Christmas messages from our troops in Lebanon

Christmas messages from our troops in Lebanon
Private Cale Gibbons, Lieutenant Jack Corbett and Private Emmet Cox.

SOLDIERS serving abroad for Christmas will be in touch with their families on Skype, with some missing out on the excitement of Santa’s arrival.

There are 86 troops from Collins Barracks currently serving in Lebanon who will miss out on the traditional Christmas dinner at home with their families. There are a further five serving in the Golan Heights area of Syria.

However, the group will get together in Lebanon to have their own Christmas Day celebrations.

Captain John Gilligan, who is among those in Lebanon, said: “Personnel who aren’t on duty or on patrol will get to attend Christmas mass should they so wish and avail of Christmas dinner here in Camp.

Operational activities such as patrolling, security duties, monitoring of the Blue line etc will continue that day also, but where at all possible people will get a chance to avail of Christmas dinner and call home to offer best wishes to family and friends.

Among the troops serving with the 113 Infantry Battalion UNIFIL in Lebanon are a group from the east Cork and west Waterford area.

The group – Commandant James Dunlea from Fermoy, Captain Kevin Kenny from Castlelyons, Gunner Sean Shanahan from Fermoy, Corporal Lyndon Casey from Fermoy, Commandant Michael Brennock from Fermoy, Sergeant Willy Frawley from Fermoy, Sergeant Declan Higgins and Sergeant Shane Higgins from Fermoy, Sergeant Seamus Barry from Cobh and Trooper Philip O’Keeffe from Lismore — all send their family and friends at home “a merry Christmas and a happy new year”.

It will be a family Christmas with a difference for brothers Declan and Shane Higgins.

The following messages to their families have also been sent from South Lebanon:

Private Cale Gibbons said: “I want to wish my family and all my friends at home the very best for Christmas. Miss you all and can’t wait to see you all soon.”

Lieutenant Jack Corbett said: “I want to wish a very merry Christmas and a happy new year to my mother and grandfather, my grandparents, my sister Emily and my girlfriend Jane. Miss you all very much, save me a slice of pudding and I’ll be home before you know it.”

Private Emmet Cox said: “Happy Christmas and a happy new year to all my family and friends at home in Cork.”

Sergeant Terence McSweeney said: “I’m out with Recce Company of 113 Bn as one of the Mortar Sergeants. I’d like to wish a happy Christmas to all my family, friends, and more importantly to my fiancée, Anne-Marie, happy Christmas, love you loads, and I’ll see you in the new year!”

Corporal Conor Fenlon said: “I’m based with the 1st Artillery Regiment in Cork and I’m currently serving in Lebanon with the 113 Bn. I’m part of the Fire Support Team with the Mortar Platoon in Recce Company. I’d like to wish my wife Maria, my parents Marie and Kieran, my sister Ellen and the rest of my family and friends a Happy Christmas. Love you all and I’ll see you when I get home.”

Corporal Joe O’Shea said: “I am from 1st Artillery Regiment in Cork. I’m serving with Recce Company. I’d like to wish my wife Elina and my two girls Mia and Kalla a wonderful Christmas. Love, Daddy x x x.”

Nationally, there are more than 600 soldiers from across the country serving abroad this Christmas. The Lebanon mission is part of the UNIFIL mission, and Irish troops have been serving there since 1958.

Hundreds of members of the Irish Defence Forces will not be at home tomorrow to spend time with their families for Christmas. Here, the Evening Echo gathers some of their Christmas wishes for people back home.

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