Last troops pull out of Bessbrook - From the BBC News

#1
The British army has pulled out of its base at Bessbrook in County Armagh.
The move is a step in Northern Ireland's "normalisation" programme, in response to the IRA's declared end to its activities.

Fewer than 20 members of the Second Battalion Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment vacated the complex at Bessbrook Mill.

Colonel Wayne Harber said it was nostalgic. Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy said it was welcome in the community.

Operation Banner, the name the Army gave to its support role for the police, will end completely in August after more than 30 years - the longest running operation in British army history.

The last helicopter flight out of Bessbrook took place at the weekend.

Colonel Harber said they were pleased that the peace process was progressing.

"The Army doesn't deal in sentiment but there's a hint of nostalgia and that thread of continuity and the significance that this is the longest military campaign in the army's history," he said.


Army watchtowers have already been taken down in the area

"It is the idea of continuity that we feel today but we are optimistic."

Conor Murphy said: "This is obviously welcome news for the community of South Armagh, who have had to live under British military occupation for the past 30 years.

"Sinn Fein made the issue of demilitarising communities like South Armagh a central part of the political negotiations. We are happy we have now arrived at this point."

UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy paid tribute to the military for their "huge contribution to peace and the enormous sacrifices they endured".

He said he hoped a lasting memorial would be established in the village "to recognise the service of the many thousands of military personnel who served in the area".

The last soldier killed during the Troubles was based at Bessbrook.

Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick was shot dead by a long-distance sniper while operating a security checkpoint in 1997. He was the last of 763 military personnel to die in Northern Ireland.

By the summer there will be no more than 5,000 British soldiers in Northern Ireland, based in 11 locations.

At the height of the Troubles there were almost 30,000, based in more than 100 locations.
 
#2
Heard it on the news this AM.A few months ago I was down that way & saw the Puma lifting kit from the mountain watchtowers.Apparently Queens Uni have the site now for a agricultural colledge.
 
#3
spike7451 said:
Heard it on the news this AM.A few months ago I was down that way & saw the Puma lifting kit from the mountain watchtowers.Apparently Queens Uni have the site now for a agricultural colledge.

Yes, quite a few experts on different grades of fertilizer down there.
 
#4
romach said:
The last soldier killed during the Troubles was based at Bessbrook.

Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick was shot dead by a long-distance sniper while operating a security checkpoint in 1997. He was the last of 763 military personnel to die in Northern Ireland.
Could swear that a RGBW lad was killed at a PVCP in South Armagh in 98.
 
#6
I assume that a good proportion of arrsers will not be sorry to see the last of BBK.

However something does stick in my throat at the british government eating crow for the likes of Adams and his lickspittle McGuinness.

These are my own thoughts and should in no way be misconstrued with a large number of those serving and have served that would slot both of them in a heartbeat :twisted:


fastmedic
 
#7
Sorry I meant the RGBW lad was killed after Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick. And not by a sniper.
 
S

stevieni22

Guest
#11
its good that things are movng on but it addens me that PSNI down in south armagh newry still need military support to operate my Wife is from outside Keady if u need the police down there u have to go to them in Armagh city as they wont come out for fear of attack by RD's sad realy that there is still a need but its being covered up by the Govt
 
#12
how long do you think it will hold ?

if it does flare up again , its going to be a job and a half to reestablish these bases again.
 
#13
I think the only group who could realistically inflame things are the Real IRA and bar a few firebombing attacks and the occasional trouble haven't done anything major. Hopefully it's all quiet on the western front.
 
#14
fastmedic said:
I assume that a good proportion of arrsers will not be sorry to see the last of BBK.

However something does stick in my throat at the british government eating crow for the likes of Adams and his lickspittle McGuinness.

These are my own thoughts and should in no way be misconstrued with a large number of those serving and have served that would slot both of them in a heartbeat :twisted:


fastmedic
It wouldn't take that long :twisted:
 
#15
rickshaw-major said:
fastmedic said:
I assume that a good proportion of arrsers will not be sorry to see the last of BBK.

However something does stick in my throat at the british government eating crow for the likes of Adams and his lickspittle McGuinness.

These are my own thoughts and should in no way be misconstrued with a large number of those serving and have served that would slot both of them in a heartbeat :twisted:


fastmedic
It wouldn't take that long :twisted:
The pleasure would be all mine, and id quite happily live with the jail sentance
 
#16
the_baron said:
Sorry I meant the RGBW lad was killed after Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick. And not by a sniper.
I think you'll find that was Cpl Gaz Fenton RGBW (RIP). Not 100% what happened but I think it was something to do with a tanker crashing his VCP and hitting him as it went through. I think one of his team got a few rounds off as well at the cab, not sure what happened with that though.

Sad to see BBK go in a funny sort of way - I suppose it was the stomping ground of my younger days - I won't miss the climb to the top floor up the metal mountain with half a ton of kit on my back though!
 

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