The British Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) is one regiment of the British Army who will coat trail through Belfast this coming Sunday, November 2.
Below are over 100 cases where members of the UDR/RIR have been charged with serious offences, mostly involving firearms or explosives. This list does not claim to be exhaustive, it is merely an indicator of the sectarian nature of Britain’s notorious militia.
It has long been standard practice for any UDR/RIR member charged with a serious offence to be required to resign from the Regiment before appearing in court. He (or, in some cases, she) is therefore described in court as a "former" UDR or RIR member. Or their previous profession is not mentioned at all.
For example, although Roderick Shane McDowell and Thomas Crozier, convicted in October 1976 of the Miami Showband murders, were members of the UDR and operating in UDR uniforms at the time of the murders, this was not mentioned at their initial court appearance.
1. John Gaw, Greenisland, County Antrim: Sentenced to 10 years in March 1977 for possession of arms and training UVF East Antrim members. Involved in 76-day UVF trial which ended with 27 men receiving a total of 700 years plus eight "Lifes" for UVF activity.
2. 3. 4. Ronald Gibson, Mark Mam and Kenneth Spence, Newtonabbey: Fined £50 each in February 1979 for breaking into and desecrating local Star of the Sea Catholic Church.
5. James Gilles, Belfast: Jailed for four years in May 1975 for illegal possession of a firearm.
6. Thomas Gruers, Magherafelt: Fined £50 in February 1981 for firing shots from a Walther pistol during a fracas - apparently between nationalists and unionists - in Portrush.
7. Louis Hathaway, Gilford: County Down, fined £100 in August 1979 for possession of a loaded pistol while drunk near an anti-internment protest.
8. Raymond Higgins, Belfast: Jailed for two years in March 1981 for illegal possession of a firearm and attempted rape.
9. Henry William Hutchins, Limavady: Jailed for five years in March 1975 for armed robbery. A known member of the UDA.
10. Geoffery Edwards, Armagh: Charged in December 1983 with the murder of Sinn Féin election worker Peter Corrigan, plus four attempted murders, including that of Seamus Grew (subsequently shot dead by the RUC).
11. Mervyn Joseph Faloon, Tandragree: Sentenced to five years in February 1978 for shooting into the catholic Obins Street enclave in Portadown on July 12 1977.
12. Samuel Farrell, Enniskillen: Sentenced to 18 months in November 1977 for bombing a dance hall in Donegal in 1974.
13. William Ferris, Belfast: Suspended sentence in February 1974 for possessing a shotgun and ammunition in suspicious circumstances.
14. James Gallagher, Belfast: Six months suspended in February 1974 for possession of firearms in suspicious circumstances.
15. William Gallagher, Belfast: Sentenced to 10 years in April 1979 for five armed robberies. Known to be a member of the UVF.
16. Robert Joseph Gamble, Belfast: Sentenced to five years in February 1972 for bombing Lisburn Council offices. Fellow bomber killed in the operation. Known to be a member of the UVF.
17. Samuel Cookey, Belfast: Sentenced to life in March 1977 for possession of a home-made machine gun, sawn-off shotgun, 10 short-arms, an SLR and 3,089 rounds of ammunition. Member of UVF.
18. Basil Corbett, Fermanagh: Sentenced to two years in March 1983 for 15 sectarian offences, including issuing death threats to local catholics.
19. George Henderson Corry, Portadown: Fined £50 in June 1975 for being drunk in charge of a gun.
20. Trevor Craig, Antrim: Suspended sentence in June 1978 for attempted armed robbery.
21. Raymond Crainey, Armagh: Jailed for six months in March 1973 for illegal possession of a pistol and firing it while drunk.
22. Thomas Crossey, Lisburn: Jailed for 18 months in June 1973 for possessing a loaded pistol in suspicious circumstances.
23. 24. Ivan Dalgleish and Thomas Canavan, Belfast: Each jailed for nine years in March 1974 for bombing a catholic-owned pub in County Down.
25. Michael Doherty, Belfast: Sentenced to four years in February 1984 for illegal possession of three rifles, a silencer, six magazines and 101 rounds of ammunition.
26. John Best, Belfast: Sentenced to two years in February 1978 for assembling a bomb for the UDA.
27. Desmond William Boyd, Strabane: Fined £20 in April 1978 for firing off a machine-gun while drunk and off duty.
28. William John Cahoon, Belfast: Fined £125 in December 1983 for reckless driving. Allegedly tried to run down two youths from the Ardoyne area.
29. Harold Cardwell, Carrickfergus: Jailed for 18 months in January 1976 for illegal possession of a shotgun. UVF connections.
30. 31. Samuel Carson, Bangor and Noel Moore Boyd, Belfast: Jailed for 15 and 12 years respectively in October 1976 for bombing an Irish pub in Kilburn, London.
32. Barry Clarke, Fivemiletown: Convicted of attempted armed robbery. Suspended sentence in February 1981.
33. Kenneth John Cockrane, Magherafelt: Fined £100 in August 1983 for possession of loaded firearm, drunkeness and assault.
34. Gerald Atkinson, Magherafelt: Sent to Borstal in March 1974 for the attempted bombing of a catholic church.
35. John Alexander Aughey, Belfast: Fined £100 for illegal possession of ammunition in May 1976.
36. David Frederick Beck, Belfast: Sentenced to five years in February 1975 for armed intimidation of catholics during the UWC strike.
37. Edward McIlwaine, Belfast: Sentenced to 15 years in February 1979 for kidnapping, assault and possession with intent. One of the infamous Shankill Butchers, it was not until after their conviction that the UDR membership of McIlwaine was made public.
38. Alasdair McKendry, Ballymena: Charged in August 1983 with armed robbery, illegal possession of arms and UVF membership.
39. William McVeigh, 7th Battalion UDR HQ: Jailed for three years in October 1973 for possession of a revolver in suspicious circumstances.
40. Edgar Meehan, Castlederg: Sentenced (in Dublin) to six months in March 1976 for illegal possession of a sub-machine gun and 35 rounds of ammunition in County Donegal.
41. 42. 43. 44. Ronnie Nelson, 'Billy' Yearl, Sammy Anderson and Billy McCleanaghan, Cookstown-Maghera: Sentenced to 10 years each in April 1978 for 'robbing' 320 guns, 9,500 rounds of assorted ammunition, grenades and a rocket from Magherafelt UDR armoury, plus robbery and sectarian arson attacks. Also known to be members of the UDA.
45. Henry McConnell, Belfast: Fined £65 in April 1975 for possession of ammunition in suspicious circumstances.
46. Joseph Dennis McConville, Annaghmore, County Armagh: Jailed for two years in September 1976 for theft of ammunition from a British Ministry of Defence firing range.
47. Henry McCosh, Belfast: Sentenced to six months (suspended) in February 1974 for possession of a revolver and more than 200 rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances.
48. 49. 50. 51. Roderick Shane McDowell and Raymond Thomas Crozier: Jailed for 35 years in October 1976 for the Miami Showband massacre. Two other UDR men, Wesley Sommerville and Harris Boyle, blew themselves up in the same incident. All four were also members of the UVF.
52. Joseph McGranaghan, Belfast: Jailed for two years in April 1974 for possession of a revolver (previously 'stolen' from an RUC man) in suspicious circumstances.
53. James McGucken, Coagh, County Tyrone: Fined £100 in December 1976 for assaulting a local catholic.
54. Richard Long, Comber, County Down: Sentenced to life in May 1977 for conspiracy to kill catholics.
55. Trevor Lyle: Jailed for one month (suspended for two years) for illegal possession of firearms in June 1976. Charge reduced from attempted murder.
56. Jeffrey Lynn, Tobermore, County Derry: Jailed for six months in September 1976 for handling stolen property. Originally charged with the September 1975 armed robbery of Knockloughrim Post Office - prosecution witness, William Millar, subsequently murdered by fellow members of Lynn's '5th Batt. UDR'.
57. William McClanaghan, South Derry: Sentenced to eight years in May 1978 for bombing a catholic-owned shop in Ballinascreen.
58. William McComb, Banbridge: Jailed for 10 years in November 1976 for possession with intent and armed robbery on behalf of the UVF.
59. David Laffin, Belfast: Sent to Borstal in March 1976 for possession of a sub-machine gun and 760 rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances. The gun had been ‘stolen’ from Portadown UDR armoury in 1973.
60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. Neil Lattimer, William Roleston, David Ian McMullan, James Hegan, Winston Allen, Noel Bell and Colin Warton: Charged in December 1983 with the murder of Adrian Carroll in Armagh. All based at Drumadd Barracks, Armagh.
67. Thomas Leonard, County Tyrone: Sentenced to life in October 1975 for the machine-gun murder of James and Mary Devlin at Edendork, Tyrone, in 1974. He was later given concurrent sentences for a series of other offences.
68. Alister Roger Lockhart, Armagh: Jailed for 10 years in May 1975 for a car bombing in Armagh, illegal possession of firearms and other offences. A known member of the UVF.
69. Samuel James Logan: Appears to have been the first UDR man to appear on a charge in a court. From Derry, he was convicted in September 1971 for illegal possession of a pistol.
70. Thomas Irvine, Belfast: Jailed for five years in February 1976 for illegal possession of a firearm. Known member of the UDA.
71. Alexander Irwin, Armagh: Jailed for three years in November 1975 for possession of bomb-making equipment. Known member of the UVF.
72. Glynn Jones, Belfast: Sentenced to six months in February 1973 for illegal possession of ammunition.
73. Derek Kennedy, Armagh: Jailed for 18 months (suspended) in November 1976 for setting fire to a catholic school and a methodist church.
74. William Frederick Kennedy, Belfast: Fined £50 in January 1977 for being drunk in charge of a loaded pistol. He had wounded a companion while toying with the weapon in a pub.
75. Derek Hugh Kinkaid, Belfast: Jailed for eight years in December 1974 for armed robbery of a post office. Known to have UDA connections.
76. John Thompson: Jailed for three years at Belfast Crown Court in May 1974 for the manslaughter of Phillip Lowrey.
77. Gerald Todd, Belfast: Sentenced to one year (suspended) in January 1973 for the illegal possession of a sub-machine gun.
78. Denis George Warton, Loughgilly, County Armagh: Jailed for six months in September 1977 for armed robbery.
79. Patricia Shirley Whyte, Limavady: Charged in February 1984 with the attempted murder of a local woman in the same month.
80. William Michael Workman, Islandmagee, County Antrim: Sentenced to five years in March 1977 for possession of a sub-machine gun and three other guns. Known to be the 'Training Officer' of the East Antrim UVF.
81. Kenneth Young, Portadown: Sentenced to five years in February 1978 for shooting up the catholic Obins Street area of Portadown on July 12 1977.
82. Brian Roberts: Sentenced to life in January 1983 for killing Liam Canning at Alliance Avenue on August 9, 1981. The killing was claimed at the time by the 'Ulster Freedom Fighters' (UFF).
83. Thomas Simpson, Belfast: Jailed for 18 months in April 1976 for illegal possession of two rifles and 40 rounds of ammunition. Known to be a member of the UVF.
84. William Smith, Belfast: Sentenced to nine months (suspended) for illegal possession in March 1973.
85. David Stone, South Derry: Jailed for 12 months in February 1974 for using a gun to intimidate a woman into withholding from the RUC the names of people involved in an assault.
86. Laurence Tate, Moygashel, County Tyrone: Jailed for 12 years in December 1975 for bombing a catholic-owned pub in Dungannon.
87. Malcolm Nesbitt, Belfast: Sentenced to three years in October 1977 for armed robbery.
88. Albert Maurice Parkhill, Coleraine: Suspended sentence in February 1978 for the 'robbery' of six rifles from UDR armoury and membership of UVF.
89. William Ramsey, Belfast: Five years in February 1975 for armed intimidation of catholics during the UWC strike.
90. 91. 91. 92. Ben Redfern, John Little, Samuel Hunter Davidson and Gregory Allen, South Derry: All sentenced to life in January 1979 for sectarian murder. Redfern for the murders of John Bolton, James Chivers and Joseph McAuley; the others for the murders of Bolton and McAuley. Other concurrent sentences for robbery, arson etc.
93. Steven Fletcher: While the killing of human rights solicitor Pat Finucane has highlighted the role of RUC Special Branch, the one point that has been largely overlooked is that Steven Fletcher, who served in the UDR, was convicted of supplying the weapon used by Finucane's killers. Fletcher is said to have 'stolen' the pistol from Palace Barracks in Holywood, County Down.
94. Robin Jackson: Jackson's reputation as the chief executioner in the North's notorious “murder triangle” dates from his first arrest in October 1973, when the widow of a catholic factory worker called Patrick Campbell picked him out of an RUC line-up in Banbridge, Co Down.
Mrs Campbell answered the door when UDR and UVF member Jackson, and an accomplice, came calling. She had ample time to study both men's faces before summoning her husband, who was at once cut down in a hail of bullets and died on his own doorstep.
On her evidence, Jackson was later charged with murder but two months after his first remand in custody he was mysteriously released when the DPP decided not to proceed against him.
Jackson's next public appearance was in the dock at Belfast Crown Court in January, 1981, when with two other unionist gangsters, he was sentenced to seven years for possession of arms and ammunition. By then, his name was a by-word for murder.
The producers of Yorkshire Television's `The Forgotten Massacre', a documentary broadcast in 1992, belatedly identified Jackson as a key member of the unionist death squad whose bombing raids on Dublin and Monaghan 18 years earlier had slaughtered 33 people. Although their evidence against him included eight hours of taped testimony from one of The Jackal's principal accomplices, the British law of libel is such that the station dared not name him. Fourteen months after the Dublin bombing, Jackson led the UDR/UVF team which ambushed the Miami Showband, on their way home from a gig.
Major Colin Wallace, one of the principal Deception Planners employed in the Information Policy Unit at the British army's General Headquarters in Lisburn during the formative years of Jackson’s career said: “Everything people have whispered about Robin Jackson for years was perfectly true. He was a hired gun. A professional assassin. He was responsible for more deaths in the North than any other person I knew. The Jackal killed people for a living. The State not only knew that he was doing it. Its servants encouraged him to kill its political opponents and protected him.”
By the mid-1980s Jackson, under the title ‘the Jackal’, regularly featured in newspaper stories which reported his alleged role in a number of killings. Among his last victims were reported to have been three Catholics, Eileen Duffy, Catriona Rennie, Brian Frizzell, shot at a mobile shop in Craigavon in 1991 and brothers Gerard and Rory Cairns of the Bleary, County Armagh murdered at their home in October 1993. After that, his UVF mantle was said to have passed on to Billy Wright, the unionist known as ‘King Rat’.
95. William Thompson, RIR, Hamiltonsbawn, County Armagh: Convicted of possessing weapons belonging to unionist paramilitaries. When the RUC raided Thompson's home they found material produced by the neo-Nazi Combat 18 group. When originally arrested, Thompson was questioned about the 1999 killing of Lurgan human rights solicitor Rosemary Nelson. Thompson, who joined the UDR in 1989, and transferred across into the RIR, was said to be a close associate of LVF leaders Billy Wright and Mark Fulton.
96. In 1990, after large amounts of security files were passed to loyalists, John Stevens, who later headed the Metropolitan Police, launched the first of three inquiries into collusion with unionist death squads. Ten members of the UDR were charged as a result of the probe.
97. Jason Chittick: The RIR member appeared at Craigavon magistrates court charged, along with two others, with the murder of 17-year-old Lurgan schoolboy Gavin Malcolm in 1994.
98. Neil Irwin: The RIR member pleaded guilty in Belfast's Crown Court in 1995 to involvement in five murder conspiracies and to aiding unionist death squads.
99. In June 2000, following a formal investigation the British government announced that no action would be taken against a British army officer who unfurled an Orange Order flag while a regimental photograph was being taken. The photograph, picturing a major of the 8th battalion RIR and 60 uniformed Royal Irish Regiment members with an Orange Order banner, was taken on July 12 1999, shortly after the Orange Order’s annual Drumcree parade. The RIR men were holding a pro-Orange Order banner, which read: “Drumcree: Here we stand, we can do no other. For religious and civil liberty.”
100. Jonathon Russell, RIR, Woodland Manor, Portadown: was given an 18-month suspended sentence in 2002 for involvement in rioting at Drumcree.
The extent to which unionist paramilitary membership overlapped with Britain’s official militias in the Six Counties can be demonstrated by comments from Brigadier David Millar, former Commandant of 5 UDR based around South Derry. Millar admitted that if he sacked a member just because he belonged to an illegal unionist paramilitary group, he would have been left without a regiment.
éirígí will actively oppose the glorification of these acts and many others besides in Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Assemble: Divis Tower, Falls Road, Belfast, 10.30am, November 2.
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“If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!”
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