The Duck Hunters

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by jonwilly, Dec 28, 2007.

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  1. SAS invade Irish Republic by mistake;jsessionid=QF3JNLG5SZ3Q5QFIQMFCFFWAVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2007/12/28/nosplit/narchive128.xml

    "A map reading error by an SAS patrol threatened to undermine Britain's Northern Ireland policy, the records showed.

    The eight heavily-armed soldiers, six in civilian clothes, made an "accidental incursion" 300 metres into the Republic of Ireland while patrolling the border in three unmarked cars.

    They were arrested by the Garda and members of the Irish army at a checkpoint after a brief stand-off in May 1976.

    Ordinarily, they would have been released but the newly-appointed Director of Public Prosecutions in Dublin, Eamonn Barnes, was determined to demonstrate his independence.

    The men were charged with possession of firearms with intent to endanger lives and possession of firearms without a licence. The charges carried up to 20 years in prison.

    In the run-up to the men's two-day trial in Dublin in March 1977, London kept up a diplomatic onslaught, which included telephone calls between the Prime Minister, James Callaghan, and his Irish opposite number, Liam Cosgrave.

    Britain feared long-term damage to relations with Dublin if the men were jailed while the Republic said it could not be seen to bow to pressure from London.

    In a letter released today, Fred Mulley, the Defence Secretary, told the Prime Minister: "The men were acting in pursuit of our security policy in Northern Ireland."

    If they were jailed "the effect on the morale of the security forces and on Parliamentary and public opinion would be serious, there would be a public outcry especially if they suffered at the hands of the Provisional IRA."

    "Our whole Northern Ireland policy could be undermined," Mr Mulley wrote.

    The troopers were eventually acquitted on the more serious charge and escaped with a £100 fine."

    I always remember this matter for ten years later we where supporting a winter warfare escape and evasion Ex down in Bavaria and one night over a few Beers I asked the Senior from the Regt about how cum their lads had got lost.
    He actually blushed and then gave Acceptable version of what had happened.
    Basically THEY where set up by local NI polis.
  2. a brief stand-off
    Sounds a bit suss to me.

    OOPS! I mistakenly thought this thread was about 40 cdo RM recce tp.

    ie,don't go duck hunting in S Armagh,when visibility is bad,due to mist.
  4. Im sure Andy McNab mentions it in his second book.(might not be his but someone has written about it)
    Good of the telegraph to finally catch up.
  5. The tale as told to us by the Regt instructor was that the lads where on their initial Recce on the border.
    The local Polis where still very annoyed withe The Army for having got rid of the B Specials and deliberately gave them wrong directions.
    He also said they where only armed with shotguns and where out Duck Hunting, well that was their tale.
    All to best of memory from a very pizzy evening.
    And Onest he did Blush.
  6. Emphatically not true. No such statements were ever made.
    The haphazard nature of the border meant that inadvertant incursions into the Irish Republic were frequent. There were 121 in 1974, 68 in 1975 and 55 in 1976. The normal procedure was for the Irish Government to lodge a formal complaint with the British defence adviser in the Dublin embassy, however events leading up to this particular arrest, specifically the shooting of Peter Cleary and the 'arrest' of Sean McKenna who claimed he was taken from his home in the 'Republic annoyed the Garda Siochana and the Irish Army who changed their attitude to such incursions.

    Ultimately it was established in court that the 1:63,000 scale map the teams were using showed a 'T' junction just north of the 'border'. On the 1:20,000 map showed no 'T' junction. While the navigation error was a severely embarrassing one to make it was equally a simple mistake to make.
  7. Maybe somebody would like to comment on this incident?Set-Up or No Set-Up!

    Caledon Police Station in early ´76,sh*t hitting the fan nearly everywhere except this ´sleepy´little village in Tyrone where we used to do foot patrols or L/R Ferret patrols in support of the other units in Keady and Middletown.
    At night the UDR did the guard duty(unless I was on extras again!),one in the top sanger and 2 or three men watching the road that went North to Armagh or South to God knows where.The road in front of the PS went towards the border and just faded out before the blocked,immpassable for cars bridge.
    Tpr Midnight doing the hated 24 hour radio stag as the other 2 sections were kipping after a long days patrols,average sleep time per day was about 3-4 hours.After a few hours a policeman runs up and tells me we´ve been shot at from a car 3 times with a revolver.I hadn´t heard a thing and handguns are pretty loud,and I don´t suppose he was using an air-pistol.
    I call the sanger,`He went off towards the Border`,I call the T-Junction guards,`He drove off towards Armagh`!Oh fcuking Oh Ho I think and ´phone the 2i/c in Middletown and tell him I suspect a come on and maybe an ambush,he agrees and the guys sleep on.
    Funny that the next day none of the UDR or police asked us why we didn´t react!

    One of our vehicle patrols drives around in foggy weather and sees a Sign,´You are now leaving the Republic of Ireland´........whoops,happened quite often..
  8. Alec
    I can but tell the tale as it was told to me by a member of the Regt.
    Neither of us had been there, he was repeating a bit of Regimental Folklore.