The Troubles in Castlederg

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The Troubles in Castlederg recounts incidents during, and the effects of the Troubles in Castlederg, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

Incidents in Castlederg during the Troubles:


  • 9 August 1971 - Winston Donnell (22), Ulster Defence Regiment. Winston was part of a UDR foot-patrol on duty close to the border village of Clady, County Tyrone, seven miles from Castlederg. A car-load of IRA volunteers opened fire on the patrol, fatally wounding Private Donnell. He was declared dead on admission to Strabane Hospital. Winston Donnell was the first UDR soldier to be murdered by the IRA.
  • 10 December 1971 - Kenneth Smyth (28), a sergeant in the Ulster Defence Regiment and his civilian friend and workmate Daniel McCormick (29). The men were workmates and were driving along Lisdoo Road close to the border some 5 miles from Castlederg when they were ambushed by the Provisional IRA. The fleeing gunmen escaped to the safety of the Republic of Ireland. Kenneth Smyth had driven the gun carriage bearing the remains of his colleague Winston Donnell some four months earlier.[1]


  • 9 June 1972 - Edward (Ted) Megahey (45), a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR). Mr Megahey was from Drumlin, Castlederg, and on duty with the UDR in Derry on 7 June when his convoy came under gun attack from a Provisional IRA gunman. Mr Megahey, a front seat passenger in an army Landrover, was hit in the head. He died from his injuries two days later.
  • 3 August 1972 - William Clark (35), Royal Army Ordnance Corps. A patrol of Royal Welsh Fusiliers came upon a suspicious device close to the Presbyterian Church at Urney, 7 miles form Castlederg. WO2 Clark was dispatched to defuse the IRA bomb, but died when it exploded. Mr Clark was the only member of the regular Army to be killed in the Castlederg area. He was posthumously awarded the Elizabeth Cross.
  • 5 December 1972 - William Bogle (27), a member of the UDR. Mr Bogle was attacked by the Provisional IRA while off duty. He had been in his car with his three young sons outside the post office on Main Street, Killeter, near Castlederg. [2]


  • 10 August 1973 - Gerard McGlynn (18) and Seamus Harvey (22) PIRA. Killed in a premature bomb explosion about 200 yards from the customs post at Kilclean, on the Donegal border [3]


  • 17 July 1976 - Peter McElchar (24) and Patrick Cannon (20), both Catholic members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, were killed in a premature bomb explosion while travelling in a car.


  • 27 January 1977 - Michael McHugh was murdered by two members of the UDA, one of them a British Army agent, at Corgary near Castlederg, County Tyrone on his way to work.
  • 13 March 1977 - William Brown (18), Royal Ulster Constabulary. Constable Brown was from Tullywhisker, five miles from Castlederg. He was based at Lisnaskea RUC station and was on mobile patrol nearby when the police car he was driving was ambushed by the Provisional IRA. Although injured, Constable Brown managed to drive away from the scene of the attack. His passengers, an unarmed female officer and a reserve constable, were also wounded. Constable Brown was posthumously awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal. [4]



  • 2 January 1984 - Robert Gregory Elliott (25) and a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment. Mr Elliot was ambushed by the Provisional IRA outside his home, Lislaird Road, Castlederg, County Tyrone. He was off duty at the time of the attack in which he suffered multiple gunshot wounds from close range. The gunmen then escaped across the border into the safety of the Republic of Ireland.
  • 2 March 1984 - Thomas Loughlin (40) and a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment. Mr Loughlin had just waved goodbye to his wife and child when a booby-trap bomb, attached to his van by the Provisional IRA, detonated outside his home at Spamount, Castlederg. He was rushed to the Tyrone County Hospital in Omagh but died a short time later.
  • 14 July 1984 - Norman McKinley (32) and Heather Kerrigan (20), both members of the Ulster Defence Regiment, were killed in a Provisional IRA land mine attack on their foot patrol, near Castlederg. Mr McKinley died instantly and Miss Kerrigan a short time later at the Tyrone County Hospital, Omagh.
  • 23 December 1984 - Jackie Hamilton (28). Mr Hamilton was a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment and was on his way to his civilian job on 1 May 1980 when he was ambushed by the Provisional IRA on Castlederg's Castlefin Road. His vehicle was hit by 25 bullets. He sustained injuries to his head, neck and legs but survived the attack. He left the UDR two years later due to the effects of the attack. Two years later still, in the morning of 23rd December 1984, Mr Hamilton was found dead in his home. The coroner told the enquiry that the post mortem examination showed the cause of Jackie Hamilton’s death was epilepsy due to brain damage, which had been caused by a gunshot wound to the head. Jackie Hamilton was buried on Christmas Day, 1984. His heartbroken mother died eleven days later.


  • 15 January 1986 - Victor Foster (18), a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment. Mr Foster was off-duty and with his fiancee outside his home at Spamount, Castlederg when a booby-trap bomb planted on his car by the Provisional IRA exploded. Mr Foster died instantly and his fiancee was severely injured.
  • 8 April 1986 - William Pollock (27), a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment. Mr Pollock was off-duty and with his parents when he was killed by a booby trap bomb attached to trailer at his farm, near Castlederg. The Provisional IRA admitted responsibility for the attack.
  • 12 December 1986 - Desmond Caldwell (44), a Protestant civilian. Mr Caldwell died when a booby-trap bomb exploded on the lorry he was driving at Killen Creamery, Castlederg. The Provisional IRA apologised for murdering Mr. Caldwell, claiming he had not been the intended target of their attack, and that they had instead hoped to kill a part-time member of the RUC who also worked for the Creamery.


  • 4 June 1988 - Michael Darcy (28), a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment. Mr Darcy was off-duty and was parking his car outside his home off the Killeter Road, Castlederg, when he was shot by the Provisional IRA. He died at the scene. His widowed mother found her only son's body slumped over the steering wheel of his car.
  • 21 November 1988 - William Monteith (59), a Reserve Officer in the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Constable Monteith was on duty at a security barrier, near The Diamond, Castlederg when he was shot by a Provisional IRA volunteer. A second gunman attacked Mr Monteith's colleague, grazing his head with a shot at close range. The gunmen made their escape to the Republic of Ireland.


  • 9 January 1990 - Olven Kilpatrick (32), a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment. Mr Kilpatrick was off-duty and working in his shoe-shop on Main Street, Castlederg. Two Provisional IRA volunteers came into his premises and shot him at close range. They planted a booby-trap bomb in a shoe box close and fled to the safety of the Republic of Ireland. Several police officers involved in the follow-up operation were injured in the bomb-blast that followed. [5]
  • 18 August 1990 - Andrew Bogle (43), a Protestant civilian. Mr Bogle died when a booby-trap bomb concealed in a piece of timber exploded as he lifted it at a builder's yard on the Strabane Road, Castlederg. The Provisional IRA claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the building contractor Mr Bogle worked for had carried out construction jobs for the police and army. A local man was convicted in relation to Mr Bogle's murder, but walked free from prison before completing his sentence under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.


  • 13 April 1991 - Ian Sproule (23), a Protestant civilian. Mr Sproule had been at a birthday party with friends in Castlederg. As he returned to his family home, Provisional IRA volunteers raked his car with gunfire, killing him instantly. The IRA attempted to justify the murder by alleging a member of the Garda had provided it with a security file indicating Mr Sproule had loyalist paramilitary links, a claim denied by the RUC, clergy and Mr Sproule's family. [6]
  • 15 August 1991 - Ronald Finlay (47), a Protestant civilian. Mr Finlay was ambushed by the Provisional IRA as his wife and children left him off at his work at a farm six miles outside Castlederg. He was struck by automatic gunfire and died at the scene. He had previously served with the Ulster Defence Regiment but left two years' before his murder. Mr Finlay's cousin (also called Ronald) was murdered by the Provisional IRA in 1983. His brother, Winston, was assassinated by the IRA in 1987.