Manual Bullets, Bombs and Cups of Tea: Further Voices of the British Army in Northern Ireland 1969-98

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On 19 January Ireland was invaded by a freakish anticyclonic weather phenomenon unleashed from London Voices, London Lives addresses a question of great current importance for urban policy: what kind of a place is London in the 21st century, and how does it differ significantly from other parts of urban Britain? It addresses these questions in a unique way: over one hundred ordinary Londoners provide their answers in their own voices.

London Voices, London Lives addresses a question of great current importance for urban policy: what This is Ken Wharton's second oral history of the Northern Ireland troubles told again from the perspective of the ordinary British soldier. This book looks deeper into the conflict, utilising stories from new contributors providing revealing and long-forgotten stories of the troubles from the back streets of the Ardoyne to the bandit country of This is Ken Wharton's second oral history of the Northern Ireland troubles told again from the Toggle navigation.

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We were forever plagued with Paddies coming to the gates drunk and hurling abuse and other stuff at us. Anyway, one particular night, we had this really abusive guy who just would not go away or shut up, so the officer in charge told us to grab him and take him away. This we did, and we slung him into the back of my PIG and took him and dropped him in a Protestant area, and told some kids in the street to sort it. I am pleased to say, that they did; if you get my drift?

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He was found the next day in a very sorry state! Also, we had one particularly unpleasant dog which used to wait by the base entrance, whether by instinct or trained to do so, and bark in a really vicious way at us. Now I am a dog-lover, but I had had it with the dog, the insults, the abuse, the hurled rocks and all, so I drove over it! I had a big mess to clean up on my vehicle and the dog was still howling in pain when the gates closed.

I am not that type of person normally and I am not proud of what happened, but this just shows how inhuman we can be in certain situations. Naturally because it was dark, no-one was able to report him! One night I was on the roof sangar looking over the estate and we saw the OC running out in his all-black tracksuit. We just thought: what a fucking idiot! About twenty minutes later he was seen returning to the base, only running a lot faster than he left.

We were told to keep our eye on the local trouble spot, which the local thugs used, and report in only when we could actually see flames! The OC wanted to make sure that the Community Centre — which he just set fire to — would burn down properly! As he drove past an Industrial Estate on Warrenpoint Road, Newry, waiting gunmen in a stolen Ford Cortina opened fire with automatic weapons.

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The policeman was hit at least five times and dreadfully injured. He was rushed to hospital in Banbridge where he died shortly afterwards. The estate is close to Sheeptown and is approximately seven miles from the scene of the Warrenpoint massacre, which resulted in the deaths of 18 soldiers in August Like the killers of Private Elliott eight days earlier, the killers had a short run to the safety and terrorist sanctuary of Ireland.

Between and , a total of eight Australian Federal Police officers were killed in the course of duty on the Australian mainland and Tasmania.


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In New South Wales population 7. Similarly, in Queensland, with a population of 4. During the years in which this author has lived in Australia — there have been seven deaths amongst the police of the seven Australian states. The years —97 saw the deaths of officers in Northern Ireland alone, with its then population of 1.

For the two aforementioned Australia states to have witnessed the same — per capita — rate of death, there would have been 2, police officers killed.


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This puts the staggering number of police deaths in a tiny island, such as Ulster, with its relatively tiny population into a real and horrifying perspective. Neither defendant was legally represented nor made a court appearance. She had purposely and very publically demonstrated her support for the under fire UDR, by visiting their base in Armagh.

However, it was back in the News on the 18th, when Northern Ireland Secretary James Prior, announced a public inquiry into the scandal.


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Readers may be aware that the home in Belfast had seen paedophile activity on a large scale, allegedly, involving senior members of the staff there. William McGrath, Raymond Semple and Joseph Mains, were charged with a number of offences relating to the systematic sexual abuse of children in their care over a number of years.

Two days later, another off-duty UDR soldier was shot, and killed in his own home, as three more members of the Regiment died in a 48 hour period. Private Linden Houston 30 was a full-time soldier in the regiment and lived in the predominantly Loyalist Dunmurry area of South Belfast. Sunnymede Avenue is just south of Golf Club and is a well-to-do area; however, just a few hundred metres away, is the periphery of the Nationalist Twinbook from where his INLA killers came.

Where Private Houston lived is not on a well-travelled route and the killers must have followed him home on a number of occasions, in order to work out their journey from the Twinbook Estate. One of his killers was caught soon afterwards and sentenced to life imprisonment, some five months after the murder. Anything that embarrasses the Army is quietly swept under the carpet. You know the mind-set back then: there can be no sign of weakness. If you had a problem, you kept it to yourself and soldiered on. When I look back on those days I sometimes wonder how any of us came out of it without losing our minds.

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I was 18 years old when I served in Northern Ireland and it almost broke me; I am 43 years old now and I still feel the effects of it. I remember the rain, the dark streets and abandoned buildings. I remember the long patrols with little sleep, carrying that white sifter as tail end Charlie. I remember the grotty little rooms with four men squeezed in a space only meant for two. I remember the riots and the burning cars and busses lighting up the sky, as we were sent in to be bricked and bottled on the shield line.

I remember having to go into the waste ground where they had planted a device against the fence in the dark. As for the unknown deaths I have told you all I know, but if I remember anything else I will let you know. Ken I was almost one of the unrecorded names on that list, I thought of putting my rifle under my chin and pulling the trigger and to be honest, there have been times over the years when I wished I had. I am just now coming to terms with it and hopefully the people at Combat Stress can carry me that last few yards.

Why so many unknown causes of death? Is this typical? How the hell can we not know how and why they died?

BULLETS, BOMBS & CUPS OF TEA. FURTHER VOICES OF THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTHERN IRELAND 1969-98

Were their deaths even recorded on the Roll of Honour for Northern Ireland? On the 22nd, two more soldiers died, not as a result of terrorist action — as the MOD like to label it, in order to artificially deflate the casualty figures — but as a consequence of being involved in the troubles. His funeral was held in Rossery Cemetery in Enniskillen.

In one stat, I read that around died from RTA and other accidents, and I came across just one admission of one soldier being killed in a Land Rover by hostile action; basically being hit in the head by a missile — a brick. Ken, I believe these figures to be total bullshit by the MOD. On my tour during the 80s, I experienced this twice myself. The first time was when I was on a foot patrol down Obins Street in Portadown: an industrial brick was thrown over an old disused factory wall, which I was walking along and landed four to five feet away, but right in front of my path.

The thrower got my position correct but timed it wrong, thankfully. However, had that bastard delayed throwing it by two seconds or so, it would have killed me outright; no question about that as I was wearing a beret! The second incident happened one night whilst on a mobile patrol. We were travelling back to base and I was travelling in the lead landie, somewhere on the outskirts of Lurgan.

It had been quiet without incident and that was it — we were going home so to speak. You know how it was; we were tired, there was no talking and we were just listening to the distinct drone of the vehicle. Suddenly: wallop; several missiles peppered the vehicle and a loud scream came from the officer in the front passenger side.

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They were not hit and we just carried on. He ended up in a sling, but luckily had no breaks and was on light duties for around four weeks. My point here is this; a foot higher and it would have killed him stone dead! Also, had it hit our driver, then no doubt our vehicle would have left the road and plummeted down the banking; that possibly would have been the four of us done for. Also, had I copped it on that foot patrol, what would that have been put down to; hostile action or accident? He died and I remember seeing his mum crying, who had been flown over by the Army.

The amount of violence, with bricks, kitchen sinks or whatever else that was thrown at us, must have caused many deaths, but to hide the true casualty figures just to keep the statistics down, is an injustice to all, in my opinion. To the Loyalists and to the British, it is the former and to the Irish and Nationalists, it is Derry. The official name of the city remained Londonderry, but most Loyalists were left seething with an impotent rage.

Then, in an incident which echoes a most inappropriate decision some 30 years later in Belfast, Derry District Council also voted to stop flying the Union Flag on council property. At our meeting at Stormont that day you asked me to conduct an Inquiry into the security arrangements at the Maze.

You asked me to interpret my brief as widely as possible and to look at all aspects of security. I began work that afternoon. We contacted, or were contacted by, staff who had served at the prison in the past. We made clear to witnesses that their statements would not be shown to persons outside the Inquiry unless required by a court and would not be used against them in disciplinary proceedings. There are more first hand accounts from the Rifleman the Private the Guardsman the Driver the Sapper the Fusilier on the street as they recall the violence the insults and the shock of seeing a comrade dying in the street in front of them.

There is an explosive interview with a soldier who killed an IRA gunman who was fresh from the murder of two Royal Artillerymen. Building on the huge success of Ken's first book this second volume will provide plenty of new material for the reader to reconsider afresh the role of Britain's soldiers in Northern Ireland. Product Tags Add Your Tags:. Submit Review. We will not charge your credit card until the day your book ships! Further Information. My Account.