Op Banner photos - some memories for the old and bold

overopensights

ADC
Book Reviewer
Listed as 1216 in Lost Lives, killed along with L/Cpl. Coughlan in a van bomb attack on Ballykinlar on Oct 28, 1974. For some reason although Coughlan is listed as RWF, Swannick is listed as belonging to the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment.
When they arrived at the Duke of Edinburgh's, they both came via Litchfield Depot, and as a Draft of only the two of them. On arrival they were both Badged RWF, and rebadged. As a fellow Welshman I asked the Adj if they could come to me, he readily agreed, I got to know them both very well, and as friends they were quite inseparable, sadly indeed as they are now.
 
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ugly

LE
Moderator
Was that when they bombed Sandy's?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
I thought that was late 70s early 80s, or was it done twice?
I thought it was very early 70's
It was often mentioned by the old hands in the Bn. They were posted there in 68
 
Ok! Just one more, and indeed a very sad part of it. Most people will know that snipers work in pairs. The sniper that I worked with was a Pte Swannick RWF Att DERR, he was a terrific shot, he was one of those that on discharge of shot, his L42A1 hardly moved. His only drawback was that he hardly ever spoke and sometimes he held his silence for absolute ages. He was a smart and extraordinary good looking young lad of about 22. He got something from the Bogside girls that the rest of us never ever got; he got smiles, and a 'come on look.' and even whistles! Some time later, after I was posted elsewhere in the Province, this gallant young man's name appeared on Op Banner role of Honour. Sometimes without a cause or reason he comes to mind, even 45 years afterwards.
I thought I recognised the name
Ok! Just one more, and indeed a very sad part of it. Most people will know that snipers work in pairs. The sniper that I worked with was a Pte Swannick RWF Att DERR, he was a terrific shot, he was one of those that on discharge of shot, his L42A1 hardly moved. His only drawback was that he hardly ever spoke and sometimes he held his silence for absolute ages. He was a smart and extraordinary good looking young lad of about 22. He got something from the Bogside girls that the rest of us never ever got; he got smiles, and a 'come on look.' and even whistles! Some time later, after I was posted elsewhere in the Province, this gallant young man's name appeared on Op Banner role of Honour. Sometimes without a cause or reason he comes to mind, even 45 years afterwards.
No, that’s the way things work out. You do what you are told and do your best. My dad was REME and went to NI loads of times (he certainly wasn’t around when I was born in early 1973) but we have been to North Howard Street Mill.
Beat that!
 

BopBopBop

Old-Salt
I thought it was very early 70's
It was often mentioned by the old hands in the Bn. They were posted there in 68
28 October 1974 - Michael Swanick (20) and Alan Coughlan (22), both members of the British Army, were killed in a Provisional Irish Republican Army van bomb attack outside Abercorn Barracks. The 300lb bomb, concealed in a delivery van parked on the opposite side of the road from the Sandes home at the base, exploded without warning causing the building to catch fire and collapse. It was completely gutted within minutes. Two soldiers died in the explosion, and 33 others, mainly soldiers but including two civilians, were injured in the attack. Private Swanick was a member of the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment and Corporal Coughlan also a member of the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment.
In 1986 a memorial stone to the two soldiers who died was unveiled outside a new Sandes home built on the site of the one destroyed
 
28 October 1974 - Michael Swanick (20) and Alan Coughlan (22), both members of the British Army, were killed in a Provisional Irish Republican Army van bomb attack outside Abercorn Barracks. The 300lb bomb, concealed in a delivery van parked on the opposite side of the road from the Sandes home at the base, exploded without warning causing the building to catch fire and collapse. It was completely gutted within minutes. Two soldiers died in the explosion, and 33 others, mainly soldiers but including two civilians, were injured in the attack. Private Swanick was a member of the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment and Corporal Coughlan also a member of the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment.
In 1986 a memorial stone to the two soldiers who died was unveiled outside a new Sandes home built on the site of the one destroyed
No like. That’s awful.
 
'Another Bloody Chapter in an Endless Civil War' to coin a phrase sadly.
Aye. Stupid stuff, as is now. I didn’t get it then, don’t really get it know. I have visited the ROI and they thought my part in their war amusing. It wasn’t their war, or anyone’s, they just teased me over it. I was sent to NI believing everyone wanted to kill me, in later years I went there and everyone wanted to feed me, or marry their daughters.
 
Aye. Stupid stuff, as is now. I didn’t get it then, don’t really get it know. I have visited the ROI and they thought my part in their war amusing. It wasn’t their war, or anyone’s, they just teased me over it. I was sent to NI believing everyone wanted to kill me, in later years I went there and everyone wanted to feed me, or marry their daughters.
You didn’t get it?

I’m not saying it wasn’t a waste, it always is but I understood why I was there on every tour I did.
 

overopensights

ADC
Book Reviewer
When they arrived at the Duke of Edinburgh's, they both came via Litchfield Depot, and as a Draft of only the two of them. On arrival they were both Badged RWF, and rebadged. As a fellow Welshman I asked the Adj if they could come to me, he readily agreed, I got to know them both very well, and as friends they were quite inseparable, sadly indeed as they are now.
My dad was over there then. I was born in 1973, first half of the year. Did op Banner myself in 1992. If you want, PM me and I will buy you a pint!
 
You didn’t get it?

I’m not saying it wasn’t a waste, it always is but I understood why I was there on every tour I did.
No B_B., I don’t get it . I’m not sure I ever will. My battles start at my doorstep.
I want to sleep at night in my house, with my loved ones doing the same in my house. Others doing the same, miles away, then good for them. And I hope they have a nice sleep .
 
I know of one event in Londonderry in (about) 1971 where several snipers were brought together from a number of different units, and posted atop the city walls because the 'RA had planned a mob-handed assault on the city, and for once the intelligence was spot on.

One of them was a Captain from 3 RRF, (OC Recce Pl at the time?) who was subsequently renowned for 13 kills that night.
Initials KC? Despite having chatted with him a fair bit about his time in NI & involvement in sniping it's never come up. I'm inclined to think a minor story grew over time.
 

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