Tag Archives: John Giles

27th August – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

27th of  August

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

Wednesday 27 August 1969

James Callaghan, then British Home Secretary, visited Belfast and Derry for talks with the Unionist government and others. The Stormont government announced the establishment of an Inquiry, to be chaired by Justice Scarman, into the circumstances of the riots during the year. [ Political Developments, Civil Rights Campaign. ]

Friday 27 August 1971

A British soldier was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in south Armagh.

Wednesday 27 August 1975

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) planted a time bomb in the Caterham Arms public house in Caterham, Surrey, England. There was no warning and the bomb exploded at 9.20pm injuring 23 civilians and 10 off-duty soldiers. The pub was used by members of the Welsh Guards who were based at a barracks nearby. [This attack marked the start of a renewed bombing campaign (‘Phase Two’) in England.]

Friday 27 August 1976

Three members of a Catholic family, Joseph Dempsey (22), Jeanette Dempsey (19) and Brigeen Dempsey (10 months), were killed in a petrol bomb attack on their home in Hillman Street, New Lodge, Belfast. The attack was carried out by Loyalists.

Sunday 27 August 1978 Civil Rights March

Approximately 10,000 people took part in a march from Coalisland to Dungannon, County Tyrone, to commemorate the first civil rights march 10 years earlier.

Monday 27 August 1979 Warrenpoint Attack and Mountbatten Killing

See Warrenpoint Page

18 British soldiers were killed in an Irish Republican Army (IRA) attack at Warrenpoint, County Down. This represented the British Army’s greatest loss of life in a single attack in Northern Ireland. The attack began when the IRA exploded a 500 pound bomb at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, as an army convoy was passing.

Six members of the Parachute Regiment were killed in this initial bomb. As other troops moved into the area a second bomb was detonated in a nearby Gate Lodge killing 12 soldiers – 10 members of the Parachute Regiment and 2 members of the Queen’s Own Highlanders (one of whom was the Commanding Officer).

The explosion also damaged an army helicopter. A gun battle then broke out between the IRA who were positioned in the Irish Republic and British Army soldiers in Northern Ireland. An innocent civilian was killed on the Republic side of the border by soldiers firing from the north.

See Lord Mountbatten Page

Earlier in the day Louis Mountbatten (79), a cousin of the Queen, was killed by a bobby-trap bomb left by the IRA on a boat near Sligo in the Republic of Ireland. Three other people were killed in the explosion, Lady Brabourne (82), Nicholas Knatchbull (14) who was Mountbatten’s grandson, and Paul Maxwell (15) who was a crew member on the boat. Mountbatten had been a regular visitor to the Mullaghmore area of County Sligo each August and never had a bodyguard. He was on a fishing trip and was accompanied by a number of people on the boat when the bomb exploded.

[During the Second World War Mountbatten had been supreme commander of allied forces in south-east Asia. He had also been the last British Viceroy of India and oversaw Indian independence. Thomas McMahon was charged with Mountbatten’s murder and later sentenced to life imprisonment.]

[The deaths on 27 August 1978 were followed by a series of killings of Catholic civilians by Loyalist paramilitaries.]

Wednesday 27 August 1986

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) issues further threats to civilians who are working with the security forces.

Saturday 27 August 1988

Robert Russell was extradited from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland. Russell was one of those who had escaped from the Maze Prison on 25 September 1983.

Friday 27 August 1993

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) responded to an interview given by John Wheeler (Sir), then a Northern Ireland Office (NIO) minister, on 26 August 1993. In the statement the IRA said that it would meet “head-on any British persistence with the failed policies of the past”.

Sunday 27 August 1995

John Hume, then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), and Albert Reynolds, the former Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), attended a peace forum in Killala, County Mayo.

Wednesday 27 August 1997

There was a gun attack on the house belonging to Kenny McClinton who had formerly served life sentences for killings carried out while a member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). The attack was believed to have been carried out by Loyalist paramilitaries. McClinton had recently mediated on behalf of Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) prisoners in the Maze Prison.

[Following the attack McClinton moved his family from Belfast to Portadown, County Armagh, which is a town with strong LVF connections.]

Billy Hutchinson, then a spokesperson for the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), gave an interview on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Radio Ulster programme Talkback in which he said that the talks process was offering nothing to Loyalists. He said that he would be recommending that the PUP ended its participation in the talks. He also said that the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) could “wipe out” the LVF in a week. Relatives of the 33 people killed in bombings in Dublin and Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland on 17 May 1974 failed in their court attempt to get the Garda Síochána (the Irish police) to release the files on their investigations of the bombings.


Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

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

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.

33 People lost their lives on the 27th of  August between 1971 – 1992

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27 August 1971


Joseph Corr,   (43)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Died 16 days after being shot at the junction of Springfield Road and Divismore Crescent, Ballymurphy, Belfast.

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27 August 1972
Thomas Boyd,   (28)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Defence Association (UDA)
Shot at his home, Carlisle Street, off Crumlin Road, Belfast.

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27 August 1972


Anthony Metcalfe,   (28) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot by sniper while in Creggan Heights British Army (BA) base, Creggan, Derry

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27 August 1974


Patrick McKeown,   (29)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Died in premature bomb explosion in house, Barcroft Park, Newry, County Down

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27 August 1975
John Barry,  (42)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Shot at his home, The Crescent, off Erinvale Drive, Finaghy, Belfast.

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27 August 1976


 Joseph Dempsey,   (22)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Killed in petrol bomb attack on his home, Hillman Street, New Lodge, Belfast.

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27 August 1976


Jeanette Dempsey,   (19)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Killed in petrol bomb attack on her home, Hillman Street, New Lodge, Belfast.

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27 August 1976


BRIGEEN Dempsey,  (0)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Killed in petrol bomb attack on her home, Hillman Street, New Lodge, Belfast

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27 August 1979


 Lord  Mountbatten, (79) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb on his boat, detonated when leaving Mullaghmore Harbour, County Sligo.

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27 August 1979


Dowager Lady Brabourne,  (82) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb on Lord Mountbatten’s boat, detonated when leaving Mullaghmore Harbour, County Sligo.

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27 August 1979


Nicholas Knatchbull,   (14) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb on Lord Mountbatten’s boat, detonated when leaving Mullaghmore Harbour, County Sligo.

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27 August 1979
Paul Maxwell,  (15)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
From Northern Ireland. Killed by remote controlled bomb on Lord Mountbatten’s boat, detonated when leaving Mullaghmore Harbour, County Sligo.

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27 August 1979
David Blair,  (40) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979


Thomas Vance,  (23) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Ian Rogers, (31) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Robert England,  (23) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Jeffrey Jones,   (18) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Gary Barnes,   (18) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Anthony Wood,   (19) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
John Giles,  (22) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Victor MacLeod,   (24) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Leonard Jones,  (26) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Robert Jones,   (18) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979


Donald Blair, (23) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Nicholas Andrew,  (24) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979


Raymond Dunn,   (20) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979


Michael Woods,   (18) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Peter Fursman,  (35) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Christopher Ireland,   (25) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Walter Beard,   (33) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979
Michael Hudson,  (29) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot from across Narrow Water, near Omeath, County Louth, shortly after a double bomb attack on British Army (BA) patrol at Narrow Water.

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27 August 1982


Wilfred McIver,  (37)

Protestant
Status: ex-Ulster Defence Regiment (xUDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb attached to his car outside Milford Everton Social Club, Milford, near Armagh

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27 August 1992


Hugh McKibben,   (21)

Catholic
Status: Irish People’s Liberation Organisation (IPLO),

Killed by: Irish People’s Liberation Organisation Belfast Brigade (IPLOBB)
Shot outside Lamh Dearg GAA Club, Hannahstown, Belfast. Internal Irish People’s Liberation Oraganisation (IPLO) feud.

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Warrenpoint Ambush – 18 British soldiers Slaughtered by the IRA

The Warrenpoint Ambush

27 August 1979

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NarrowPoint-79.jpg

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The Innocents Victims

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[ 2 Para Remember ]

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27 August 1979


David Blair,  (40) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979

[ Private Thomas R. Vance ]


 Thomas Vance (23) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)


Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979


Ian Rogers,   (31) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979


Roberts England,  (23) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979


Jeffrey Jones,  (18) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979

[ Private Gary I. Barnes ]


Gary Barnes,   (18) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979

Anthony Wood


Anthony Wood,   (19) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979


John Giles,   (22) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979


Victor MacLeod,   (24) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979

[ Corporal Leonard Jones ]


Leonard Jones,   (26) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979

[ Private Robert D. Vaughan-Jones ]


Robert Jones,  (18) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979

[ Lance Corporal Donald F. Blair ]


Donald Blair,  (23) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979


Nicholas Andrew,  (24) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979

[ Private Raymond Dunn ]


Raymond Dunn,  (20) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979

[ Private Michael Woods ]


Michael Woods,  (18) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979

[ Major Peter Fursman ]


Peter Fursman,   (35) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979

[ Lance Corporal Chris G. Ireland ]


Christopher Ireland,   (25) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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27 August 1979

Walter Beard
[ Warrant Officer Walter Beard ]


Walter Beard,  (33) nfNI

Status: British Army (BA)

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Killed in two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint, County Down. The first bomb was left in parked lorry and detonated when British Army (BA) lorry passed. The second bomb was left in a nearby Gate Lodge and detonated when British Army (BA) reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion.

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The Warrenpoint Ambush

The Warrenpoint ambush or Narrow Water ambush (also called the Warrenpoint massacre or Narrow Water massacre)was a guerrilla attack by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) on 27 August 1979. The IRA’s South Armagh Brigade ambushed the British Army with two large roadside bombs at Narrow Water Castle (near Warrenpoint) in Northern Ireland.

The first bomb targeted a British Army convoy and the second targeted the reinforcements sent to deal with the incident. IRA volunteers hidden in nearby woodland also allegedly fired on the troops. The castle is on the banks of the Newry River, which marks the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Eighteen British soldiers were killed and six were seriously injured, making it the deadliest attack on the British Army during the Troubles. An English civilian was also killed and another injured when British soldiers fired across the border after the first blast. The attack happened on the same day that the IRA assassinated Lord Louis Mountbatten.

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The day Mountbatten died and Warrenpoint bombs 

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Lest We Forget !

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Warrenpoint

Never Forgotten

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First explosion

At 16:40, a British Army convoy consisting of one Land Rover and two four-ton lorries was driving past Narrow Water Castle on the A2 road. As it passed, a 500-pound (227 kg) fertiliser bomb, hidden in a lorry loaded with strawbales and parked near the castle, was detonated by remote control. The explosion caught the last lorry in the convoy, hurling it on its side and instantly killing six members of 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, whose bodies were scattered across the road.

There were only two survivors amongst the soldiers travelling in the lorry; they both received serious injuries. Anthony Wood (19), the lorry’s driver, was one of those killed. All that remained of Wood’s body was his pelvis, which had been welded to the seat by the fierce heat of the blast.

Immediately after the blast, the soldiers said they were targeted by sniper fire, coming from woods on the other side of the border. The soldiers began firing back across the water. An uninvolved civilian, Michael Hudson (an Englishman who was a coachman at Buckingham Palace), was killed by the soldiers’ gunfire and his cousin Barry Hudson wounded. They had been birdwatching on an island opposite the castle.

However, according to Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) researchers, the soldiers may have mistaken the sound of ammunition cooking off for enemy gunfire. Two IRA members arrested by the Gardaí and suspected of being behind the ambush, Brendan Burns and Joe Brennan, had traces of gunsmoke residue on their hands and the motorbike they were riding on.

On hearing the first explosion a Royal Marine unit alerted the British Army and reinforcements from other units of the Parachute Regiment were dispatched to the scene by road. A rapid reaction unit, consisting of medical staff and senior commander Lieutenant-Colonel David Blair (the commanding officer of the Queen’s Own Highlanders), together with his signaller Lance Corporal Victor MacLeod, were sent by Gazelle helicopter; another helicopter, a Wessex, landed to pick up the wounded. Colonel Blair assumed command once at the site.

Second explosion

The IRA had been studying how the British Army behaved after a bombing and correctly predicted that they would set up an incident command point (ICP) in the gatehouse on the opposite side of the road. At 17:12, thirty-two minutes after the first explosion, an 800-pound (363 kg) bomb hidden in milk pails exploded against the gatehouse, destroying it and hurling lumps of granite through the air. It detonated as the Wessex helicopter was taking off carrying wounded soldiers. The helicopter was damaged by the blast but did not crash.

Narrow Water Castle

The second explosion killed twelve soldiers: ten from the Parachute Regiment and the two from the Queen’s Own Highlanders. Mike Jackson, then a major in the Parachute Regiment, was at the scene soon after the second explosion and later described seeing body parts scattered over the road, in the water and hanging from the trees. He was asked to identify the face of his friend, Major Peter Fursman, still recognisable after it had been completely ripped from his head by the explosion and recovered from the water by divers from the Royal Engineers. Only one of Colonel Blair’s epaulettes remained to identify him as his body had been vaporised in the blast.

The epaulette was taken from the scene by Brigadier David Thorne to a security briefing with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to “illustrate the human factor” of the attack.

Press photographer Peter Molloy, who arrived at the scene after the first explosion, came close to being shot by an angry paratrooper who saw him taking photographs of the dead and dying, instead of offering to help the wounded. The soldier was tackled by his comrades. Molloy said,

“I was shouted at and called all sorts of things but I understood why. I had trespassed on the worst day of these fellas’ lives and taken pictures of it.”

Aftermath

The Warrenpoint ambush was a propaganda victory for the IRA. It was the deadliest attack on the British Army during the Troubles and the Parachute Regiment’s biggest loss since World War II. The 2nd battalion of the British Paratrooper regiment sustained sixteen casualties. The first battalion of the British Paratrooper regiment was responsible for Bloody Sunday on the 30, January 1972 where 14 unarmed protesters were shot dead.

The IRA made clear it was targeting British paratroopers because of Bloody Sunday. General Sir James Glover, Commander of British forces in Northern Ireland, said it was

“arguably the most successful and certainly one of the best planned IRA attacks of the whole campaign”.

The ambush happened on the same day that Lord Louis Mountbatten, a prominent member of the British Royal Family, was killed by an IRA bomb aboard his boat at Mullaghmore, along with three others.

Shortly after the Warrenpoint ambush, IRA members Brendan Burns and Joe Brennan were arrested by Gardaí (the Irish police). They were stopped while riding a motorbike on a road opposite Narrow Water Castle. However, they were later released on bail due to lack of evidence.

Immediately after the Mountbatten and Warrenpoint attacks, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) retaliated by shooting dead a Catholic man, John Patrick Hardy (43), at his home in Belfast’s New Lodge estate. Hardy was targeted in the mistaken belief that he was an IRA member.

According to Toby Harnden, the attack “drove a wedge” between the Army and the RUC. Lieutenant-General Sir Timothy Creasey, General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland, suggested to Margaret Thatcher that internment should be brought back and that liaison with the Gardaí should be left in the hands of the military.Sir Kenneth Newman, the RUC Chief Constable, claimed instead that the British Army practice, already in place since 1975, of supplying their garrisons in South County Armagh by helicopter, gave too much freedom of movement to the IRA. One tangible security outcome was the appointment of Sir Maurice Oldfield to a new position of Co-ordinator of Security Intelligence in Northern Ireland. His role was to co-ordinate intelligence between the military, MI5 and the RUC. The other was the expansion of the RUC by 1,000 members.

Tim Pat Coogan asserts that ultimately, the death of these 18 soldiers hastened the move to Ulsterisation.

Lieutenant-Colonel Blair is remembered on a memorial at Radley School.

IRA member Brendan Burns was killed in 1988 when a bomb he was transporting exploded prematurely.

IRA member Joe Brennan was jailed in 1982 for carrying out an armed bank raid to raise funds for the organisation. He left the IRA in 1986 and went on to become a successful property developer and novelist.

Main Source: wikipedia. 

IRA Volunteer Brendan Burns Funeral & Salute for IRA Volunteers Killed in Gibraltar



Major events in the Troubles

See: Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma

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