Group of Irish British army pensioners attend Dublin ceremony

Hopes the Royal Hospital Kilmainham event will become an annual one

A red beret photographs some blue berets attending the annual National Day of Commemoration Ceremony to honour all  Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

A red beret photographs some blue berets attending the annual National Day of Commemoration Ceremony to honour all Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 01:00

A British army pensioner from Kildare attended his first National Day of Commemoration ceremony in Dublin yesterday and thought it “immaculate”. Paddy Teegan lives at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea for retired soldiers of the British army.

In scarlet tunic and black tripod (hat) eight Irishmen, all resident at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, attended the commemoration ceremony in Dublin for the first time.

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham, where the ceremony took place, was also for retired British army soldiers. It was completed in 1684, two years prior to that at Chelsea.

Mr Keegan, from near Monasterevin, joined the British army in 1962. He served “for 34½ years” in Singapore, Borneo, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, England and Wales, and rose to the rank of warrant officer.

Laying of wreaths

The group of eight, sponsored by the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, arrived in Ireland last Thursday. They took part in the British Legion wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge on Saturday.

They also attended a reception hosted by British ambassador Dominick Chilcott and another at the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dún Laoghaire. “We’re the first group from the Royal Hospital in Chelsea to attend this ceremony and I hope it becomes an annual event,” Mr Teegan said. He thought yesterday’s ceremony “immaculate, right from the beginning, like clockwork, the guard of honour and band. Top class.”