Royal Observer Corps in Northern Ireland.


Was thinking about if it was a safe place for the ROC to operate so looked at a few Subbrit reports about the former ROC sites/posts. An interesting wording of why one was closed (Caledon, the nearest post to the border) was that "Some border posts had added security applied after one or two had forced entry by an armed organisation". Was there extra (manned/armed) security required for where the ROC personnel worked and were there any serious/lethal encounters?




Every day a school day.

Incredible that this was taken seriously in the Province through to 1991, given everything else that was going on.
As far as I am aware there were no losses due to terrorist activity in 31 Group Belfast, although I suspect that activities were restricted at times and ROC personnel only ever wore uniform on annual camp on the mainland. There is a preserved post at Portadown (45 Post, so a master post, i.e. radio equipped as well as landline) and if you look it up on Facebook the bloke who runs it might be able to give you the information that you are after.

There were attacks on posts during the border campaign of 1956-63 and the B Specials used to mount armed patrols to deter these.

The only time ROC personnel were armed to the best of my knowledge was in WWII when some posts were issued with 2 P14 rifles and 100 rounds of ammunition, but I don't know if that was all posts or just on the south coast. According to the lads who run Cuckfield post in Sussex we had priority over the Home Guard for rifles in 1940. All this was new to me until last year but they do have documents to prove it.

I suspect that individual Observers may have had their own private firearms in NI, in the same way that some of us did on the mainland, and would had carried them if we deployed for real as no farmer with a shotgun is getting me out of my nice safe bunker. However that is the extent of my knowledge.

Perhaps @31alpha or @tocsin might be able to shed more light on the subject.

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