2Cavalry Squadron History
by Comdt Oliver Barbour.
The Unit Motto "First in
The war years
Presidential Escort of Honour
Niemba and The Military Medal for Gallantry
Deployment in Cyprus
Shooting Teams and sport
Back to Cathal Brugha
Comdt Hugh Maguire
Wellington Barracks (Griffith Bks)
During the early 1930's the forerunner of the Unit of today was a Volunteer Unit with a Regular Cadre. The Volunteer Reserve, from 1934 on, consisted of Nineteen Cyclist Squadrons and Six (6) Horse Squadrons.
2 Horse Squadron was NOT equipped as one might expect, but instead depended on the iron horse, the bicycle. With full- scale mobilisation of the Army at the beginning of World War II, 2 Horse Squadron was disbanded in May 1939. Most of its personnel, the volunteer Unit and 11 Cyclist Squadron formed the members of 2 Motor Squadron. The establishment of the Unit took place officially on 13 June 1940 in accordance with the provisions of DFR C54 Part I ( Organisation of the Defence Forces). However, the Unit was in existence from the summer of 1939.
The Squadron, along with others formed at the time, was a new type of Cavalry Unit, part of a Brigade, and used operationally for reconnaissance. 2 Motor Squadron was part of 2 Brigade and was to be concentrated at McKee Barracks, Dublin. However, it was NOT until much later that the Unit would serve there.
Comdt MICHAEL KILKELLY was
appointed the first Commanding Officer of the 'Regular' 2 Motor Squadron.
In 1939 the Unit was equipped with light Ford's known as 'Bug Chaser and BSA M20 Motorcycles, but later an Armoured Troop of FORD Armoured Cars, manufactured in CARLOW was added. Initially stationed in MULLINGAR the Unit soon moved to COLLINS Barracks, DUBLIN.
In September 1940, the Squadron moved to CABRA CASTLE, KINGSCOURT, CO CAVAN as part of the Army's overall defensive strategy. The Unit was soon up to its full strength of 170 all ranks. Top
In 1941 the Unit was moved back to DUBLIN and was stationed in the MONASTERY, CLONDALKIN, and later at BALLSBRIDGE in the RDS Grounds. During the war years training and operational work progressed vigorously.
The Unit became proficient in reconnaissance, patrolling,
setting up road blocks, raiding, river
crossing, cordoning and explosive laying. 2 Motor Squadron was the forward
reconnaissance element of 2 Division which had a
NORTHERN defence line across the BOYNE River. In the event of an attack the border from NORTHERN IRELAND, the task of the Unit was to delay and harass the attacking forces as long as possible. Constant patrolling was the order of the day, from DUNDALK to BALLYBAY. In the event of a breakthrough the secondary task of the Unit was to operate independently behind the lines to disrupt the enemy's rear. They would therefore operate as a guerrilla force similar to the 'Flying Columns' of the War of independence. A measure of the tactical prowess of Unit personnel can be gauged from the Units first position in an All Army Administration and Tactics Competition of ~ 944. In 1945 the
Unit moved to GRIFFITH Barracks for the first time. Top
In 1955 2 Motor Squadron was tasked with providing the
PRESIDENTIAL ESCORT OF HONOUR -
by 4 Motor Squadron, then
based in PLUNKETT Barracks. This involved escorting An tUachtaran, Foreign Heads
of State and Ambassadors accredited to Ireland. The tradition of motorcycling can be traced back to the
beginning of the 'Emergency' when Unit personnel took part in the First Motor Cyclists Course under Comdt STANLEY WOODS, the world famous racing motorcyclist.
The BSA M20 ------ Triumph single saddle -----and double saddle, ----SANGLAS- ---kick start and self start, ---YAMAHA XS 500 -----
Kawasaki GT550cc -----were all used through the years up to the present day ---Honda 650cc.-
The tradition of motorcycling excellence continued with the Display Teams of the 1940's,
50's, and 60's. Up to the 1960's the members of the Teams were mainly drawn from 2 Motor Squadron and 1 Motor Squadron. The skill of the riders brought wide acclaim to the Cavalry Corps and their Units. With its involvement in operational, display and ceremonial riding over the last few decades, the Squadron has built up a proud tradition in this unique area.Top
The 1960's saw 2 Motor Squadron personnel serve with distinction in ONUC in the former
BELGIAN CONGO. At the NIEMBA Ambush of 08 November 1960, Sgt HUGH GAYNOR, Tpr THOMAS FENNELL and Tpr ANTHONY BROWNE lost their lives. Tpr BROWNE was later posthumously awarded the Military Medal for Gallantry -with the following citation: "HE HAD A REASONABLE OPPORTUNITY OF ESCAPING BECAUSE HE WAS NOT WOUNDED BUT CHOSE TO REMAIN WITH AN INJURED COMRADE". Top
By 1964 the heat was going out of the CONGO situation with the temperature rising in CYPRUS because of the GREEK/TURKISH confrontation.
Many Squadron personnel served in CYPRUS with UNFICYP where sixteen Panhard AML 60's were first deployed.
The Unit continues the tradition of overseas service today in UNIFIL with personnel also having served in SOMALIA, RWANDA and again in CYPRUS. Top
During the 1960's and 1970's the Unit was located in CATHAL BRUGHA Barracks
and was situated there when the NORTHERN IRELAND troubles escalated in 1969. Eight (8) of the sixteen AML 60's deployed in CYPRUS -were returned home and distributed between the home Units. A Troop from 2 Motor Squadron moved to CAVAN for a time, then to CASTLEBLAYNEY and DUNDALK and remained there actively involved on Border operations from 1972 to 1984. Top
In 1975 the Squadron moved to GRIFFITH Barracks for the second time. In doing so it became the first regular Unit to occupy the barracks since 1959. The responsibilities of the Squadron included administering the barracks in addition to its operational and ceremonial tasks In 1983 the title of the Unit was changed from 2 Motor Squadron to
2 Cavalry Squadron. Top
The traditional routine of the Squadron has NOT altered much over the last decade. The early months
of the year are spent in weapon training and in preparation for Shooting Competitions both at Brigade and Command level.
The unit has consistently performed well in competition over the years with regular success in Brigade, Command and All Army Shoots. THE UNIT WAS THE HOLDER OF THE ALL ARMY SNIPER TEAM TROPHY FOR 1992.
In 1993 the unit was R/Up in the E Comd Falling Plates competition. In 1994 the Unit won the E Comd Section In Attack competition. In 1995 the Unit won the Bde Dagger Competition. When small arms training schedules have been
completed the Unit turns to crew training on Armoured Cars in Gunnery, Driving and Radio procedure and tactical exercises. In recent years operations in aid to civil power have accounted mostly for the employment of 2 Cavalry Squadron personnel.
These operations range from Court Guards to Cash In Transit Escorts. Much of Unit training is directed to
preparing troops for this role. Demonstrations, lectures and seminars are set up regularly to ensure that the highest
standards are met and continued. Operations such as these give great scope to young officers and NCOs to enhance their leadership and command skills given that tasks cover the length and breath of the country in all weather conditions.
The members of the Unit have always displayed a keen
interest in sport, soccer and volleyball being
popular over the years. A perpetual Trophy for Seven-a-Side soccer was instigated to the memory of Trooper
COLM KEENAN (RIP) who died of a heart attack while on morning PT in February 1987. Tpr
MARK KAVANAGH was captain of the Bde football team which won the 1995 Comd Championship.
In 1995 2 Cavalry Squadron won the Cavalry Cup (Soccer) for the first time, and retained the Cup in 1996, and
also the E Comd Cross Country Championships. During 1996 2 Cavalry Squadron has won the following prizes :
E Comd Javelin winner, E Comd 200 metres winner, E Comd 4x100 relay winners, All Army 200 metres winner
(Tpr MARK CORCORAN). In Badminton Winners of All Army Novice Individual, All Army Runners Up in Novice Doubles and the ladies Singles Runner Up. Top
On 15 September 1988 the Squadron made the short journey across the Grand Canal to CATHAL BRUGHA Barracks to the amazement of the civilian populace along the way. 2 Cavalry Squadron and 11 Cavalry Squadron (FCA) were formally welcomed by 2 Infantry Battalion who saluted the Drive Past from the Main Square. There is little doubt that the move back to CATHAL BRUGHA Barracks has been a positive one for the Unit. The drain on resources of administering and securing GRIFFITH Barracks has been removed. The friendly rivalry between the Squadron and the Battalion is a positive influence and is especially keen during the Shooting Season.
2 Cavalry Squadron is a Unit which takes pride in its achievements and is highly professional both operationally and ceremonially. This tradition of excellence has been nurtured since the Unit was formed in 1939.
Our motto of "First In, Last Out" will, we feel always prevail in 2 Cavalry Squadron.
There will be room too for the unofficial motto "Never mind yer man; How's the bike?" for as long as the Squadron exists.
Comdt HUGH MAGUIRE
- 21 Oct 1896-12 Mar 1997 2 Cavalry
Squadron turned out in full to honour one (1) of our founder officers on the 14 Mar
1997. He must have been just about the last surviving founder members of both
the volunteers and the Free State Army. When the Free State Army was formed HUGH was commissioned into it, as a young Lieutenant a couple of
years later he was in
charge of EAMON De VALERA in ARBOUR HILL
prison and typically befriended him,
him to play chess. HUGH retired to the army reserve of officers
in 1929, which
entailed a yearly three (3)
week stint on regular service until at the outbreak of the Second World War in
1939 he was recalled for frill duty
with the army. On returning to active service in
1939 HUGH was detailed to form a motorised unit, which was to become the 2 Motor Squadron and which was later
re-named the 2 Cavalry Squadron.
He hand picked his men on the basis of general character, mechanical knowledge and aptitude, and was thus able to build up a magnificent Esprit de Corps in the unit.
The 2 Motor Squadron under HUGH, was inspected by the then
Taoiseach, and former ARBOUR HILL prisoner,
EAMON DeVALERA, in CAHIR PARK,
TIPPERARY, in 1942. The occasion was major
In 1944, in an all-army competition, when all aspects of military life and field operations were ascertained and examined, Comdt HUGH'S 2 Motor Squadron was placed in first place. Later that year at a march past at BALLSBRIDGE SHOW GROUNDS, the unit was presented with a trophy by the then Minister for Defence, the ate OSCAR TRAYNOR, on its magnificent achievement.
As a matter of interest, the 2 Motor Squadron was a self contained unit, with field-kitchens, cooks, ambulance, doctor, red cross unit, petrol and oil tankers, 80 motor cyclists, 20 run-about light trucks and four armoured cars. HUGH left the army in 1946, and retired from the reserve in 1951. As a gesture of loyalty and appreciation towards the end of his active service in the army his fellow officers wanted to make a presentation to him. He declined the offer and said to them that if they insisted a leather medal would suit him fine. At his retiring function HUGH was presented with a handsome medal, crafted in leather, with the corps red, black, green insignia emblazoned on it. Old memories were exchanged one (1) afternoon in 1972 in ARAS an UACHTARAN between President De VALERA and his former captor. On 25 June 1995, HUGH was again received in the ARAS, in connection with his association with the 2 Cavalry Squadron. On the occasion of his "100th birthday", officer NCOs and Troopers of 2 Cavalry Squadron arrived at his home in GLASNEVIN bearing a specially commissioned birthday cake and invited him to a re-union of past and present officers at the unit HQ in CATHAL BRUGHA BKS, on 25 Oct 1996. There were twelve former officers commanding at the function. On display for the occasion were memorabilia, photos, archive films and the Sliabh Na mBan" -armoured car. The formal greeting preceding the lunch in the Officers Mess was given by our youngest officer 2/Lt MICHAEL CONNEELY, who also was in command of the firing party at Hugh's funeral. I would like to quote from Fr PAT BRADY, from BALLYJAMESDUFF, who paid a beautiful tribute to HUGH on his 100th birthday. "Through his long life he saw many changes his father became the proud owner of his own farm.
He saw a freed independent IRELAND, her soldiers going
off NOT to fight other peoples wars,
but to keep World peace. He lived to see our Statesmen and Women take their
place on the world stage. He saw his dream and PADHRAIG PEARSE'S dream come true. More importantly he
helped to make it come through.
He helped to make IRELAND a better place. He made a difference".
One could say he has left behind exceptional memories to be cherished.
|Comdt. O'Hanlon. Thomas||Mar 40 - Jul 40|
|Comdt. Byrne.Patrick.C.||Aug 40 - Nov 40|
|Comdt. Maguire. Hugh||Nov 40 - Apr 46|
|Comdt. Barrett. William.C.||Apr 46 - Nov 47|
|Comdt. Larkin. John.||Nov 47 - Apr 55|
|Comdt. McNamee.Fergus.W.||Apr 55 - May 56|
|Comdt. Larkin. John.||May 56 - Aug 56|
|Comdt.Barrett. William.C.||Aug 56 - Mar 57|
|Comdt.Larkin. John.||Mar 57 - Sep 59|
|Comdt. Quinn. Owen.||Oct 59 - May 60|
|Comdt. Keogh. Patrick.||May 60 - Dec 63|
|Comdt. Foley. Joseph.||Jan 64 - May 67|
|Comdt. Crowley. James.||May 67 - May 69|
|Comdt. Keogh. Patrick.||May 69 - May 71|
|Comdt. O'Neill. Edward.||Jun 71 - Sep 75|
|Comdt. Coffey.Dermot.J.||Oct 75 - Feb 81|
|Comdt. Knightly.Kevin.P.||Feb 81 - Aug 83|
|Comdt. Leaney.Christopher.||Aug 83 - Oct 84|
|Comdt. Mc Cann.Brendan.||Oct 84 - Jan 89|
|Comdt. O'Brien. Patrick.||Jan 89 - Oct 89|
|Comdt. Hynes.J.M.||Nov 89 - Mar 90|
|Comdt. Campbell. William.||Mar 90 - May 93|
|Comdt. Kerton.G.M.||May 93 - Jan 95|
|Comdt. Barbour.O.||Feb 95 - Jul 98|
|Comdt. Cooney.J.G||Jul 98 - Oct 99|
|Comdt. Barbour.O.||Oct 99 - May 00|
|Comdt. Cooney.J.G||May 00 - Jan 01|
|Capt. Nugent.D.||Jan 01- May 01|
|Capt. Rochford.P||Jun 01-Aug 01|
|Comdt. Heskin.T||Aug 01|