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!st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment

(Berkshire and Wiltshire)

The bombing of Sandes Soldiers Home, Ballykinler
28th October 1974


This page is dedicated to the Memory of the two 'Farmersboys'  L/Cpl Alan COUGHLIN and Pte Michael SWANICK who lost their lives in the Terrorist bombing at Sandes Soldiers Home, and to the many who were injured, some seriously


Click here to see a bigger picture of Poppy

LCpl 'Taffy'  A. Coughlin
Pte M Swanick


A huge explosion rocked the camp. In the main barracks windows blew out, and the walls shuddered with the shock wave. Outside the main gate to the camp a thick greasy cloud of grey and black smoke pillared skywards from what had been the Sandes  home building, but which had become in a matter of seconds a shell of torn corrugated iron and burning timber, rapidly reducing to a pile of ashes as an inferno of flame raged at its centre. A large bomb concealed in the delivery van parked on the opposite side of the road from Sandes home had exploded without warning causing the building to catch fire and collapse. It was completely gutted within minutes Tragically two young soldiers died in the explosion, L/Cpl A COUGHLAN and Pte M SWANICK. Thirty three others, mainly soldiers of the Battalion but including two civilians were injured in the attack


The immediate aftermath

The immediate aftermath of the explosion

Tending the wounded

Tending the wounded

Sandes Burns

The fire takes hold

Evacuate the wounded

Casavac the wounded

The aftermath

The remains of the building

The remains of the building

The shell of Sandes
 photographic Gallery

(Click to enlarge)

The shell of Sandy's as shown in the press the following day A press photo showing local firemen 
DERR Soldiers liaise with the local fire brigade (Believed Rod HICKS centre) A newspaper report from an English newspaper the following day

The rebuilt 'Sandy's' the memorial plaque visible to the front

The Memorial stone dedicated two the two 'Farmersboys'

ttttttt hhhhhhh

12 years on

12 Years later when the 1st Battalion were on another tour of Northern Ireland at Aldergrove a memorial stone dedicated to the memory of L/Cpl Alan COUGHLAN and Pte Michael SWANICK was unveiled. The Commanding officer and R.S.M. lead a party of soldiers from the Battalion, many of whom knew the soldiers who had been killed.. Mr (Ex Pte) ROLLS one of those injured in the blast was present. The plinth stands just outside the new Sandes home, built on the site of the old one

Remberence 2001

Memorial Site
The Memorial site at Sandies visited by Ex members of the 1st Battalion Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment in 2001. Present were Ron SUTTON and Roger ROLLS both of whom were injured in the Bombing.



The Web team would like to thank Ron SUTTON for his assistance in putting this page together. For further information suggested reading is the Regimental History 'COLD WAR WARRIORS' by Lt Col STONE, available at the Regimental Museum

                             Copyright 2000 All rights reserved.
                            Revised: 19 July 2006.