portarlington on Saturday 5 Jul.
He was a keen sportsman and played football for Gracefield GAA Club, he boxed in the All Army Championships and won a bronze medal in 1968. The chief mourners were his father, Henry, his younger brother Harry, who later served as a Tpr with 1 Armd Car Sqn, his four sisters Patricia, Ann, Jean and Claire. He was predeceased by his mother who died young in 1958.
Ar dheis lámh Dé go raibh a anam dhílis.
Photo credit: Military Archives.