The line of fire: The role of Scottish troops in theTroubles

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#1
FORTY years on from the bloodiest year of the Northern Ireland conflict, a new book examines the role of Scottish troops in the Troubles.

Royal Highland Fusilier John McCaig was only 17 and barely out of school when he was sent to serve in Northern Ireland. On March 9, 1971, he headed into Belfast city centre on a four-hour pass with his older brother, Joseph, and their friend, Dougald McCaughey.

Later that evening, their bodies were discovered by children on a quiet lane in Ligoniel in the north of the city. Two of them had been shot in the back of the head, one in the chest; beer glasses were lying close by.

It soon became clear the soldiers, from Ayr and Castlemilk, Glasgow, were victims of a honeytrap. Girls had lured them from the city centre on the promise of a party. The deaths (they were the fourth/fifth and sixth British soldiers to be killed in the Troubles, but the first to be executed while off-duty) sent shock waves across the country, as pictures of their smiling faces under their regimental glengarries dominated the front pages of newspapers.

Almost a year earlier, the Commanding Officer of the Royal Scots, Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Richardson, had celebrated St Patrick’s Day with a drink in a bar in the Lower Falls, a Republican stronghold. Now, however, the atmosphere had changed. Later, Harry McCallion, a young Catholic from Glasgow, who was part of 2 Para preparing for deployment, remembered being told of the murders.

“I looked at the faces of the older soldiers around me. I read on them the same thing: ‘Just wait until we get across.’ For me and everybody at the table that was the major turning point. There would be no more disco tours.”
continues

The line of fire: The role of Scottish troops in theTroubles - Books - Scotsman.com
 
#2
Woo how exciting, let's have a book about the Geordies role during the troubles or maybe Soldiers from the Midlands role during the troubles. Non book, nobody will buy it.
 
#3
I will buy is because it has Scottish in the title.

I am also looking forward to the release of "Scottish Tartan through the ages" and "The race for the moon, a Scottish Perspective"
 
#5
Woo how exciting, let's have a book about the Geordies role during the troubles
Yeah I'm all for that, are you heading it up? Put me down for a copy bezza. Cheers.
 
#6
Looks like a good book tbh.

The Scots have often had dramas with the Irish bit, that perhaps English (and Welsh) soliders may not perceive. I remember two clowns from Scotland being collected from a Republican drinking establishment. They were under the impression that (despite being British soldiers) seeing as they supported Celtic or some non-sense they could pop in for a Guiness. The lads were returned to safety, but it could have gone so wrong...

Would you ever get an English or Welsh lad trying that?
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#8
#9
Looks like a good book tbh.

The Scots have often had dramas with the Irish bit, that perhaps English (and Welsh) soliders may not perceive. I remember two clowns from Scotland being collected from a Republican drinking establishment. They were under the impression that (despite being British soldiers) seeing as they supported Celtic or some non-sense they could pop in for a Guiness. The lads were returned to safety, but it could have gone so wrong...

Would you ever get an English or Welsh lad trying that?
We had something very similar in NTH many years ago & again in Omagh..
 
#10
Just came across this thread, sorry to resurrect it - though the bit in the review where the writer claims that Scottish soldiers were in a state of terror is absolute bollocks, as I suspect the book is - can't be bothered to read it.

XXV
 
#11
I remember one of the Irish Sunday rags running an article saying the Falls road Provo Battalion were in a state of panic. During the customary Easter celebrations the Jocks came over en masse and partied hard in the local bars with the 'bhoys'. Next thing they know a new regiment came over full of a load of these Jocks. Seems economics had hit hard and these lads had forgone the brainwashing and joined up.
 

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