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Widow honours husband killed in battle

A wife who lost her soldier husband in a brutal battle in the Congo 50 years ago -- and was left with five young children to rear -- remembered him with sadness and pride yesterday.

Private Andy Wickham, from Co Wexford, died aged just 25 in the first burst of gunfire as Irish soldiers mounted an attack in the famous 'Battle of of the Tunnel' in 1961.

The soldier was one of those honoured in the Defence Forces' most decorated unit, A Company, 36th Infantry Battalion, who won 14 Distinguished Service Medals for their actions and suffered five dead.

A wreath-laying ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of A Company -- who served in the Congo between December 1961 and May 1962 -- was held at the United Nations plot at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

Yesterday Pte Wickham's wife Eleanor was one of those who honoured the soldiers.

"It is a wonderful and sad day as it brings back the sadness but it is a good day too, because Andy is remembered," she said.

The ceremony was attended by surviving members of the battalion and families who lost loved ones during the deadly encounter at Elizabethville.

Irish Independent