Bessbrook bomb kills four RUC men- 17th April 1979

Bessbrook

Booby Trap Van Bomb

17th April 1979

Four Protestant members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), were killed by a Provisional IRA remote-controlled bomb hidden in a parked van, and detonated when their mobile patrol drove past, Bessbrook.

The bomb was estimated at 1,000 pound and was believed to be the largest bomb used by the IRA up to that date.

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Victims

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17 April 1979


Paul Gray, (25)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in parked van, detonated when Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol drove past, Bessbrook, County Armagh.

See 17th April Deaths & Events

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17 April 1979


Robert Lockhart,  (44)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in parked van, detonated when Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol drove past, Bessbrook, County Armagh

See 17th April Deaths & Events

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17 April 1979


Richard Baird,  (28)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in parked van, detonated when Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol drove past, Bessbrook, County Armagh

See 17th April Deaths & Events

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17 April 1979


Noel Webb,  (30)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in parked van, detonated when Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol drove past, Bessbrook, County Armagh

See 17th April Deaths & Events

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Visit the RUC website & memorial list

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17 April 1980

 

In January 1981, Patrick Joseph Traynor (27) from Crossmaglen was found guilty of the four murders and a range of other charges. He was jailed for life on each of the four murder charges and was sentenced to 12 years for the related crimes.

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BESSBROOK

Army Base

Bessbrook, saw some of the worst violence in the Troubles. 25 British soldiers and local Protestants, all male, lost their lives. Four soldiers died in a non-combat related air accident, but the rest (21 men) were killed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).

The linen mill was converted by the British Army into a major military base. A helicopter landing area was established to supply other military outposts in the area since road-borne movements of troops and supplies were vulnerable to landmine attack.

At one stage the little village was reportedly the busiest helicopter airport in Europe, more so than the major heliports supplying the North Sea oil rigs. For many years British Army helicopters would take off and land every few minutes. To avoid the risk of missile attack they would fly at rooftop level over the village. For a time, direct access to much of the village was sealed off by security barriers to minimise the risk of vehicle-borne bomb attacks on the security forces. Some have claimed that this contributed to the commercial decline of local businesses.

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