Army Veterans Facing murder charges over Bloody Sunday within two weeks

My unit, 1KOSB, completed tours in West Belfast 1970, 71, 72 (2), 73.
GPMGs WERE carried on patrol...depending on the mission and/or the level of violence in the area.
With regard to RUC officers accompanying us on certain patrols during those tours... they did... and very brave they were too, especially the Greenfinches - female officers - who we whistled up on several jobs, their presence had a calming influence in certain circumstances.

Brave men and women.
 
We took an RUC constable around Crossmaglen once in 1974. It was possibly the shortest patrol I'd ever done. A quick stroll around the square and back in the gate. He didn't want to hang about at all.
Indeed.

That said, by the time I was working W Belfast out of Palace bks (1979 - 81), there had been a substantial transformation in the morale and effectiveness of the RUC. They were very much in the forefront of operations: whereas we might still conduct 'army-only' foot patrols - always with a specific task, none of the 'maintaining a 24-hour presence' that was the 1975 norm - it was a commonplace that a multiple of 3 x 4-man teams would escort an RUC officer conducting a series of routine duties about the place.

I have to say that, looking back on things, I have come to regard that transformation as a singularly impressive demonstration of high-quality leadership in the face of serious danger, and I doff my hat to the Chief Constable for it.
 
Indeed.

That said, by the time I was working W Belfast out of Palace bks (1979 - 81), there had been a substantial transformation in the morale and effectiveness of the RUC. They were very much in the forefront of operations: whereas we might still conduct 'army-only' foot patrols - always with a specific task, none of the 'maintaining a 24-hour presence' that was the 1975 norm - it was a commonplace that a multiple of 3 x 4-man teams would escort an RUC officer conducting a series of routine duties about the place.

I have to say that, looking back on things, I have come to regard that transformation as a singularly impressive demonstration of high-quality leadership in the face of serious danger, and I doff my hat to the Chief Constable for it.

I agree, though during yet another tour of West Belfast in 1979 we DID conduct foot patrols virtually 24/7 and searches on a daily basis...the RUC would accompany us if THEY had a certain job to do though their confidence and manner in which they approached and applied policing was an improvement on our previous (18 month) tour in Palace barracks '75-76.

The number of steps on each flight of stairs in Divis Flats is still ingrained on my mind!
 

skid2

LE
Book Reviewer
The troubles seemed to follow a cycle of a decade or a decade and a half after a rough sort of peace and quiet. Except the 40s when it was interrupted by the war. 20s, 30s 50s al had their periods of trouble. The last being the largely ineffectual border campaign. Which even the RA admitted 'the people weren't ready for'.


Civil rights and the 60s blew up and it's widely accepted that the RUC and b specials over reacted. They thought they were dealing with another campaign and not something which was part of something way beyond the island.

On the night of the Divis shooting it was found that Hastings Street police station thought itself under attack, returned fire. This got Donegal Pass RUC all excited and someone sent out the Shorlands.

30 cal not being good in a built up area, they were cutting chunks out of cheap concrete and brieze block.

Max Hastings was on the ground that night. (Him and Don McCullen two of the five journos who's opinion I'd value). It's out there somewhere, it wasn't very flattering.
 
On the subject of Shorlands, on a tour in 75? In Carrickfergus based in the UDR barracks, the town was hoaching with UVF and UDA, they used to enjoy burning down each other’s pubs, we noticed that if we patrolled in our Ferrets we never saw any of the players but if we borrowed a Shorland then all the locals baddies were out and about, funny that.
 
Take a look at the fatality stats for 1972. They are double those for any other year.

I don't think anyone (this includes me) who wasn't there can hope to get a real sense of the intensity of the violence during that period, but if you dig around you'll find photos of .30" on the streets, and footsoldiers in fire positions in the 'burbs of W Belfast with GPMGs trailing substantial quantities of link.

It feels strange, to the point of being almost surreal.
That doesn’t surprise me for that year. It was an absolutely horrific year for army casualties. Certainly the worst ever as you rightly allude to. I was in my second year as a boy soldier at Shornecliffe.

However by the middle of October 1973 when I began my first tour in the Divis in Belfast, things had calmed down enough for troops to carry just SLR’s when out on patrol.

I say “just” SLR’s but each brick also carried a baton gun as well.

GPMG’s were held in stores but were not carried on the streets. .30 Brownings were often mounted in saracens of which there were very few numbers. Most unit transport was either land rovers, both covered with makrolon and open topped versions or Humber pigs.
 
The troubles seemed to follow a cycle of a decade or a decade and a half after a rough sort of peace and quiet. Except the 40s when it was interrupted by the war. 20s, 30s 50s al had their periods of trouble. The last being the largely ineffectual border campaign. Which even the RA admitted 'the people weren't ready for'.
40s saw troubles too
 
The troubles seemed to follow a cycle of a decade or a decade and a half after a rough sort of peace and quiet. Except the 40s when it was interrupted by the war. 20s, 30s 50s al had their periods of trouble. The last being the largely ineffectual border campaign. Which even the RA admitted 'the people weren't ready for'.
I believe you are right. Even the war didn't interrupt the rhythm of it.

1939 Coventry bombing - Wikipedia

Ironic that Coventry of all cities should suffer bombing in that WW2 IRA campaign. A careful read of the article will convey a sense of a tradition or 'continuity' if I may use that term with regard to the IRA. In NI, that same year, a family member (my family not Gerry's) was pursued in Belfast by a group of Republicans and was saved either from a severe beating or, more likely, death when the conductor of a tram or bus (I would assume in those days it was a tram) got him aboard just in time. The reason he was being pursued by those hoodlums was because he was wearing an RAF uniform.

Additional details of the 1940s campaign may be found below. The article states that the campaign ended in 1940. Perhaps this was so on the mainland. But not quite in Northern Ireland; in 1942, three RUC officers were killed: two in shoot-outs and one in an ambush.

1939 – The Irish Republican Army (IRA) begins a bombing and sabotage campaign in England (The S-Plan or Sabotage Campaign or England Campaign.

As you rightly say, there was another campaign in the 1950s. A sense of its intensity from an RUC and, generally speaking, pro-British community perspective may be divined from the article below.

Brookeborough raid of 1957 – a humiliating defeat for IRA

Border Campaign (Irish Republican Army) - Wikipedia

What is interesting to me about these early campaigns is that they were shut down very quickly by internment. But the world changed in the sixties (and not just in NI). The old ways of dealing with terror were no longer appropriate. In fact, they only made things worse.

As for the ways in which our mindsets may lead us into false assumptions in so many, many ways, both communities can draw on more than 300 years of narratives, each carefully selected and preserved, to justify the unjustifiable. And that is only the conscious part of the process. Mutual hatred, contempt and distrust and, above all, fear and insecurity, were subconsciously embedded in our DNA with all that that implies for the Troubles and the narrative of cause and effect and blame stretching back from Bloody Sunday, all the way, if necessary to the day when Cain killed Abel.

Abba Eban, the Israeli foreign minister, once said of Arafat that he 'never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity'. Thanks to this thread, I can see so clearly now how both sides in Northern Ireland missed truly beautiful opportunities to reconcile and go forward in peace together. It makes me sad. In that regard, there has been some interesting discussion about graffiti and slogans in NI on this thread. I remember one, from the very early sixties: it was painted in metre high letters (if not bigger) and it read: GOD IS LOVE. As a kid, I would sit on the bus going into town and stare at that slogan on the wall. I didn't understand it then; but I understand it now. I wish everyone on this thread, whether they be friend or foe, love and good luck. I have a feeling we are all going to need it.

Gary Owen, out.....
 
IRA taking advantage of England’s difficulty. Short, not widespread and certainly a sharp ending. With a hanging.
Christmas 1939, the IRA stole almost all the Irish Army’s ammunition reserves... most of which was recovered

The result was internment of IRA members in Ireland, deaths on hunger strike and executions
 

skid2

LE
Book Reviewer
Christmas 1939, the IRA stole almost all the Irish Army’s ammunition reserves... most of which was recovered

The result was internment of IRA members in Ireland, deaths on hunger strike and executions
Dev (rightly in my jaundiced view) gets a regular kicking, but there’s no doubt he knew how to deal with the IRA. Intern them. And only let them out with a written promise that there would be no return to the armed struggle.
If anyone was released, those on the outside knew that they had given their parole and a promise to refrain.
 
Take a look at the fatality stats for 1972. They are double those for any other year.

I don't think anyone (this includes me) who wasn't there can hope to get a real sense of the intensity of the violence during that period, but if you dig around you'll find photos of .30" on the streets, and footsoldiers in fire positions in the 'burbs of W Belfast with GPMGs trailing substantial quantities of link.

It feels strange, to the point of being almost surreal.
An interesting stat taken from HQNI CLF OpSum Jan 73 shows that the Army fired over 44,000 rounds in NI during 1972 in reply to just under 7,000 fired at them.
 
An interesting stat taken from HQNI CLF OpSum Jan 73 shows that the Army fired over 44,000 rounds in NI during 1972 in reply to just under 7,000 fired at them.
Link or are you talking b0ll0cks?
 
How did they arrive at the figure of 7000
I assume from the data contained in the daily NIREPs from units on the ground. Each Coy ops room was required to report the number of contacts, rounds fired, bombings etc. All fed into the Bde Ops Room and forwarded to HQNI. CLF produced a monthly Opsum which was distributed to include downing street
 
I assume from the data contained in the daily NIREPs from units on the ground. Each Coy ops room was required to report the number of contacts, rounds fired, bombings etc. All fed into the Bde Ops Room and forwarded to HQNI. CLF produced a monthly Opsum which was distributed to include downing street
Did the IRA tell the army how many rounds they fired then?
 

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