14th May – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

14th May


Sunday 14 May 1972

Martha Campbell

A 13 year old Catholic girl was shot dead by Loyalist paramilitaries in Ballymurphy, Belfast.

Monday 14 May 1973

Martin McGuinness was released from prison in the Republic of Ireland having served a six months sentence.

Tuesday 14 May 1974

Beginning of the Ulster Workers Council Strike

There was a debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly on a motion condemning power-sharing and the Council of Ireland. The motion was defeated by 44 votes to 28. At 6.00pm, following the conclusion of the Assembly debate, Harry Murray announced to a group of journalists that a general strike was to start the following day.

The organisation named as being responsible for calling the strike was the Ulster Workers’ Council (UWC). The action was to become known as the UWC Strike. The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Sinn Féin (SF) were declared legal following the passing of legislation at Westminster.

Saturday 14 May 1977

Robert Nairac.jpg

Robert Nairac (29), a member of the British Army, was abducted by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) outside the Three Step Inn, near Forkhill, County Armagh.

His body was never recovered and he was presumed dead. He is listed as one of the ‘disappeared’.

[The IRA later stated that they had interrogated and killed a Special Air Service (SAS) officer. Nairac was posthumously awarded the George Cross.]

See Robert Nairac

Thursday 14 May 1981

Brendan McLaughlin, an Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner in the Maze Prison, joined the hunger strike to replace Francis Hughes who had died on 12 May 1981.

See Hungry Strike

[McLaughlin was taken off the strike on 26 May 1981 when he suffered a perforated ulcer and internal bleeding.]

Wednesday 14 May 1986

The pressure group ‘Campaign for Equal Citizenship‘ was established at a meeting in Belfast. The CEC argued that British political parties, such as the Labour and Conservative, should organise and stand for election in Northern Ireland. The CEC was also in favour of the full administrative integration of Northern Ireland into the United Kingdom

Saturday 14 May 1994

David Wilson (27), a British Army (BA) soldier, was killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during a bomb attack on a permanent Vehicle Checkpoint, Castleblaney Road, Keady, County Armagh.

Sunday 14 May 1995

The Sunday Business Post (a Dublin based newspaper) published a report of an interview with Peter Temple-Morris, then co-chairman of the British-Irish Interparliamentary Body. He expressed the view that Republican frustration with the lack of progress on all-party talks might lead to an end of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire.

Wednesday 14 May 1997

Gunmen tried to kill a taxi driver in Milford village, County Armagh.

The attempt failed when the gun jammed. The Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) was believed to be responsible for the attack.

Betty Boothroyd, then Speaker of the House of Commons, ruled that the two Sinn Féin (SF) MPs would not be given office facilities at Westminster because they had refused to take their seats in the House.

In the Queen’s speech setting out the Labour governments legislative plans it was announced that the North Report on parades and marches would be implemented in 1998. In addition the European Convention on Human Rights would be incorporated into forthcoming legislation on Northern Ireland.

Thursday 14 May 1998

Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, paid another visit to Northern Ireland to continue campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum. During his visit he delivered a key note speech.

Friday 14 May 1999

There were further political talks in London involving the two Prime Ministers and the leaders of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Sinn Féin (SF). Before the meeting Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF) expressed concern about the state of the ceasefires of the main Loyalist paramilitary groups.

He claimed that the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) had co-operated with other Loyalist groups in carrying out attacks on Catholic homes.

At the meeting Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, announced an “absolute” deadline of 30 June 1999 for the formation of an Executive and the devolution of power to the Northern Ireland Assembly. Proposals put before the parties were thought to have been agreed by, David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Irish Government, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and Sinn Féin (SF).

[However the UUP Assembly party failed to endorse the proposals. The proposals would have seen the d’Hondt procedure for the appointment of ministers in a power-sharing executive triggered in the coming week, with full devolution achieved by the end of June, following a report on “progress” on decommissioning by Gen. John de Chastelain.]

Sunday 14 May 2000

Cyril Ramaphosa, former secretary-general of the African National Congress (ANC), and Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, both of whom were appointed as arms inspectors arrived in Northern Ireland. The arms inspectors report to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).



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.

10 People lost their lives on the 14th between 1972 – 1994


14 May 1972

Marta Campbell   (13)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot while walking along Springhill Avenue, Ballymurphy, Belfast.


14 May 1972

John Pedlow   (17)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died one day after being shot during gun battle between Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Loyalists, Springmartin Road, Belfast.


14 May 1972
Gerard McCusker   (24)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Found shot on waste ground, Hopeton Street, Shankill, Belfast.


14 May 1973

John McCormac   (34)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Died three days after being shot while walking along Raglan Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.


14 May 1973

Roy Rutherford  (33)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb in derelict cottage, Moy Road, Portadown, County Armagh


14 May 1977

Robert Nairac   (29)

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Undercover British Army (BA) member. Abducted outside Three Step Inn, near Forkhill, County Armagh. Presumed killed. Body never recovered.

See Robert Nairac


14 May 1980
Roy Hamilton   (22)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Shot at his workplace, a building site, Ballymagroarty, Derry.


14 May 1981

Samuel Vallely   (23)

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in rocket attack on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) mobile patrol, Springfield Road, Belfast.


14 May 1984
Seamus Fitzsimmons   (21)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot by undercover Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) members during attempted robbery at Post Office, Ballygalley, near Larne, County Antrim.


14 May 1994
David Wilson   (27)

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed during bomb attack on British Army (BA) permanent Vehicle Check Point (VCP), Castleblaney Road, Keady, County Armagh.


Proud to be a Loyalist – But I don’t hate Catholic’s

I am 

Unashamedly Proud of My Loyalist and British Heritage.

 queen union jack.jpg

In fact I want the world to know that despite what loony lefties and followers of Corbyn think – its perfectly normal to take pride in our country and celebrate and embrace our long and glorious history.


Someone emailed me yesterday after visiting my website and praised me for writing about the history of The Troubles and commemorating the memory of all those who had died during the  30 year conflict.

So far – so good!

And then she asked me………..

“Did I hate Catholic’s and what I thought of a United Ireland ?”.

Well at this stage my antenna went up and I thought ” Here we go again “

Let me explain….

When I set up this blog/website  last year my primary objective was to promote my Autobiography Belfast Child and hopefully attract some attention from the publishing world and maybe one day see my book printed and share my story with the world.

That was the objective anyways and the process  has been long and full of disappointments – but I am now working with high profile ghost writing Tom Henry  to complete the book and his enthusiasm for the subject is feeding my dream.


I  have always   thought I had an interesting story to tell ( I would wouldn’t I ? ) and within weeks of launching the site I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was receiving a lot of visitors and people were commenting on my story. As of yesterday I have had more 100,000 visitors to the site and this figure is growing and increasing weekly by a few thousand and this I must say surprised me.

It had always been my aim to dedicate the book/my story to the memory of all those killed in the Troubles  and off course to the memory of  my beloved father John Chambers – who died way to young and left a wound in my soul that can never been healed or soothed.

So with this in mind I decided to use my website to tell the story of the Northern Ireland conflict and include an unbiased (mostly) comprehensive history of all major events and deaths in the Troubles. Due to my loyalist heritage and background this has not always been easy, considering I lived through the worst years of the Troubles among the loyalist communities of West Belfast and like those around me I was on the front-line of the sectarian slaughter and there was no escape from the madness that surrounded and engulfed us.

I blamed the IRA ( and other republican terrorists ) for all the woes of life in Belfast and  I hated them with a passion  – still do.

Growing up as a protestant in Northern Ireland  is unlike life in any other part of the UK or British territories and from cradle to grave our lives are governed by the tenuous umbilical cord that reluctantly connects us to the rest of the UK and Westminster’s corridors of power.

Unlike most other communities throughout the UK we are fanatically proud of our Britishness and we have literally fought for the right to remain part of Britain and have Queen Elizabeth II as the mother of our nation.

Long may she reign

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If you have read extracts from my Autobiography Belfast Child ( It’s worth it – promise ) you will know that  I was raised within the heartlands of loyalist Northern Ireland – The Glorious Shankill Road.

The UDA ( Ulster Defense Force) and other loyalist paramilitaries governed and controlled our daily lives and lived and operated among us. The loyalist community stood as one against the IRA and other republican terrorists and although there was often war between the various different groups , they were untied in their hatred of Republican’s and pride in the Union.

The definition of loyalist is :

a. A supporter of union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

b. A person who remains loyal to the established ruler or government, especially in the face of a revolt.



Why Ireland split into the Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland


A bit of history for you

A very brief  outlined of the beginning of the modern troubles

Whilst the Protestants’ clung to their British sovereignty and took pride in the union, our Catholic counterparts felt abandoned and second class citizens in a Unionist run state. The civil rights marches of the 60’s & Republican calls for a United Ireland were the catalyst for the IRA and other Republican terrorist groups to take up arms against the British and feed the paranoia of the loyalist community.

Northern Ireland descended into decades of sectarian conflict & slaughter. An attack on the crown was an attack on the Protestant people of the North and the Protestant paramilitaries took up arms and waged an indiscriminate war against the IRA, the Catholic population and each other. Many innocent Catholic’s and Protestant’s became targets of psychopathic sectarian murder squad’s. Murder was almost a daily occurrence and the killings on both sides perpetuated the hatred and mistrust between the two ever-warring communities. It was a recipe for disaster and Northern stood on the brink of all out civil war.

Growing up in this environment it is hardly surprising to learn that  I hated republicans and all they stood for. But that doesn’t mean I hated Catholic’s or Irish people and would  wish  any harm on them – I don’t and I didn’t.

It means I have a different point of view and democracy is all about freedom of choice and my choice is to maintain the Union with the UK and embrace and celebrate my loyalist culture and tradition. It also means I have the right to take pride in the union with the rest of the UK and I wear my nationality like a badge of honor for all the world to  see.


proud to be british jason mawer

Jason Mawer has been warned twice to remove his jacket in case it offends someone

The unique Mod-style jacket in red, white and blue was made a few years ago for a Who convention in London

Pub landlord Jason Mawer has twice been asked in public to remove his treasured Union Jack jacket – for risk of it being ‘offensive’.

He was told to take off his valuable Mod-style Barbour jacket – designed in honour of legendary rock band The Who – by officials who appeared to be council enforcement officers.

On the second occasion the female official warned him: ‘Would you mind removing your coat it might offend somebody.’

See Daily Mail for full Story 


In recent years it has become almost politically  “incorrect” to show any signs of pride in being British and mad lefties and their deluded disciples are always banging on about offending other religions and communities throughout the UK. The fact that the UK has such a diverse melting pot of different nationalities and religions  and is generally accommodating to them – is lost on these do gooders and they ignore our country’s  long history of religious and politically tolerance and instead accuse us of being  xenophobic  and this offends me no end.

Have they forgotten that it was our forefathers who fought and died for our great nation and our democracy is built on their ultimate  sacrifice for our freedom – they did not die in vain.

…back to the email

If you had taken the time to have a proper  look through my site you would be aware that I commemorate the deaths of all innocent people killed as a direct result of the conflict in Northern Ireland , regardless of political or religious  background  . I also cover the deaths of paramilitaries from both sides killed “in Action” as my objective to to give a complete picture of the history of the Troubles.

I receive lots of emails and comments about my site and although most of these are positive –  a few ( normally from republicans ) accuse me of being a loyalist and somehow responsible for the all the deaths in Northern Ireland’s tortured history. Generally I ignore these emails as they are so far of the mark – if they had taken the time to read my story they would know a bit more about my history and know that I preach love – not hate!

Just because I am proud of the union and my British heritage does not mean I hate Catholics or Irish people or any others for that matter – in fact I judge no man on his colour , creed , religious or political background (apart from Republican Terrorists ).

I judge people on their humanity and empathy towards others and the world around us . Life is for living – so live and let live.

Anne Frank

“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
Anne Frank

IRA Rheindahlen Barracks Bombing 23rd March 1987


Rheindahlen Barracks Bombing

Image result for Rheindahlen Barracks Bombing

23rd March 1987

30 hurt as car bomb hits Army base

Thirty-one people have been injured after a car bomb exploded at a British army base in West Germany.

The device, believed to contain 300lbs (136kg) of explosive, went off close to the officers’ mess at Rheindahlen, 50 miles (80km) from the West German capital Bonn.Twenty-seven West Germans and four Britons were hurt in the bombing at 2230 local time.

The force of the blast ripped up the road and caused extensive damage to parked cars and surrounding buildings.

We were very lucky that people were not killed

Nigel Gillies, Army spokesman


The injured have been treated for shock and wounds caused mainly by flying glass. Firefighters at the scene say none of the injured are in a critical condition. Army spokesman, Nigel Gillies, said:

“Indeed we were very lucky that people were not killed.”

Mr Gillies said the fact that it was night-time when the bomb went off and the heavy curtains at the base had helped to protect people.

Most of the injured were German officers and their wives, who were enjoying a farewell party at the base. The injured have been taken to the RAF hospital at Wegberg, a few miles south of Rheindahlen, near the Dutch border. The bomb caused parts of the ceiling to collapse and doors were ripped from their frames. A police spokesman said the blast blew out windows in buildings several hundred yards away.

A German air force officer at the base said:

“We are investigating the possibility that there may be other bombs on the base.”

Servicemen have been put on alert and police have sealed off the area around the barracks.Public roads run through the middle of the base, which is the Army’s largest in Europe. Service personnel, families and civilian staff make up the community.All vehicles are being checked by soldiers to stop any other attempts to breach security after the bombers drove into the open base.

Armed Forces Minister John Stanley said Rheindahlen was on a higher state of security alert than normal at the time of the attack.

Mr Stanley said if this had not been the case, casualties would have been much higher. A man speaking in English had telephoned a warning to the German press before the blast, Mr Stanley confirmed.

An internal investigation is to be held but Mr Stanley has spoken to MPs about the “immense difficulties” of ensuring total security on such a sprawling base.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman has denied that the public have unrestricted access to the mess area although he said there are :

“different security levels at various parts of the base”.




1987 JHQ Rheindahlen bombing

Thirty-one people were injured on 23 March 1987 after a 300 lb (140 kg) car bomb exploded near the visitors officers’ mess at JHQ Rheindahlen military barracks. The Provisional IRA later stated it had carried out the bombing. It was the start of the IRA’s campaign on mainland Europe from the late 1980s to the early 1990s.



The bombing was one of several high-profile attacks in mainland Europe by the IRA in the 1980s. It was the first IRA attack in West Germany since a British Army officer, Colonel Mark Coe, was shot dead by an IRA unit outside his home in, BielefeldWest Germany in February 1980. Coe’s assassination was one of the first high-profile killings by the IRA in Germany and on mainland Europe.

A year before in August 1979 the IRA injured four British soldiers in a bomb attack in BrusselsBelgium just one day after the killing of Lord Mountbatten and the Warrenpoint Ambush, which killed 18 British soldiers. In November 1981 the Irish National Liberation Army bombed a British Army base in Herford, West Germany. There were no injuries in the attack.

The Bombing

Other than attacks in Northern Ireland & mainland Britain the Provisional IRA also carried out attacks in other countries such as West Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, where British soldiers were based. Between 1979 and 1990, eight unarmed soldiers and six civilians died in these attacks, including the British Ambassador to the Netherlands Sir Richard Sykes and his valet, Karel Straub.

There was also a mortar attack on British Army base in Germany in 1996.

 According to author Ed Moloney’s “The Secret History of the IRA”, IRA Chief of Staff Kevin McKenna before the capture of the Eksund (a ship that was to ship heavy weaponry to the IRA from Libya) envisaged a three-pronged offensive that would start in the Northern Ireland and then spread to British targets in mainland Europe.

The IRA planted a 300-pound car bomb inside the JHQ Rheindahlen the British Armies military base in West Germany near the officers’ mess. When the large car bomb exploded 31 people was injured, some of them badly. Twenty-seven West Germans and four Britons were hurt in the bombing at 22:30 local time.

The force of the blast ripped up the road and caused extensive damage to parked cars and surrounding buildings. The injured were taken to the RAF hospital at Wegberg, a few miles south of Rheindahlen, near the Dutch border. The bomb caused parts of the ceiling to collapse and doors were ripped from their frames. A police spokesman said the blast blew out windows in buildings several hundred yards away.

It looked like it was a reasonably successful attack from the IRA’s point of view but the IRA actually had a close escape. The only reason people had not been killed was that the IRA ASU was unable to position the car bomb closer to the mess, because the car park was full of vehicles.

Unknown to the IRA unit, most of the vehicles were owned by West German military officers who had been invited to spend a social evening with their British counterparts. Had the IRA’s operation plan been carried out fully many of these German officers could have been killed and the start of the IRA’s Europe campaign would have been a diplomatic and military disaster and a big blow to any of the IRA’s international support.


The IRA later said it had carried out the bombing of the Rheindahlen barracks.

A statement from the IRA said: “Our unit’s brief was to inflict a devastating blow but was ordered to be careful to avoid civilian casualties.” The National Democratic Front for the Liberation of West Germany, a previously unheard of group, also claimed to have been behind the attack, but this was dismissed by police investigators.

More than 12,000 service personnel were stationed at the base. It was the joint headquarters of the British Army of the Rhine and the Royal Air Force.

The British Army of the Rhine was renamed British Forces Germany (BFG) in 1994.

See also: Osnabrück mortar attack


Lest We Forget! Keith Palmer – A brave Police Officer who died protecting us from an Islamic Madman!

Keith Palmer

Image result for Keith Palmer

Keith Palmer with wife Michelle

Keith PalmerGM (1969 – 22 March 2017)

Keith PalmerGM (1969 – 22 March 2017) was a British police officer who was posthumously awarded the George Medal, the second highest award for gallantry “not in the face of the enemy“.

Though unarmed, he stopped a knife wielding terrorist from entering the Palace of Westminster during the 2017 Westminster attack; he died from wounds he received in this attack.

He had worked for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) for 16 years, and had joined the MPS’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Group in April 2016



Keith Palmer


Keith Palmer's funeral (003).jpg


The hearse carrying PC Keith Palmer’s coffin to his funeral
Born 1969
Died 22 March 2017 (aged 47–48)
New Palace YardPalace of Westminster, London, England
Awards George Medal (posthumously)
Police career
Department Metropolitan Police Service
Badge number 4157U
Country United Kingdom
Years of service 2001–2017
Rank Police Constable

Police Career

In November 2001, Palmer joined the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) as a police constableFrom 2002 to 2009, he served in the London Borough of Bromley.

He then joined the Territorial Support Group, a grouping that specialises in public order and operates across Greater London. In 2015, he was nominated as “best thief taker” at the Commissioner’s Excellence Awards in recognition of making 150 arrests in twelve months.

In April 2016, he joined the MPS’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Group.

Westminster Attack


Related image

On 22 March 2017, Palmer was in New Palace Yard guarding the Palace of Westminster.


Image result for Khalid Masood

At approximately 14:40, he was approached by Khalid Masood who was armed with two knives. Though unarmed, Palmer confronted Masood in an attempt to stop him. Masood fatally injured Palmer during this encounter.


Image result for Keith Palmer

By confronting Masood, Palmer delayed him long enough for an armed policeman to arrive and shoot Masood dead.



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Before the  funeral procession

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Palmer was granted the rare honour of lying in rest in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, Palace of Westminster; other recipients of this honour include Margaret Thatcher and Tony Benn. On 9 April 2017, his coffin was received into the chapel with a guard of honour of police officers.

A private service was then held for his family.

 Officers kept vigil next to the coffin overnight.


The following day, on 10 April, Palmer’s coffin travelled in procession to Southwark CathedralThe route was 2.6-miles long and avoided Westminster Bridge where the terrorist attack had begun.

Instead, the procession crossed the Thames over Lambeth Bridge, during which a ten-second horn salute was given by boats on the river.

 Tens of thousands of people lined the streets, including 5,000 police officers.


The procession was fronted by a colour party carrying the Metropolitan Police Service Standard, who were followed by five mounted police officers. Then came the funeral conductor and chaplains (including Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the House of Commons) who were walking in front of the hearse.

The hearse carried Palmer’s coffin which was draped in the police flag, and there were “red and white floral tributes atop the hearse”;

these “spelled out ‘No 1 Daddy’, ‘husband’, ‘son’, ‘brother’, ‘uncle’ and ‘Keith'”.

Making up the rear were cars carrying his family, and four more mounted officers.

Palmer was given a full police funeral at Southwark Cathedral. It was attended by his family and friends, and a number of dignitaries including Cressida Dick, the newly appointed Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

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The hearse carrying Palmer’s coffin with ‘No 1 Daddy’ floral decoration. 

Dick read the poem Funeral Blues by W. H. Auden at the service which was her first public engagement since taking up the post. The address was given by Andrew Nunn, the Dean of Southwark.

Personal life

Palmer was married to his wife, Michelle. They have a daughter, who was aged five at the time of Palmer’s death.

Palmer was a supporter of Charlton Athletic F.C. and held a season ticket. The club honoured him by replacing his regular seat at The Valley stadium with “a white chair bearing his warrant number ‘P204752′”.


In the 2017 Birthday Honours, Palmer was awarded the George Medal (GM)

“for confronting an armed terrorist to protect others and Parliament”.


In recognition of his sacrifice, the Metropolitan Police Service retired his shoulder number (4157U) and stated that it would :


“not be reissued to any other officer”.

His name has been added to the National Police Officers Roll of Honour and Remembrance by the Police Roll of Honour Trust.

He was awarded the outstanding bravery of the year award at the 2018 Met Excellence Awards


George Medal

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The medal is granted in recognition of “acts of great bravery”. The original warrant for the George Medal did not permit it to be awarded posthumously. This was changed in December 1977 to allow posthumous awards, several of which have been subsequently made.

The medal is primarily a civilian award, but it may be awarded to military personnel for gallant conduct that is not in the face of the enemy.

As the Warrant states:

The Medal is intended primarily for civilians and award in Our military services is to be confined to actions for which purely military Honours are not normally granted.


Bars are awarded to the GM in recognition of the performance of further acts of bravery meriting the award. In undress uniform or on occasions when the medal ribbon alone is worn, a silver rosette is worn on the ribbon to indicate each bar.

Recipients are entitled to the post-nominal letters GM.

The details of all awards to British and Commonwealth recipients are published in the London Gazette. Approximately 2,122 medals have been awarded since its inception in 1940.

See here for more details on:   The George Medal




The Girl Who Escaped ISIS – Farida Khalaf

The Girl Who Escaped ISIS 

 Farida Khalaf 

I have long followed with sympathy the plight of the Yazidi people of Iraq and I watched with horror and a heavy heart as the madmen  of Islamic  State turned its twisted , pitiless hatred on these gentle folk and the genocidal  destruction of their families , communities and very cultural.
Crimes against humanity were committed on an industrial scale  and the Yazidi people were easy targets for the bullies  and worthless  losers  of Islamic Sate or should that be
” Islamic Failed State”  .
Hundreds were killed , fathers and sons separated from their women and children  and slaughtered without  an ounce of mercy. Their wife’s and daughters  enslaved and bought , sold and resold within the slave markets of an Islamic  Hell on earth .
Farida Khalaf   survived this nightmare ordeal and against all the odds she escaped and was reunited with her mother and surviving brothers in an Iraqi refugee camp .
This is her incredible story

 Farida’s Story


Image result for farida khalaf the girl who escaped isis

In August 2014, Farida was, like any ordinary teenager, enjoying the last days of summer before her final year at school. However, her peaceful mountain village in northern Iraq was an ISIS target as their genocide against the Yazidi people began.

The Catastrophe

ISIS murdered the men and boys in the village, including Farida’s father and brother, and took the women hostage. Farida was one of them. She was held in a slave camp, in the homes of ISIS members and finally in a desert training camp. Continually she struggled, resisted and fought against her captors, showing unimaginable strength and bravery.

This is my Story

Eventually, Farida managed to plot her escape and fled into the desert with five young girls in her care, but defeating ISIS was just the first step in her journey. In this book she tells her remarkable and inspiring story.

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Farida Khalaf



Farida Khalaf (born circa 1995) is a Yazidi woman who was abducted by ISIS in 2014 and sold into slavery. She escaped to a refugee camp, and in 2016 published a book about her experience, The Girl Who Beat ISIS.

Khalaf grew up in the village of Kocho in the mountains of Iraq. In 2014, when she was 18, ISIS invaded her village. The jihadists murdered all the men and boys of the village, including her father and brother. Single women and girls, including Farida and her friend Evin, were forced onto a bus at gunpoint and brought to Raqqa, where they were sold into sexual slavery.She was once beaten so badly by her captors that she lost sight in one eye, and could not walk for two months.

The young women managed to escape to a refugee camp in northern Iraq, and Khalaf was reunited with surviving family members. Among members of her community, however, she was seen as having brought dishonor to her family by having been raped. She subsequently moved to Germany, where she hopes to become a mathematics teacher.


My Strange Coincidences & Stephen Hawking’s Death

My Strange Coincidences & Stephen Hawking’s Death

Science and Technology - Stephen Hawking


Do you believe in ESP or a sixth sense?

Throughout my life I have had many strange coincidences and they always amuse me and leave me feeling a little bit….well spooked.

  • Last week I  bought Stephen Hawking’s autobiography which I have been reading and on Tuesday night I started working on a blog post about the book and his life and he died on Wednesday morning.


The title caption has the similar "FRASIER" logo, black background, and line drawing of Downtown Seattle. Each episode has a different animated gag. The above gag from the pilot episode, "The Good Son", has a lit antenna spire at the observation tower, Space Needle, one of Seattle's landmarks.

  • A few weeks ago I started watching the TV show Frasier from the beginning of the series and chatting to my wife I mentioned  that I wondered  if they would ever get together for another show , as they were all still alive and a few days later John Mahoney , who played the dad Martin died.


  • A few months ago I was chatting to a friend about another friend we had known whilst living in London and had  lost contact with and how much we would like to reconnect with him. We had tried to find him via the usual channels on social media etc without any luck and as we didn’t know his address or contact details we hit a dead end. The very next day he sent me a message from Facebook , he’d be looking for me also.


  •   About ten years ago I was on holiday in Lanzarote with my family and the wife and I  met a couple from Preston whom we got talking to and hanged out with during the evenings in the bar. The husband was an electrician .When we return home to London I never give them another thought.  A few years later we moved up  north to Leyland , which is near Preston and we needed an electrician to do some work for us. So I called the first one I came across in the local directory and guess what? Yep , it was the guy who we’d met years before on holiday.


  • When I first moved to London I was looking for part time work and went to sign up to an agency that covered advertising and marketing which was what I was doing at the time. I was called into a room for an interview and the guy who interview me was called John Chambers , exactly the name as me.

I have loads of these and will  do a post about them at a later date.



Well I never!

The most mind-boggling real-life coincidences revealed


As Dorothy Fletcher of Liverpool knows only too well, there are few worse places to have a heart attack than on a transatlantic flight – unless 15 of your fellow passengers are cardiologists on their way to a conference.Mrs Fletcher was flying from Manchester to Florida for her daughter’s wedding in November 2003 when disaster struck. The stewards put out an urgent appeal for any doctors on board to make themselves known.

“I couldn’t believe what happened,” Mrs Fletcher recalled.

“All these people came rushing down the aircraft towards me.”

The cardiologists were able to keep her stable while the plane was diverted to North Carolina and she even made it to the wedding.

Mould Magic

Alexander Fleming locked up his London lab one evening in September 1928 without bothering to do the dishes. When he returned a few days later and reluctantly began to tackle the toxic detritus of his failed experiments he noticed that one Petri dish containing a staphylococcus culture had begun to grow blue mould and that the mould had apparently killed any staphylococcus bacteria it had come into contact with.

Fleming conducted a series of experiments on this miraculous mould – presumably leaving his washing up to its own scientific endeavours – and determined that it was penicillium notatum, now commonly known as penicillin.


brad pitt

Brad Pitt damaged his Achilles tendon while playing Achilles in the film Troy


Ticket to Hell

Choosing a holiday destination became the stuff of nightmares for Birmingham couple Jason and Jenny Cairns-Lawrence after they inexplicably witnessed three international terrorist atrocities over seven years.

In 2001 the couple were visiting New York when the Twin Towers were struck; they were in London for a few days in July 2005 when three Tube trains and a bus were bombed and they were in Mumbai in November 2008 when a coordinated shooting and bombing spree brought tragedy to the city.

In something of an understatement Mrs Cairns-Lawrence told reporters: “It’s a strange coincidence. The terror attacks just happened when we were in the cities.”

Mamma Mia!

Police in Bari, Italy, were able to apprehend a thief who had grabbed a woman’s handbag as he sped past on his motorbike after she gave them an exceptionally detailed description of him. It turned out she was his mother.

Catch a falling Star

In all of human history only one person is unlucky enough to have been struck by a meteorite. And while the laws of probability dictate that meteorites will generally fall into uninhabited areas such as deserts or oceans, this one landed on a woman who was snoozing on her sofa.

In November 1954 Ann Hodges was asleep in her lounge in Sylacauga, Alabama, when a chunk of space rock crashed through her ceiling and hit her, causing an enormous bruise on her thigh but leaving her otherwise unharmed.

“You have a better chance of getting hit by a tornado and a bolt of lightning and a hurricane all at the same time,” astronomer Michael Reynolds told National Geographic.

Method Acting

Brad Pitt went all out to get into character on the set of Troy (2004) but it was probably a performance he’d rather forget than win an Oscar for. During a particularly tricky fight scene against his enemy Hector, Pitt leapt and landed badly, tearing his Achilles tendon in the process and ruling out the filming of other fight scenes for weeks.

Apt, considering Pitt was portraying Achilles, the mythical Greek hero.

Impossible Title

Proving that no amount of international fame can counter the weight of public emotion, pop star Kylie Minogue felt compelled to make an expensive and time-consuming last-minute change to the title of her 1997 album following the death of Princess Diana in August of that year.

The rather unimaginative new title was Kylie Minogue – the original had been Impossible Princess.



President John F Kennedy spookily ‘predicted’ his own death on the morning of his assassination



Uneasy Rider

In July 1974, 17-year-old Neville Ebbin was riding his moped in Hamilton, Bermuda, when he was hit by a taxi and killed. One year later, his younger brother Erskine, now 17 himself, was killed in an identical accident.

That is, entirely identical: same moped, same road, same taxi, same taxi driver – and even the same taxi passenger.

See: The Expressed for more amazing coincidences 

If you have any stories regarding strange coincidences I’l love to hear about them





Castlerock Killings – 25th March 1993

Castlerock Killings

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25th March 1993

The Castlerock killings took place on 25 March 1993 in the village of CastlerockCounty LondonderryNorthern Ireland. Members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a loyalist paramilitary group, shot dead three civilians and a Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteer as they arrived for work. Another was wounded. The men were all Catholics.

The five men were builders and had been renovating houses in the Gortree Park housing estate for some months. As they arrived in their van at Gortree Park, at least two gunmen jumped out of another van and opened fire.

— Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in this post/documentaries  are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

 Those killed were James McKenna (52), Gerard Dalrymple (58), Noel O’Kane (20) and Provisional IRA volunteer James Kelly (25).


25 March 1993

James Kelly,   (25)

Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.


25 March 1993
 James McKenna,  (52)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.


25 March 1993

Gerard Dalrymple,  (58)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.


25 March 1993
Noel O’Kane,  (20)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.



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The gunmen drove off toward Castlerock before doing a U-turn and passing their victims again. The van used by the gunmen was found burnt-out two miles from the attack.

Later in the day, the UDA shot dead a Catholic civilian Damian Walsh and wounded another at Dairy Farm Shopping Centre in Belfast.


25 March 1993

Damian Walsh,   (17)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot at his workplace, Dairy Farm Shopping Centre, Twinbrook, Belfast.

See: 25th March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles


The UDA claimed responsibility for the attack using the covername “Ulster Freedom Fighters” (UFF) and said the men were republicans.

 Sinn Féin councillor Patsy Groogan said the men were regularly stopped and harassed by the security forces and that he had:

“no doubt that this behaviour played a part in targeting these men for assassination”.

The weapons were later used by the same gang in carrying out the Halloween Greysteel massacre at the Rising Sun pub on 31 October 1993. It has been claimed that one of the gang was a double agent and protected by RUC Special Branch.

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Torrens Knight

Torrens Knight received eight life sentences for the Greysteel massacre, together with four more for the Castlerock killings. He served seven years in the Maze Prison before paramilitary prisoners were granted a general release under the Belfast Agreement.


See:  The Kingsmill Massacre – 5 January 1976

See: 25th March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Massereene Barracks shooting 2009 – The Despicable & Cowardly murder of two off-duty British soldiers. Lest We Forget!

 Massereene Barracks Shooting

Saturday 9th March 2009

Lest We Forget!


Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey

 Saturday 7th March


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On 7 March 2009, two off-duty British soldiers of 38 Engineer Regiment were shot dead outside Massereene Barracks in Antrim townNorthern Ireland. Two other soldiers and two civilian delivery men were also shot and wounded during the attack.

An Irish republican paramilitary group, the Real IRA, claimed responsibility.

The shootings were the first British military fatalities in Northern Ireland since 1997. Two days later, the Continuity IRA shot dead a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer; the first Northern Irish police officer to be killed by paramilitaries since 1998. These attacks marked the beginning of the most intensive period of “dissident republican” activity since the start of their campaign.


Massereene Barracks shooting
2009 Massereene Barracks shooting is located in Northern Ireland

2009 Massereene Barracks shooting
Location Massereene Barracks, Antrim, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Coordinates 54°43′18″N 6°13′51″WCoordinates54°43′18″N 6°13′51″W
Date 7 March 2009
~21:40 (UTC)
Attack type
Weapons AKM automatic rifle
Deaths 2 soldiers
Non-fatal injuries
2 soldiers, 2 civilians
Perpetrator Real IRA


From the late 1960s until the late 1990s, Northern Ireland underwent a conflict known as the Troubles, in which more than 3,500 people were killed. More than 700 of those killed were British military personnel, deployed as part of Operation Banner. The vast majority of these British military personnel were killed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), which waged an armed campaign to force the British to negotiate a withdrawal from Northern Ireland. In 1997 the IRA called a final ceasefire and in 1998 the Good Friday Agreement was signed.

This is widely seen as marking the end of the conflict.


However, breakaway groups opposed to the ceasefire (“dissident Irish republicans“) continued a low-leve  armed campaign against the British security forces in Northern Ireland (see Dissident Irish Republican campaign). The main group involved was an IRA splinter group known as the ‘Real’ IRA. In 2007, the British Army formally ended Operation Banner and greatly reduced its presence in Northern Ireland.

The low-level ‘dissident republican’ campaign continued. In January 2009, security forces had to defuse a bomb in Castlewellan  and in 2008 three separate incidents saw dissident republicans attempt to kill Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers in DerryCastlederg and Dungannon. In all three cases, PSNI officers were seriously wounded. Two of the attacks involved firearms while the other involved an under-car booby-trap bomb.

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At about 21:40 on the evening of Saturday of 7 March, four off-duty British soldiers of the Royal Engineers walked outside the barracks to receive a pizza delivery from two delivery men. As the exchange was taking place, two masked gunmen in a nearby car (a green Vauxhall Cavalier) opened fire with Romanian AKM automatic rifles.

The firing lasted for more than 30 seconds with more than 60 shots being fired. After the initial burst of gunfire, the gunmen walked over to the wounded soldiers lying on the ground and fired again at close range, killing two of them.

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Sapper Mark Quinsey with his mother Pamela and sister Jaime 

Sapper Patrick Azimkar

Sapper Azimkar was 21 and came from London. He joined the Royal Engineers in 2005 and completed his basic recruit training and combat engineer course before attending artisan training as a carpenter and joiner.

He was posted to 38 Engineer Regiment in Ripon, North Yorkshire, in 2007. In January 2008 he completed a construction task in Northern Ireland and then deployed to Kenya in support of the infantry unit with whom he was due to work in Afghanistan. Following his return he participated in the regimental move to a new permanent base in Northern Ireland.

Fiercely competitive, both as an individual and team player, Sapper Azimkar was a very talented footballer. He had represented his squadron and the regiment and, as a younger man, had trials with Tottenham Hotspur.

Sapper Azimkar was a jovial, courteous and fun-loving soldier whose easygoing character found favour with all ranks. Hugely enthusiastic about the regiment’s deployment to southern Helmand, Sapper Azimkar was looking forward to facing the challenges of his first operational tour and the potential of JNCO (Junior Non-Commissioned Officer) training thereafter.

Sapper Patrick Azimkar’s family issued the following statement:

Patrick was a great character and a good sport who never said anything bad about anyone. Decisive, generous, proud and dignified he really enjoyed army life. He particularly enjoyed living in Belfast and he talked of settling there with his girlfriend after his return from Afghanistan – a mission which he was within just two hours of leaving for.

Sapper Azimkar’s parents said:

We are completely devastated by the loss of our beautiful son Patrick. There are no words to describe what this senseless killing has done to our family in taking from us our beloved son and brother at just 21 years old.

Patrick was generous, loyal and tenacious. He brought great fun into our lives and we will miss him forever.

We are thankful for the messages of support we have received from the people of Northern Ireland.

We join with them in our sincere hope for a return to lasting peace.

Brother James said he was courageous, strong and a loyal and true friend.

The family ask that the media respect their wishes to be left to grieve in private.

See: here for more information on:  Sapper Patrick Azimkar

Those killed were Sappers Mark Quinsey from Birmingham and Patrick Azimkar from London. The other two soldiers and two deliverymen were wounded. The soldiers were wearing desert fatigues and were to be deployed to Afghanistan the next day.

A few hours later, the car involved was found abandoned near Randalstown, eight miles from the barracks.

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Sapper Patrick Azimkar

Sapper Mark Quinsey

Sapper Quinsey was born in Birmingham in 1985 and joined the Army when he was 19. Following his basic training he attended the combat engineer course at Minley before qualifying as an electrician at the Royal School of Military Engineering in Chatham. He served with 38 Engineer Regiment in both Ripon and Northern Ireland and deployed on a number of training exercises throughout the UK. Most recently he attended the intensive class 1 electricians’ course, which he completed with flying colours in 2008.

Sapper Quinsey was a charismatic and affable young soldier. Eager to put his recently gained trade knowledge to use, Sapper Quinsey was looking forward to the operational challenges that Afghanistan would offer. At only 23 he had already emerged as a mature, reliable and hugely capable young soldier with vast future potential.

Lieutenant Colonel Roger Lewis, Commanding Officer 38 Engineer Regiment, said:

Sapper Quinsey was an outwardly calm, resolute and motivated young soldier. A social live wire and hugely popular across the regiment, he was rarely away from the centre of the action.

Professionally his approach reflected his infectious enthusiasm for life. As one of the few soldiers within my regiment to have completed the demanding class 1 electricians’ course his trade skills were invaluable. He was hugely passionate about his trade and eager to put his new qualifications to good use in Afghanistan. We were expecting him to play a vital role maintaining the living and working conditions of British soldiers serving in southern Afghanistan. Tragically he has been denied this opportunity.

This has been a traumatic time and the regiment and I are devastated to have lost such a fine and promising soldier. It is with greatest sympathy that I extend my sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mark’s family and friends for their irreplaceable loss.

Major Darren Woods, Officer Commanding 25 Field Squadron, said:

The death of Sapper Quinsey has dealt a heavy blow to the squadron, many of whom have already deployed to Afghanistan. To lose such a charismatic young soldier in the prime of his life has been a tragedy of immeasurable magnitude.

I have known Sapper Quinsey for almost two years and in that time have never found him without a positive word or the ability to make light of any situation. His wide circle of friends pays testimony to his popularity. As a soldier he was committed to achieving the best he could in all areas. In particular he was an accomplished tradesman who new that his work could and would make a difference to the daily lives of his friends and comrades on operations. This was always Mark’s motivation.

My last and perhaps abiding memory of Sapper Quinsey will be him helping the second-in-command work late to complete the final deployment preparations to send the squadron on operations. It was neither Mark’s role nor responsibility, but he did it and did it well. That was his way; no complaints, just get it done. He will be sorely missed.

Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are now with Mark’s family throughout this period and into what will undoubtedly be a difficult time ahead.

Lieutenant Chris Smith, 2 Troop Commander 25 Field Squadron, said:

Sapper Quinsey was a humorous and willing soldier. He had a dry sense of humour and a thick brummie accent making him stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to get to know him as well as I would have hoped as he had recently returned to the troop having completed his electricians’ training.

He instantly threw himself back into troop life, both socially and professionally; keen to learn all the skills he needed for our deployment to Afghanistan this summer. In the short time I knew him I enjoyed working with him immensely; he was impossible not to like. I, and the Troop, send our sincere condolences to Sapper Quinsey’s family in Birmingham.

Warrant Officer Class 2 (Squadron Sergeant Major) Paul Dixon said:

If you ever needed a steady hand to crew the ship Mark was your man. He could and would turn his hand to most things. Yet, at the end of the working day, he would always be at the front, immaculate appearance, ready to party and charm the ladies with a bit of his brummie banter.

Sapper Sean Pocock, 2 Troop, 25 Field Squadron, said:

The thing is, he wasn’t just my friend in the Army, he was a friend from back home in Birmingham. It’s hard to believe he won’t be around anymore. He will be sorely missed by me and his comrades around him, within our troop especially.

Sapper Andrew Sharples, 2 Troop, 25 Field Squadron, said:

Mark Quinsey was a good friend of mine, I used to share a room with him back at camp and used to weight-train with him now and again. I can’t believe this has happened. My deepest sorrows go out to Mark’s family, he will be greatly missed by all in the Troop and Squadron.

Brigadier Tim Radford, Commander of 19 Light Brigade, said:

My thoughts and condolences go to all the families who have suffered such dreadful losses and to those who have been injured in this appalling incident.

The two young Royal Engineers from 19 Light Brigade, although based in Northern Ireland, were about to deploy to Afghanistan for 6 months as part of Task Force Helmand. These brave and dedicated men typify the professional and selfless nature of the Armed Forces. We will cherish their memory.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, said:

See here for more information on Sapper Mark Quinsey

Dublin-based newspaper, the Sunday Tribune, received a phone call from a caller using a recognised Real IRA codeword. The caller claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the Real IRA, adding that the civilian pizza deliverymen were legitimate targets as they were:

“collaborating with the British by servicing them”.

The shootings were the first British military fatalities in Northern Ireland since Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick was shot dead by the Provisional IRA in February 1997, during the Troubles. The attack came days after a suggestion by Northern Ireland’s police chief, Sir Hugh Orde, that the likelihood of a “terrorist” attack in Northern Ireland was at its highest level for several years.

Civilian Security Officers belonging to the Northern Ireland Security Guard Service were criticised for not opening fire during the incident, as a result of which plans were made to retrain and rearm them.

The barracks were shut down in 2010 as part of the reduction of the British Army presence in Northern Ireland.

Craigavon shooting

Two days after the Massereene Barracks shooting, PSNI officer Stephen Carroll was shot dead in CraigavonCounty Armagh. This was the first killing of a police officer in Northern Ireland since 1998.The Continuity IRA claimed responsibility for this shooting and stated that

“As long as there is British involvement in Ireland, these attacks will continue”.


The morning after the attack, worshippers came out of St Comgall’s Church after mass and kept vigil near the barracks. They were joined by their priest and clerics from the town’s other churches. On 11 March 2009, thousands of people attended silent protests against the killings at several venues in Northern Ireland.

The killings were condemned by all mainstream political parties in Northern Ireland, as well as the Irish government, the United States government and Pope Benedict XVISinn Féin condemned the killings, but was criticised for being less vehement than others in its condemnation.

  • First Minister Peter Robinson suggested that the shooting was a “terrible reminder of the events of the past” and that “These murders were a futile act by those who command no public support and have no prospect of success in their campaign. It will not succeed”.


  • Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said “I was a member of the IRA, but that war is over now. The people responsible for last night’s incident are clearly signalling that they want to resume or restart that war. Well, I deny their right to do that.” He later stated that the shooters of the PSNI officer killed two days later were “traitors to the island of Ireland”.


  • Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams condemned the shootings, saying that those responsible had “no support, no strategy to achieve a United Ireland. Their intention is to bring British soldiers back onto the streets. They want to destroy the progress of recent times and to plunge Ireland back into conflict. Irish republicans and democrats have a duty to oppose this and to defend the peace process”.


  • British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited the scene of the attack on 9 March 2009 and met political leaders in Northern Ireland to urge a united front in the face of the violence. He stated that “The whole country is shocked and outraged at the evil and cowardly attacks on soldiers serving their country” and also that “No murderer will be able to derail a peace process that has the support of the great majority of Northern Ireland”.


  • Taoiseach Brian Cowen said “A tiny group of evil people can not and will not undermine the will of the people of Ireland to live in peace together. Violence has been utterly rejected by the people of this island, both North and South”.


  • At a press conference on 25 March 2009, Richard Walsh, the spokesman for Republican Sinn Féin, a party linked to the Continuity IRA, said the killings were “an act of war” rather than murder. “We have always upheld the right of the Irish people to use any level of controlled and disciplined force to drive the British out of Ireland. We make no apology for that”. He also described the PSNI as “an armed adjunct of the British Army”.


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The coffin of Sapper Patrick Azimkar is taken from Guards Chapel after his funeral


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On 14 March 2009, the PSNI arrested three men in connection with the killings, one of whom was former IRA prisoner Colin Duffy. He had broken away from mainstream republicanism and criticised Sinn Féin‘s decision to back the new PSNI.

On 25 March 2009, after a judicial review of their detention, all the men were ordered to be released by the Belfast High Court, however, Duffy was immediately re-arrested on suspicion of murder. On 26 March 2009, Duffy was formally charged with the murder of the two soldiers and the attempted murder of five other people. The following day he appeared in court for indictment and was remanded in custody to await trial after it was alleged that his full DNA profile was found on a latex glove inside the vehicle used by the gunmen.

Brian Shivers, a cystic fibrosis sufferer, was charged with the soldiers’ murders and the attempted murder of six other people. He was also charged with possession of firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life. He was arrested in Magherafelt in July 2009.

In January 2012 Shivers was convicted of the soldiers’ murders, but Duffy was acquitted. In January 2013, Shivers’s conviction was overturned by Northern Ireland’s highest appeals court. A May 2013 retrial found Shivers not guilty. He was cleared of all charges and immediately released from jail. The judge questioned why the Real IRA would choose Shivers as the gunman, with his cystic fibrosis and his engagement to a Protestant woman.

Shivers’s solicitor stated:

Brian Shivers has suffered the horror of having been wrongfully convicted in what now must be described as a miscarriage of justice. He was convicted of the most serious charges on the criminal calendar. He was sentenced to a life term imprisonment, which would have seen him die in prison.

The original conviction was overturned on a narrow legal basis. It was only during his re-trial that important new material was disclosed which completely undermined the case against him. This failed prosecution – another failed prosecution – is a cautionary tale against the reliance upon tenuous scientific evidence in high profile criminal cases.

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Jaime Quinsey, sister of Mark Quinsey, with James Azimkar, brother of Patrick Azimkar

Mum’s tribute to Massereene murder victim sapper Patrick Azimkar

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Geraldine Ferguson

The mother of a young soldier who was gunned down by dissident republicans will today make an emotional return to the spot where he was murdered.

Geraldine Ferguson, whose son, Sapper Patrick Azimkar (21) was killed outside Massereene Barracks on March 7, 2009, along with his colleague Sapper Mark Quinsey (23), will mark the eighth anniversary of her son’s death with a floral tribute.

The anniversary comes days after she spoke of the loss of her son at a seminar in Co Fermanagh, attended by other victims of paramilitary violence.

Today, Mrs Ferguson will make the heartbreaking journey to Antrim, to the spot where Patrick was killed.

“We will lay some flowers and then go to the memorial that Antrim council erected for Patrick and Mark,” she said.

“We will try and get through the day, but it is very difficult.

“The main feeling I will have is being absolutely broken-hearted.

“We said goodbye to Patrick a few weeks after his 21st birthday and we never saw him again. We feel very sad and upset and very churned up because it’s exactly where he fell and it’s a terrible waste of good, young lives. The futility of it, the pointlessness and senselessness of it.”

Mrs Ferguson explained that as the years go on, her emotions are not as raw but admits she finds it hard to describe the pain of losing her son.

“The horror and heartache is too deep for words,” she said.

“A very common experience when you lose a child is that the days that were once the best days suddenly become the worst days, including birthdays, Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day. They are supposed to be family days but he’s not there any more.

“Our loss is most acute on those days. We always put a little candle where Patrick would have sat. It’s painful.”

Three people were arrested over the murders of Mr Azimkar and his colleague Mr Quinsey, whose grief-stricken mother Pamela Brankin died in 2013 aged 51.

See Belfast Telegraph for full story

See Deaths in the Troubles 7th March


See also

See: Operation Banner



Maguire Seven – 1976: Guilty verdict for ‘Maguire Seven

1976: Guilty verdict for ‘Maguire Seven’

A 40-year-old Irish born mother has been jailed for 14 years for possessing explosives at her London home.

Five other members of her family and a close friend were also found guilty of the same offence and jailed.

Anne Maguire, from Willesden, North London, was convicted of possessing nitro-glycerine, which was then passed on for use by IRA terrorists to make bombs.

Throughout the six-week trial at the Old Bailey all seven have continually protested their innocence.

‘No greater offence’

As Mrs Maguire was carried kicking and screaming from the dock she shouted: “I’m innocent you bastards. No, no, no.”

Her husband, Patrick Maguire, 42 was also sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. Her two younger sons, Vincent, 17, and Patrick, 14, were given five and four years respectively.

Mrs Maguire’s brother, William Smyth, 37, brother-in-law Patrick “Giuseppe” Conlon, 52, and family friend Patrick O’Neill, 35, were each sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

Passing sentence, Judge Justice Donaldson said: “There can be no greater offence than this, for it strikes at the very root of the way of life for which generations have fought and, indeed, died to preserve.”

Chief Constable Peter Matthews, of Surrey police, who led the investigation, said:

“We are delighted with the verdicts. These are the people we were after.

“We have cut off a major supply pipeline to the terrorist.

“We are only sorry we did not find the bombs.”

Police were first led to the Maguire family in Willesden when they followed Giuseppe Conlon to their home in December 1974.

Mr Conlon had arrived in London from Ireland for talks with solicitors who were defending his son Gerry, under arrest on suspicion of carrying out the Guildford pub bombings.

Anne Maguire, too, was implicated in the Guildford bombings and was also arrested in December 1974 and charged with the murder of 18-year-old WRAC recruit Caroline Slater, who died in the attacks.

The murder charge was dismissed by Guildford magistrates’ court the following February but the police had become suspicious of the Maguire family.

Image result for nitroglycerin

In a raid on their home in Willesden, evidence of nitro-glycerine was found. Swabs were taken from the hands of several male members of the family and evidence of the substance was detected.

Mrs Maguire has always denied the offence. During her trial she said: “There were never any explosives in my house. I would never have any explosives there. I am the mother of four children.”

See BBC on this day for more details.  4th March 1976

The Guildford Four

— Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in this post/documentaries  are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

The Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven were the collective names of two groups whose convictions in English courts in 1975 and 1976 for the Guildford pub bombings of 5 October 1974 were eventually quashed after long campaigns for justice.

The Guildford Four were wrongly convicted of bombings carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), and the Maguire Seven were wrongly convicted of handling explosives found during the investigation into the bombings.

Both groups’ convictions were eventually declared “unsafe and unsatisfactory” and reversed in 1989 and 1991 respectively after they had served up to 15–16 years in prison. Along with the Maguires and the Guildford Four, a number of other people faced charges against them relating to the bombings, six of them charged with murder, but these charges were dropped. 

No one else was charged with the bombings, or supplying the material; three police officers were charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and found not guilty.

Maguire Seven

The Maguire Seven were charged with possessing nitroglycerine allegedly passed to the IRA to make bombs after the police raided the West Kilburn house of Anne Maguire on 3 December 1974.

They were tried and convicted on 4 March 1976 and received the following sentences.

Defendant Relationship Age at
time of trial
Anne Maguire 40 14 years
Patrick Maguire Anne’s husband 42 14 years
Patrick Maguire Son of Anne and Patrick 14 4 years
Vincent Maguire Son of Anne and Patrick 17 5 years
Sean Smyth Brother of Anne Maguire 37 12 years
Patrick O’Neill Family friend 35 12 years
Patrick “Giuseppe” Conlon Brother-in-law of Anne 52 12 years

Giuseppe Conlon had travelled from Belfast to help his son, Gerry Conlon, in the Guildford Four trial. Conlon, who had troubles with his lungs for many years, died in prison in January 1980, while the other six served their sentences and were released.


The Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven sought leave to appeal their convictions immediately and were refused. Despite this, a growing body of disparate groups pressed for a re-examination of the case.

In February 1977, during the trial of the Balcombe Street ASU, the four IRA men instructed their lawyers to “draw attention to the fact that four totally innocent people were serving massive sentences”, referring to the Guildford Four.

Despite claims to the police that they were responsible they were never charged with these offences and the Guildford Four remained in prison for another twelve years.

The Guildford Four tried to obtain from the Home Secretary a reference to the Court of Appeal under Section 17 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 (later repealed), but were unsuccessful. In 1987, the Home Office issued a memorandum recognising that it was unlikely they were terrorists, but that this would not be sufficient evidence for appeal.

See: Balcombe Street Siege


Following the failure of the 1977 court appeal a number of ‘lone voices’ publicly questioned the conviction. Among them David Martin in The LevellerGavin Esler and Chris Mullinin the New Statesman and David McKittrick in the Belfast Telegraph.

On 26th February 1980, BBC One Northern Ireland aired ‘’Spotlight: Giuseppe Conlon and the Bomb Factory’’ which contained an interview by Patrick Maguire and the BBC’s Gavin Elser

Quashing of the Maguire verdicts

On 12 July 1990, the Home Secretary David Waddington published the Interim Report on the Maguire Case: The Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the convictions arising out of the bomb attacks in Guildford and Woolwich in 1974,which criticised the trial judge Mr Justice Donaldson and unearthed improprieties in the handling of scientific evidence and declared the convictions unsound recommending referral back to the Court of Appeal.

The report “strongly criticise[d] the decision by the prosecution at the Guildford trial not to disclose to the defence a statement supporting Mr Conlon’s alibi.”

The convictions of the Maguire Seven were quashed in 1991.


Neither the bombings nor the wrongful imprisonment resulted in convictions. The bombings were most likely the work of the Balcombe Street Siege gang, who claimed responsibility. They were already serving life sentences, but were released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Three British police officers—Thomas Style, John Donaldson, and Vernon Attwell—were charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, but each was found not guilty.

On 9 February 2005, Tony Blair, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, issued an apology to the families of the 11 people imprisoned for the bombings in Guildford and Woolwich, and those related to them who were still alive. He said, in part,:

“I am very sorry that they were subject to such an ordeal and injustice… they deserve to be completely and publicly exonerated.”

In 1993, Paul Hill married Courtney Kennedy, a daughter of assassinated American senator Robert F. Kennedy and a niece of assassinated president John F. Kennedy. They had a daughter in 1999, but legally separated in 2006.

Hill had a televised meeting with the brother of murdered soldier Brian Shaw, who continued to accuse him.

 He traveled to Colombia to attend the trial of the Colombia Three.

Gerry Conlon’s autobiography Proved Innocent was adapted into the Oscar and Bafta award-nominated 1993 drama In the Name of the Father, starring Daniel Day-LewisEmma Thompson, and Pete Postlethwaite. The film depicts Conlon’s attempt to rebuild his shattered relationship with his father, but is partly fictional – for example, Conlon never shared a cell with his father. He is reported to have settled with the government for a final payment of compensation in the region of £500,000.

His mother Sarah Conlon, who had spent 16 years campaigning to have the names of her husband and son cleared and helped secure the apology, died on 20 July 2008. Conlon has given support to Tommy Sheridan in relation to the charges brought against him. Conlon had been working to have the conviction of the Craigavon Two overturned prior to his death in June 2014.

Paddy Armstrong had problems with drinking and gambling. He eventually married and moved to Dublin.

Carole Richardson married and had a daughter soon after her release. She has since kept out of the public eye. Although it wasn’t reported at the time of Conlon’s death there are two reputable citations that record that Carole Richardson died in 2012.

The autobiography of the youngest member of the Maguire Seven, Patrick Maguire, My Father’s Watch: The Story of a Child Prisoner in 70s Britain was released in May 2008. It tells his story before, during, and after his imprisonment, and details its impact on his life and those of his family.

Gerry Conlon later joined a campaign to free the “Craigavon Two” – Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton – convicted of the murder of a police officer in Northern Ireland. Conlon died at home in Belfast on 21 June 2014. His family issued a statement:  “He brought life, love, intelligence, wit and strength to our family through its darkest hours. He helped us to survive what we were not meant to survive.

We recognise that what he achieved by fighting for justice for us had a far, far greater importance – it forced the world’s closed eyes to be opened to injustice; it forced unimaginable wickedness to be acknowledged; we believe it changed the course of history”.

In terms of a legal aftermath, Sir John Donaldson went on to an illustrious judicial career and became Master of the Rolls, Head of the Appeal Court. The appeal case itself for R v Maguire 1981, is now the leading case for disclosure to the defence.

See : Guildford Pub Bombings – Not Forgotten


Grrr… Guess where I’ll be during the Royal Wedding in May ?

Guess where I’ll be during the Royal Wedding?


I’m fecking raging & I HATE WWE

The things we do for our children.

As a proud Protestant, Loyalist  die hard Royalist I love our Queen ( long may she reign) and senior members of the Royal family and I wear my British citizenship like a badge of honour for all the world to see.


Growing up in Loyalist Belfast the Queen was the mother of our nation and as a child  I greeted the Queen every single morning whilst eating breakfast as she watched over me from pride of place above my grannies fireplace , alongside King Billy of course.

In fact we were such royalists that when the BBC use to end the night with the  National Anthem  we would all stand and salute our majesty and most clubs and pubs in loyalist Northern Ireland  ended the night with The Queen and god help you if you didn’t show proper respect. They still do.

Anyways I digress ,my 10 year old son  like millions of other kids around the globe  , is obsessed with WWE and spends ever spare moment watching it, reenacting it and boring me senseless with facts and figures about  his favorite WWE Superstars .


But being a good father and trying to make sure he has the best childhood possible (mine was a living nightmare) I indulge him and  am often waylaid into four or five hour marathon viewings of the greatest WWE fights ever….snzzzzzz….

Anyways we got him tickets for Xmas and the wife and I will be travelling with him to Sheffield on the 18th of May for a two day stay and I’m going to miss the Royal Wedding. Grrr……

me and the wife.PNG

Its the wife’s fault , I give her my card to book the tickets and told her to check and make sure it didn’t clash with anything , its the day after his SATs end and she got that part right , but she didn’t even consider the Royal Wedding & my Royalist Heart!.


When I was a kid these guys dominated the sport & I loved to cuddle up with my dad on a Saturday afternoon and watch them do  battle.

The good old days.

British wrestling Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks

Anyone got any suggestion for a good place to eat out in Sheffield

Listening to Classic FM & working on my Book

Listening to Classic FM & working on my Book

(Which I need to get moving on)

classical fm

I know music is very subjective but I personally love Classical Music and often have it on in the background when I’m working on something that requires my total concentration.

This is not a normal or easy state of mind for me and to be frank it sometimes takes me a while to get into the flow – as I love to procrastinate. But Classical Music seems to have a magical switch that when turned on focus’s  my mind completely.

For a little while at least………..

Me when I was young & cool. And yes I am the one with shades on!!

I have a very diverse taste in ,music and can listen to almost anything , apart from heavy metal ( sorry guys)  and as a teenage Mod I worshiped the Mod bands of the 60’s & The Jam provided the  soundtrack to my teenage odyssey , which  was full of angst and exploration of the body and the mind. The drugs give me glimpses of a fleeting utopia and the music fed my soul.



For all the effects music is thought to have on the brainclassical music seems to fall in a gray area. … The results showed listening to classical music enhanced activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion (the feel good hormone), and “transport synaptic function, learning and memory.”


The Jam – Thick as Thieves :

One of my favorite tunes of all time. The  words speak to my soul.


I’m the one in the shades in case you wondering

See:  Mod days & getting stoned with Paul Weller

Classic FM. radio