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1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment

(Berkshire and Wiltshire)

 

The Battle of the 'Hump'

22nd February 1974

 

THE GROUND

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

An Arial photograph of 'The hump' at Strabane A Sketch plan of the same location
 

 

THE DRUMS BATTLE FOR ‘THE HUMP’

In the early hours of Friday morning, 22nd February 1974 , the HUMP Vehicle check point (VCP) on the road between Strabane and Lifford came under fire from the Eire side of the Border. Fire was directed in the general direction of the VCP from two fire positions, initially just rifle shots and then from another fire position, mortar bombs were fired. Fire was returned at both positions by the drums platoon. None of the terrorist’s rounds hit the VCP and none of the mortar bombs landed in the VCP. A couple of bombs landed in a gypsy camp causing damage to caravans but fortunally no one was injured. 

The Battle was said to be the “Most serious border Blitz so far” (Daily Mirror)

The ‘Battle’ made headlines in the Daily mirror “Trapped in the border battle” being the banner headline with in slightly smaller print “Children escape IRA Shell blitz” The Mirror went on to say how parents and children cowered in terror as shells and bullets whistled around them in a two way barrage. They also said that Men and Women fled in their nightclothes as the firing began. On the other hand the TIMES was much less flowery in their descriptions of the battle and started their report “With extraordinary precision but remarkable little effect, the provisional IRA Mounted a heavy mortar attack on British Soldiers in Strabane. They went on to say The soldiers ran for cover” probably to the sounds of the drum and bugle. The Times did say that the gunmen were firing from the grounds of a hotel in Lifford in the Irish Republic 400 yards away.

The daily express were more concerned with the Irish side of things and their headline was “IRA men fire on the Police in Border getaway” No glory for the drums there”

The Guardian also highlighted the Irish side of the affair with “Unarmed Irish Police in IRA Border Battle” They also said it was one of the fiercest border fights in the present crisis”  

Unexploded Mortar Bomb

An unexploded Mortar bomb on the Hump

After the action it was established that 30 Mortar bombs had been fired at the Hump, of which 14 failed to explode. 400 rounds of ammunition had also been fired at it (I wonder who counted them) Only two bombs caused damage, one to the factory building to the rear of the hump and one to an occupied gipsy caravan. 

Local Gypsies

Local Gypsies who came under fire examine some of the damage to their caravan (Compensation looms)

There were 8 people sleeping in the caravan so it is remarkable that no one was injured. Our force returned 474 (GPMG) and 54 rounds (SLR). A report later indicated that al least one terrorist was hit, which was later confirmed when it was established that one gunman’s leg was amputated.

The engagement lasted for 45 minutes.

 

 

This page is still under construction. All information has been obtained via published records both Regimental and newspapers. If anybody who was present in this action can assist with further information please contact Mac
 
 
                             
 
                        
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                            Revised: 10 August 2003.