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C Coy 1969
B Coy 1970
DERR 1971

1st Bn Duke of Edinburghs Royal Regiment
'The Emerald Isle' 1969 - 1971

 

Whilst the Battalion were stationed in Catterick the situation in Northern Ireland went from bad to worst necessitating the deployment of troops 'In aid of the Civil Power' The 1st Battalion Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment were involved from the start with the deployment of 'C' Company to Londonderry, this section and associated links will cover those early tours
1969 LONDONDERRY (C Company)

1970 BELFAST (B Company)

1971 LONDONDERRY (Battalion Deployment)

 
DOES THIS RING ANY BELLS..........
'Riot, Bloodshed, Death'
'Fierce Battles on the Falls'
'Hours of Desperate Fighting'
'Attack on Police and Soldiers'
'Tornado of Stones and Bottles'
'Military Fire on the Mob'
'Three killed, Many Injured'
'Infantry Charges'
'Thrilling Midnight scenes'
And so it should, any one or more of the above headlines from an Irish newspaper will ring a cord with  any 'Farmerboys' who served across the water on one of the many tours completed by the Regiment.

An Extract from the same newspaper reads.........

"There was consultation between the magistrates and the officers in charge, and suddenly a firing party was ordered to the front. The crowd saw the men drawn out and their only response to this movement was a storm of derisive cheering and another flight of stones. Very slowly and distinctly the order was given to load, and one could see the men fumbling in their bandoliers, and then at another order bringing the rifles to the 'Present'. At last 'Fire' roared an officer, and for the first time since '86' a volley in dead earnest echoed along the falls road. There was no question of missing, the range was to short for that, and amidst a cry of horror, the crowd broke and ran, leaving three men lying on the ground. The situation worsened , and the Riot act read again, but to little effect. Then a Company of the Royal Berkshires were ordered to the front and went through in dumb show the motions of loading, for the orders though given at the fullest pitch of the officers voice, were inaudible at a yards distance. The crowd as before did not stop throwing, and made as if they would charge at the leveled rifles. Five or six shots were fired, and a couple of men dropped" The report continues in the same vein

Date, August 1907

 Unit Involved 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment as reported by the 'Belfast Telegraph' 15th August 1907

 

As can be seen from the above newspaper report the situation in Ulster and Ireland is long and complex. It it not the intention of these pages to cover the Historical background in any way, apart from the weeks leading up to the first deployment. The Regiments, and by that I mean all the former Regiments have had a long association with the Emerald Isle, both in terms of Deployments and Recruitment. In 1969 the situation in Ulster went from bad to worse with confrontation between Civil rights marchers, and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, supported by the 'B' Specials. The situation came to a head during the annual apprentice boys marches in Londonderry in 1969 necessitating the deployment of British Troops after the R.U.C. were nearly overwhelmed. Whilst this was taking place the 1st Bn D.E.R.R. were deployed all over the world with 'A' Coy in Malaya, 'B' Coy in British Honduras, leaving only 'C' Coy in Alma Barracks, Catterick as a deployable unit. They were immediately ordered to Londonderry to reinforce the 1st Bn Queens Regiment for an open ended commitment that turned out to be four months, setting a deployment pattern that was followed for a number of years. Below are images displayed in the British press of the day relating to the worsening situation in Londonderry prior to the deployment of troops. The three deployments by the Battalion are covered in the associated links.
 
WELCOME TO LONDONDERRY 1969

B Special Londonderry 1969

A 'B' Special Circa 1969

The Police loose control 1969

Petrol Bomb attack 1969
The Police loose control in Londonderry 1969

The clinging power of the detergent used in the petrol bombs are clear

Police baton charge 1969

Rossville Street, Londonderry 1969

Police Charge, Londonderry 1969 Rossville Street, 1969

RUC use tear gas against bogsiders 1969

RUC under attack Waterloo place Londonderry

Police use Tear gas against Bogsiders 1969 Police under attack Waterloo place londonderry 1969

Local reception committee

A sight to become familiar to generations of 'Farmersboys' a local tradition in Londonderry 

 

Whilst all this was taking place 'C' Company were preparing to cross the water for the first time. The painting of Steel helmets to the correct shade of green seemed to be high on the agenda. Go to the appropriate link to follow the fortunes of the Rifle companies.

 
                             
 
                        
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                            Revised: 19 July 2006.