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NI soldiers aquitted

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NI soldiers aquitted

Old 12th May 2021, 11:36
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: The Beloved Province
Age: 60
Posts: 30
Having grown up in Northern Ireland during the 'Troubles' you may think that I have a less than objective POV. Nevertheless, having (much later) achieved a MLItt in Irish Politics, one thing that my Professor instilled into me was to view both sides of the argument objectively and without any emotional baggage, so here goes.

What you have to remember when the British Army was sent onto the streets of NI in August 1969 to relieve a beleaguered RUC they were totally unprepared for what they found. At that stage the army's main training was to turn back the marauding Warsaw Pact hordes as they swarmed across the Inner German Border, and not to keep two warring tribes apart as they fought, what appeared to many, the continuation of the Thirty Years War. Northern Ireland was truly a place apart. Part of the UK, but fundamentally different from GB.

I can remember Army patrols around our estate stopping people and asking for directions, because they couldn't read maps of built up, urban areas! This was long before the pre-NI Deployment training package that was developed over the years.

When members of the Parachute Regiment came under fire in Ballymurphy in 1971 and Londonderry in 1972, rightly or wrongly, they reverted to their training and returned fire. What should be recalled is that these events occured only 26 years after the end of the Second World War, and many of the Parachute Regiment's SNCOs and WOs undoubtedly had fought at Arnhem and other major campaigns...so they did what came naturally to them. Those who opened fire on them, and attacked them with blast and petrol bombs were not playing by any 'gentlemanly' rules of warfare, and, as always, they gave scant regard to what would happen to innocent members of the local population when the Security Forces returned fire. Indeed, the loss of innocent civilians played well into the Republican Movements' nascent (and ultimately very effective) propaganda campaign in GB, Europe and most effectively in 'Irish America' (sic).

Was it right in the Ballymurphy and Londonderry scenarios? It was not, and unfortunately innocent lives were lost. Can I understand it? Of course I can. Northern Ireland in the early 1970s was truly a very dangerous place. I can remember my town centre being bombed and my primary school headmaster (an ex-Coastal Command Sunderland pilot) was targeted by the IRA with a booby-trap bomb in his office that killed a RUC Officer and badly injured the school's caretaker... who always reminded us children that he had fought with the 8th Army. Although, fortunately, no members of my immediate family were killed in the conflict, many of my father's friends were, and indeed a number of my friends' fathers and relatives were murdered by the IRA. So with the benefit of hindsight it is all very well condemning what happened. But unless you were actually there you can never understand what went on behind the headlines.

And as for DHC4's rather naive comment about the people from Ballymurphy 'not wanting the IRA there'...that is arrant nonsense. During the troubles Ballymurphy was one of the staunchest Republican areas of Belfast and had spawned more than its fair share of active IRA members and supporters.


OJ 72 is offline  
Old 12th May 2021, 11:50
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: london
Posts: 72
OJ72

Originally Posted by OJ 72 View Post
Having grown up in Northern Ireland during the 'Troubles' you may think that I have a less than objective POV. Nevertheless, having (much later) achieved a MLItt in Irish Politics, one thing that my Professor instilled into me was to view both sides of the argument objectively and without any emotional baggage, so here goes.

What you have to remember when the British Army was sent onto the streets of NI in August 1969 to relieve a beleaguered RUC they were totally unprepared for what they found. At that stage the army's main training was to turn back the marauding Warsaw Pact hordes as they swarmed across the Inner German Border, and not to keep two warring tribes apart as they fought, what appeared to many, the continuation of the Thirty Years War. Northern Ireland was truly a place apart. Part of the UK, but fundamentally different from GB.

I can remember Army patrols around our estate stopping people and asking for directions, because they couldn't read maps of built up, urban areas! This was long before the pre-NI Deployment training package that was developed over the years.

When members of the Parachute Regiment came under fire in Ballymurphy in 1971 and Londonderry in 1972, rightly or wrongly, they reverted to their training and returned fire. What should be recalled is that these events occured only 26 years after the end of the Second World War, and many of the Parachute Regiment's SNCOs and WOs undoubtedly had fought at Arnhem and other major campaigns...so they did what came naturally to them. Those who opened fire on them, and attacked them with blast and petrol bombs were not playing by any 'gentlemanly' rules of warfare, and, as always, they gave scant regard to what would happen to innocent members of the local population when the Security Forces returned fire. Indeed, the loss of innocent civilians played well into the Republican Movements' nascent (and ultimately very effective) propaganda campaign in GB, Europe and most effectively in 'Irish America' (sic).

Was it right in the Ballymurphy and Londonderry scenarios? It was not, and unfortunately innocent lives were lost. Can I understand it? Of course I can. Northern Ireland in the early 1970s was truly a very dangerous place. I can remember my town centre being bombed and my primary school headmaster (an ex-Coastal Command Sunderland pilot) was targeted by the IRA with a booby-trap bomb in his office that killed a RUC Officer and badly injured the school's caretaker... who always reminded us children that he had fought with the 8th Army. Although, fortunately, no members of my immediate family were killed in the conflict, many of my father's friends were, and indeed a number of my friends' fathers and relatives were murdered by the IRA. So with the benefit of hindsight it is all very well condemning what happened. But unless you were actually there you can never understand what went on behind the headlines.

And as for DHC4's rather naive comment about the people from Ballymurphy 'not wanting the IRA there'...that is arrant nonsense. During the troubles Ballymurphy was one of the staunchest Republican areas of Belfast and had spawned more than its fair share of active IRA members and supporters.
A brilliant and level headed post in my honest opinion (spoken as someone on the west side of Belfast rather than the east)

Stories of personal losses are never far away; much the same catalogue of experiences here, but with the murder committed by the British army and the loyalist paras.

A truly emotive subject and one which others love to make their ill informed views on heard (not referring to you DHC4)
kendrick47247 is offline  
Old 13th May 2021, 12:03
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: On the Edge
Posts: 62
Originally Posted by OJ 72 View Post
Having grown up in Northern Ireland during the 'Troubles' you may think that I have a less than objective POV. Nevertheless, having (much later) achieved a MLItt in Irish Politics, one thing that my Professor instilled into me was to view both sides of the argument objectively and without any emotional baggage, so here goes.

What you have to remember when the British Army was sent onto the streets of NI in August 1969 to relieve a beleaguered RUC they were totally unprepared for what they found. At that stage the army's main training was to turn back the marauding Warsaw Pact hordes as they swarmed across the Inner German Border, and not to keep two warring tribes apart as they fought, what appeared to many, the continuation of the Thirty Years War. Northern Ireland was truly a place apart. Part of the UK, but fundamentally different from GB.

I can remember Army patrols around our estate stopping people and asking for directions, because they couldn't read maps of built up, urban areas! This was long before the pre-NI Deployment training package that was developed over the years.

When members of the Parachute Regiment came under fire in Ballymurphy in 1971 and Londonderry in 1972, rightly or wrongly, they reverted to their training and returned fire. What should be recalled is that these events occured only 26 years after the end of the Second World War, and many of the Parachute Regiment's SNCOs and WOs undoubtedly had fought at Arnhem and other major campaigns...so they did what came naturally to them. Those who opened fire on them, and attacked them with blast and petrol bombs were not playing by any 'gentlemanly' rules of warfare, and, as always, they gave scant regard to what would happen to innocent members of the local population when the Security Forces returned fire. Indeed, the loss of innocent civilians played well into the Republican Movements' nascent (and ultimately very effective) propaganda campaign in GB, Europe and most effectively in 'Irish America' (sic).

Was it right in the Ballymurphy and Londonderry scenarios? It was not, and unfortunately innocent lives were lost. Can I understand it? Of course I can. Northern Ireland in the early 1970s was truly a very dangerous place. I can remember my town centre being bombed and my primary school headmaster (an ex-Coastal Command Sunderland pilot) was targeted by the IRA with a booby-trap bomb in his office that killed a RUC Officer and badly injured the school's caretaker... who always reminded us children that he had fought with the 8th Army. Although, fortunately, no members of my immediate family were killed in the conflict, many of my father's friends were, and indeed a number of my friends' fathers and relatives were murdered by the IRA. So with the benefit of hindsight it is all very well condemning what happened. But unless you were actually there you can never understand what went on behind the headlines.

And as for DHC4's rather naive comment about the people from Ballymurphy 'not wanting the IRA there'...that is arrant nonsense. During the troubles Ballymurphy was one of the staunchest Republican areas of Belfast and had spawned more than its fair share of active IRA members and supporters.
Having also grown up in the North I always find it amazing when people come up with different versions to suit their narrative. Two enquires have found that the parachute regiment murdered innocent people, again what would have been the reaction if this had happened in any other UK city.

You can call my take on things arrant nonsense, in the early years of the troubles and with declining support your everyday Joe didnít want the IRA in their area. Remember what the lead up to Bloody Sunday was, a March for basic civil rights. At that time in the midst of high unemployment and poor housing, people were more interested in looking after their families. In this part of the UK at the time to be eligible to vote in a local election in Northern Ireland you had to be a homeowner, now which part of the divide do you think that benefited.

With the civil rights marchers route blocked by the army they ended up in the bogside and as they say the rest is history and with this little piece of history became the easiest recruitment job the IRA could have ever asked for.

Of course there is two sides to every story, it is just really sad that we have ended up where we are and history looks like it is repeating itself. There is a lot of anger, over these findings and the government are in my eyes doing themselves no favours by hiding the truth.
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