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On the 10th March 1951, ‘Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann’ – The Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen was formed at the Mansion House in Dublin. This new organisation brought together The National Federation of Irish Ex-Servicemen and the Association of Regular Ex-Servicemen, these organisations had emerged following demobilisation after ‘The Emergency’ (World War II). At the time of its inception, there were approximately 180,000 ex-service personnel in Ireland. ONE was strictly non-political and non-sectarian and has remained so to this day.
Lt General Michael Joe (M.J.) Costello who retired in 1946 was elected the organisation’s first president. On the inception of the unified body, General Costello sent a message to all ex-servicemen around the country: “It is important that we remember what brings us together – what interest we have in common. It is quite simply the common bond of past service in Ireland in her armed forces. We are old comrades in arms wishing to maintain and strengthen old associations and traditions.”
The ONE Badge was modelled on the Defence Forces ‘FF’ cap badge, which features the sunburst and eight-pointed star. The words ‘Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann’ translated today as Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel. The letters ONE are central, behind is a white numeral 1 in front of the Black and Tan colours – in memory of those that were awarded The Service (1917-1921) Medal (often referred to as the War of Independence Medal) from the 26th of May 1942 onwards. The medal description explains, “The combination of the colours black and tan was adopted by reason of its association with the terms “Black and Tan” which had a particular significance in relation to the struggle for independence during the years 1917-1921.” https://bit.ly/1917-1921_Medal
More information on the founding and history of ONE here
Photo: MJ Costello. Courtesy of Military Archives IE-MA-P-157-037