Op Banner photos - some memories for the old and bold

ugly

LE
Moderator
. . . . did he ever find out which one of you lot was the father?
Not likely to be me, I was too young and freshly posted in, there were a few digs in the ribs around the oil drum BBQ we had that evening but no one was brave enough to say it out loud. Or even stupid enough!
 
A few pages back we were talking about Fort George. These are the only pics I have of the layout of the base. The loading bay by the main gate, two different views of the Heli pad.
The last, a find in the Upper Shantallow estate Derry.
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One day the RUC asked if anyone wanted a trip to Belfast to assist with the transfer of a prisoner and I volunteered.

We set of in their unmarked car and I was in the back with a civvy jacket, my SLR and a handcuffed prisoner.

When we got to the Crumlin Road prison the prison officers refused to let me in or even let me hide behind their main gate and I ended up at a bus stop outside the prison, in half combats, trying to hide THAT rifle behind my back. I was really concerned that I would be confronted by local police or army patrols. 20mins later I was rescued and we made our way home. No one seemed to notice my predicament.

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Ballykinler and Sandes? soldiers home before it was vaporised.
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Is that top pic (Corner Cafe etc) in Newcastle - not far from the Slieve Donard Hotel entrance ?
 
Did one long most of the day patrol / sight seeing trip over the mountains.
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We used to meet a Scout on the beach across the road for our Eagle patrols. One day it turned up with no doors and we climbed in the back, only to be told by the pilot, to stand on the skids.
So off we went with one of us either side, feet apart on the skids, bum on the edge of the doorway and a single webbing belt around the waist. I could not hold onto anything because both my hands were now welded to my SLR. (Health and safety gone mad, I know)

We swanned about a bit before we headed north up the coastline.
Without warning the scout dived like a stuka towards the beach. The pilot had seen a single, bikini clad girl, alone on the beach. As soon as he passed her he pulled up and started to climb with the nose facing the sky.
As we got to the top of our climb and losing momentum the pilot rotated the helicopter so the nose was now facing the beach again. Half way through this I found myself horizontal facing down at the beach and the sea. To this day I have no idea why I did not fall out.
We did another pass over the girl who seemed to enjoy her own personal air display and after a few waves we flew off.
Think the second one is the Silent Valley Reservoir
 
I think we had only been at Newcastle 4-6 weeks when we were told we were getting re-deployed. I got on well with the RUC especially the ones my age.
We started to say our goodbyes and one told me he had been transferred to Forkhill and he said he didn't expect to live more than a week.

When I got to Armagh I read a telex reporting he had been shot dead in an ambush.
RIP Jim McNeice. Proper remembered.
Rfn Michael Gibson also died of his wounds. He had been doing what we were doing, sitting in the back of the police car.

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Sh1t, that brought me up short.

Just checked 'Lost Lives'.

December 14, 1974.
David James McNeice,
RUC, 19

Michael Edward Gibson
Royal Green Jackets, 20
 
For the benefit of the tape….

Early 1977 we were posted to Dungannon and Castle Hill Camp. We patrolled the rural area around Dungannon while other troops did the town. We rotated every third? week through Coalisland.

It was my third tour and I was 22.
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We were once deployed in a night standing OP collecting car numbers of the customers frequenting a pub that had its own rocket fence.
We had been there a couple of hours when there were sudden sustained bursts of automatic fire.
It was very close and I estimated 30-40 rounds were fired. It's the only time I have said "Contact wait out" on the radio.
It was immediately apparent we were not the targets and it transpired a member of the UDR had been ambushed as he returned home a short distance away. We got to his house before the ambulance and the RUC were already all over the scene so we just kept out the way.
The follow up search and report the next day indicated only 20rds had been fired. I felt this was wrong and went back a few days later and found a second firing point and a pile of 5.56 empty cases.
You can see strike marks on the left wall.
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We found this ancient thing under the floorboards in a derelict house.
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Also found this recently prepared and unexplained position looking down one of the main roads into the town.
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Milk churn hide.
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More memories on the OP doing OP Vengeful at the pub. Our section was split and my half covered the back looking into the car park. Shooting started so called for extraction and got picked up in a covert "Commer"? van driven by the MT SGT. A short while later in a very hushed voice he told us to debuss. Sadly he had not read the situation very well and we found ourselves right in the middle of the crowd who had come out of the pub to investigate the fuss. Compromise at the extreme. Did you not also find , as well as the second firing point, a heap of poo that might have belonged to "Henry The Turd"?
 
More memories on the OP doing OP Vengeful at the pub. Our section was split and my half covered the back looking into the car park. Shooting started so called for extraction and got picked up in a covert "Commer"? van driven by the MT SGT. A short while later in a very hushed voice he told us to debuss. Sadly he had not read the situation very well and we found ourselves right in the middle of the crowd who had come out of the pub to investigate the fuss. Compromise at the extreme. Did you not also find , as well as the second firing point, a heap of poo that might have belonged to "Henry The Turd"?
Your memory is a lot better than mine and much more detailed.

I hope there's 50 years of exhibits sitting on a shelf somewhere awaiting DNA analysis.
 
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