Northern Ireland The Forgotten War
The Ulster Defence Regiment Operations
Most of the Ulster Defence Regiment operations were to assist the police by guarding key installations in Northern Ireland and to also provide patrols and vehicle checkpoints on public roads to hamper the activities of paramilitary groups.
The Ulster Defence Regiment was not permitted to engage in “crowd control” situations, due to the fear of pitting neighbour against neighbour. According to Chris Ryder in The UDR – An Instrument of Peace, this became more acute as Catholic membership dwindled in the regiment and the use of the predominantly Protestant force against Catholic protesters would have been singularly provocative. Additionally, Ryder notes, the regiment was forbidden from patrolling “hard-line Catholic” urban areas such as the Bogside in Derry or parts of west Belfast.
As the force was initially predominantly part-time, the presence of its members was mostly felt during evenings and weekends. It was expected to answer to general call-outs and was mobilised on a permanent basis on several occasions such as Operation Motorman to provide manpower assistance to the police and regular army, and during the bombing campaign against Belfast city centre in January 1992, when three battalions were called to full-time active duties. Full-time call-outs were restricted, however, because problems arose with part-time soldiers when they were taken from their normal day-jobs. During the Ulster Workers’ Council strike in 1974 the entire regiment was mobilised full-time for five days.
Many employers complained to local and provincial UDR commanders about being deprived of the services of their employees for so long and in some cases refused to pay wages. Despite negotiations with the Northern Ireland Office, no compensation package for part-time soldiers was ever agreed and on call-out they were reduced to the pay of a regular Army soldier of equivalent rank.
As the regiment evolved into a predominantly full-time unit and with Ulsterisation it assumed more duties previously assigned to the police or regular Army in support of Operation Banner. By 1980, the full-time element had narrowly become the majority and the regiment’s role had expanded to include tactical responsibility for 85% of Northern Ireland.
Because UDR soldiers lived within their own communities and not in barracks they were also able to provide intelligence to the Army, particularly part-time soldiers whose day jobs often took them into places which were hostile to police or army patrols. Tim Ripley and Mike Chappell, in Security Forces in Northern Ireland 1969-92′, note this also made many soldiers vulnerable to attack: 155 of all UDR personnel killed by the IRA were killed off duty, a further 61 after leaving the regiment.
A major advantage of the large numbers available to the UDR in each battalion area was the ability to seal off entire towns or rural areas through vehicle checkpoints (VCPs), thereby preventing the movement of weapons and explosives. This led to the discovery of many weapons and bombs which had been intended for use in the destruction of property in town centres. At VCPs patrols would use the Vengeful system to check the registration numbers of civilian vehicles and record the movements of these and their occupants.
The UDR was accused of discrimination against Catholics and collusion with loyalist paramilitaries. The number of successful operations against loyalist paramilitaries should be noted.
Listed below is a chronology of Ulster Defence Regiment operations:
30th April – 2 UDR and 6 UDR provide 400 soldiers to assist the regular British Army in an 8-Brigade operation to intercept the movement of munitions from the Republic of Ireland across the border with Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh.
28th June-19th July – GOC NI orders the first call-out of the entire regiment to assist the regular army due to civil disturbance. 80% of the regimental strength turns out for the duration of the call-out.
January – 1 3 & 7 UDR conduct an operation under the command of 7 UDR to seal off perimeter roads around Belfast preventing the movement of munitions into the city.
17th January – 2 & 3 UDR called out to close off all roads south of Belfast leading to the border in the wake of escapes from the prison ship HMS Maidstone.
18th January – a patrol from the Kilkeel company of 3 UDR as part of the operation come under fire from approximately 12 IRA men south of Carlingford Lough at Narrow Water. The ensuing gun battle lasts for 20 minutes with the UDR expending 101 rounds and taking approximately 150 inbound.
April – 5 & 6 UDR seal off the west of Derry city for 60 hours while rioting takes place in the city centre. 3 UDR deploy a tactical HQ to Crossmaglen to relieve the Scots Greys and Guards Parachute Company for other duties.
July – guard commences on vulnerable police stations.
29th July to 13th August – The regiment is called out for Operation Motorman. 5 UDR seals off Derry city. 7 & 10 UDR seal off Belfast. 2 UDR finds bomb-making equipment during a search operation near Portadown. 3 UDR arrests 5 PIRA operatives near Downpatrick and recovers £900 stolen from a bank in Carryduff, along with four handguns. 8 UDR arrests two men who threw revolvers out of a car window. 10 UDR opens fire on a car on the Shore Road, Belfast and wounds a suspect. 3 UDR boat section stops and searches 40 vessels off the County Down coast.
9th August to 13th September – the regiment is called out to assist with internment by relieving the regular Army from normal duties. 5 UDR searches 40,000 vehicles over 196 vehicle check points, and 3 UDR takes over the 24-hour guard on the Prime Minister Edward Heath’s home.
2, 3 & 9 UDR along with 5 Airportable Brigade, deploy to Newry and seal the town off to prevent violence occurring at a civil rights march protesting against Bloody Sunday.
October – 9 UDR mobilised and billeted at Grand Central Hotel, Royal Avenue, Belfast, to help guard the city centre segment. 1,000 UDR soldiers deployed into Protestant east Belfast to defuse tensions between the UDA and regular Army.
October – Following an explosion in Newtownstewart, a mobile patrol from 8 UDR mounted a follow-up operation. A youth seen scaling a 15-foot security fence near the scene was challenged and did not respond so the patrol opened fire, killing him. It transpired that the youth, 16-year-old Alec Moorehead was almost totally deaf.
January – 7 UDR arrest Tommy Herron, leader of the UDA, and several other men. 10 January – a patrol from 2 UDR comes under fire at Allistragh near The Moy. Fire is returned against two gunmen, one UDR soldier is injured in the wrist. A sub-machine gun is recovered in the follow-up. One week later the Glennane Company of 2 UDR arrest a known Provisional IRA man at a Vehicle Check Point (VCP) and seize an Armalite, an M1 carbine and two Lee Enfield .303 rifles. A further week later the patrol which had been ambushed at Allistragh arrests a man in Armagh city centre in possession of a 25 lb bomb.
February – 3 UDR conducts a search operation in Castlewellan and finds two rifles and ammunition. 4 UDR arrests three men in possession of an RPG-7 near Lisnaskea. 9 UDR arrests three men in a car in possession of a 25 lb bomb outside Randalstown.
March – 1 UDR arrests four loyalists suspected of petrol bombing a Catholic church. 10 UDR (along with Royal Marines) arrests four loyalists for bombing the Christian Brothers’ Club, Antrim Road, Belfast. A bomb and an SMG stolen from a UDR armoury are recovered. The regiment is called out to provide cover for the Border Referendum polling stations and counting centres.
April – 3 UDR foils a UVF attempt to seize arms from the guard at Knockbracken Reservoir, south Belfast. 9 UDR helps discover a UVF training area. In the follow-up, thirteen men are arrested and arms and ammunition seized.
13th May – 8 UDR shoots dead the commander of A Coy of the East Tyrone IRA battalion as he tried to shoot his way past a VCP.
10 UDR takes over night-time and weekend manning of the segment gates in Belfast city centre.
June – 8 UDR finds an M1 Carbine in a car at Dungannon and arrests the two occupants. An off-duty private from the UDR arrests a man at gunpoint after seeing him plant a bomb in the town centre. The bomb was defused. The private is awarded the Military Medal.
August – 8 UDR gives chase to three men with rifles running from a car at a VCP. They capture two. 2 UDR deploys a patrol in the city centre to catch bombers but comes under fire suffering one fatality and one wounded. 8 UDR finds a rifle in a planned search west of Dungannon. 5 UDR arrests three “Provisionals” on the wanted list.
September – 3 UDR mounts a major operation at Thunders Hill Wood above Rostrevor. Setting up a tactical HQ to co-ordinate the battalion, a Light Infantry unit, search dog, RAF helicopters and the Royal Navy warship in Carlingford Lough. Two hides containing weapon cleaning equipment are found.
October 28 – first Greenfinches deploy with 10th Battalion in Belfast.
November – 4 & 6 UDR provide cover for the Royal Engineers sealing off border roads in Tyrone and Fermanagh.
December – 3 UDR finds an old UVF Martini-Henry rifle with bayonet plus three pistols and ammunition in a graveyard in Kilkeel. 3 UDR apprehends three suspects at Rostrevor and recovers an M1 Carbine and .303 rifle plus ammunition.
April – the regiment placed on selective call-out and each battalion instructed to provide 100 extra men per day to cover VCPs during a period of heightened Provisional IRA activity.
28th April – 3 UDR mounts a major search operation in Castlewellan and recovers 3 incendiary devices. In a follow-up three days later, two rilfes, ammunition and bomb-making equipment are found.
May 3–6 UDR recovers a Garand rifle and 27 mortar bombs following an attack on its base at Clogher. 6th Battalion also arrests two men at a VCP, recovers two pistols and in a follow-up operation discovers a 500 lb bomb in the boot of another car at a farm in Tempo. Also recovered were more explosives in a milk churn, bomb-making equipment and five assorted weapons. 5 more men are arrested. 3 UDR called out to seal off the south Down border following UVF attacks in Dublin.
June – 5 UDR stops a car on the Coleraine to Limavady road and finds a battery with a clock and wires attached inside. Two people are arrested and handed over to the police who later discover a bomb acting on information received from the two. Two men run away from a car at a 4 UDR checkpoint. Two bombs are found in the vehicle. 9 UDR intercepts a car bomb at Randalstown.
22nd June – a 10 UDR patrol comes under fire in Belfast and, supported by a detachment of 4 Light Regiment Royal Artillery, returns fire; a gunner is killed. 3 UDR mounts a plain-clothes operation, supported by uniformed patrols, to catch an IRA leader at a dance in Castlewellan. The ruse fails and the man escapes.
July 23 – Patrol from 5 UDR suffers a fatality in an operation to clear an area in Garvagh where a car bomb had been abandoned. 3 UDR intercepts a car bomb at Newcastle. 6 UDR finds 150 lb of explosive plus detonators, cordex and empty milk churns south of Strabane. A 6 UDR soldier drives a proxy bomb away from the base at Newtownstewart.
26th August – 3 UDR searches the hills around Newry and finds 400 rounds of ammunition.
September – 2 & 3 UDR provide a section for a joint observation with 45 Commando at Drumuckavall overlooking the Dundalk-to-Crossmaglen road. The post comes under mortar and small-arms fire and the defenders fire 107 rounds in return. 3 UDR joins 45 Commando in a search operation in Crossmaglen. 3 UDR discovers 200 lb of explosives during a planned search in south Down.
7th November – 8 UDR foils an attack on the Dungannon base by driving a proxy bomb into an open pit designed for the purpose. The bomb exploded harmlessly. 3 UDR carries out a major operation in Newry supported by a platoon of 1 DERR, D (Banbridge) Coy 11 UDR plus four Wessex and Puma helicopters. The 11 UDR company finds 56 lbs of Frangex explosives wrapped in newspapers dated three days prior. Later in the day the same company found two Armalite rifles, a No 4 Rifle and ammunition dug into a hide in the grounds of the St John of God Hospital.
15th November – 1 UDR finds a Sterling sub-machine gun, a shotgun and bag of ammunition in the roadway near their checkpoint.
21st November – 8 UDR patrol finds 200 .303 rounds including 10 which had been filed to create “dum-dum” rounds, concealed in a hedge near Coalisland.
December – 8 UDR assumes control of the permanent VCP on the Aughnacloy-Monaghan road border checkpoint.
22nd December – soldiers of 4 UDR are called out to emergency duty to support the police at Kinawley RUC Station which had come under attack. They foil an IRA attempt to detonate a bomb by engaging the bombers with small-arms fire.
17th June – 5 UDR mounts an operation to search for weapons stolen from its armoury (by suspected loyalists) in Magherafelt the previous evening. The entire haul of weapons was recovered from a slurry pit by a 5 UDR search team late in the day.
December – the UDR “Province Reserve” is established which allows for the use of all 56 companies outside their normal area of operations into regions which are under threat. In practice, this normally meant South Armagh. Coming under the command of regular Army units already deployed, the Province Reserve continued until 1978 when it was phased out in favour of new schemes involving the full-time cadre.
31st December – 2 UDR called out to protect the republican enclave north of Newtownhamilton after multiple attacks along the border by the Red Hand Commando. A 200 lb bomb is detonated under one of the battalion’s Land Rovers causing only slight injuries to those inside.
The Provisional IRA ceasefire was in operation throughout most of the year
Ulsterisation and Operations Platoons were introduced in 1976
In the first six months of the year, joint operations by 3 and 10 UDR recover 5,000 rounds of ammunition and 3,000 lb of explosives belonging to loyalist paramilitaries on the Ards Peninsula.
January – 3 & 11 UDR placed on selective call-out for four days following the Kingsmill massacre. 3 UDR recover 2,000 rounds of ammunition “dumped” by the B Specials in the River Bann near Hilltown.
22nd March – Ops Platoon 2 UDR on operations in Crossmaglen come under fire. Using a helicopter to give chase to a fleeing car, they arrest one man.
9th August – 1, 5, 7, 9 & 10th battalions (4,000 personnel) called out to assist in operations to quell civil disturbance on the anniversary of internment.
“The way Ahead”
A plain-clothes operation by 5 UDR in Magherafelt recovers a Thompson sub-machine gun and three .303 rifles.
UDR patrols encounter a number of illegal VCPs mounted by former B Specials and send them home. 5 men are arrested and charged in County Armagh.
29th April until 13 May – All 11 battalions placed on call-out for two weeks to conduct operations against the loyalist United Unionist Action Group who planned a general strike to commence on 3 May. 1 RWF placed under command of 9 UDR at Ballymena to keep the main road through the town open. Ian Paisley and eight supporters arrested and taken to 9 UDR HQ in St Patrick’s Barracks. 7 UDR provides escorts to train drivers to prevent loyalist attack. 10 UDR finds two handguns and six loyalist paramilitaries are arrested as a result. 4 UDR finds an RPG 7, explosives, detonators and ammunition during a planned search.
9th–12th August – All 11 battalions called out to cover a visit by Queen Elizabeth II to Northern Ireland.
September – 3 UDR finds 11 incendiary devices in Downpatrick. A follow-up operation to seal off the town over the next five days leads to the arrest of ten teenage members of Fianna Eireann.
1st January – 3 UDR takes over tactical responsibility for east & south Down from the regular Army. 1 UDR finds two handguns, a rifle and 600 rounds of ammunition in Larne, which were suspected to be loyalist weapons.
February – 8 UDR deploys two companies for four days in an attempt to catch IRA members suspected of killing a corporal. 19 February – 3 UDR diverts 9 patrols from a planned operation to search hotels in the Belfast area in the wake of the La Mon restaurant bombing. 1 UDR finds bomb-making ingredients in Dunloy.
April – 3 UDR mounts a major operation on the basis of a tip-off and discovers a 100 lb booby trap.
May – 10 UDR searches Balmoral Golf Club, Belfast and finds four sub-machine guns (three of them home-made), spare parts for the weapons and 600 rounds of ammunition: all suspected to be loyalist arms. 5 UDR arrests three suspects alleged to have been involved in attacks on bridges.
July – 8 UDR recovers a rifle and ammunition from a car: the driver escaped. Later in the month the Operations Platoon from 8 UDR finds a rifle during a search of The Moy.
August – 6 UDR discovers two IED’s near Carrickmore. 10 UDR finds a rifle hidden in an attic during a house search.
September – 1 UDR finds an SMG and a Sten gun at a farm outside Ballymena. These had been stolen by the IRA from Gough Barracks in 1954.
December – 3 UDR Operations Platoon deployed to assist the public in areas threatened by rising flood waters over several days, rescuing a number of stranded people and providing hot food and blankets to others.
27th August – 3 UDR’s C (Newry) Company deploy to Narrow Water near Warrenpoint to assist in the aftermath of an explosion which killed six members of the Parachute Regiment. In a secondary explosion, the company commander designate (Major Peter Fursman) was killed.
28 September – border battalions deploy to prevent action by loyalists during the visit of Pope John Paul II to the Republic of Ireland.
January – 48-hour saturation patrols by the operations platoon 3 UDR begin. By mid-summer, the local IRA units in south Down had been unable to mount any operations because of the continued UDR presence.
February – A search team from 1 UDR, acting on a tip-off, discover a cache of loyalist weapons – two home-made sub-machine guns, a zip gun, a pistol safety fuse, detonators and ammunition in a house near Ballymena.
March – 8 UDR finds two weapons at the old wartime airfield near Arboe.
April – A joint 2 UDR, 8 UDR and RUC search over several days of Blackwatertown yields two handguns, two .303 rifles, an SLR and 4,000 rounds of ammunition. Four days later, a patrol from 8 UDR in Cookstown discovers a 900 lb landmine in a culvert near Cappagh. 5 UDR stop and arrest three loyalists who had killed a Protestant man in Larne.
August – 7 UDR seals off the Short Strand area of Belfast and conduct house-to-house searches for two days, recovering bomb-making equipment, a sniper rifle and ammunition. An 18-year-old girl is arrested and subsequently charged with attempted murder.
November – 5 UDR ski patrol deploys for the first time, dropped into the Sperrin Mountains by helicopter.
20th March – A mobile patrol from 10 UDR (permanent cadre) spotted a stolen car in Belfast city centre and gave chase. When the car reached the Lower Falls area the patrol opened fire on it, causing it to crash. One person escaped from the car but another was caught and Patrick McNally aged 20 was found wounded in the back seat. He was dead on arrival at hospital.
January – A patrol from 2 UDR carrying out a search at a supermarket, following suspicious activity and a nearby incendiary attack, challenge two men running away from the scene. The patrol then fires two shots killing one of the men. The second is found hiding on a roof nearby.
April – 3 UDR mounts the first of a series of operations with the Royal Navy. In conjunction with the minesweeper HMS Cygnet, and utilising their own fast boat teams, the battalion searched 21 islands in Carlingford Lough.
June – 3 UDR mounts another combined search operation with the Royal Navy.
8th November – During a planned operation by 5 UDR, and following an exchange of fire with terrorists, a patrol arrests Seamus Kearney, a Provisional IRA man who was wanted for other offences.
December – Lt Jay Nethercott, commander of the operations platoon 8 UDR gives chase to gunmen who had just murdered a former UDR soldier. Opening fire on the gunmen with his 9 mm pistol, he forced them to abandon their vehicle and flee. Calling up one of his patrols in the area and mounting an immediate search operation resulted in the recovery of an Armalite rifle and the arrest of one of the gunmen. (Nethercott is awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his action.)
January – Intelligence leads 3 UDR to believe that INLA is about to assassinate a member of the security forces living in the Mourne area. An operation lasting for six months is set up using vehicle checkpoints to prevent the movement of terrorists. The planned attack never happens but INLA members try to provoke UDR soldiers at checkpoints to create a disturbance which could lead to the withdrawal of the patrols. As a result, a woman is charged by the police for assaulting a UDR sergeant and a Greenfinch.
March – A patrol from 3 UDR carrying out search operations in Castlewellan finds a revolver down the back of a seat in a public house. A patrol from the Lisnaskea company of 4 UDR is dispatched to Inishfendra Island (home of the Earl of Erne) to investigate suspicious activity and arrest a party of German tourists who are removing an antique cannon from the island believing it to be abandoned.
10th May – Three foot patrols from 2 UDR are ambushed near St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Armagh. A man is seen running into the cathedral and in a follow-up search is arrested by the police who found him hiding in a confessional.
July – A foot patrol from 2 UDR are surrounded by a crowd in the centre of Armagh. Before the police arrive to take over the crowd-control a struggle ensues between a member of the patrol and one of the crowd during which a shot is discharged killing the civilian.
21st September – 7 UDR deploys a search team to a housing estate after a foot patrol spots several men suspected of robbing a bank nearby just minutes earlier. The RUC enters the suspect house and arrests two men and recovers a loaded shotgun plus a revolver which had been used in several sectarian murders. The 7 UDR search team recovered £7,000 in banknotes from the robbery.
An entire UVF cell was arrested as a result.
25th September – 8 UDR part-time soldiers find 1950 lbs of home-made explosives near the Cookstown-Omagh road. 3 UDR deploys on land and sea in a VCP-and-search operation in conjunction with the police and Royal Navy following a mass break-out from the Maze Prison by PIRA. Four prisoners are recaptured.
October – 8 UDR’s operations platoon provides a quick reaction force to cover an operation by the SAS in Dungannon. The operation is a failure and the terrorists escape. 1 UDR finds 845 lbs of explosives near the Tyrone border, 6 UDR finds 66 bombs totalling 3,800 lbs near Sixmilecross. 8 UDR finds 1,200 lbs of explosives and 11 UDR find a 700 lb device and two petrol bomb “factories” in Lurgan.
14th March – An off-duty NCO from 10 UDR captures 3 members of the UFF who had just shot and wounded Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. After giving chase in his own car he co-opted the services of an off-duty policeman and both held the attackers at gunpoint until a police patrol arrived to detain them.
May – 3 UDR (much reduced because a large contingent was training in England) is ordered to mount a major search. Troops are attached from three regular battalions and the RAF Regiment and two police DMSU units are also brought under command of the battalion. On the second day of the search a team from 1 RHF find ten beer kegs containing 2,000 lbs of explosives, a sack containing 1,000 lbs more, cortex fuse, detonators and a van with false number plates.
January – 7 UDR arrests a man whilst on border duty. The suspect had driven through its VCP at speed and then become stuck in a field. The man was arrested after a struggle during which he grabbed a rifle and a shot was discharged. A hand grenade was found in the abandoned car.
December – The Regiment is heavily committed to operations protecting police stations in country areas due to a spate of PIRA attacks on these isolated buildings.
28th May – A permanent cadre patrol from the Kilkeel Company of 3 UDR search a filling station on the Newry Road. During the search there is an explosion which kills Corporal Brian David Brown and his Labrador dog Oliver. Cpl Brown was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.
During a riot in Ballymena a patrol from 1/9 UDR arrest a leading member of the UDA.
11 UDR are deployed to protect Catholic homes from continued petrol bomb attacks. Arrests are made but the suspects are released when a large crowd gathers.
11 UDR provides a tactical and support base for 28 regular rifle companies deployed into the Drumcree area of Portadown to support the police during Loyalist disorder.
January – The regular company in Keady-Middletown is withdrawn and replaced by a rotation of permanent companies from 1/9 UDR, 7/10 UDR and 11 UDR.
April – The Regiment is placed on limited callout following a spate of bombings and the killing of a High Court judge.
8th May – 2 UDR seal off the village of Loughgall after an 8 man PIRA ASU enters with a bomb in a mechanical shovel. The IRA unit is ambushed by undercover soldiers in the RUC Station who kill all eight and two civilians. The 2 UDR patrols remain in cordon around the village throughout the night.
July – 6 UDR mount a two day search operation near Castlederg and find a 600 lb landmine.
August – 5 UDR find 5,4oolbs of explosives during two searches.
October – During a period of extensive flooding 6 & 11 UDR are deployed to assist the public by evacuating those stranded and providing sandbags, pumps, food, heaters and putting out fires caused by electrical short circuits. Over 500 UDR soldiers are deployed over a 30-hour period. 6 UDR become involved in an operation to clear a device made up of 3,500 lbs of homemade explosives hidden in a stolen slurry tanker.
8th November – 4 UDR soldiers rush to barracks to volunteer for duties following an explosion at the war memorial in Enniskillen.
23rd November – 2 UDR seal off the border at Middletown-Keady using their own permanent cadre, companies from 1/9 UDR, 7/10 UDR and a battery of gunners in support of a major operation by British & Irish security forces searching for underground arms bunkers on both sides of the border. Dug into fields and ditches the UDR cointingent kept up their support of this operation for several months into 1988.
December – 5 UDR on checkpoint duty outside Limavady stop a car containing 40 lbs of explosives, two grenade launchers, eleven grenades, detonator cords, detonators and timers. The patrol arrests four men.
2 UDR’s Glenanne Company receive information that a bank robbery has been committed by the son of one of their own senior NCO’s. The man is arrested by the UDR in a local hotel and handed over to the police. Four search teams from the battalion were deployed in a follow-up the next day which lasted for five days. A substantial haul of Loyalist weapons was found including; grenades, magazines, ammunition, a rocket launcher and rockets, seven rifles, two shotguns, three handguns, ammunition, radios and military clothing including maroon berets of the type worn by the Ulster Resistance movement.
December – Voluntary callout implemented in 1/9, 3, 7/10 and 11 UDR to maintain guards on army married quarters which had come under Provisional IRA bomb attack.
In a joint operation with the RUC 3 UDR discover and put out of action a “sophisticated” Loyalist weapons factory in Ballynahinch.
14th March – Following the murder on the edge of Dungannon of a part-time private from 8 UDR the battalion flew in patrols supported by the police to conduct a follow-up search. The six men involved in the killing had abandoned their getaway car, two rifles, masks and clothing. All six were arrested and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. A patrol from 2 UDR stopped a car between Armagh and the Moy arresting all four occupants. A follow-up search (jointly with the police) recovered two AK47’s, two shotguns, two grenade launchers, ammunition, timing devices and Semtex explosive. 7/10 UDR arrest three Loyalists in possession of two homemade machine guns. They had been involved in a drive by shooting at a republican club in the Markets area of the city.
17th March – 8 UDR find a rifle, hand grenade, bomb making equipment and a bomb near Cappagh.
21st March – At the request of the RUC, 7/10 UDR conduct a search of the Markets area and recover two rifles and 200 rounds of ammunition. A similar search with the battalion and RUC later in the month turned up 600 lbs of homemade explosive hidden in a domestic coal bunker.
June – 8 UDR find an improvised grenade launcher and ammunition near Cappagh.
12th October – 7/10 UDR provide escorts to the police during Loyalist protest riots in east Belfast.
April – 8 UDR mount a clearance operation at the parochial house in Dungannon where a 1,200 lb bomb had been abandoned.
May – Patrols from 11 UDR provide cover for bomb disposal teams and Royal Engineer search teams on the main Belfast-Dublin railway line at Lurgan. 8 & 11 UDR find explosives deployed and ready for use.
24 July – Brigadier Ritchie & Brigadier Ramsay see a man acting suspiciously on their way to visit 2 UDR on the Armagh-Killyleagh road. Shortly afterwards a bomb is detonated killing three police officers at the same location. Acting on a description provided by the two brigadiers, a patrol from 2 UDR engage in a search, find two AKM rifles and some rifle magazines and as a result two terrorists are arrested.
July – On a planned search at Cappagh by 8 UDR a number of items are found including: an IRA training video, a GPMG, an AKM rifle and loaded magazine, a Heckler & Koch rifle with two loaded magazines, 825 rounds of ammunition for the machine gun and 2 lbs of Semtex explosive. Seven local men were arrested.
15th November – After 8 murders were committed in 5 days the GOC orders the callout of 1,400 soldiers from 1/9, 2/11 and 7/10 UDR who remained on duty until 2 December.
10th January – 1/9 & 7/10 UDR called out for a week to man checkpoints in and out of Belfast due to a spate of car bomb attacks in the city centre. This was the last time the Ulster Defence Regiment was called out.
Sourced from Wikipedia
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