31st July Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

31st  July

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles Claudy Bomb

Monday 31 July 1972 ‘Operation Motorman

Prior to the military operation 4,000 extra troops were brought into Northern Ireland to take part in the dismantling of barricades on the boundaries of ‘no-go’ areas.

It turned out to be the biggest British military operation since the Suez crisis. Some 12,000 British troops supported by tanks and bulldozers smashed through the barricades. Two people, a Catholic teenager and a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), were shot by the British Army during the operation in Derry.

The number of house searches and the number of Catholics interned were to increase over the coming months.

Claudy Bomb

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded three car bombs in Claudy, County Derry killing six people instantly while a further three people died of their injuries over the next 12 days. Five of those who were killed were Catholic civilians while the other four were Protestant civilians.

The first bomb exploded at approximately 10.15am close to McElhinney’s Bar on Main Street, Claudy. Three people died at the scene. At approximately 10.30am there were two further bomb explosions.

The first was outside the Beaufort Hotel, Church Street – three people were killed by the explosion.

The last bomb exploded outside the Post Office on Main Street. This bomb had been spotted earlier by a police officer and a member of the public. No one was killed by this bomb but some of the people cleared from Main Street had moved around the corner to Church Street and were caught in the blast outside the Beaufort Hotel.

Claudy Bomb Victims

See Claudy Bombing

Tuesday 31 July 1973

First Assembly Meeting The new Northern Ireland Assembly met for the first time amid noisy scenes of protest.

Thursday 31 July 1975

Miami Showband Killings / ‘Miami Massacre

The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) carried out a gun and bomb attack on the members of the Miami Showband. Three members of the band were killed and one seriously injured during the attack. Two members of the UVF gang were also killed when a bomb they were handling exploded prematurely. The Miami Showband had been playing at ‘The Castle Ballroom’ in Banbridge, Count Down.

Five members of the band left in their minibus and travelled south on the main dual-carriageway. The minibus was stopped by what appeared to be a Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) checkpoint at Buskhill, near Newry. However the checkpoint was bogus and was being operated by approximately 10 members of the UVF – at least four of whom were also members of the UDR.

The members of the band were ordered out of the van and told to line up by the side of the road. Two UVF men then planted a bomb into the van.

The bomb exploded prematurely killing the two UVF members. At this point the other UVF members opened fire on the band musicans. Francis (Fran) O’Toole (29), the lead singer with band and famous for his good looks, was shot 22 times in the face while he lay on his back on the ground. Two other band members Anthony Geraghty (23), who was shot four times in the back, and Brian McCoy (33), shot nine times, both died at the scene.

Another member of the group was shot with a ‘dum-dum’ bullet and seriously injured but survived. The two UVF men who died were Harris Boyle (22) and Wesley Somerville (34); both were also members of the UDR. [There was speculation after the event that the UVF had tried to hide the bomb on the minibus with the intention of the bomb exploding after the members of the van had resumed their journey. It would then have been claimed that the members of the band were transporting explosives on behalf of the IRA.

In 1976 two members of the UDR were sentenced to prison for their part in the attack. They received life sentences but were later released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement

The HET report found that Robin Jackson (aka ‘the Jackal’), a leading mid-Ulster member of the UVF, had been linked by fingerprints to one of the weapons used. Jackson later claimed in police interviews he had been tipped off by a senior RUC officer to lie low after the killings. RUC headquarters was told about this claim, but no action was taken. The HET report said that Jackson claimed that he was told that his fingerprints had been found on a silencer attached to a Luger pistol used in the murders. The HET said the murders raised “disturbing questions about collusive and corrupt behave.

See Miami Showband Killings

Sunday 31 July 1994

Two UDA Men Killed by IRA

Joe Bratty

Joe Bratty (33) and Raymond Elder (32), both members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), were shot and killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) while they were walking along Ormeau Road, Ballynafeigh, Belfast.

Thursday 31 July 1997

A bomb, estimated at between 500 and 1,000 pounds, was left by the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) in the grounds of Carrybridge Hotel, near Lisballaw, County Fermanagh. The British Army defused the bomb.

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) announced that it would carry out a review of the electoral system in the region following numerous allegations of fraud during both the last general election and local government elections

The NIO also announced that Andy Wood, who had been chief Press Officer at the NIO for 14 years, was resigning. In the House of Commons it was revealed that David Fell, then head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, would be given £1,000,000 in a lump sum retirement settlement together with £42,188 per annum for six years. iour”.

Friday 31 July 1992

Channel 4 and Box Productions were fined £75,000 in the High Court in London for failing to reveal the source of information for a programme entitled ‘The Committee’ broadcast on 2 October 1991.

The programme claimed that there was an ‘inner circle’ in the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) which was colluding with Loyalist paramilitaries in the killing of Catholics.

A subsequent book on the controversy, also entitled ‘The Committee’, was not released in the United Kingdom (UK) by the American publishers who feared libel proceedings

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Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

– To the Paramilitaries –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

24 People lost their lives on the 31st of   July between 1970– 1994

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31 July 1970

Daniel O’Hagan,  (19)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)

Shot during street disturbances, New Lodge Road, Belfast.

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    31 July 1972

 Daniel Hegarty, (15)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)

Shot while walking along Creggan Heights, Creggan, Derry.

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   31 July 1972

Seamus Bradley,  (19)

Catholic

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)

Shot, Bligh’s Lane, Creggan, Derry.

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    31 July 1972

 Kathryn Eakin,   (8) Protestant

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed when car bomb exploded outside McElhinney’s Bar, Main Street, Claudy, County Derry. Inadequate warning given.

See Claudy Bombing

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   31 July 1972

 Elizabeth McElhinney, (59)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed when car bomb exploded outside McElhinney’s Bar, Main Street, Claudy, County Derry. Inadequate warning given.

See Claudy Bombing

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   31 July 1972

 Joseph McCloskey  (38) Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed when car bomb exploded outside McElhinney’s Bar, Main Street, Claudy, County Derry. Inadequate warning given.

See Claudy Bombing

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    31 July 1972

Rose  McLaughlin,   (52) Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Injured when car bomb exploded outside McElhinney’s Bar, Main Street, Claudy, County Derry. She died 3 August 1972. Inadequate warning given.

See Claudy Bombing

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   31 July 1972

 Joseph Connolly,   (15)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Injured when car bomb exploded outside McElhinney’s Bar, Main Street, Claudy, County Derry. He died 8 August 1972. Inadequate warning given.

See Claudy Bombing

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   31 July 1972

Arthur  Hone,  (38) Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Injured when car bomb exploded outside McElhinney’s Bar, Main Street, Claudy, County Derry. He died 12 August 1972. Inadequate warning given.

See Claudy Bombing

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   31 July 1972

 James McClelland,  (65)

Protestant

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed when car bomb exploded outside Beaufort Hotel, Church Street, Claudy, County Derry. Inadequate warning given.

See Claudy Bombing

————————————————————–

    31 July 1972

 David  Miller (60)

Protestant

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed when car bomb exploded outside Beaufort Hotel, Church Street, Claudy, County Derry. Inadequate warning given.

See Claudy Bombing

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   31 July 1972

William  Temple, (16)

Protestant

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed when car bomb exploded outside Beaufort Hotel, Church Street, Claudy, County Derry. Inadequate warning given.

See Claudy Bombing

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  31 July 1975

Fran O’Toole,   (27) nfNI

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)

Member of Miami showband. Shot shortly after their minibus was stopped at bogus vehicle check point, Buskhill, near Newry, County Down.

See Miami Showband Killings

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   31 July 1975

Brian  McCoy, 33)

Protestant

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)

Member of Miami showband. Shot shortly after their minibus was stopped at bogus vehicle check point, Buskhill, near Newry, County Down.

See Miami Showband Killings

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   31 July 1975

 Tony Geraghty  (23) nfNI

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)

Member of Miami showband. Shot shortly after their minibus was stopped at bogus vehicle check point, Buskhill, near Newry, County Down.

See Miami Showband Killings

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   31 July 1975

 Harris  Boyle,  (22)

Protestant

Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)

Also Ulster Defence Regiment member. Killed in premature explosion while planting bomb on minibus belonging to Miami showband, Buskhill, near Newry, County Down.

See Miami Showband Killings

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   31 July 1975

  Wesley Somerville  (34)

Protestant

Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)

Also Ulster Defence Regiment member. Killed in premature explosion while planting bomb on minibus belonging to Miami showband, Buskhill, near Newry, County Down.

See Miami Showband Killings

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   31 July 1976

 Thomas Cush,   (52)

Protestant

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Shot by sniper while standing at security barrier, Church Street, Lurgan, County Armagh.

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  31 July 1979

 George  Walsh,   (51)

Protestant

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)

Shot from passing car while sitting in stationary car, outside Armagh Courthouse, Armagh.

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   31 July 1981

Thomas  Harpur,   (30)

Protestant

Status: ex-Royal Ulster Constabulary (xRUC),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)

Shot while visiting friend’s home, Mount Sion, Ballycolman, Strabane, County Tyrone.

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   31 July 1981

 Peter  Doherty (36)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)

Shot by plastic bullet at his home, Divis Flats, Belfast.

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    31 July 1990

 John Judge,  (34)

Catholic

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)

Shot outside his home, Valleyside Close, off Springfield Road, Belfast.

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   31 July 1994

 Joe  Bratty,   (33)

Protestant

Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Shot, while walking along Ormeau Road, Ballynafeigh, Belfast.

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   31 July 1994

Raymond  Elder,   (32)

Protestant

Status: Ulster Defence Association (UDA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Shot, while walking along Ormeau Road, Ballynafeigh, Belfast.

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