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When did this happen?


seabhcan

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Was reading the Metro this morning (passing the time, ya know) and I read the article on a UK gulf war veteran (aged 42) who was found dead in his car. At the funeral a friend said:

"Paul [O'Brien] was a kind man. When he was in Northern Ireland he was on a reconnaissance mission into the Republic of Ireland and came under attack. His best friend was killed, but the army couldn't bring a helicopter in to pick them up. Paul carried his friend's body for five miles to the border."

I don't remember hearing about any such incident - but then I may not have been public knowledge. Based on the man's age, it couldn't have happened any earlier than 1988 (when he was 18).
 


Schomberg

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Doesn't sound at all shocking or surprising that stuff like this would have went on. The only question I'd have would be: who did they come under attack from? Irish security forces or the IRA?
 

Seanie Lemass

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I don't beleive that that happened. If the IRA had killed British personnel on this side of the border in the 80s or 90s they'd have claimed it.
 

seabhcan

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Doesn't sound at all shocking or surprising that stuff like this would have went on. The only question I'd have would be: who did they come under attack from? Irish security forces or the IRA?
The balance of probability is it was the IRA.

I wonder how the dealth of the soldier was explained at the time. They'd hardly have announced 'died while illegally invading a friendly country'. 'A Training Accident', perhaps?
 

Schomberg

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I don't beleive that that happened. If the IRA had killed British personnel on this side of the border in the 80s or 90s they'd have claimed it.
I don't see why. If they did, they'd have to own up to reconnaissance patrols on the other side of the border. Not that anyone would have been surprised by it, but it'd still be a difficult thing to sell to the international community.
 

Schomberg

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The balance of probability is it was the IRA.

I wonder how the dealth of the soldier was explained at the time. They'd hardly have announced 'died while illegally invading a friendly country'. 'A Training Accident', perhaps?
Not sure I'd say they were "invading" another country. Given the IRA's pattern of slipping across the border after attacks it's only natural the British security forces would have to try and do something about this. Gathering information if nothing else. Would be interesting to know how far "behind enemy lines" they actually were?
 

Seanie Lemass

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Possibly, but they may not have known they killed him, if the body was removed back to the North.


They'd still have highlighted an incursion as indeed An Phoblacht regularly did when British soldiers crossed the border. In one case a helicopter flew a good distance into Louth. Any 'fire fight' five miles this side of the border would have been widely known about.
 
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It sounds like a tall tale to me.

Don't get me wrong- I'm sure the border was routinely crossed, but 5 miles? raging a dead mate, While under enemy attack?

I'd say it's a bar story.
 
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I don't see why. If they did, they'd have to own up to reconnaissance patrols on the other side of the border. Not that anyone would have been surprised by it, but it'd still be a difficult thing to sell to the international community.
A dead soldier five miles into Irish territory would have been a hug coup. The IRA would never have let them out of the country.
 

seabhcan

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They'd still have highlighted an incursion as indeed An Phoblacht regularly did when British soldiers crossed the border. In one case a helicopter flew a good distance into Louth. Any 'fire fight' five miles this side of the border would have been widely known about.
We'd have to dig though old editions to see if anything matched.
 

Lain2016

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I don't beleive that that happened. If the IRA had killed British personnel on this side of the border in the 80s or 90s they'd have claimed it.
I'd say we'd be surprised at the amount of stuff that went on underneath the radar...
 

realistic1

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A dead soldier five miles into Irish territory would have been a hug coup. The IRA would never have let them out of the country.
Maybe not, but some of our Friendly Special branch would have been instructed and willingly obliged a request to move them across the border.
 

realistic1

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Lol, he should have rung up the local FG councillor, he'd have had the miniserial limo round in no time...:)
There was plenty of good FG people that lend a hand during the troubles. They were not all West Brit wannabes.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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Source? Context? Validation? Supporting evidence? Still convinced?

Not necessarily "untrue", all the same; but has all the marks of a wannabe Sorkh Razil.

According to my Pert Young Piece, an historical "fact" is one endorsed by a quantum (say six) historians of rank. When that test is applied to too many war-stories, especially those around Northern Ireland, not much survives.
 

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