Memories of Operation Banner

Helicopter view south armagh

I was 8 when the first soldiers arrived in Northern Ireland.

My Dad, a ‘B’ Special, had been away from home a lot just before, policing riots in Derry.

I remember the first road block they set up outside our house. I was fascinated and wanted to welcome them with a cup of tea like I’d seen on TV. I thought that was the thing to do.

I remember the road noise of Land Rovers driving down country roads. They could be heard approaching from about a mile away.

I remember going with my Dad after he joined the UDR in the early 1970s to help fill sandbags at an electricity substation near Tandragee.

I remember my Mum and Dad inviting two soldiers for Christmas dinner – I was around 11 or 12, and they brought me a leather football.

I remember waiting in my Dad’s car as he worked in army barracks – Gough, Glenanne, Drumadd.

I remember meeting older soldiers in the UDR – our postman had fought at El Alamein – a natural choice for Company Sergeant Major. WW2 was as close as we are to the Falklands conflict.

I remember checking underneath my Dad’s car for bombs each morning.

I remember his personal protection weapon in his bedside drawer.

I remember him attending countless funerals.

I remember waiting for him to come home from duty each night.

And I remember people who didn’t.

I am glad Operation Banner is over.

2 thoughts on “Memories of Operation Banner

  1. I remember the bombing campaigns in London in the 1970’s. One exploded about 30 feet from me at London Bridge station as recently as 1992. It’s good that we’ve moved on from then.

  2. In addition to most of the things you remember, I can still identify most British military helicopters by sound alone.

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