A NORTH Wexford man has been awarded a CBE by Britain's Queen Elizabeth.
Major General David O'Morchoe, of Ardgarry, Gorey, has been awarded a CBE for services to UK, Irish Relations and the cause of British Veterans in Ireland. The British Ambassador, David Reddaway CMG MBE, presented the award in Dublin recently.
I was totally surprised, but utterly delighted,' said David this week from his Tara Hill home.
The Ambassador kindly offered to do it. We could have gone to Buckingham Palace, but we could only take three people Our three children live in Ireland, and we have nine grandchildren, and we wanted them to witness it'.
Commenting on the award, Ambassador Reddaway said Major General O'Morchoe has used his position to further the cause of the 250,000 who fought in the first World War from all parts of the island of Ireland and the 50,000 who never came home'.
His contribution on the wider front of reconciliation has been particularly valuable with his support to the Irish Government in developing the Somme Commemoration and the work he has done to bring light to the sacrifice of the Irish soldier'.
Major General The O'Morchoe has been the President of the Republic of Ireland Branch of the Royal British Legion since 1987. David holds the clan title of The O'Morchoe, and is a descendant of Donal Mór The O'Morchoe of Ourlarleigh. He remains a member and former chairman of the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftains.
He was born and brought up in South Wexford and went to school in Dublin. At the end of World War II, in 1946, he joined the British Army. His father and uncle had served in the First World War.
He had a glittering military career, and much of his service was spent with the Royal Irish Fusiliers, where he was commissioned from the Royal Military College in Sandhurst. He served with men from all corners of Ireland. He served in the Suez Canal Zone, Aqaba, Gibraltar and Germany. Before retirement in 1979, he had the responsibility of being Commander-in-Chief of the army of the Sultan of Oman.
On retirement, he returned to Wexford. His father used to own Kiltennel rectory, and David and his wife Margaret moved into a nearby house on Tara Hill which had belonged to his grandmother and his aunt. David and Margaret have two sons, Dermot and Kevin and a daughter Maureen.
As the political climate began to cool at the end of the 1980s, David got involved in two charities, including the Republic of Ireland Branch of the Royal British Legion, looking after British ex-servicemen who had retired in Ireland.
He is also Chairman of the Trustees of the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Island Bridge. He also built up a relationship with the Irish Defence Forces ex-service organisations, and they attend respective commemoration ceremonies, and social events. It's been a big bridge building effort for the two traditions,' said David.
I was very pleased at what I have been able to achieve as an Irishman in Ireland for those who have served in the British forces,' he said. The climate has changed now, and relatives can lift up their heads and remember their loved ones at memorial ceremonies,' he added.