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The ring finger, on which a diamond engagement ring had been worn, was never found. Constable Tracy Doak, 21, the driver of the Cortina, had been due to marry a fellow police officer that year. At her funeral at Ballywatt Presbyterian Church near Coleraine in County Derry, the Reverend Ian Hunter told the congregation that Constable Doak had been murdered, like so many others, 'by an unseen enemy and faceless men who do their deeds in secret and in hiding'.
But Hermon, who was becoming increasingly depressed about the number of RUC losses in South Armagh and Newry, knew exactly who the unseen enemy was. Shaken by what he had seen at Killeen, Hermon decided to let the IRA know that its hierarchy in South Armagh was being watched and revealed during a radio interview that a 'wealthy pig smuggler' living in the Irish Republic had been responsible for the Killeen attack.
The pig smuggler's name was Thomas 'Slab' Murphy. He owned and controlled the Slab Murphy farm complex straddling the border some two miles south-east of Crossmaglen. A bachelor, he lived at the farm with his elderly widowed mother Elizabeth. While Murphy is still relatively unknown to the public and has never been convicted of a criminal offence, since his name has been familiar to every senior Army and RUC officer who has served in South Armagh.
Exercising power in the same way as a feudal lord controlling his vassals, Murphy rules his domain through courtiers and henchmen authorised to act on his behalf. The few who cross him are dealt with mercilessly. If you meet Tom Murphy driving along the road he just heads straight for you and you have to go into the ditch,' said a neighbour. For nearly three decades, grid reference at 71 Larkins Road, where the farm is situated, has been observed by scores of successive Army surveillance teams dug in close to Border Crossing Point BCP In , several million pounds was spent building watchtowers at Drummuckavall and Glasdrumman — known to the Army as Golf Two Zero and Golf Three Zero respectively — to dominate the area to the north of the Slab Murphy farm complex.
By the s, Murphy was judged by MI5 to be the single biggest domestic threat to the United Kingdom. Docklands had been Tom Murphy's operation from start to finish. When the IRA Army Council met in October to decide in principle that the ceasefire should be brought to an end, it seemed natural that Murphy and his South Armagh Brigade should be left to take care of the practicalities. McKenna and Murphy had been unhappy about the ceasefire from the outset. The others had become more and more exasperated by what they saw as the British government's unwillingness to convene all-party talks with Sinn Fein at the table.
As political stasis had set in, the balance of opinion on the Army Council had shifted towards a resumption of violence and in South Armagh a 'return to war' was considered overdue by And there was also a very, very strong attitude amongst the people here that that's the place for the bombs: 'London, keep them over there. I don't want one.
I've had enough of them, bang it out to hell over there. McAllister was chosen by the republican leadership to travel to England to observe McArdle's second trial. T OM Murphy left Glasdrumman school at the age of 14 and began to take charge of the family farm when his father, Joseph, died five years later. Today, he presides over a smuggling empire with an annual turnover of millions of pounds.
Balding and heavily built, Murphy has a lolloping gait and an imposing presence. Apart from the IRA and smuggling, his only passion is Gaelic football and he often watches matches around the Louth area.
Still unmarried, Murphy has lived alone at the farm since his mother died in at the age of Strongly built, 5 ft 11 in tall Balding' and states that oil smuggling within his farm complex is his principal source of income and a major money-spinner for the IRA. Oil and petrol tanks are situated on both sides of his hedge, which marks the border, and a gravity feed system takes the fuel underground from one state to the other.
At the moment, fuel is bought in the Irish Republic and transferred to the tank in Northern Ireland because of the low value of the Irish pound; in the past, when sterling was weaker, the system worked vice versa. Once the fuel is in the northern tank, it is piped into a shed used as a loading bay and a portable electric pump used to fill up tankers to take it away to be sold.
Murphy first became involved in the oil business in the early s having already made a fortune in the previous decade from smuggling grain, pigs and cattle. A succession of oil companies have traded from the family farm; the latest, Ace Oils, was set up in The situation of the Slab Murphy farm complex, with the dwelling house in the Irish Republic and most of the land in Northern Ireland, made it ideal for these activities and the layout of the farm has been used to maximum advantage.
The border runs directly along the rear wall of the farmhouse and through several sheds built by Tom Murphy; linked to the house are two offices which are in Northern Ireland and oil tanks on both sides of the border. Much of Murphy's smuggling has been funded by European subsidies. In the s, there was a guy in Dundalk who was hiring pigs out to people who would drive them across the border and back again.
It got to the stage where the pigs were collapsing with fatigue they'd been on the road for so long. When the subsidies shifted to grain, there was a smuggler with a lorry full of sand with a thin layer of grain on top of it. The joke was that he nearly got caught on because the grain had been so long on top of the sand that it started to sprout. Tom Murphy is still one of the most prolific smugglers in Ireland and also charges other smugglers, many of whom have no connection to the IRA, a toll for those using Larkins Road.
Oil tankers thunder up and down Larkins Road by day and night, the drivers often turning off their lights after dark to avoid easy detection. Although he has no bank account in his own name, Murphy is believed to have hundreds of thousand of pounds in various bank and offshore accounts held by relatives or under aliases. He changes vehicles frequently but in was driving a blue Isuzu Trooper jeep and a black BMW diesel ; the Irish police had a list of another 13 cars, vans and lorries at his disposal.
On the run. Wanted re attempted murder XMG 72, possession of explosives and firearms. Aware that he is still technically wanted for terrorist offences in Northern Ireland, he ventures north of the border only to attend the occasional IRA gathering. Murphy and his brothers, Patrick, five years older, and Francis, seven years his junior, inherited the nickname 'Slab' from their father. It was, however, with Tom Murphy that the nickname became primarily associated.
Family nicknames are often used in South Armagh and other rural areas to differentiate between those with a common surname. In the locality of Ballybinaby — which derives its name from the Irish Bealach Ben Bhui or 'way by the yellow hill' — there are 'Miller', 'Mason' and 'Paramour' Murphys while a little further afield 'Nelly' and 'Corney' Murphys can be found.
Some time in the late s or early s, he spent six months in England. Francis Murphy, then 18, was charged in May with the attempted murder of British soldiers during a cross-border gun battle at Coolderry; he was acquitted. In their younger days, the two older Murphy brothers were well-known local sportsmen and both played Gaelic football for Roche Emmets; Patrick has been club treasurer for the past 25 years. A team photograph taken after a victory over Inniskeen in a Crossmaglen tournament on 8 August shows a youthful Tom Murphy grinning at the cameraman.
The match report in the Dundalk Democrat noted: The former Roche pair Conlon and Murphy gave the full-back line a very solid look. During my time in South Armagh and subsequently in headquarters at Lisburn or the Ministry of Defence, I never had any reason to change my views on that. He recalled: I had just lost my best company sergeant major to an IRA bomb and the two lancers were winding up the command wire, which led across the border to an area not terribly far from Murphy's.
All these things seemed to have that common thread. They never ended at Murphy's but they were never far away. The troopers were just finishing off the incident when they pulled the wire where it went through a wall and the whole wall disintegrated. It was one of the first occasions when they put a secondary device in.
My commanding officer and I had taken off in a helicopter and we were just about over the top of this thing and the helicopter rocked like hell. We were just bloody lucky that we weren't a few yards one way or the other or the whole thing would have come down.
Murphy was later to perfect the use of secondary devices at Narrow Water near Warrenpoint in August when 11 soldiers were killed in a radio-controlled explosion 32 minutes after seven of their colleagues had perished in the initial blast. Brigadier Morton was one of the first Army officers to draw attention to Tom Murphy's smuggling activities.
He explained: I watched him from a little Sioux helicopter. Big pig lorries would drive up to a pig pen close to the farm, but just north of the border. The driver would unload the pigs into the pig pen and then the lorry would depart. There would be no one at the pig pen at all. Then a truck driven by a farmhand would come from the Slab Murphy farm complex, go to the pig pen, pick up the pigs and go back to the farm.
The pigs had crossed an international land boundary but really they'd just moved within Tom Murphy's farm. They were awful ignorant fellows,' said a Ballybinaby woman who went to dances in Dundalk and Monaghan with them. Hind was on patrol on the Dundalk Road outside Crossmaglen when he was hit twice during a burst of automatic gunfire from close to St Joseph's Secondary School. One of the bullets passed through his back, rupturing his liver and heart and killing him instantly; two fusiliers were wounded.
The informer reported that the shots had come from a 'pill-box' mounted on the back of a flatbed lorry; large enough to contain two or three men, it had been constructed from sandbags and hidden by bales of hay. Shortly after Hind had been killed, an Army patrol commander spoke to a man in Crossmaglen who had seen the gunmen. In March , the IRA claimed its first victim in a mortar attack when Private Peter Woolmore was killed by a direct hit as he relieved himself in the 'ablutions block' inside Newtownhamilton security force base.
It was the first use of the Mark 10 mortar, made up of 45 lbs of fertiliser explosives packed into a gas cylinder and set off by a propellant ignited by a photo flash bulb. Mark 10 mortars later killed nine police officers at Corry Square RUC station in Newry in and were used in the attack on Downing Street in launched from Whitehall.
Nine mortars were fired at Newtownhamilton base at one-second intervals using an electronic sequential timer unit which gave the volunteers involved just 90 seconds to get away from the lorry before the first was launched. Fired from the back of a tipper truck and with a total weight of lbs, the Mark 10s were by far the largest mortars used by the IRA in the s; prototypes had been tested extensively in North Louth.
The lorry was very precisely placed and the line of fire was extremely accurate. A few days later, an informer told his handler that he had heard a man, identified here as K, boasting in a Dundalk pub about having driven the tipper truck. According to his handler, the informer said: 'The man that drove the lorry that mortared Newtownhamilton base was K from Kilcurry.
K was bragging about this in the Lisdoo Arms. K goes around with Thomas Slab Murphy. Traced PIRA. While British Army units have come and gone and the captains and majors of the early days have long since retired as colonels, brigadiers or even generals, the same volunteers still form the backbone of the IRA.
Some of the South Armagh Brigade's gunmen and bombers are in their forties or fifties; few in Belfast would be still active beyond their twenties. Family ties within the republican movement in South Armagh are stronger than in any other part of Ireland. In RUC and Army files during the modern Troubles, the same names crop up again and again with several large clans, all interlinked by marriage, forming the nucleus of the movement.
The almost obsessive secrecy of some of those who are deeply involved means that even close relatives might not know they are IRA volunteers. Jim Martin was convicted of assaulting a Garda officer in and the attempted murder of one soldier and the murder of two others in He was also charged in connection with the arms procurement case in America but charges were dropped. Eugene O'Callaghan was sentenced to ten years in prison in ; he had been captured the previous year on board a boat loaded with bomb-making equipment at Lough Ross near Crossmaglen.
One of his sons, Micheal, helped to mix the Docklands bomb and was the IRA's principal sniper in the s. Brendan Moley, blown up by his own bomb in , left his brothers Seamus and Aidan to keep the republican flame burning. Both were implicated along with Micksey Martin in the arms-buying conspiracy. Eamon Larkin, a Sinn Fein councillor who broke with the Provisionals in and joined Republican Sinn Fein, said that family links stretching back more than a hundred years would be a factor when assessing whether a young man should be recruited to the republican movement.
He said: You can narrow it down. I've always been very interested in family trees, the nephews, the nieces, the classic robber stuff: 'Who's the brother-in-law and then who's the brother-in-law's sister? You could map it into these families and say that it's amongst them. Eamon Collins, a customs officer who joined the IRA's Newry unit in and spent six years working with the South Armagh Brigade, made essentially the same point when he said: 'Whatever republicans do in South Armagh, they like to keep it in the family.
They had taken a number of people and they had worked with them over a period of years, gradually acclimatising them to the type of warfare they were going to be involved in, rather than putting them in at the deep end quickly, which is what happens in the urban areas. South Armagh developed a slow process of training the volunteer. They would have taken raw recruits and put them in with skilled people and took them on.
They didn't push them too hard. And they got them used to what they were going to be faced with. And over a period of years, as Brendan said, people working together in close proximity with each other, experiencing operations, came to trust and depend on each other.
This system meant that there were fewer mistakes and therefore fewer arrests in South Armagh than in any other IRA brigade area. Only a handful of South Armagh IRA men have been convicted of serious offences and nine killed on 'active service' in 27 years of conflict. Operations are planned meticulously and on a 'need to know' basis with only the unit commander knowing all the details of how an attack would be carried out.
Only those who had performed these relatively straightforward tasks satisfactorily and proved they could be depended on were then given more important tasks. Murphy also taught the value of caution and to this day South Armagh IRA men will call off an operation if there is the slightest hint it could have been compromised or conditions are not right. Trust has to be earned but it is also based on how a person's family is regarded. Betrayal has been rare because such an act is regarded as unnatural, cutting across blood ties as well as those of fealty.
As Collins was to find out, the penalty for betrayal was death. It was 7. An NCO from the Parachute Regiment who was on desk duty inside grabbed his rifle, ran into the street and, dropping down on one knee, fired two shots into the back of the van. The two men had been staying in digs in the lower Falls area and had just set off for Carryduff in County Down, where they were working on a sewerage contract. A search of the van yielded only a bag of tools and two lunch boxes. That afternoon, leaflets headed 'Murder, Murder, Murder were being handed out in west Belfast and there were angry scenes as Murphy, his face swollen and bandaged, was driven from the police station to hospital; two RUC officers, Sergeant John Magowan and Constable Raymond Proctor, were later cleared of assaulting him.
Kevin McMahon, a schoolteacher from Cullyhanna, was the only person from South Armagh to be interned but the shooting of Thornton had already raised local feelings to fever pitch. Nationalists view Thornton's death as South Armagh's Bloody Sunday, the spark that started the conflagration that was to rage for more than 25 years.
On the night of his funeral, there was a riot in the Square in Crossmaglen and a bus and the car of the town's RUC sergeant, Willie Murtagh, were torched. An Irish tricolour was hoisted to the top of the Markethouse in defiance of the Union flag — soon to become known to locals as 'the Butcher's Apron' — flying from the RUC station.
Among the young rioters were Volunteer M, an year-old from Crossmaglen, and 15year-old Pat Thompson who lived in Tullydonnell. During his career as an IRA volunteer he was to be captured and imprisoned twice, shot three times, extradited from Northern Ireland to the Republic and served with an exclusion order from Great Britain. Pat Thompson also joined the IRA and was to be convicted of murdering four soldiers at Tullydonnell in and serve 16 years of a life sentence in the Maze jail.
That night, Micky McVerry and a group of other fellows almost took Crossmaglen barracks over with their bare hands and a couple of nail bombs,' he said. They got through the window and were inside and if they'd had a couple more men they'd have done it. Every time the Brits walked out of the barracks there was an IRA unit waiting for them.
We took on a lot of foot patrols in rural areas and almost every day there was two or three attacks. That's how many volunteers we had. We had to turn people away. He was able to get us a Steyr rifle. It cost us seven quid, which was all we had with us for the holiday.
There was a ceremony in which I held the tricolour, came to attention and swore the oath of allegiance to uphold the honour of the Republic. Afterwards we were taught military drill and a bit of weapons training. We were taken south of the border to this rich man's house with a swimming pool and everything and taught how to handle a Thompson and a. We weren't allowed to fire them because there wasn't enough ammunition at that stage.
As the IRA became more organised, volunteers began to specialise in areas such as sniping, explosives, logistics or intelligence. Volunteer Raymond McCreesh, who was to become the third of ten IRA hunger strikers to die in , used his job as a milkman in Jonesborough and Drumintee to gather information for the IRA; he was designated an intelligence officer.
Others would be known as operations officers and were responsible for planning attacks. Volunteer G said: I took the job of quartermaster. I looked after the arms dumps. If there was an operation on I would be told to get such and such to a particular area and I would make sure it was there. It was very easy to move weapons around. To prevent leaks, only one or two of us would know where things were kept. I would ask for gear and he would give me about a quarter of what I asked for.
There was never enough. Malcomson, then aged 22, saw the attitude towards the RUC change dramatically during the year he spent in Crossmaglen. Then we noticed the shopkeeper being very hesitant. We didn't want maybe some morning to be called to a scene where the IRA had shot the shopkeeper because of us. There had been this shift. For a time, soldiers stationed in Crossmaglen were allowed out when they were off duty.
Volunteer M remembered them drinking in Paddy Short's bar 'like typical squaddies with bright, flowery shirts from Cyprus or wherever they had been last. But gradually people began to get more hostile towards them. Everybody stood up except me. I refused to stand and I got a few dodgy looks for it. I was asked why I didn't stand and I said I wouldn't stand with them soldiers there. The soldiers were standing quite respectfully; that's actually what annoyed me.
If they hadn't stood I would have stood. They were here basically occupying the town and they were standing. It didn't make sense to me. But the honeymoon period for the Army was short-lived. The area closed down against them, refused to serve them in shops, pubs, cafes, anywhere,' McAllister said. It's a type of boycott which, of course, is an Irish word; we are quite good at that kind of thing.
Paddy Short puts it the best way that anybody could ever put it. Somebody once asked Paddy: 'How do you treat the British army around Crossmaglen? You wouldn't ,even ignore them. People just walk past, act as if they weren't there, step across them, walk around them, carry on their own conversation. During a visit to Crossmaglen in , Miss Short said: 'It is ridiculous that British troops are here in Crossmaglen.
But there is only one community in South Armagh so what the heck are they doing here? Mac Stiofain had led the attack on Crossmaglen barracks in in which Volunteer M had acted as a lookout. Its doors were locked and the IRA had attached one end of a wire to the driver's light and the other to a 15 lb gelignite bomb. The car remained there until the following evening when Donaldson and Millar drove down from Crossmaglen RUC station to set about forcing the lock on the driver's door with a length of curtain rail.
When the door opened, the driver's light went on, sending an electrical current to the bomb, which exploded. The policemen were caught by the full force of the blast and flung over a hedge into a field. Up to a dozen locals rushed to the scene and an ambulance was called.
Donaldson's face had been damaged beyond recognition by broken glass; he was moaning and trying to stand up. Millar lay on his back, still conscious and able to speak even though one of his legs had been blown off. Millar had been going out with a local girl called Ann Donaldson — who was no relation to Sam — and her brother Joe was one of those who had run to the field. Earlier that day, the two men had been sitting in Joe Donaldson's house just off the Dundalk Road while the policeman talked about taking sandwiches to Derry for the Apprentice Boys parade at the weekend.
You're a good sergeant, I like you. You're a good man and I'll meet you in heaven. Willie Murtagh, the policeman whose car was set alight on the night of Harry Thornton's funeral, read the lesson. He was shot dead by the IRA in I was genuinely sorry for them when they were killed. There was no pleasure in that. They were victims of the British presence here.
But in the atmosphere of the time down here killing them was an unpopular act. A little over two weeks after Thornton's funeral, Corporal Ian Armstrong was shot dead from across the border at Courtbane. Two Ferret armoured vehicles had crossed the border into the Republic and were cut off and prevented from returning back to Northern Ireland by a group of about locals.
An IRA unit was duly summoned and opened fire with a G02 rifle and Thompson machine-gun, killing Armstrong and wounding another soldier. Sam Malcomson said the extent of the change in atmosphere was brought home to him in August when a Ferret was blown up by a lb landmine outside Crossmaglen. Trooper Ian Caie was thrown out of the vehicle and trapped underneath the turret. I can remember seeing the muscles in his hand moving; there was still life in him.
If it had happened in war conditions it would have been kinder to have shot that lad to finish him off. To me it was a great adventure, you were there, you were taking on terrorism, the next day you were going to be successful, he said. That's the truth of the matter.
You were of the mind to give as good as you got. This could have indicated they had found a landmine but to Malcomson the wire seemed in too obvious a place and he suspected it was a 'come on' designed to lure them into a trap. You need to know me; I'm a hoarder from my earliest days.
But it was my then girlfriend's birthday and what was uppermost in my mind was we were going to a party that evening and going back along the Drummuckavall Road was saving at least half an hour. We were driving back and suddenly there was what I thought had been an explosion under the car. My whole body just reacted as if I had been speared through by a red-hot poker from left to right. That was the image in my mind.
And I can remember thinking that we had been blown up into the air and I was bracing myself for the car to hit the road again. This was all in slow motion. But then that didn't happen. I realised the car was driving on, I heard shots and I can remember trying to pull the working parts of my Sterling sub-machine gun back. I tried to cock the Sterling because I realised that this was an ambush and I had been shot. Malcomson recalled: Albert looked over at me and he then just slumped over the steering wheel.
I could see a little spurt of blood coming up out of his back through his corduroy jacket and getting bigger and bigger. I just assumed that he was dead. Then I thought: 'Right, I've got to survive this and I have to cock the weapon. The car's going to hit the hedge. I'm going to be sitting there, somebody's going to come up to the side window or the windscreen and finish me off.
At least that will be my last chance just to squeeze the trigger and take somebody with me. Malcomson grabbed the wheel and between them the two wounded policemen managed to steer the car along the narrow country roads to Crossmaglen, two miles away. As they drove out of the ambush, they weaved across the road to make the car as difficult a target as possible. Malcomson said: I had been hit with an SLR but there was no pain; survival instincts had taken over.
We'd only had the car for a week and this was a new regiment just in so we were bracing ourselves for the soldier in the sangar to open fire on us. Luckily, he didn't. I don't remember being lifted out of the car but I recall lying on the footpath beside Albert. By this time the pain was so great I was just screaming. I remember catching a young soldier by the trouser leg and begging him to shoot me.
The Army medic rushed out and we got morphine injections. The local doctor then appeared and when he was asking if I had been given morphine, I was shouting: 'No, no, I haven't. The ambush had probably been mounted from a 'standby house' which, according to Volunteer M, would be set up at strategic points for IRA men to lie in wait for the security forces. He said: We slept rough in an old Austin A30 for a few days and then a group of us lived in a disused petrol station on the Newtownhamilton Road.
There were seven or eight of us and we were out on an operation together all day every day. We had operations at night too. One crew would come in and another would head out; the beds were never cold. There was no house we couldn't go to in our own area. You had three or four houses you knew was good and you'd go there in time for breakfast or dinner and you'd always get a good feed. There was always a field or half a field between us and the Brits. We didn't really think of killing or being killed; in later years you might think about it but at the time it was all a high.
There was a feeling of great exhilaration after an operation. We'd go back and wait for the news to hear the damage we'd done. Under fire from Irish Army soldiers on the roof, Volunteer M detonated a bomb that blew a hole in one of the inner courtyard walls of the prison. This was just before midday on a Sunday and I can remember him standing looking out completely mesmerised wearing a pair of pyjamas and a jacket. That was part of the escape plan.
But I discarded that and I liberated a pair of trousers and jumper off a clothesline somewhere around County Offaly. I also took a loaf of bread that some woman had baked freshly from her window sill. Her dog probably got a kick for it but it serves it right in a way because he just lay there. I had been given the name of a family to go to and there were two of them on the lane and the one I went to was the wrong one.
They fed me very well and gave me a flagon of cider and a whole loaf of tomato sandwiches I eventually got home in a lorry. I think we went through 13 Garda checkpoints on the way and I was concealed in the back. I was back in Crossmaglen by the Wednesday and I just carried on where I had left off. A fortnight later, Volunteer M was wounded in another gun battle; he had been holding his rifle in front of him when a bullet passed through both his forearms. Within six weeks, he had been shot again and recaptured after running into a Royal Marines patrol on the Dundalk Road in Crossmaglen while on his way to carry out a sniper attack with another volunteer.
He was carrying a. I remember putting my rifle up and, before I could get him into my sight, the round entering the sleeve of the coat. T lay there weighing up all the options open to me and I realised I had none. I thought they were just going to shoot me in the head and finish me off. I was all bruises, my hands and everything destroyed, my knuckles were sticking out. I was not their favourite person, you know. I'm 45 now and I must say I still loathe the boy in command.
Yet it was one of their medics who stopped them and probably saved my life. And I'm very thankful to him to this day and wish him good luck in everything he does. He recalled: The squaddies were sitting with their feet on me as I was being flown out and I knew I was near the fucking end, I felt myself going. It's a strange feeling but I was completely calm about it, it must have been the shot of adrenalin you get.
But I couldn't get my mother out of my head. I knew I could hack the pain but I was fierce annoyed for the bother I was going to cause her. In the hospital they didn't know who I was. I can remember my legs losing strength, all these really bright lights and them scissoring the clothes off me. It lasted about two and a half minutes. No plea given, not guilty entered on my behalf, they went through the evidence and that was it.
Ten years. I'd be moving around meeting people involved in engineering [the design of bombs and weapons] and weapons supply. According to RUC intelligence records, Volunteer G was suspected of being one of up to 12 IRA gunmen who attacked a covert observation post at Drummuckavall in November , killing three fusiliers and wounding a lance corporal. The four soldiers had walked in from Crossmaglen and set up the observation post at 2 a.
They were just 50 yards from some houses across the border and were spotted by a local who told the IRA of their position. Lance Corporal Paul Johnson, who was unscathed and lying flat on the ground, heard one of the gunmen shout: 'Do you want to surrender? Johnson then heard a shout of 'Up the Provos' and laughing and whooping as the gunmen ran across the border. The gunning down of three soldiers by IRA men operating in broad daylight and with apparent impunity led Merlyn Rees to issue a statement that was to seal South Armagh's notoriety.
It had been yet another nail in the coffin of the ceasefire announced by the Provisionals nine months earlier and honoured more in the breach than in the observance in South Armagh. It is an unusual area — there is little support for the security forces in South Armagh. The Government is not trying to buy off terrorism by the release of detainees as the numbers of terrorists arrested and charged shows.
The release of detainees has nothing to do with the violence of the bandit country of South Armagh. There is wholesale gangsterism there. In rural areas they couldn't really hang that Las Vegas gangster tag on people so instead they came up with bandits: boys with little moustaches and big hats on them. It was gladly and greedily grabbed by the media. There were bandits down here whereas there were gangsters and godfathers in Belfast.
It makes people down here puke but from a Brit perspective it's a great phrase. It works. The term was accurate, he said, and deliberately used to portray the IRA in South Armagh as terrorists who would be shunned by all decent people: It was a conscious decision to use that term, to try and show people who knew nothing about it the nature of it, that South Armagh was different. When I would go down there to Crossmaglen, I'd get out of the helicopter on a GAA field and run to the police station, which was heavily fortified.
For my money, that's bandit country. It was a bit like the Wild West. South Armagh was a place unto itself. For God's sake, it reminded me of the American silent films I used to watch when I was a kid, with forts and the cavalry. When Alex Maskey, a Belfast Sinn Fein councillor, spoke at the Easter commemoration in Crossmaglen in , he remarked that the volunteer who had preceded him was a 'hard act to follow' and was cheered when he added: 'But as one bandit to another bandit, I'll give it my best shot.
Rats first came to prominence after he was injured in November when a radio-controlled bomb exploded in Castleblaney Street in Crossmaglen as a four-man 'brick' of Royal Marines and Grenadier Guards passed a derelict house. All four members of the brick were wearing Marine berets to disguise the fact that a new company was arriving; the early and final days of a company's tour were when soldiers were at their most vulnerable.
As Lance Corporal Kevin Kinton walked along the street, he noticed signs of fresh digging at the foot of a telegraph pole. Fearing a mine had been placed there, he kept close to a derelict house on the opposite side of the street. Two Calor gas cylinders containing 50 lbs of explosives had been hidden behind a low wall 4n front of the derelict house; the bomb was detonated, fatally wounding Marine Gareth Wheedon. Kinton, who was also wounded, later recalled that at the moment of the blast he had felt as if someone had jumped on his back.
As giant flakes of soot began to fall to the ground, he heard Wheedon screaming and a dog yelping. The dog was Rats, a brown and white corgi-jack Russell crossbreed which had been badly cut and left a trail of blood in its wake as it ran back to the security force base. Three months later, Rats was wounded in action' once again. Kinton said in an interview with Max Halstock: 1 was very, very careful by now — particularly about parked cars, which I always gave a wide berth.
If I saw a parked car I would deliberately take to the middle of the road. I knew, of course, that this might leave me open to a sniper — but, to be honest. I'd sooner be sniped at with a rifle than be blown up by a bomb. Besides, you always stand the chance of being missed by a sniper. The next brick was not so alert.
As it passed along the same route, an incendiary bomb made up of petrol and explosives was detonated by radio control, enveloping Guardsman Lundy in a sheet of flames. With his uniform on fire, Lundy ran along the street until Joe Cumiskey opened the door to his father's house and allowed the screaming guardsman to run into the bathroom. Lundy jumped into the bath and Guardsman Davis turned on the cold tap.
For this act of mercy, Cumiskey, a relation of Eamon Collins, was threatened by the IRA and warned not to collaborate with the enemy again. Lundy suffered burns to a third of his body and spent several months in hospital but survived.
At the end of the summer of , a BBC television crew discovered Rats and his story was soon picked up by Fleet Street. The Queen's Own Highlanders had lost five men during their tour, two at Narrow Water, one in Crossmaglen and two in a helicopter crash, and their morale badly needed a boost. By the end of the year, Rats had been flown to London to appear on Nationwide and received a gold medal from the Pro-Dogs charity engraved with 'Rats: Dog of War.
Soldiers began to stop Rats going out on patrol with them because they were afraid the IRA would try to blow up the dog and get a soldier as well. Company Sergeant Major William Evans, of the Welsh Guards, told Halstock: 1 was always afraid he might come over the fence one night either dead or badly mutilated. Realising that Rats might have become a liability, the Army sent the dog to a farm in Kent shortly afterwards.
Before he bowed,out of the public eye, Rats travelled to Pirbright in Surrey for a ceremonial retirement from the Army and appeared on television beside Major Vyvyan Harms worth at the Royal Tournament as the Welsh Guards company commander in Crossmaglen took the salute from the Queen Mother. Rats died peacefully at the age of 17 in and in South Armagh is still regarded as something of a traitor to this day.
I f South Armagh was 'bandit country' then Dundalk would always be 'El Paso', the frontier town that had been taken over by fugitives from the law. At first, they were greeted as political refugees but elements of the town began to turn against them when boredom soon led to drunken brawls and lack of money to a rash of bank robberies. The most notorious incident came when they were watching an afternoon race meeting on the hotel's colour television.
One of the volunteers was so enraged when the horse he backed lost that he shot up the television set. On one celebrated occasion on 27 January , Martin Meehan and Anthony 'Dutch' Doherty, who had both escaped from Belfast's Crumlin Road jail a few weeks earlier, took part in a four-hour gun battle at Dungooley.
Some 4, rounds were fired by a detachment of the Scots Dragoon Guards across the border at Meehan and Doherty's unit. The only casualty was a farmer's prize pig but when Meehan boasted afterwards that 'we gave them a pasting', the Dublin government ordered the Garda to move. Meehan, Doherty and six others were arrested and charged with possession of an anti-tank gun, seven rifles and a carbine; the following month all eight were acquitted due to lack of evidence.
On another occasion, Terence 'Cleaky' Clarke, from Belfast, was arrested by gardai after he was pinned down in a farmyard by fire from the British Army. He was later imprisoned for his part in the killing of two corporals during a funeral in Andersonstown in west Belfast in and subsequently became Gerry Adams's chief bodyguard.
He did not return to South Armagh until the IRA ceasefire of when it became clear that the Northern Ireland authorities were willing to turn a blind eye to such cases. They were lost. Most of them didn't stay that long. Constable E, who served in Forkhill and Crossmaglen in the s, said: 'By this time they were stations where only single men would be sent because of the danger.
There was one gentleman, who shall remain nameless but was always known in the depot as Wingnut because his ears stuck out, who was told he was getting transferred to Forkhill. Within a week, he had got married and I was given his post. If your car was broken down, he would be under the bonnet for you. If you wanted an extra light in your bedroom, he'd be the one would wire it up for you. He was a tremendous character. It was a Saturday and Jim was supposed to have gone on his weekend off but the chopper hadn't arrived in time.
A couple called Rafferty had rung in to say their house in Meigh had been burgled the previous evening. It wasn't Jim's turn but because he was still waiting for the chopper he said he'd answer the call. It was typical of him. According to a report into the incident: It was normal for one of the Intelligence Officers to always go with the police as this was an effective covert method of obtaining military intelligence'.
Unknown to the Raffertys, the burglary had been carefully staged by the IRA; a tape recorder and some tapes had been stolen and McNeice duly took down all the details. The RUC man and soldier began to drive off but braked when Mr Rafferty, who was driving in front, noticed a tape lying on the street and stopped his car to get out.
As the Cortina slowed down, three IRA gunmen stepped out and opened fire with an Armalite, a Garand rifle and a 9 mm pistol. At least 22 shots were fired, killing McNeice, who was hit eight times, and fatally wounding Gibson. The operating pattern of the Army is studied in detail. This left enough men to carry out just two six-man patrols. We should be much more professional in our analysis of terrorist tactics.
But it was to be by no means the last time a soldier's life was to be lost because he was operating within a strict set of rules — designed to apply to situations of civil unrest within the United Kingdom — against an enemy prosecuting a war and recognising no rules in the process. Eight months earlier, Major Peter Willis, the Green Howards company commander in Crossmaglen, and three bomb disposal specialists had been investigating a milk churn at Cortreasla Bridge in Tullydonnell when they walked through a gap in a hedge next to a signpost.
As they did so, an IRA volunteer pressed a button which sent an electric current through a yard-long command wire to activate a 70 lb bomb packed into a beer keg and buried into the earth in the gap. All four soldiers were killed instantly and another wounded by shrapnel. Five minutes before the explosion, Corporal Anthony Warriner, who was part of a Green Howards team hidden in undergrowth on a nearby hill, had looked through his rifle sight and seen a man running and vaulting over fences.
In the aftermath of the blast, roadblocks were set up and at one, manned by Warriner, a year-old man was stopped. Warriner recognised his clothing and curly hair and noticed he had scratch marks on his forehead, thorns embedded in his hands and grass stains on his trousers. The man was Pat Thompson and the next day he signed a statement confessing to being the 'button man'.
He had been running towards the button position when Warriner had seen him. In , a housing estate in Jonesborough was named 'Francis Jordan Park' in his honour but the more immediate commemoration of his death was the setting up of the Cortreasla Bridge landmine at a spot where helicopters often dropped off troops. Thompson said in his statement: I took it upon myself to watch the crossroads to see how often the Brits landed there.
After a fortnight I decided that where I was watching from was a good place to blow the explosives and to bury them in the ditch at the side of the signpost. I reported back to the OC and he told me that this idea was okay. A few nights later along with a few other members of my unit I put the charge down.
The reason I did this was because of my hatred for them and I wanted to be the one to press the button. When I blew the Brits up I meant to kill them. I am not a bit sorry for what happened. Thompson claimed he was beaten and forced to sign the statement but was given four life sentences and five years for IRA membership with a recommendation that he serve at least 30 years.
He was released in after serving 16 years and still maintains he was not involved in the attack. I'll never deny that I was a republican but I will deny that I was the man who caused that explosion. In June , Constable E was called to the scene of what had been reported as a car accident at Sturgan Brae, close to Camlough lake, one sunny Saturday afternoon. He said: When we arrived, there was a blue Austin Maxi car driven into-the right hand ditch.
The back of it was riddled with bullets. In the centre of the road was Constable Hughie McConnell. I only recognised him because he was the only man in the sub-division who wore slip-on boots; half his head had been shot away and his face was totally gone. It looked as if he'd been pulled out, dragged across the road and dropped before being pumped with lead again to finish him off. The other policeman - we always drove in twos — was gone. We later found out it was Billy Turbitt, who had been the front seat passenger.
He'd been hit, had gone forward and there'd been an impact with the windscreen which was cracked and smeared with blood. The top plate of his false teeth had come out and was on the dashboard. You could see where Billy had been trailed out.
He had been wearing steel tips on his heels and there were two lines travelling down the road. Turbitt's body was dumped a fortnight later at Drumlougher, just across the border from where the Docklands bomb was later mixed. A post-mortem showed that he had probably been killed at Sturgan Brae and the body later submerged in a bog for a lengthy period. He had also been in the field comforting the two men as they lay fatally wounded and had been haunted by the words of Millar, who had said repeatedly: Tm dying, I'm dying.
Ah Willie, I'm dying. These two Constables were not the target, it was a "high-up" man in the police and they were to take his body away,' he said. The 'high-up' policeman in question was Chief Inspector Harry Breen; both he and Turbitt had a full head of swept back, grey hair and they could pass for one another at a distance.
Three gunmen with Armalites opened fire as the car slowed down at an Sbend, and 74 cartridge cases were found at the scene. The car used to take Turbitt's body away was later found abandoned; the rear window was missing and there were tools, straw, clumps of grey hair and human tissue in the back. Within the security forces, Tom Murphy's unit had gained a fearsome reputation and even a measure of respect for its discipline, professionalism and effectiveness as a killing machine.
And they're very hard to overtake when they are doing that. They always had covering fire so we kept our heads down. They weren't one-eyed jack shots any more. They would actually go out and stay. We flushed one or two bombers out who were putting bombs in the sides of the roads. Last post: Feb 10, , am axdvwmmc by Direct Lender Loans. Welcome to forex forum binary options trade.
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We put so much in last year in difficult circumstances, as did all clubs, and it just seems like it would be unfair for that season not to be finished. You play on a Friday and Sunday and it would be an extra week or two onto the season. I spoke last year about how seriously we took it in our camp and the boys were excellent when it came to being safe around the games.
Although Dromintee excelled in the league last year, taking 11 points from 12 before the whistle blew prematurely, they were dumped out in the first round of the championship by eventual champions Maghery.
Kennedy said that players and management had reflected on the loss and he hopes that the hurt drives the side on this year. You get days when nothing goes right and we had one of those. Kennedy and his coach, former Down midfielder Stephen Kearney, are back for a third season. County champions Maghery also will have Finnian Moriarty for a third campaign while Stephen Kernan is staying with Crossmaglen for a second term.
Ronan Clarke has moved on from Silverbridge with Kevin Franklin replacing him. Warrenpoint man Ronan McMahon, who was previously part of the Down minor management team, will act as coach. Crossmaglen Rangers are Ulster club champions for an 11th time after an extra-time victory over Scotstown. The final was in the balance until a poor kick-out by Scotstown keeper Rory Beggan gifted a goal to Kyle Carragher in the second additional period.
Substitute Brian McGinnity got a late goal for the Monaghan men to pull it back to to But Cross, whose first goal was scored by Tony Kernan, added two points to seal their place in the All-Ireland. Scotstown had led early in the match thanks to a Darren Hughes goal, but Cross fought back to lead to at half-time. In the first period of extra-time Scotstown's Kieran Hughes was sent-off for a high and late tackle and near the end his brother Darren was also red-carded.
Cross substitute Danny O'Callaghan was sent-off in the second half for an off-the-ball striking offence, but the Armagh team were restored to the full 15 men for extra-time. James Morgan of Crossmaglen was also sent-off after picking up two yellow cards in extra-time but by that stage Rangers had the Seamus McFerran Cup in the bag. The win puts Crossmaglen into the semi-finals of the All-Ireland club competition in which they will play Castlebar who recently beat Corofin in the Connacht final.
Crossmaglen joint-manager Oisin McConville: "It was an unbelievable battle but we got there in the end and that is the important thing. We used every single one of our men.
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