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Attacks on the Ulster Defence Regiment

Main article at Ulster Defence Regiment.

This page is a record of attacks by paramilitary organisations on Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers (whether on or off duty), its patrols and bases - and soldiers who had left the regiment.

1970

  • 8th May - 5 UDR patrol comes under attack near Killea south west of Derry. Two Landrover's, not yet fitted with Makrolan armour are caught in a landmine explosion. Two soldiers are injured, one loses an eye.

1971

  • 16th March - Captain Marcus McCausland of D Coy 5 UDR is abducted and killed by OIRA. He is the first UDR officer to be killed.
  • 9th August - A patrol from 6 UDR's Strabane company come under fire froma Thompson sub-machine gun at a checkpoint near Clady Bridge border crossing. Private Winston Donnell is killed instantly. He is the first UDR soldier to be killed in action.
  • 12th August - A patrol from C Company (Newry), 3 UDR comes under sustained attack from a crowd trying to force their way into Crossmaglen RUC Station. The arrival of a troop of Ferret Scout cars from the 14/20th Hussars defuses the situation without casualties.
  • 18th August - Another patrol from 3 UDR comes under fire near Castlewellan. The patrol return fire with 20 rounds from a Sterling sub-machine gun. This is believed to be the first time the UDR fired weapons in anger.
  • September - C Company, 3 UDR patrol hit by a claymore mine at the Seven Sisters near Mayobridge. A number of soldiers receive serious injuries but none are killed.
  • 3rd September - A member of B Coy, 4 UDR is killed in a drive by shooting at Kinawley RUC Station.
  • 7th December - An off-duty member of 6 UDR is shot dead by the IRA.
  • 8th December - The first Catholic soldier to die, Private Sean Russell is shot dead in his home in New Barnsley, Belfast by the IRA.
  • 10th December - A member of 6 UDR's Strabane company and a former UDR member) killed by the IRA near Clady.

1972

(The worst year for casualties in the history of the UDR)

  • Girdwood Park Barracks, 10 UDR comes under attack from snipers and petrol bomber on 8 separate occasions throughout the year.
  • January, Two 3 UDR soldiers are held at gun point near Rathfriland while their weapons are stolen. Both are shot in the legs by the gunmen. UVF gunmen try to steal weapons at the home of three UDR soldier (a father and two sons). The attack fails and one of the intruders is shot when escaping.
  • 13th January - A member of D. Coy, 9UDR. Shot dead while off duty.
  • 17th January - A patrol from 3 UDR comes under fire from across the border at Narrow Water Castle, Warrenpoint. In a 20 minute gun battle they expend 101 7.62mm rounds and 155 9mm rounds. No injuries are sustained.
  • 16th February A member of D. Coy, 5 UDR. Kidnapped and shot dead while off duty.
  • 27th February - A member of C Coy, 2 UDR, shot dead off duty. His daughter was also shot in the leg.
  • 1st March - A member of A. Coy, 4 UDR. Shot dead off duty. His rifle stolen from his home.
  • 4th March - A member of D. Coy, 5 UDR. Kidnapped and shot dead while off duty. 1st Officer to be killed.
  • 8th March - A member of C. Coy, 3 UDR. Shot dead off duty.
  • 15th March - A member of 4 UDR comes under attack off duty in Fermamagh - escapes unharmed.
  • 20th March - A member of C Coy, 10 UDR. Killed on duty when a 200lb bomb went off in Belfast city centre.
  • 21st March - A patrol from 4 UDR suffers slight injuries when 7 charges are set off by pressure point at Gortin, Co Tyone.
  • 19th April - A member of C Coy, 3 UDR. Kidnapped and shot dead while off duty.
  • 20th May - A member of L Coy, 8 UDR. Killed in an IRA ambush while on patrol at Killyliss, near Dungannon.
  • 9th June - A member of, E Coy, 6 UDR. Shot dead on duty when his vehicle convoy came under fire
  • 9th June - A member of D Coy, 9 UDR. Shot dead off duty in his car by a youth and a girl. Two female passengers also wounded.
  • 13th July - A member of A Coy, 9 UDR. Beaten, stabbed and shot to death off duty.
  • 23rd July - A member of D Coy, 10 UDR. Abducted, tortured and killed off duty.
  • 30th July - A 10 UDR foot patrol comes under fire from a passing car on the Shore Road, Belfast. They return fire. The car is found abandoned nearby, heavily bloodstained - a wounded man is admitted to hospital.
  • 7th August - A member of C. Coy, 4UDR. Shot dead off duty.
  • 25th August - 2 members of B Coy, 4 UDR. Killed on duty by a 150lb booby trapped car near Enniskillen.
  • 6th September - A member of E Coy, 11 UDR. Killed off duty in a car boming.
  • 21st September - A member of C Coy, 4 UDR (and his wife) shot dead by the IRA as they watched TV at home.
  • October - the Training Warrant Officer of 3 UDR comes under attack at home. He is uninjured.
  • 10th October - A member of C Coy, 3 UDR. Shot dead off duty in front of his wife and children.
  • 14th October - A member of 10 UDR. Beaten up and shot in the head (killed) off duty.
  • 22nd October - A member of C Coy, 4 UDR. Shot dead while off duty.
  • 8th November - A member of C Coy, 11 UDR. Shot dead off duty.
  • 22nd November - A member of G Coy, 5 UDR. Shot dead off duty. Had survived a previous attack.
  • 5th December - A member of B Coy, 6 UDR. Shot dead off duty in front of his wife and children.
  • 15th December - A member of J Coy, 8 UDR. Shot dead off-duty outside his home. He returned fire from his pistol but was killed.
  • 20th December - A member of C Coy, 5 UDR. Shot dead off duty.

1973

  • January - A car bomb exlodes in the car of a civilian worker inside 2 UDR's HQ at Gough Barracks, Armagh. A rocket is fired at Killymeal House, the residence of the commander of 8 UDR - it misses. A part-time soldier from 2 UDR is attacked as he works on his farm with several co-workers. His brother is injured in the attack but he manages to drag him to safety and a psssing motorist takes him to hospital. As he returns to the scene he sees the gunmen take a third man into the pig house but is spotted and shot at again. When he takes cover he finds another man wounded and drags him to safety. The gunmen then leave. The soldier is awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for saving the life of his brother and friends.
  • 4th January - A captain from C Coy, 5 UDR is shot dead off duty.
  • 10th January - Patrol from 2 UDR comes under fire outside Armagh. Fire is returned "vigorously". One UDR driver is wounded in the wrist. A sub machine gune is recovered in the follow up search. The weapon's barrel had become pullged with earth and had exploded.
  • 16th January - A part time Cpl from B Coy, 9 UDR is shot and killed off duty.
  • 3rd March - A Sgt from C Coy, 5 UDR is abducted, tortured and killed.
  • 16th March - A private from 10 UDR is abducted on his way home from duty. He is found dead 12 hours later with gunshot wounds to the head.
  • 10th May - A cpl from L Coy, 8 UDR is shot dead by the IRA when off duty.
  • 13th May - A patrol from 8 UDR come under fire from a car which had smashed through a VCP. Fire is returned and the commander of A Coy, East Tyrone PIRA killed.
  • June - Shots are fired at a patrol from 10 UDR in Belfast. One round is fired in return. Heavy fog prevents pursuit. A guard section of 4 UDR comes under heavy fire at Belcoo RUC Station. No casualties.
  • August - An 8 man IRA team cross the border to kill a part time UDR soldier. The soldier is able to get his SMG and return fire. A 13 year old boy is wounded in the exchange of shots and a subsequent bomb destroys the garage where he worked and a nearby customs post. Another bomb explodes as bomb disposal officers try to defuse it and a techician is killed. The part time UDR soldier receives the Military Medal for his part in the action.
  • 16th August - The 8 UDR guard at Pomeroy RUC Station comes under sustained small arms, rocket and mortar fire. No casualties but one soldier has the end of his rifle blown off by a rocket which passed through the sangar he was returning fire from.
  • 27th August - A soldier from A Coy, 2 UDR is killed when staking out a suspect car in the centre of Armagh when the patrol comes under fire. A corporal is also wounded.
  • 7th Septmber - A part-time member of 4 UDR is killed off-duty by gunmen.
  • 17th November - A remote farmhouse near Cooneen, Co Fermanagh comes under fire. The 4 UDR soldier inside gets his rifle and returns fire, putting the gunmen's car out of action. In the follow up an M1 Carbine with full magazine is found in the car, and two petrol bombs. A 160lb bomb is also found in a creamery can at the back window of the propety.
  • 12th December - 4 UDR at Belcoo RUC Station again come under heavy fire including 6 rockets fired at them. No casualties.
  • 23rd December - A patrol of two platoons from 6 UDR, including the commanding officer and RSM of the battalion, is carrying out a patrol on a minor road near the border at Clogher. A mine goes off underneath the patrol's Shoreland armoured car with the RSM inside, lifting it several inches off the ground. He is unable to open fire at the terrorists who detonated the bomb because of a group of children nearby. The armoured car suffers only minor damage and is driven away.

1974

In this year the regiment came under attack on over 70 occasions, including proxy bombs at bases in Rathfriland, Newtownstewart, Aughnacloy, Cookstown and Dungannon, plus mortar and rocket attacks, eight landmine attacks and 27 ambushes on patrols and 21 shooting incidents against off duty soldiers, some by the Protestant UDA.

  • 17th January - Off duty member of F Coy, 6 UDR shot dead off duty.
  • 19th January - The Company Commander of L Coy, 8 UDR is abducted from a hotel in the Republic of Ireland when he went to buys drinks at the bar, leaving his wife and two teenage daughters at dinner. His body was found in the north the following morning, shot through the head.
  • 28th February - A patrol from 4 UDR comes under attack near Rosslea. A landmine explodes and the Shoreland armoured car falls into the crater making the mounted GPMG almost useless in returning fire due to the high angle it was left at. The soldiers in the Land Rover from the patrol dismount 200 yards away and along with the crew of the Shoeland, keeping to the centre of the road, return heavy fire against the rifle flashes they could see. The sustained and accurate fire from the riflemen in the patrol forces the gunment to break off the attack and secondary devices planted in the hedgerows adjacent to the road are not detonated.
  • 3rd March - A Cpl from G Coy, 8 UDR is killed when a landmine explodes under the second vehicle of a patrol near Gortin ranges.
  • 3rd March - A culvert bomb explodes under the leading Land Rover of a patrol from 8 UDR near Eskragh Lough. The vehicle is thrown onto its back but the Makrolon armour saves the 4 occupants and although injured (two seriously) they join the rest of the patrol in returning fire as the terrorists pour small arms fire at them. The patrol fires 13 rounds.
  • 5th March - A culvert bomb explodes on the Donaghmore-Castlecaulfield Road as a patrol from 8 UDR's Cookstown company pass by. No-one is injured.
  • 8th April - A patrol from 8 UDR comes under sustained fire in the centre of Dungannon. The patrol return fire in a sustained gun battle which has nearby residents diving for cover as bullets shatter windows. No injuries are sustained.
  • 10th April - A patrol from 8 UDR has a near miss when a culvert bomb explodes as they pass over it near Eskragh Lough.
  • 11th March - A warrant officer accompanying a foot patrol from K Coy, 8 UDR goes into a derelict house in John Street, Dungannon. He steps on a pressure plate which detonates a booby trap. A piece of shrapnel penetrates his chest through his flak jacket and he dies shortly afterwards. Another soldier is blown through the wall of the house next door but is uninjured.
  • April - Major George Saunderson (Brevet Lt Col), headmaster of Derrylin Primary School and until the previous year second in command of 4 UDR, is killed in the kitchen of the school by gunmen who then crash through a Garda checkpoint to escape into the Republic of Ireland. The AK47 used in the killing (said to have been used in 20 other incidents) is later auctioned in america to raise funds for the Provisional IRA for a sum which was said to be "beyond the IRA's wildest dreams".
  • 2nd May - Just before midnight an attack starts at the Deanery base of C Coy, 6 UDR in Clogher. Opening with mortars then continuing with small arms and rockets the estimated 40 man IRA team mount a sustained attack lasting for 20 minutes against the small contingent in the base who reply with rifle fire. during the attack Female Private Eva Martin is hit by a rocket fragment. She is the first women UDR soldier to be killed. The attack is broken off when Ferret armoured cars from the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, who were on a refreshment break at the base, return sustained fire with heavy Browning .30 calibre machine guns and one of the armoured cars leaves the base to intercept the attackers. A massive follow up by patrols from 4UDR, 6 UDR and 8 UDR along with regular army elements, RUC and Garda Siochana on the opposite side of the border fails to catch the terorists but a Garrand rile and 27 mortar bombs are recovered. This is considered the most serious and sustained attack ever mounted on a UDR base by the Provisional IRA.
  • 15th May - The Ulster Workers Council General Stroke begins. Attacks are mounted on the homes and cars of UDR soldiers to deter and prevent them reporting for duty.
  • 22nd June - A patrol from 10 UDR comes under attack at ther junction of Antrim Road and New Lodge Road in Belfast. Taking cover in the grounds of Duncairn Presbyterian Church they are joined by a patrol from 4 Light Regiment, Royal Artillery. In the exchange of shots one soldier from the Royal Artillery is killed.
  • 1st September - A 150lb proxy bomb is left otside the Newtownstewart base of 6 UDR. A part-time member of the guard drives the bomb laden car into a nearby field where it explodes harmlessly.
  • 28th September - A patrol from 3 UDR is sent to re-inforce an observation post mounted by 45 Commando near Crossmaglen. An attack is mounted against them with sustained mortar and small arms fire. The patrol returns 107 rounds from their SLR rifles.
  • 28th October - A bomb attack at the joint 3 UDR and regular army barracks at Ballykinlar destroys the Sandes soldiers canteen on the base killing two members of the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment.
  • 7th November - A patrol from 8 UDR accompany bomb disposal experts and members of the Royal Hussars to an electricty transformer at Stewartstown to investigate a suspect item.. The bomb disposal officer steps on a pressure plate detonating a booby trap killing him and a sergeant from the Royal Hussars. The UDR team is uninjured but on their return to the Dungannon base are confronted with a member of the public who has been ordered to drive a van bomb into the base. The sergeant in charge of the patrol commands the van driver at gunpoint to drive the vehicle into a specially contrusted pit where it explodes some time later with no casualties and only minimal damage to the barracks. The same part-time sergeant, who was a postman in his civilian occupation, had been hijacked in his postal van earlier in the year and forced to drive a bomb to the RUC station in Dungannon. He managed to escape but the bomb had failed to go off and was later disarmed by bomb disposal officers.
  • 13th November - A patrol from 4 UDR is caught in an explosion on the Kinawley-Swalinbar Road. The leading Land Rover is trown onto its side and the Shoreland armoured car opens fire with its GPMG. No-one is injured.
  • 17th November - A joint patrol from C Coy, 3 UDR come under fire in Rathfriland and a UDR private is killed. A follow up search in the area finds a loaded rifle, two revolvers, a shotgun and a quantity of ammunition. An 18 year old girl, two youths and two men are later imprisoned for the killing.
  • 16th December - A patrol from 4 UDR comes under fire near Gortineddan, Co Fermamagh. A short gun battle ensued which also saw members of the Gardai being accidentally fired upon by the UDR.
  • 23rd December - A sergenat from 4 UDR received a telephone call to turn out immediately as there had been another attack on Kinawley police station. Reporting to Cassidy's Cross he and a lance corporal joined RUC and regular army members at the location. They came under fire and in an exchange of shots they immobilised a car driven by terrorists. No casualties were sustained on either side.

Sources

  • A Testimony to Courage - the Regimental History of the Ulster Defence Regiment 1969 - 1992, Major John Furniss Potter, Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 2001, ISBN 0850528194
  • The Ulster Defence Regiment - An Instrument of Peace?, Chris Ryder, Methuen 1991, ISBN 0-413-64800-1
  • CAIN
  • Palace Barracks Memorial Garden

References

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