Tag Archives: The Falls Road

Timeline of the Northern Ireland Troubles & List of those Murdered in 1969

Northern Ireland 1969

Timeline & Deaths 1969

1960–1969

Main Events

Since 1964, civil rights activists had been protesting against the discrimination against Catholics and Irish nationalists by the Ulster Protestant and unionist government of Northern Ireland. The civil rights movement called for: ‘one man, one vote‘; the end to gerrymandered electoral boundaries; the end to discrimination in employment and in the allocation of public housing; repeal of the Special Powers Act (which was used to intern both constitutional nationalist and republican activists); and the disbanding of the Ulster Special Constabulary (more commonly known as the B-Specials, an overwhelmingly Protestant reserve police force which was known for police brutality toward Catholics).[6]

1966

April Loyalists led by Ian Paisley, a Protestant fundamentalist preacher, founded the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee (UCDC) to oppose the civil rights movement. It set up a paramilitary-style wing called the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV).[6]
21 May A loyalist group calling itself the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) issued a statement declaring war on the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The group claimed to be composed of “heavily armed Protestants dedicated to this cause”.[7] At the time, the IRA was not engaged in armed action, but Irish nationalists/republicans were marking the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Some unionists and loyalists warned “that a revival of the IRA was imminent”.[6]
May–June The UVF carried out three attacks on Irish Catholics in Belfast. In the first, a Protestant civilian died when UVF members firebombed the Catholic-owned pub beside her house. In the second, a Catholic civilian was shot dead as he walked home. In the third, the UVF opened-fire on three Catholic civilians as they left a pub, killing one and wounding the others.[6]

1968

20 June Civil rights activists (including Stormont MP Austin Currie) protested against discrimination in the allocation of housing by illegally occupying a house in Caledon, County Tyrone. An unmarried Protestant woman (the secretary of a local Unionist politician) had been given the house ahead of Catholic families with children. The protesters were forcibly removed by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).[8]
24 August Northern Ireland’s first civil rights march was held. Many more marches would be held over the following year. Loyalists attacked some of the marches and organized counter-demonstrations to get the marches banned.[8]
5 October A civil rights march was to take place in Derry. When the loyalist Apprentice Boys announced its intention to hold a march at the same place and time, the Government banned the civil rights march. When civil rights activists defied the ban, RUC officers surrounded the marchers and beat them indiscriminately and without provocation.[9] Over 100 people were injured, including a number of MPs.[9] This sparked two days of serious rioting in Derry between Catholics and the RUC. Some consider this to be the beginning of the Troubles.[8]
9 October About 2,000 students from Queen’s University Belfast tried to march to Belfast City Hall in protest against ‘police brutality’ on 5 October in Derry. The march was blocked by loyalists led by Ian Paisley. After the demonstration, a student civil rights group—People’s Democracy—was formed.[8]

1969

4 January A People’s Democracy march between Belfast and Derry was repeatedly attacked by loyalists. At Burntollet it was ambushed by 200 loyalists and off-duty police (RUC) officers armed with iron bars, bricks and bottles. The marchers claimed that police did little to protect them. When the march arrived in Derry it was broken up by the RUC, which sparked serious rioting between Irish nationalists and the RUC.[10] That night, RUC officers went on a rampage in the Bogside area of Derry; attacking Catholic homes, attacking and threatening residents, and hurling sectarian abuse.[11] Residents then sealed off the Bogside with barricades to keep the police out, creating “Free Derry“.
March–April Loyalists—members of the UVF and UPV—bombed water and electricity installations in Northern Ireland, blaming them on the dormant IRA and on elements of the civil rights movement. The loyalists intended to bring down the Unionist Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Terence O’Neill, who had promised some concessions to the civil rights movement. There were six bombings and all were widely blamed on the IRA. As a response, British soldiers were sent to guard installations. Unionist support for O’Neill waned, and on 28 April he resigned as Prime Minister.[12]
17 April People’s Democracy activist Bernadette Devlin became the youngest woman ever elected to Westminster.
19 April During clashes with civil rights marchers in Derry, RUC officers entered the house of uninvolved Catholic civilian Samuel Devenny, and beat him along with two of his teenage daughters.[13] One of the daughters was beaten unconscious as she lay recovering from surgery.[14] Devenny suffered a heart attack and died on 17 July from his injuries.
13 July During clashes with nationalists in Dungiven, RUC officers beat an uninvolved Catholic bystander; Francis McCloskey (67). He died of his injuries the nex day. Many consider this the first death of the Troubles.[15]
5 August The UVF planted their first bomb in the Republic of Ireland, damaging the RTÉ Television Centre in Dublin.[16]
12–14 August Battle of the Bogside – during an Apprentice Boys march, serious rioting erupted in Derry between Irish nationalists and the RUC. RUC officers, backed by loyalists, entered the nationalist Bogside in armoured cars and tried to suppress the riot by using CS gas, water cannon and eventually firearms. The almost continuous rioting lasted for two days.[17]
14–17 August Northern Ireland riots of August 1969 – in response to events in Derry, Irish nationalists held protests throughout Northern Ireland. Some of these became violent. In Belfast, loyalists responded by attacking nationalist districts. Rioting also erupted in Newry, Armagh, Crossmaglen, Dungannon, Coalisland and Dungiven. Eight people were shot dead and at least 133 were treated for gunshot wounds. Scores of houses and businesses were burnt-out, most of them owned by Catholics. Thousands of families, mostly Catholics, were forced to flee their homes and refugee camps were set up in the Republic.[17]The British Army was deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland, which marked the beginning of Operation Banner.
11 October Three people were shot dead during street violence in the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast. Two were Protestant civilians shot by the British Army and one was an RUC officer shot by the UVF. He was the first RUC officer to be killed in the Troubles. The loyalists “had taken to the streets in protest at the Hunt Report, which recommended the disbandment of the B Specials and disarming of the RUC”.[18]
October–December The UVF detonated bombs in the Republic of Ireland. In Dublin it detonated a car bomb near the Garda central detective bureau.[19] It also bombed a power station at Ballyshannon, a Wolfe Tone memorial in Bodenstown, and the Daniel O’Connell monument in Dublin.
December A split formed in the Irish Republican Army, creating what was to become the Official IRA (OIRA) and Provisional IRA (PIRA).

Battle of  Bogside August 1969

During 12–17 August 1969, Northern Ireland was rocked by intense political and sectarian rioting.  There had been sporadic violence throughout the year arising from the civil rights campaign, which was demanding an end to discrimination against Irish Catholics. Civil rights marches were repeatedly attacked by both Ulster Protestant loyalists and by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), a unionist and largely Protestant police force.

The disorder led to the Battle of the Bogside in Derry, a three-day riot in the Bogside district between the RUC and the nationalist/Catholic residents. In support of the Bogsiders, nationalists and Catholics launched protests elsewhere in Northern Ireland. Some of these led to attacks by loyalists working alongside the police. The most bloody rioting was in Belfast, where seven people were killed and hundreds more wounded. Scores of houses, most of them owned by Catholics, as well as businesses and factories were burned-out. In addition, thousands of mostly Catholic families were driven from their homes. In certain areas, the RUC helped the loyalists and failed to protect Catholic areas. Events in Belfast have been viewed by some as a pogrom against the Catholic and nationalist minority.[1][2][3]

The British Army was deployed to restore order and state control and peace lines began to be built to separate the two sides.

The events of August 1969 are widely seen as the beginning of the thirty-year conflict known as the Troubles.

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1969

The were 16 deaths in 1969 . This would remain the lowest year for deaths until twenty years later in 1999 when there were  only 8 deaths . The  intervening years saw the slaughter increase substantially and 1972  was by far the worse year for deaths with an incredible 480 murders on the streets of Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.

– 1969 Deaths –

9 Catholic

7 Protestant

Total 16

Annual Killings by Military and Paramilitary Groups  1969

Year

Republican

Loyalist

British

Others

Total

1969

3

3

10

0

16

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Remembering all Innocent victims of the Troubles

“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.

16 People lost their lives in 1969

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14 July 1969
Francis McCloskey,   (67)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Died one day after being hit on head with batons during street disturbances, Dungiven, County Derry.

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17 July 1969


Samuel Devenny,   (42)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Died three months after being badly beaten in his home, William Street, Bogside, Derry. He was injured on 19 April 1969.

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14 August 1969
John Gallagher,   (30)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Special Constabulary (USC)
Shot during street disturbances, Cathedral Road, Armagh.

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14 August 1969


Patrick Rooney,   (9)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot at his home, during nearby street disturbances, St Brendan’s Path, Divis Flats, Belfast.

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15 August 1969
Herbert Roy,   (26)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Shot while part of Loyalist crowd, during street disturbances, corner of Divis Street and Dover Street, Lower Falls, Belfast.

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15 August 1969
Hugh McCabe,   (20)

Catholic
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
On leave. Shot during street disturbances while on the roof of Whitehall Block, Divis Flats, Belfast.

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15 August 1969


Samuel McLarnon,  (27)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot at his home during nearby street disturbances, Herbert Street, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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15 August 1969


Michael Lynch,  (28)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Shot during street disturbances, Butler Street, Ardoyne, Belfast.

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15 August 1969


Gerald McAuley,   (15)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army Youth Section (IRAF),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot during street disturbances, Bombay Street, Falls, Belfast.

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15 August 1969
David Linton,   (48)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Shot during street disturbances at the junction of Palmer Street and Crumlin Road, Belfast.

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08 September 1969
John Todd,  (29)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Shot during street disturbances, Alloa Street, Lower Oldpark, Belfast.

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11 October 1969
George Dickie,  (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during street disturbances, at the corner of Shankill Road and Downing Street, Belfast

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11 October 1969
Herbert Hawe,  (32)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot during street disturbances, Hopeton Street, Shankill, Belfast.

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11 October 1969


Victor Arbuckle,   (29)

Protestant
Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot during street disturbances, Shankill Road, Belfast.

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21 October 1969
Thomas McDowell, (45)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Died two days after being injured in premature bomb explosion at hydroelectric power station near Ballyshannon, County Donegal.

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01 December 1969


Patrick Corry, (61)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
Died four months after being hit on the head with batons, during altercation between local people and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) patrol, Unity Flats, off Upper Library Street, Belfast. Injured on 2nd August 1969

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Background

Northern Ireland was destabilised throughout 1968 by sporadic rioting arising out of the civil disobedience campaign of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), which was demanding an end to discrimination against Catholics in voting rights, housing and employment. NICRA was opposed by Ian Paisley‘s Ulster Constitution Defence Committee (UCDC) and other loyalist groups.

During the summer of 1969, before the riots broke out, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) published a highly critical report on the British government‘s policy in Northern Ireland. The Times wrote that this report “criticised the Northern Ireland Government for police brutality, religious discrimination [against Catholics] and gerrymandering in politics”.[4] The ICJ secretary general said that laws and conditions in Northern Ireland had been cited by the South African government “to justify their own policies of discrimination” (see South Africa under apartheid).[4] The Times also reported that the Ulster Special Constabulary (USC), Northern Ireland’s reserve police force, was “regarded as the militant arm of the Protestant Orange Order“.[4] The Belfast Telegraph reported that the ICJ had added Northern Ireland to the list of states/jurisdictions “where the protection of human rights is inadequately assured”.[5]

Events leading up to the August riots

The first major confrontation between Civil Rights activists and the police occurred in Derry on 5 October 1968, when a NICRA march was baton-charged by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) police.[6] Disturbed by the prospect of major violence, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Terence O’Neill, promised reforms in return for a “truce”, whereby no further demonstrations would be held.

However the truce was broken in January 1969 when People’s Democracy, a radical left-wing group, staged an anti-government march from Belfast to Derry. Loyalists attacked the marchers a number of times, most determinedly at Burntollet Bridge (about five miles (8 km) outside Derry), and the RUC were accused of not protecting the marchers. This action, and the RUC’s subsequent entry into the Bogside, led to serious rioting in Derry.[7]

In March and April 1969, there were six bomb attacks on electricity and water infrastructure targets, causing blackouts and water shortages. At first the attacks were blamed on the Irish Republican Army (IRA). In fact, it later emerged that members of the loyalist Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV) and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) had carried out the bombings in an attempt to implicate the IRA, destabilise the Government and halt the reforms demanded by the Civil Rights movement and promised by Terence O’Neill.[7]

There was some movement on reform in Northern Ireland in the first half of 1969. On 23 April the Unionist Parliamentary Party voted by 28 to 22 to introduce universal adult suffrage in local government elections in Northern Ireland. The call for “one man, one vote” had been one of the key demands of the civil rights movement.[7] Five days later, Terence O’Neill resigned as UUP leader and Northern Ireland Prime Minister and was replaced in both roles by James Chichester-Clark. Chichester-Clark, despite having resigned in protest over the introduction of universal suffrage in local government, announced that he would continue the reforms begun by O’Neill.[7]

Street violence, however, continued to escalate. On 19 April there was serious rioting in the Bogside area of Derry following clashes between NICRA marchers, loyalists and the RUC. A Catholic, Samuel Devenny was severely beaten by the RUC and later died of his injuries.[7][8] On 12 July, during the Orange Order‘s Twelfth of July marches, there was serious rioting in Derry, Belfast and Dungiven, causing many families in Belfast to flee from their homes.[7] A Catholic civilian Francis McCloskey (67) died one day after being hit on the head with batons by RUC officers during rioting in Dungiven.[7][8]

Battle of the Bogside

See Battle of Bogside

Main article: Battle of the Bogside

Sporadic violence took place throughout the rest of the year between Catholic nationalists, Protestant loyalists and the RUC, and intensified over the summer, during the Orange Order‘s marching season. On 2 August, there was serious rioting in Belfast, when Protestant crowds from the Crumlin Road area tried to storm the Catholic Unity Flats. They were held back with difficulty by the police.

This unrest culminated in a pitched battle in Derry from 12–15 August. The Battle of the Bogside began when violence broke out around a loyalist Apprentice Boys of Derry parade on 12 August. The RUC, in trying to disperse the nationalist crowd, drove them back into the nationalist Bogside area and then tried to enter the area themselves. The Bogside’s inhabitants mobilised en masse to prevent them entering the area and a huge riot ensued between hundreds of RUC personnel and thousands of Bogsiders. On the second day of this confrontation, 13 August, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association appealed for demonstrations across Northern Ireland in support of the Bogside, in an effort to draw off police resources from the conflict there. When nationalists elsewhere in Northern Ireland carried out such demonstrations, severe inter-communal violence erupted between Catholics, Protestants and the police.

Rioting in Belfast

A mural in Belfast remembering the 1969 riots

Belfast saw by far the most intense violence of the August 1969 riots. Unlike Derry, where Catholic nationalists were a majority, in Belfast they were a minority and were also geographically divided and surrounded by Protestants and loyalists.[9] For this reason, whereas in Derry the fighting was largely between nationalists and the RUC, in Belfast it also involved fighting between Catholics and Protestants, including exchanges of gunfire and widespread burning of homes and businesses.[10]

On the night of 12 August, bands of Apprentice Boys arrived back in Belfast after taking part in the Derry march. They were met by Protestant pipe bands and a large crowd of supporters. They then marched to Shankill Road waving Union Flags and singing “The Sash My Father Wore” (a popular loyalist ballad).[9]

According to journalists Patrick Bishop and Eamonn Mallie, “Both communities were in the grip of a mounting paranoia about the other’s intentions. Catholics were convinced that they were about to become victims of a Protestant pogrom; Protestants that they were on the eve of an IRA insurrection”.[11]

Wednesday 13 August

The first disturbances in Northern Ireland’s capital took place on the night of 13 August. Derry activists Eamonn McCann and Sean Keenan contacted Frank Gogarty of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association to organise demonstrations in Belfast to draw off police from Derry.[12] Independently, Belfast IRA leader Billy McMillen ordered republicans to organise demonstrations, “in support of Derry”.[13]

In protest at the RUC’s actions in Derry, a group of 500 nationalists and republicans assembled at Divis flats and staged a rally outside Springfield Road RUC station, where they handed in a petition.[14]

After handing in the petition, the crowd of 1–2000 people, including IRA members such as Joe McCann,[15] began a protest march along Falls Road and Divis Street to the Hastings Street RUC base.[14] When they arrived, about 50 youths broke away from the march and attacked the RUC base with stones and petrol bombs.[14][16] The RUC responded by sending out riot police[14] and by driving Shorland armoured cars at the crowd.[16] Protesters pushed burning cars onto the road to stop the RUC from entering the nationalist area.[9]

At Leeson Street, roughly halfway between the clashes at Springfield and Hastings Street RUC bases, an RUC Humber armoured car was attacked with a hand grenade and rifle fire.[16][17] At the time, it was not known who had launched the attack, but it has since emerged that it was IRA members, acting under the orders of Billy McMillen. McMillen also authorised members of the Fianna (IRA youth wing) to petrol bomb the Springfield Road RUC base.[15] Shots were exchanged there between the IRA and RUC.[16]

In addition to the attacks on the RUC, the car dealership of Protestant Isaac Agnew, on the Falls Road, was destroyed. The nationalist crowd also burnt a Catholic-owned pub and betting shop.[18] At this stage, loyalist crowds gathered on the Shankill Road but did not join in the fighting.[19]

That night barricades went up at the interface areas between Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods.

A Shorland armoured car. The RUC used Shorlands mounted with Browning heavy machine-guns during the riots

Thursday 14 August and early hours of Friday 15 August

On 14 August, many Catholics and Protestants living on the edge of their ghettos fled their homes for safety.[9]

The loyalists viewed the nationalist attacks of Wednesday night as an organised attempt by the IRA “to undermine the constitutional position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom”.[17]

The IRA, contrary to loyalist belief, was responding to events rather than orchestrating them. Billy McMillen called up all available IRA members for “defensive duties” and sent parties out to Cupar Street, Divis Street and St Comgall’s School on Dover Street. They amounted to 30 IRA Volunteers, 12 women, 40 youths from the Fianna and 15–20 girls. Their arms consisted of one Thompson submachine gun, one Sten submachine gun, one Lee–Enfield rifle and six handguns. A “wee factory” was also set up in Leeson Street to make petrol bombs.[20] Their orders at the outset were to, “disperse people trying to burn houses, but under no circumstances to take life”.[21]

Falls–Shankill interface near Divis Tower

That evening, a nationalist crowd marched to Hastings Street RUC station, which they began to attack with stones for a second night.[22] Loyalist crowds (wielding petrol bombs, bricks, stones, sharpened poles and protective dustbin lids) gathered at neighbouring Dover and Percy Streets.[23] They were confronted by nationalists, who had hastily blocked their streets with barricades. Fighting broke out between the rival factions at about 11:00 pm.[24] The RUC concentrated their efforts on the nationalist rioters, who they scattered with armoured cars.[9] Catholics claimed that USC officers had been seen giving guns to the loyalists,[9] while journalists reported seeing pike-wielding loyalists standing among the RUC officers.[25]

From the nearby rooftop of Divis Tower flats, a group of nationalists would spend the rest of the night raining missiles on the RUC below.[9] A chain of people were passing stones and petrol bombs from the ground to the roof.[26]

Loyalists began pushing into the Falls Road area along Percy Street, Beverly Street and Dover Street. The rioters contained a rowdy gang of loyalist football supporters who had returned from a match.[27] On Dover Street, the loyalist crowd was led by Ulster Unionist Party MP John McQuade.[28] On Percy Street, a loyalist opened fire with a shotgun,[23] and USC officers helped the loyalists to push back the nationalists.[17] As they entered the nationalist ghetto, loyalists began burning Catholic homes and businesses on Percy Street, Beverly Street and Dover Street.

Divis  came under heavy machine-gun fire from the RUC, killing two people

Memorial plaque to Patrick Rooney and Hugh McCabe

At the intersection of Dover and Divis Street, an IRA unit[29] opened fire on the crowd of RUC officers and loyalists, who were trying to enter the Catholic area. Protestant Herbert Roy (26) was killed[8] and three officers were wounded.[26] At this point, the RUC, believing they were facing an organised IRA uprising, deployed Shorland armoured cars mounted with heavy Browning machine guns,[17] whose .30 calibre bullets “tore through walls as if they were cardboard”.[30]

In response to the RUC coming under fire at Divis Street, three Shorland armoured cars were called to the scene. The Shorlands were immediately attacked with gunfire, an explosive device and petrol bombs. The RUC believed that the shots had come from nearby Divis Tower.[28] Gunners inside the Shorlands returned fire with their heavy machine-guns. At least thirteen Divis Tower flats were hit by high-velocity gunfire. A nine-year-old boy, Patrick Rooney, was killed by machine-gun fire as he lay in bed in one of the flats. He was the first child to be killed in the violence.[31]

At about 01:00, not long after the shooting of Patrick Rooney, the RUC again opened fire on Divis Tower. The shots killed Hugh McCabe (20), a Catholic soldier who was ‘on leave’.[8] He and another had been on the roof of the Whitehall building (which was part of the Divis complex) and were pulling a wounded man to safety. The RUC claimed he was armed at the time and that gunfire was coming from the roof, but this was denied by many witnesses.[32]

The Republican Labour Party MP for Belfast Central, Paddy Kennedy, who was on the scene, phoned the RUC headquarters and appealed to Northern Ireland Minister for Home Affairs, Robert Porter, for the Shorlands to be withdrawn and the shooting to stop. Porter replied that this was impossible as, “the whole town is in rebellion”. Porter told Kennedy that Donegall Street police station was under heavy machine-gun fire. In fact, it was undisturbed throughout the riots.[33]

Some time after the killing of Hugh McCabe, some 200 loyalists attacked Catholic Divis Street and began burning houses there.[34] A unit of six IRA volunteers in St Comgall’s School shot at them with a rifle, a thompson machine-gun and some pistols; keeping the attackers back and wounding eight of them.[35] An RUC Shorland then arrived and opened fire on the school.[34] The IRA gunmen returned fire and managed to escape.[17]

Falls–Shankill interface near Clonard Monastery

West of St Comgall’s, loyalists broke through the nationalist barricades on Conway Street and burned two-thirds of the houses. Catholics claimed that the RUC held them back so that the loyalists could burn their homes.[34] The Scarman Report found that RUC officers were on Conway Street when its houses were set alight, but “failed to take effective action”.[17] Journalist Max Hastings wrote that loyalists on Conway Street had been begging the RUC to give them their guns.[34]

Ardoyne

Rioting in Ardoyne, north of the city centre, began in the evening near Holy Cross Catholic church. Loyalists crossed over to the Catholic/nationalist side of Crumlin Road to attack Brookfield Street, Herbert Street, Butler Street and Hooker Street. These had been hastily blocked by nationalist barricades.[9] Loyalists reportedly threw petrol bombs at Catholics “over the heads of RUC officers”,[36] as RUC armoured cars were used to smash through the barricades.[37]

The IRA had little presence in Ardoyne and its defence was organised by a group of ex-servicemen armed with shotguns.[37]

The nationalist gunmen fired the first shots at the RUC, who responded by firing machine-guns down the streets, killing two Catholic civilians (Samuel McLarnon, 27, and Michael Lynch, 28) and wounding ten more.[8][38]

Friday 15 August

The morning of 15 August saw many Catholic families in central Belfast flee to Andersonstown on the western fringes of the city, to escape the rioting. According to Bishop and Mallie, “Each side’s perceptions of the other’s intentions had become so warped that the Protestants believed the Catholics were clearing the decks for a further attempt at insurrection in the evening”.[39]

At 04:30 on Friday 15 August, the Police Commissioner for Belfast asked for military aid.[40] From the early hours of Friday, the RUC had withdrawn to its bases to defend them. The interface areas were thus left unpoliced for half a day until the British Army arrived.[40] The Deputy Police Commissioner had assumed that the British Army would be deployed by 10:00 or 11:00.[40] At 12:25 that afternoon, the Northern Ireland cabinet finally sent a request for military aid to the Home Office in London.[40] However, it would be another nine hours until the British Army arrived at the Falls/Shankill interface where it was needed. Many Catholics and nationalists felt that they had been left at the mercy of loyalists by forces of the state who were meant to protect them.[40]

The IRA, which had limited manpower and weaponry at the start of the riots, was also exhausted and low on ammunition. Its leader Billy McMillen and 19 other republicans were arrested by the RUC early on 15 August under the Special Powers Act.[41]

There was fierce rioting in streets around Clonard Monastery (pictured), where hundreds of Catholic homes were burned

Falls–Shankill interface near Clonard Monastery

On 15 August, violence continued along the Falls/Shankill interface. Father PJ Egan of Clonard Monastery recalled that a large loyalist mob moved down Cupar Street at about 15:00 and was held back by nationalist youths.[42] Shooting began at about 15:45.[40] Egan claimed that himself and other priests at Clonard Monastery made at least four calls to the RUC for help, but none came.[42]

A small IRA party under Billy McKee was present and had two .22 rifles at their disposal. They exchanged shots with a loyalist sniper who was firing from a house on Cupar Street, but failed to dislodge him, or to halt the burning of Catholic houses in the area.[9][43] Almost all of the houses on Bombay street were burned by the loyalists, and many others were burned on Kashmir Road and Cupar Street – the most extensive destruction of property during the riots.[44]

A loyalist sniper shot dead Gerald McAuley (15), a member of the Fianna (IRA’s youth wing),[8] as he helped people flee their homes on Bombay Street.[45]

At about 18:30 the British Army’s The Royal Regiment of Wales was deployed on the Falls Road.[17][40] where they were greeted with subdued applause and cheering.[9] However, despite pleas from locals, they did not move into the streets that were being attacked.[40] At about 21:35 that night, the soldiers finally took up positions at the blazing interface[40] and blocked the streets with barbed-wire barricades. Father PJ Egan recalled that the soldiers called on the loyalists to surrender but they instead began shooting and throwing petrol bombs at the soldiers.[42] The soldiers could only fire back on the orders of an officer when life was directly threatened.[46] The loyalists continued shooting and burned more Catholic-owned houses on Bombay Street,[17] but were stopped by soldiers using tear gas.[9]

Ardoyne

British soldiers were not deployed in Ardoyne, and violence continued there on Friday night. Nationalists hijacked 50 buses from the local bus depot, set them on fire and used them as makeshift barricades to block access to Ardoyne. According to republican activist Martin Meehan, 20 Catholics were wounded by shotgun fire that night.[citation needed] A Protestant civilian, David Linton (48), was shot dead by nationalist gunmen at the Palmer Street/Crumlin Road junction.[8] Several Catholic-owned houses were set alight on Brookfield Street.[17] The Scarman Report found that an RUC armoured vehicle was nearby when Brookfield Street was set alight, but made no move.[17]

Saturday 16 August

On the evening of 16 August the British Army was deployed on Crumlin Road. Thereafter, the violence died down into what the Scarman report called, “the quiet of exhaustion”.[17]

Disturbances elsewhere

Towns and cities where major riots took place
Towns and cities where major riots took place

In aid of the Bogsiders, the NICRA executive decided to launch protests in towns across Northern Ireland.[17] The Scarman Report concluded that the spread of the disturbances “owed much to a deliberate decision by some minority groups to relieve police pressure on the rioters in Londonderry”. It included the NICRA among these groups.[17]

On the evening of 11 August a riot erupted in Dungannon after a meeting of the NICRA. This was quelled after the RUC baton charged nationalist rioters down Irish Street. There were claims of police brutality.[17]

On 12 August, protesters attacked the RUC bases in Coalisland, Strabane and Newry.[47]

On 13 August there were further riots in Dungannon, Coalisland, Dungiven, Armagh and Newry.[17] In Coalisland, USC officers opened fire on rioters without orders but were immediately ordered to stop.[17]

On 14 August riots continued in Dungannon, Armagh and Newry. In Dungannon and Armagh, USC officers again opened fire on rioters. They fired 24 shots on Armagh’s Cathedral Road, killing Catholic civilian John Gallagher and wounding two others.[17][48] In Newry, nationalist rioters surrounded the RUC station and attacked it with petrol bombs. In Crossmaglen on 17 August, the RUC station was attacked with petrol bombs and three hand grenades.[citation needed]

Reactions

  • On 13 August, Taoiseach Jack Lynch made a television address in which he stated that the Irish Defence Forces would set up “field hospitals” along the border. He went on to say:

    It is evident that the Stormont Government is no longer in control of the situation. Indeed the present situation is the inevitable outcome of the policies pursued for decades by successive Stormont Governments. It is clear, also, that the Irish Government can no longer stand by and see innocent people injured and perhaps worse.[7]

  • On 14 August, Northern Ireland Prime Minister James Chichester-Clark stated in the House of Commons:

    This is not the agitation of a minority seeking by lawful means the assertion of political rights. It is the conspiracy of forces seeking to overthrow a Government democratically elected by a large majority. What the teenage hooligans seek beyond cheap kicks I do not know. But of this I am quite certain – they are being manipulated and encouraged by those who seek to discredit and overthrow this Government”.[17]

  • On 23 August Cardinal William Conway, together with the Bishops of Derry, Clogher, Dromore, Kilmore, and Down & Connor, issued a statement which included the following:

    The fact is that on Thursday and Friday of last week the Catholic districts of Falls and Ardoyne were invaded by mobs equipped with machine-guns and other firearms. A community which was virtually defenceless was swept by gunfire and streets of Catholic homes were systematically set on fire. We entirely reject the hypothesis that the origin of last week’s tragedy was an armed insurrection.[7]

Effects

The rioting petered out by Sunday, 17 August. By the end of the riots:

  • 8 people had been killed, including[8]
    • 5 Catholics shot dead by the RUC
    • 2 Protestants shot dead by nationalist gunmen
    • 1 Fianna member shot dead by loyalist gunmen
  • 750+ people had been injured[49] – 133 (72 Catholics and 61 Protestants) of those injured suffered gunshot wounds[49]
  • 150+ Catholic homes[50] and 275+ businesses had been destroyed – 83% of all buildings destroyed were owned by Catholics[49]

During July, August and September 1969, 1,820+ families had been forced to flee their homes, including[51]

  • 1,505 Catholic families
  • 315 Protestant families

Catholics generally fled across the border into the Republic of Ireland, while Protestants generally fled to east Belfast.[51] The Irish Defence Forces set up refugee camps in the Republic – at one point the Gormanston refugee camp held 6000 refugees from Northern Ireland.[51]

Long-term effects

The modern “peace line” at Bombay Street in Belfast, seen from the Irish Catholic/nationalist side. This is the view from the back of a house.

The August riots were the most sustained violence that Northern Ireland had seen since the early 1920s. Many Protestants, loyalists and unionists believed the violence showed the true face of the Northern Ireland Catholic civil rights movement – as a front for the IRA and armed insurrection. They had mixed feelings regarding the deployment of British Army troops into Northern Ireland. Eddie Kinner, a resident of Dover Street who would later join the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), vividly recalled the troops marching down his street with fixed bayonets and steel helmets. He and his neighbours had felt at the time as if they were being invaded by their “own army”.[52] Catholics and nationalists, on the other hand, saw the riots (particularly in Belfast) as an assault on their community by loyalists and the forces of the state. The disturbances, taken together with the Battle of the Bogside, are often cited as the beginning of the Troubles. Violence escalated sharply in Northern Ireland after these events, with the formation of new paramilitary groups on either side, most notably the Provisional Irish Republican Army in December of that year. On the loyalist side, the UVF (formed in 1966) were galvanised by the August riots and in 1971, another paramilitary group, the Ulster Defence Association was founded out of a coalition of loyalist militants who had been active since August 1969. The largest of these were the Woodvale Defence Association, led by Charles Harding Smith, and the Shankill Defence Association, led by John McKeague, which had been responsible for what organisation there was of loyalist violence in the riots of August 1969. While the thousands of British Army troops sent to Northern Ireland were initially seen as a neutral force, they quickly got dragged into the street violence and by 1971 were devoting most of their attention to combatting republican paramilitaries.

The Irish Republican Army

The role of the IRA in the riots has long been disputed. At the time, the organisation was blamed by the Northern Ireland authorities for the violence. However, it was very badly prepared to defend nationalist areas of Belfast, having few weapons or fighters on the ground.

The Scarman Inquiry, set up by the British government to investigate the causes of the riots, concluded:

Undoubtedly there was an IRA influence at work in the DCDA (Derry Citizens’ Defence Association) in Londonderry, in the Ardoyne and Falls Road areas of Belfast, and in Newry. But they did not start the riots, or plan them: indeed, the evidence is that the IRA was taken by surprise and did less than many of their supporters thought they should have done.[17]

In nationalist areas, the IRA was reportedly blamed for having failed to protect areas like Bombay Street and Ardoyne from being burned out. A Catholic priest, Fr Gillespie, reported that in Ardoyne the IRA was being derided in graffiti as “I Ran Away”.[53] However, IRA veterans of the time, who spoke to authors Brian Hanley and Scott Millar disputed this interpretation. One, Sean O’Hare, said, “I never saw it written on a wall. That wasn’t the attitude. People fell in behind the IRA, stood behind them 100%. Another, Sean Curry recalled, “some people were a bit angry but most praised the people who did defend the area. They knew that if the men weren’t there, the area wouldn’t have been defended.”[54]

At the time, the IRA released a statement on 18 August, saying, it had been, “in action in Belfast and Derry” and “fully equipped units had been sent to the border”. It had been, “reluctantly compelled into action by Orange murder gangs” and warned the British Army that if it, “was used to supress [sic] the legitimate demands of the people they will have to take the consequences” and urged the Irish government to send the Irish Army over the border.[55]

Cathal Goulding, the IRA Chief of Staff, sent small units from Dublin, Cork and Kerry to border counties of Donegal, Leitrim and Monaghan, with orders to attack RUC posts in Northern Ireland and draw off pressure from Belfast and Derry. A total of 96 weapons and 12,000 rounds of ammunition were also sent to the North.[56]

Nevertheless, the poor state of IRA arms and military capability in August 1969 led to a bitter split in the IRA in Belfast. According to Hanley and Millar, “dissensions that pre-dated August [1969] had been given a powerful emotional focus”.[57] In September 1969, a group of IRA men led by Billy McKee and Joe Cahill stated that they would no longer be taking orders from the Dublin leadership of the IRA, or from Billy McMillen (their commander in Belfast) because they had not provided enough weapons or planning to defend nationalist areas. In December 1969, they broke away to form the Provisional IRA and vowed to defend areas from attack by loyalists and the RUC. The other wing of the IRA became known as the Official IRA. Shortly after its formation, the Provisional IRA launched an offensive campaign against the state of Northern Ireland.

The RUC and USC

The actions of the RUC in the August 1969 riots are perhaps the most contentious issue arising out of the disturbances. Nationalists argue that the RUC acted in a blatantly biased manner, helping loyalists who were assaulting Catholic neighbourhoods. There were also strong suggestions that police knew when loyalist attacks were to happen and seemed to disappear from some Catholic areas shortly before loyalist mobs attacked.[49] This perception discredited the police in the eyes of many nationalists and later allowed the IRA to effectively take over policing in nationalist areas. In his study, From Civil Rights to Armalites, nationalist author Niall Ó Dochartaigh argues that the actions of the RUC and USC were the key factor in the worsening of the conflict. He wrote:

From the outset, the response of the state and its forces of law and order to Catholic mobilisation was an issue capable of arousing far more anger and activism than the issues around which mobilisation had begun. Police behaviour and their interaction with loyalist protesters probably did more to politically mobilise large sections of the Catholic community than did any of the other grievances.[58]

The Scarman Inquiry found that the RUC were “seriously at fault” on at least six occasions during the rioting. Specifically, they criticised the RUC’s use of Browning heavy machine-guns in built-up areas, their failure to stop Protestants from burning down Catholic homes, and their withdrawal from the streets long before the Army arrived. However, the Scarman Report concluded that, “Undoubtedly mistakes were made and certain individual officers acted wrongly on occasions. But the general case of a partisan force co-operating with Protestant crowds to attack Catholic people is devoid of substance, and we reject it utterly”.[17] The report argued that the RUC were under-strength, poorly led and that their conduct in the riots was explained by their perception that they were dealing with a co-ordinated IRA uprising. They pointed to the RUC’s dispersal of loyalist rioters in Belfast on 2–4 August in support of the force’s impartiality.

Of the B-Specials (Ulster Special Constabulary or USC), the Scarman Report said:

There were grave objections, well understood by those in authority, to the use of the USC in communal disturbances. In 1969 the USC contained no Catholics but was a force drawn from the Protestant section of the community. Totally distrusted by the Catholics, who saw them as the strong arm of the Protestant ascendancy, they could not show themselves in a Catholic area without heightening tension. Moreover they were neither trained nor equipped for riot control duty.[17]

The report found that the Specials had fired on Catholic demonstrators in Dungiven, Coalisland, Dungannon and Armagh, causing casualties, which, “was a reckless and irresponsible thing to do”. It found that USC officers had, on occasion, sided with loyalists mobs. There were reports that USC officers were spotted hiding among loyalist mobs, using coats to hide their uniforms.[49]  Nevertheless, the Scarman Report concluded, “there are no grounds for singling out mobilised USC as being guilty of misconduct”.[17]

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Proud to be British – Someone called me a Republican hater yesterday it made me stop and think !

Time for Peace

Someone called me a Republican hater yesterday and it made me stop and think. The twitter in question was from Ireland and accused me of being a loyalist and hating Republicans.

With all due respect she got that right on both counts and I make no apology for being from the Shankill Road, being proud to be British and hating (Sinn Fein/IRA ) Republicans

proud_to_be_british_by_the_angus_burger-d58yegj

That doesn’t mean I hate Catholics or Irish people (I don’t) and would wish any harm on them. In fact during the worst years of the troubles whenever I learnt of the death of an innocent Catholic or anyone else for that matter, my heart would bleed for them and those they left behind.

My sympathy extended to all innocent victims of the conflict, regardless of religious or political background , including the army and other security forces tasked with the impossible job of policing two communities whom at times seemed to want to destroy each other.

The security forces were caught in the middle and were always fighting a losing battle and I salute you all. I am a pacifist at heart and I abhor all murder, especially the murder of innocent people & those committed for political or religious reasons. Life’s to short and  hard enough without having to worry that you will be killed for following a certain political system or worshipping a different god.

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.

Growing up in West Belfast during the height of the troubles was no laughing matter and I have seen things that no child should ever have to witness .Death stalked the streets of Belfast day in and day out and there was no escape from the madness that surrounded and engulfed us.

shankill road

The communities from The Shankill , The Falls and surrounding areas arguable suffered most during the Troubles , as not only were we on the “frontline” of the sectarian divide , but the paramilitaries from both sides lived and operated among us.

I have lost count of how many people I grew up with whom have been murdered, imprisoned or had their life’s destroyed as a direct result of the Troubles. As a child growing up in loyalist West Belfast my day to day life was dominated by the conflict and my own family have suffered personally due to the Troubles.

But every other family in Belfast was living the  same nightmare and few escape the legacy of  Northern Ireland’s tortured past.

Ulster_Is_British_magnet

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, 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.

1. Irish republicanism is an ideology based on the belief that all of Ireland should be an independent republic.

It may surprise some readers to hear that I have no adverse objections to Republicanism as a concept or a United Ireland and I believe at some time in the far distant future this will come about.

But not in my lifetime or with my support.

imagesmmmm - Copy

I abject to the misery and lost lives the IRA and other paramilitary groups are responsible for and yes I don’t like the IRA and all they stand for.

I was born British into a British country and I am extremely proud of my British & Unionist heritage and it saddens me to see this being slowly eradicated by Sinn Féin//IRA and other Irish Republican groups.

That doesn’t mean I hate Catholics or wish harm on them, 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 traditions.

1 Teddy with new text

If you have taken the time to read extracts from my autobiography, Belfast Child , you will know that my own family was ripped apart due to the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland and I spent most of my life searching for my missing Catholic mother, whom I thought was dead. Living in loyalist West Belfast I had to keep this dirty little secret to myself and when my father died when I was eleven I longed for my mother to be there, but of course she wasn’t. Times have much changed since my youth and the turbulent early years of the troubles and life is much better and less uncertain for the Children of Belfast today. Hopefully we can all put the past behind us and build a lasting peace and learn to live side by side and respect each other’s history and culture.

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” ― Maya Angelou

The Corporal Killings – Sickening IRA Murder of Two Off Duty British Army Corporals Belfast March 19th 1988

The Corporal Killings 

19th March 1988

Sickening IRA Murder of Two Off Duty British Army Corporals Belfast 1988

 

Corporals Killings

 

– Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in this post / documentary  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.

Lest We Forget

Corporal Derek Wood was killed at the IRA funeral of Kevin Brady in Andersonstown in 1988..

Corporal Derek Wood was killed at the IRA funeral of Kevin Brady in Andersonstown in 1988..

British Army corporals David Howes and Derek Wood were killed by the Provisional IRA on 19 March 1988 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in an event which became known  as the corporals killings.

Corporal David Howes

Corporal David Howes  was killed at the IRA funeral of Kevin Brady in Andersonstown in 1988.

Image result for Catholic bishop Cahal Daly

Catholic bishop Cahal Daly said:

“For a ghastly half-hour the mask slipped. The real face of IRA violence was shown.

The plain-clothes soldiers were killed after driving a car into the funeral procession of an IRA member. Three days before, loyalist Michael Stone had attacked an IRA funeral and killed three people. Believing the soldiers were loyalists intent on repeating Stone’s attack, dozens of people surrounded and attacked their car.

During this, Corporal Wood drew his service pistol and fired a shot in the air. The soldiers were then dragged from the car, beaten, and taken to nearby waste ground where they were stripped and shot dead.

The incident was filmed by television cameras and the images have been described as some of the “most dramatic and harrowing” of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

IRA Murder of Two Off Duty British Army

Background

The killings took place against a backdrop of violence at high-profile Irish republican funerals. A heavy security presence was criticized as instigating unrest, leading authorities to adopt a “hands off” policy with respect to policing IRA funerals.

On 6 March 1988, three unarmed IRA members preparing for a bomb attack on the band of the Royal Anglian Regiment  were killed by members of the Special Air Service (SAS) in Gibraltar during Operation Flavius. Their unpoliced funerals in Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery on 16 March were attacked by Ulster Defence Association (UDA) member Michael Stone with pistols and hand grenades, in what became known as the Milltown Cemetery attack.

Three people were killed and more than 60 wounded, one of the dead being IRA member Caoimhín Mac Brádaigh (Kevin Brady). Mac Brádaigh’s funeral, just three days after Stone’s attack, took place amid an extremely fearful and tense atmosphere, those attending being in trepidation of another loyalist attack.

 The attendance at the funeral included large numbers of IRA members who acted as stewards.

David Robert Howes (23) and Derek Tony Wood (24) were corporals in the British Army’s Royal Corps of Signals. According to the British Army, Howes and Wood ignored general orders to stay away from IRA funeral processions. It has been presumed that the two men drove into the procession by accident.

The Killings

Image result for the corporal killings

David Howes and Derek Wood were wearing civilian clothes and driving in a silver Volkswagen Passat hatchback. The Mac Brádaigh funeral was making its way along the Andersonstown Road towards Milltown Cemetery when the car containing the two corporals appeared. The car headed straight towards the front of the funeral, which was headed by several black taxis. It drove past a Sinn Féin steward who signalled it to turn. Mourners at the funeral said they believed they were under attack from Ulster loyalists.

The car then mounted a pavement, scattering mourners, and turned into a small side road. When this road was blocked, it then reversed at speed, ending up within the funeral cortege. When the driver attempted to extricate the car from the cortege his exit route was blocked by a black taxi.

When the car was surrounded and the windows smashed, those surrounding attempted to drag the soldiers out. Wood produced a handgun, which certain off-duty members of the security forces were permitted to carry at the time.

Image result for the corporal killings

Wood climbed part of the way out of a window, firing a shot in the air which briefly scattered the crowd. Television pictures showed the crowd surging back, with some of them attacking the vehicle with a wheel-brace and a stepladder snatched from a photographer. The corporals were eventually pulled from the car and punched and kicked to the ground.

Journalist Mary Holland recalled seeing one of the men being dragged past a group of journalists:

“He didn’t cry out, just looked at us with terrified eyes, as though we were all enemies in a foreign country who wouldn’t have understood what language he was speaking if he called out for help.”

They were dragged to the nearby Casement Park sports ground. Here they were again beaten and stripped to their underpants and socks by a small group of men. According to the BBC and The Independent the men were also tortured.

A search revealed that the men were British Army soldiers.

Redemptorist priest Father Alec Reid, who later played a significant part in the peace process leading to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, intervened and attempted to get someone to call for an ambulance, but was dragged away and threatened with shooting if he did not stand up; he was then pulled away from the men.

The corporals were further beaten and thrown over a high wall to be put into a waiting black taxi. It was driven off at speed, while camera crews captured one of its passengers waving a fist in the air.

The two men were driven less than 200 yards to waste ground near Penny Lane (South Link), just off the main Andersonstown Road. There they were shot several times. Wood was shot six times, twice in the head and four times in the chest. He was also stabbed four times in the back of the neck and had multiple injuries to other parts of his body. Reid had been following the perpetrators in an attempt to intervene and save Howes and Wood; when he arrived at the scene he gave the last rites to the two men.

Priest Father Alex Reid gives last rites to one of the murdered soldiers on the waste ground. Picture: Pacemaker

According to photographer David Cairns, although photographers were having their films taken by the IRA, he was able to keep his by quickly leaving the area after taking a photograph of Reid kneeling beside the almost naked body of Howes, administering the last rites. Cairns’ photograph was later named one of the best pictures of the past 50 years by Life magazine.

Shortly after, the IRA released a statement:

The Belfast brigade, IRA, claims responsibility for the execution of two SAS members who launched an attack on the funeral cortege of our comrade volunteer Kevin Brady. The SAS unit was initially apprehended by the people lining the route in the belief that armed loyalists were attacking them and they were removed from the immediate vicinity.

Our volunteers forcibly removed the two men from the crowd and, after clearly ascertaining their identities from equipment and documentation, we executed them.

Aftermath

Image result for Alex Murphy and Harry Maguire

Northern Ireland Secretary Tom King acknowledged that the Milltown Cemetery attack and the killing of Howes and Wood were:

“wholly unacceptable and do require immediate review in regard to policing to be followed at any future funeral.”

Conservative MP Michael Mates nonetheless defended the “hands off” policy, saying “A return to heavy-handed policing could provoke riots, which is what the IRA want so they can say to the world:

‘They won’t even let us bury our dead in peace.'”

Fine Gael leader Alan DukesLabour leader Dick Spring and Taoiseach Charlie Haughey all condemned the killings. The British prime minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher called the killings :

“an act of appalling savagery”.

On 2 August 1988, Lance-Corporal Roy Butler of the Ulster Defence Regiment was shot and killed in Belfast with one of the guns taken from the corporals.

Two men, Alex Murphy and Harry Maguire, were found guilty of the murder of the corporals.

They were jailed for life in 1989, with a recommendation of a minimum 25 years. Murphy received a further 83 years, and Maguire 79 years, for bodily harmfalsely imprisoning the soldiers, and possessing a gun and ammunition.

Sir Brian Hutton, sentencing, said

“All murders are brutal, but the murders of Corporal Howes and Corporal Wood were particularly savage and vicious . . . They were stripped of most of their clothing and they lay in their own blood in the back of the taxi when you took them to the waste ground to be killed, and in that pitiable and defenceless state you brought about their murders as they lay on the ground.”

Both men had been listed as senior members of the IRA’s Belfast Brigade. In 1973, at the age of 15, Murphy had been the youngest republican internee in Long Kesh prison, which later became known as the Maze. Maguire became a member of the IRA’s “camp staff” in the Maze, one of the senior IRA men effectively in control of the republican wings, and met Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam when she visited the jail to negotiate with prisoners.

In November 1998, Murphy and Maguire were released from the Maze prison as part of the early prisoner release scheme under the Good Friday Agreement. Maguire is now chairman of the Belfast office of Community Restorative Justice Ireland, a police-supported group aimed at dealing with low-level crime through mediation and intended to replace the practice of “punishment beatings” and kneecappings by paramilitaries.

A further three men were in 1990 found guilty by common purpose of aiding and abetting the murder. The men (Pat Kane, Mickey Timmons, and Seán Ó Ceallaigh) were dubbed the “Casement Three” by republicans who disputed the validity of their convictions. Kane’s conviction was quashed on appeal due to the unreliability of his confession.

 Ó Ceallaigh was released in 1998 under the Good Friday Agreement.

Terence Clarke, the chief steward on the day, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for assaulting Corporal Wood. Clarke had served as Gerry Adams‘ bodyguard; he died of cancer in 2000.

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See See The Corporals killings & the events leading up to it

see Operation Flavious

See Michael Stone

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Michael Stone – Loyalist Hero or Psychopath? (Documentary)

 – Disclaimer –

 

The views and opinions expressed in these documentary 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.

Featured image

Michael Stone (born 2 April 1955) is an Ulster loyalist who was a volunteer in the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Stone was born in England but raised in the Braniel estate in East Belfast, Northern Ireland. Convicted of murdering three people and injuring more than sixty in an attack on mourners at Milltown Cemetery in 1988, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. While in jail, he became one of the leaders of the Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters (UDA/UFF) prisoners.[1]

In 2000, Stone was released from prison on licence under the Belfast Agreement and subsequently worked as an artist and writer. In November 2006, Stone was charged with (among other offences) the attempted murder of Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams, having been arrested attempting to enter the parliament buildings at Stormont while armed.[2] Stone was subsequently convicted and sentenced to a further 16 years’ imprisonment

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Early life

Stone was born in Harborne, Birmingham, to English parents Cyril Alfred Stone and his wife Mary Bridget (née O’Sullivan).[4] Mary Bridget walked out on the marriage soon after Stone’s birth and Cyril Alfred enlisted in the Merchant Navy, leaving the infant Michael in the care of John Gregg and his wife Margaret (Cyril’s sister) who lived in Ballyhalbert.[5] Stone has claimed that he suspects his biological mother may have been a Catholic because of her name but added that he was baptised in the Church of Ireland by the Greggs and as such he has always self-identified as Protestant.[6] Cyril Stone subsequently remarried and had two children, Michael Stone’s half-siblings, by his second wife – Tracey and Terence – the latter of whom converted to Buddhism and became a monk in Southeast Asia.[7] The Greggs had five biological children with whom Stone was raised and whom he identifies as siblings, a son John and four daughters, Rosemary, Colleen, Sharon and Shirley.[8]

The Greggs moved to the Braniel estate on the outskirts of Belfast in 1959 due to John Gregg securing employment with Harland and Wolff shipyard.[9] Stone attended Braniel Primary School and Lisnasharragh Secondary School, where fellow pupils included George Best, who was in the same class as Stone’s sister Rosemary Gregg.[10] Stone enrolled in the Army Cadet Force as a fourteen-year-old where he received basic training in firearm use.[11] Stone was expelled from school at fifteen and a half after a series of playground fights and left Lisnasharragh with no formal qualifications.[12] He would find work as a “hammer boy” in the shipyard only a few weeks later.[13] However he got into a fight with another worker and, following a suspension, resigned his position.[14]

Move to loyalism

The UFF East Belfast Brigade of which Stone became a member

In 1970 Stone helped establish a Braniel street gang, which called itself the Hole in the Wall Gang, and which Stone claims included Catholic and Protestant members.[15] Gang members, who adopted a form of uniform consisting of blue jeans and oxblood Dr. Martens and who carried knives, clashed regularly with members of other Braniel gangs as well as those from neighbouring estates in east Belfast.[16] In 1971 Stone joined a “Tartan Gang” that had started up on the Braniel estate and he was soon recognised as “general” of this loyalist group. The gangs were responsible for sectarian violence, which usually took the form of spending Saturday afternoons in Belfast city centre attacking Catholic youths, and vandalising the Catholic repository in Chapel Lane.[17]

Stone met Tommy Herron, commander of the Ulster Defence Association‘s East Belfast Brigade, when Herron moved into the Braniel estate in 1972.[18] According to Stone, Herron took him and three friends to the neighbouring Castlereagh Hills one day and brought a German shepherd dog with them. After the four had played with the dog for around half-an-hour, Herron produced a gun and told them to kill the dog. After his three friends refused Stone shot the animal and was praised by Herron for being ruthless.[19] He was sworn in as a member of the UDA at a ceremony the following week.[20] Stone was trained in weapon use by Herron himself for several months and according to Stone at one point in the training Herron shot him with a blank round from a shotgun.[21]

Stone’s early UDA activity was mostly confined to stealing and in 1972 he was sent to prison for six months for stealing guns and ammunition from a Comber sports shop.[22] He returned to jail soon after his release for stealing a car.[23] Tommy Herron was murdered, probably by colleagues, soon afterwards and the Braniel UDA went into abeyance.[24]

Red Hand Commando

Following Herron’s death, Stone withdrew from the UDA and in January 1974 attached himself to the Red Hand Commando (RHC), a loyalist group that also operated a Braniel unit under Sammy Cinnamond.[25] According to Stone, one of his earliest duties was acting as a bodyguard to Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party leader Bill Craig.[26] In 1978 the UDA encouraged Stone to join the Royal Irish Regiment at Ballymena in order that he could receive training with anti-tank weaponry although he did not receive this training and left after six months.[27] According to Martin Dillon, Stone also held membership of Tara, an anti-Catholic and anti-communist organisation led by William McGrath, a close associate of RHC leader John McKeague.[28] Dillon also argues that Stone had actually joined the RHC at an earlier date and held simultaneous membership of the other groups, Tara and the UDA. Cross-membership of more than one loyalist group was not unheard of in the early days of the Troubles.[29]

Stone became close to John Bingham, the commander of the Ballysillan Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF, which the RHC was very close to), and the two worked closely on a fund-raising drive for their groups.[30] According to Stone this included a meeting with two members of Mossad who wished to provide funding to the UVF.[31] Stone however was eager to become more closely involved in killing and under Cinnamond that was not on the agenda so he drifted from the RHC.[32]

Return to UDA

In 1984 Stone decided to reactivate his membership of the UDA and contacted Andy Tyrie to receive permission.[33] After a brief period with the near moribund Mid-Ulster Brigade, Stone, who felt he was too well known in east Belfast to rejoin the local brigade, met John McMichael and was soon seconded to his South Belfast Brigade.[34] McMichael soon provided Stone with guns and placed him in a team whose ostensible purpose was to fill McMichael’s hit list, a list of high-profile Irish republican targets the Brigadier wanted killed.[35] His first target was Owen Carron, who actually was a high-profile republican. Stone trailed Carron for several weeks but on the day he was due to kill the Sinn Féin activist, Stone was tipped off that the Royal Ulster Constabulary knew about the plan and were approaching, so the hit was abandoned.[36]

On 16 November 1984 Stone committed his first murder when he shot and killed Catholic milkman Patrick Brady, a man Stone claimed was a member of the Provisional IRA.[37] According to the Conflict Archive on the Internet, although Brady was a member of Sinn Féin, he was not in the IRA.[38] This was followed in 1985 by an attempt to kill another Sinn Féin activist, Robert McAllister, but on this occasion Stone was unsuccessful.[39] He subsequently killed Kevin McPolin in November 1985 and would also face charges for the murder of Dermot Hackett in 1987. Stone would subsequently admit to killing McPolin but has claimed that he did not kill Hackett but confessed to his murder in order that a young UFF member might escape punishment.[40] Both McPolin and Hackett were uninvolved Catholics.

Milltown Cemetery attack

See Below for more details on Milltown Attack

Stone attacked the people attending the funeral which was being held at the Milltown Cemetery for the three IRA members killed 10 days earlier in Gibraltar by the Special Air Service (SAS) in what was termed Operation Flavius. As Danny McCann, Seán Savage, and Mairéad Farrell were being buried, Stone launched a commando-style assault against the mourners with RGD-5 grenades and an semi-automatic pistol. He killed three people, including IRA member Kevin Brady, and injured sixty others. Stone was eventually overpowered by infuriated mourners and was then arrested by members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). He still walks with a slight limp as a result of the dislocated thigh bone he received in the aftermath of the attack.[41]

According to Ulster Defence Association (UDA) member Sammy Duddy, two UDA “brigadiers” from two Belfast battalions, fearing IRA reprisals against themselves or the areas they controlled, telephoned the IRA after the Milltown attack, denying knowledge of Stone or his intentions. The two brigadiers both claimed that Stone was a “rogue loyalist” acting without UDA sanction or authorisation.[42] Duddy, however, described Stone as “one of the UDA’s best operators”.[43]

Stone, who apparently objected to the newspapers’ portrayal of him as a mad Rambo-style gunman, also confessed to shooting dead three other Catholics between 1984 and 1987. He claimed the victims were linked to the IRA, although it appears that they were unaligned civilians. At his trial he pleaded not guilty, but refused to offer any defence. Convicted of six murders, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with sentences totalling 684 years, with a recommendation he serve at least thirty years.[44]

While in HM Prison Maze, Stone became one of the five leaders of the Ulster Defence Association/”Ulster Freedom Fighters” prisoners.[1] Alongside the other four, he met Mo Mowlam during the 1998 negotiations between the government and paramilitaries as part of the peace process. The goal was to get the paramilitaries to come to the negotiation table.[1] He also collaborated with Martin Dillon on a book about his life entitled Stone Cold.[45]

Release

On 24 July 2000, Stone was released from prison after 13 years under the Good Friday Peace Agreement. Stone had been living in East Belfast, London and Spain with his girlfriend Suzanne Cooper until the events of 24 November 2006.[46] In 2001 Stone and Ms Cooper exchanged bullet-proof jackets as Christmas gifts. Stone has nine children from his first two marriages.[47]

Since leaving prison Stone concentrated on work in the community and being an artist, a hobby he began in the Maze. His paintings are vivid and not so much political as topical. They fetch between a few hundred and a few thousand pounds each. Stone published his autobiography titled None Shall Divide Us, in which he claimed that he had received “specialist assistance” from RUC operatives in carrying out the cemetery killings.[48] A second book and the auctioning of the jacket he wore at the Milltown Cemetery at a Scottish loyalist club for £10,000 have brought forward legislation to ban former convicted paramilitaries released through the Northern Ireland Peace Process from profiting from their crimes.

In March 2002 it was reported in the Sunday Life that Stone and Cooper had fled Northern Ireland for France following death threats from loyalists opposed to the peace process. The aim of those behind the threats – reported as being from the Orange Volunteers – was the eventual destruction of the Good Friday Agreement and the end of Northern Ireland’s troubled peace process.[49] Following time in Birmingham, Stone returned to East Belfast.

Stone was featured in the BBC2 television series Facing the Truth mediated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu where he met relatives of a victim of loyalist violence. Sylvia Hackett talked with Stone, who was convicted of murdering her husband Dermot, a Catholic delivery man. Although he previously admitted to the murder, Stone told his victim’s widow that he had no direct responsibility, having been withdrawn after planning the attack. At the end of their meeting she forced herself to walk over to Stone and shake his hand – when he placed a second hand on hers, she recoiled and fled from the room.[50]

In November 2006, he claimed that in the 1980s he had been “three days” away from killing the then leader of the Greater London Council and former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, over his invitations to Sinn Féin‘s Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to visit him in London.[51] The plot was reportedly cancelled over fears it had been infiltrated by Special Branch detectives.[52]

Stormont arrest

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Stormont Saga – Michael Stone

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On 24 November 2006, at 11.16 am, Stone was arrested for attempting to enter the parliament buildings at Stormont armed with an imitation Beretta 92FS pistol, a knife and a “viable” bomb, after placing 8 “pipe bombs” within the grounds of Stormont.[53] Three civilian security guards disarmed him as he entered the building, by trapping him within the revolving doors of the main lobby entrance. The security guards were injured during the struggle with Stone.[54] Following the security breach, the building was evacuated and an Army Bomb Disposal Unit was called to examine the suspect device. Before entering the building he had scrawled an incomplete graffiti stating “Sinn Féin IRA mur[derers]” on the Parliament building. Later examination from the bomb squad revealed that the bag Stone had been carrying contained between six and eight viable explosive devices. Sir Hugh Orde, the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said “their potential for death, destruction and injury is being assessed” but added they were “fairly amateurish”. As a result of Stone’s actions, talks between political parties about power sharing and the election of a First Minister, which had only just resumed, had to be abandoned.[55]

On 19 December 2006, Stone’s defence lawyer, Arthur Harvey, QC, claimed that the Stormont incident was not intended to endanger the life of anyone. “It was, in fact, a piece of performance art replicating a terrorist attack”, claimed Harvey.[56] During his trial in September 2008, on 13 charges including the attempted murder of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, Stone repeated that his actions were “an act of performance art“.[57]

The then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Peter Hain) indicated that Stone’s licence for release under the “Good Friday Agreement” would be revoked, and the full 638-year sentence for triple murder, terrorist charges and firearm charges be reimposed on him, in line with his sentencing in 1988. On 25 November 2006, Stone appeared in court in Belfast charged with attempting to murder Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. Stone faced a total of five charges of attempted murder following the incident at Stormont.

Stone was charged with possession of articles for terrorist purposes, possession of an imitation firearm in a public place, assault, grievous bodily harm, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of explosives. The court heard the articles allegedly for terrorist purposes included nailbombs, an axe and a garrotte. He was remanded in custody until 22 December 2006.[44] A letter written by Stone was published in the Belfast Telegraph on 29 November 2006. In the letter dated 24 November 2006, Stone described his “mission to Kill” Adams and McGuinness in detail, giving a description of his intended movements once inside the building.[56]

On 14 November he was found guilty of attempting to murder Adams and McGuinness. The judge said defence evidence that Stone had been taking part in some sort of a “comic parody” was “hopelessly unconvincing” and “self-contradictory”. On 8 December 2008, Stone received a 16-year sentence for his actions at Stormont.[58]

Personal life

Stone married Marlene Leckey in 1976 and had three sons with her. The couple separated in 1978 and divorced in 1983.[26] At the time of his divorce Stone was cohabiting with Leigh-Ann Shaw. Stone and Shaw were subsequently married[26] in 1985. Although the marriage produced two children, it also ended in divorce.[59]

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Milltown Cemetery attack

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Milltown Massacre

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Milltown Cemetery attack.JPG

The funerals, minutes before the attack
Location Milltown Cemetery, Belfast,
Northern Ireland
Coordinates 54°35′0″N 5°58′38″W / 54.58333°N 5.97722°W / 54.58333; -5.97722Coordinates: 54°35′0″N 5°58′38″W / 54.58333°N 5.97722°W / 54.58333; -5.97722
Date 16 March 1988
Weapons RGD-5 hand grenades; Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol; Ruger .357 magnum revolver
Deaths 3
Non-fatal injuries
60+ [1]
Perpetrator Michael Stone

The Milltown Cemetery attack (also known as the Milltown Cemetery killings or Milltown Massacre[2]) took place on 16 March 1988 in Belfast‘s Milltown Cemetery. During the funeral of three Provisional IRA volunteers killed in Gibraltar, an Ulster Defence Association (UDA) volunteer, Michael Stone, attacked the mourners with hand grenades and pistols. As Stone then ran towards the nearby motorway, a large crowd began chasing him and he continued shooting and throwing grenades. Some of them caught him and began beating him, but he was rescued by the police and arrested. Three people had been killed and more than 60 wounded. The “unprecedented, one-man attack”[1] was filmed by television news crews and caused shock around the world.[3]

Three days later, at the funeral of one of Stone’s victims, two non-uniformed British soldiers drove into the funeral procession. Bystanders, who reportedly thought it was a replay of an attack like that carried out by Stone, dragged the soldiers from their car; the two corporals were later shot dead by the IRA.

Background

See SAS Operation Flavius

See Corporal Murders

On 6 March 1988, Provisional IRA members Daniel McCann, Seán Savage and Mairéad Farrell were shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar. This caused outrage among Irish republicans and their supporters as the three were unarmed and allegedly shot without warning. They were due to be buried in the republican plot at Milltown Cemetery on 16 March. For years, republicans had complained about heavy-handed policing of IRA funerals, which had led to violence. In a change from normal procedure, the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) decided they would pull back from the funerals of the “Gibraltar Three” and keep watch from the sidelines.[1] This followed negotiations with Catholic church leaders.[4]

Michael Stone’s self-professed mission was “to take out the Sinn Féin and IRA leadership at the graveside”.[5] He told journalist Peter Taylor that his attack was retaliation for the IRA’s Remembrance Day bombing four months earlier. Taylor wrote, “He said it was symbolic: the IRA had attacked a British cenotaph and he was taking revenge by attacking the IRA equivalent”.[6] Stone claimed a “senior member of the UDA” had given him the organisation’s “official” clearance for the attack[7] and claimed he was given a Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol, a Ruger .357 Magnum revolver and seven RGD-5 grenades the night before the funeral.[5]

Attack

The funeral service and requiem mass went ahead as planned, and the cortege made its way to Milltown Cemetery, off the Falls Road. Present were thousands of mourners and top members of the IRA and Sinn Féin, including Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.[7] Two RUC helicopters hovered overhead.[8] Stone claimed that he entered the graveyard through the front gate with the mourners.[5] Some eyewitnesses claimed to have seen Stone enter the graveyard from the M1 motorway with three other people (two men and a woman). The others walked across the graveyard and later left on the Falls Road side. As the third coffin was about to be lowered into the ground, Stone threw two grenades—which had a seven-second delay—toward the republican plot and began shooting.[5]

The first grenade exploded near the crowd and about 20 yards (18 m) from the grave.[8] Amid the panic and confusion, people took cover behind gravestones. Stone began jogging toward the motorway, several hundred yards away, chased by dozens of men and youths. He continued shooting and throwing grenades at his pursuers. Three people were killed while pursuing Stone:[1] two Catholic civilians Thomas McErlean (20) and John Murray (26), and a Provisional IRA volunteer, Caoimhín Mac Brádaigh (30). During the attack about 60 people were wounded by bullets, grenade shrapnel and fragments of marble and stone from gravestones. Among those wounded was a pregnant mother of four, a 72-year-old grandmother and a ten-year-old boy.[1]

In the 19 March edition of the Irish Times, columnist Kevin Myers, an opponent of republican paramilitary violence, wrote: “Unarmed young men charged against the man hurling grenades and firing an automatic pistol […] The young men stalking their quarry repeatedly came under fire; they were repeatedly bombed; they repeatedly advanced. Indeed this was not simply bravery; this was a heroism which in other circumstances, I have no doubt, would have won the highest military decorations”.[1]

A memorial in Milltown Cemetery to the ‘Gibraltar Three’ and to the three men killed in the attack on their funeral

A white van that had been parked by the motorway suddenly drove off as Stone fled from the angry crowd. The RUC said the van was part of an uninvolved police patrol.[8] Stone later claimed that a getaway vehicle, driven by a UDA member, was waiting for him on the motorway but the driver “panicked” and left.[5] By the time Stone reached the motorway, he had seemingly ran out of ammunition.[1] He ran out onto the road and tried to stop cars,[8] but was caught by the crowd and beaten unconscious. RUC officers quickly arrived, “almost certainly saving his life”.[1] They arrested him and took him to Musgrave Park Hospital for treatment of his injuries. The whole event had been recorded by television news cameras.

Aftermath

That evening, angry youths in republican districts burnt hijacked vehicles and attacked the RUC.[8] Immediately after the attack, the two main loyalist paramilitaries—the UDA and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)—denied responsibility. The leader of the UDA’s West Belfast Brigade, Tommy Lyttle, said that Stone was a rogue loyalist acting without orders from the UDA, though he did not condemn the attack. Lyttle told other UDA leaders to keep to this line. UDA member Sammy Duddy said: “After Milltown, two UDA brigadiers from two Belfast battalions telephoned the IRA to say they didn’t know Michael Stone […] But Michael was UDA, he was a travelling gunman who went after the IRA and Republicans and he needed no authority for that because that was his job. Those two brigadiers were scared in case the IRA would retaliate against them […] so they disclaimed Michael, one of our best operators”.[7]

Sinn Féin and others “claimed that there must have been collusion with the security forces, because only a small number of people knew in advance of the reduced police presence at the funerals”.[4] Stone later claimed he had assurances that British soldiers and RUC officers would not be deployed in the graveyard. He also claimed to have had detailed information about British Army and RUC movements.[7] Stone wrote that, the night before the attack, he was “given his pick of weapons from an Ulster Resistance cache at a secret location outside Belfast” and was “driven back into the city by a member of the RUC”.[7] According to journalist Martin Dillon, the weapons he used were given to him on the orders of UDA intelligence chief Brian Nelson, who was later revealed to be an undercover agent of the British Army’s Force Research Unit (FRU).[5]

Three days after the Milltown killings, one of Stone’s victims, Caoimhín Mac Brádaigh, was being buried when two plain-clothes British Army Corporals (Derek Wood and David Howes) in an unmarked car drove into the path of the funeral cortège – apparently by mistake. Some of those present, believing the soldiers to be loyalist gunmen, surrounded and attacked their car. Corporal Wood drew his service pistol and fired a shot in the air. The two men were then dragged from the car before being taken away, beaten and shot dead by republicans.[4] The incident is often referred to as the corporals killings and, like the attack at Milltown, much of it was filmed by television news cameras. The Browning pistol Stone used during the killings was stolen by the mob on the day of the attack and was eventually used by an IRA unit to ambush a combined RUC/British Army patrol in Belfast on 13 October 1990. A constable was shot dead and another badly injured.[9]

Many hardline loyalists saw Stone as a hero and he became a loyalist icon.[2] In March 1989, he was convicted for the three murders at Milltown, for three paramilitary murders before, and for other offences. He received sentences totaling 682 years, but was released after serving 13 years as a result of the Good Friday Agreement. Apart from time on remand spent in Crumlin Road Prison, Stone spent all of his sentence in HM Prison Maze. Stone later published an autobiography, None Shall Divide Us, which included an account of the attack, in which he wrote that he deeply regretted the hurt he had caused the families of those he killed, and paid tribute to the bravery of two of the men killed while pursuing him at the cemetery (Murray, Mac Brádaigh). Stone wrote “I didn’t choose killing as a career, killing chose me”.[