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It was supposed to be a short deployment.

The thousands of British troops who arrived on the streets of Northern Ireland in August 1969 had no idea what lay ahead.

"We thought we'd be home by Christmas," recalls retired Lt Colonel Mike Jelf, who led a platoon of the Queen's Regiment onto the Falls Road on 15 August.


He had been part of the peacetime garrison based at Palace Barracks in Holywood, County Down, as Northern Ireland descended into chaos.

"It was a great place to be," he said. "It was a fishing, hunting and socialising posting."

But that all changed in August 1969.

The police could not cope after three days of rioting in Londonderry, in what became known as the Battle of the Bogside, as nationalists rebelled at what they saw as a unionist militia, not an impartial police service.


There was also mayhem in Belfast as sectarian clashes led to thousands of people being forced to flee their homes.

On 14 August, the troops arrived on the streets of the Bogside, and the following day they marched into Belfast.

Mike Jelf was among the first to be deployed, leading his troops along Percy Street, which linked the loyalist Shankill and the nationalist Falls roads.

"It was our first experience of what was essentially a war zone.

"We couldn't believe what we saw. Houses had been reduced to piles of rubble, there were burning vehicles across the road. I will never forget the smelling of burning, it was everywhere," he said.

"The Catholics were delighted to see us. It wasn't long before tea and food was brought out, in fact there was so much that after a while we simply couldn't take any more."

But the honeymoon period didn't last long. Before long, many nationalists viewed the Army as the enemy.


Thousands of troops arrived on the streets of Northern Ireland

For many, the turning point came in July 1970 when huge numbers of troops moved in to search Catholic homes, with the residents ordered to remain indoors, in what became known as the Falls Road curfew.


Retired Lt Colonel Jack Daw was with Mike Jelf when they were welcomed onto the Falls less than a year earlier, but this time it was very different.

"There was a very marked change in attitude. We were quite aggressive as we were under orders to search every house, alleyway and drain in the area and we found a lot of weapons," he recalls.

"But it was clear that the Catholics didn't want us there anymore. There were no more cups of tea, we were the enemy."

That perception was reinforced by the policy of internment in August 1971 when 3,000 soldiers took part in a series of raids to arrest alleged terrorist suspects.


More than 300 Catholics were arrested, many of them innocent. No loyalists were detained.

Any lingering nationalist goodwill towards the Army finally evaporated when soldiers killed 14 civilians in Londonderry in January 1972, in what became known as Bloody Sunday.

As the IRA grew stronger and violence escalated, the Army became embroiled in what became known as Operation Banner - the military support role for the police during the Troubles.

There were many areas where it was simply too dangerous for the police to operate on their own.


Percy Street linked the loyalist Shankill and the nationalist Falls roads

More than 300,000 soldiers served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, in what was the longest continuous campaign in British military history.

Seven hundred and sixty three military personnel were killed, and soldiers killed 301 people, more than half of them civilians.

At the height of the Troubles in 1972 there were about 27,000 military personnel on the streets of Northern Ireland.

To put that in context, 26,000 British soldiers were deployed for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and today the combined total of British servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan is 12,400.

At midnight, Operation Banner will finally come to an end, 38 years after the first troops arrived.

From Wednesday, the peacetime garrison will be no more than 5,000 troops, around the same as it was before the troubles began.

And the role of those soldiers who remain will be very different - they will be available for deployment in trouble spots across the world, not on the streets of Northern Ireland.

That chapter of the Army's history is over.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGsB1UEo-_I

Go on home British soldiers go on home
have you got no ****'in homes of your own
for eight hundred years we've fought you without fear
and we will fight you for eight hundred more.

If you stay British soldiers if you stay
you'll never ever beat the IRA
the fourteen men in Derry are the last that you will bury
so take a tip and leave us while you may.

Go on home British soldiers go on home
have you got no ****'in homes of your own
for eight hundred years we've fought you without fear
and we will fight you for eight hundred more.

No! we're not British we're not Saxon we're not English
we're Irish! and proud we are to be
so **** your union jack we want our country back
we want to see old Ireland free once more.

Go on home British soldiers go on home
have you got no ****'in homes of your own
for eight hundred years we've fought you without fear
and we will fight you for eight hundred more.

Go on home British soldiers go on home
have you got no ****'in homes of your own
for eight hundred years we've fought you without fear
and we will fight you for eight hundred more.

Well we're fighting British soldiers for the cause
we'll never bow to soldiers because
throughout our history we were born to be free
so get out British soldiers leave us be.

Go on home British soldiers go on home
have you got no ****'in homes of your own
for eight hundred years we've fought you without fear
and we will fight you for eight hundred more.

Go on home British soldiers go on home
have you got no ****'in homes of your own
for eight hundred years we've fought you without fear
and we will fight you for eight hundred more.
 
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The head of the Army in Northern Ireland, General Nick Parker, said the operation helped create the conditions for a political solution.

"What I believe the military have done here is make a significant contribution to the security in Northern Ireland that has allowed other people to make the difference through politics, social programmes and economics," he said.

Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP, paid tribute to the Army.

"If they had not been here to hold the line against terrorism, I don't think we would have made the progress that we have made," he said.

"I think that we owe them a great debt of gratitude for a huge sacrifice that they have paid to help make this possible."


Gerry Kelly, Sinn Fein, said it was the government who made decisions concerning the Army.

"Was there a honeymoon period when people were relieved that they weren't the heavily armed RUC? Of course there was," he said.

"That was short lived. The reason why is because they are an Army, a blunt instrument, it was the British government who made the decision to use them against republicans, nationalists and Catholics."

In future, soldiers based in Northern Ireland will be involved in training and will be available for deployment in foreign trouble spots, not on local streets.
 

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As one who served in Ulster for many a month I would suggest that you exercise caution in this thread, there are only a couple of posts and already I see a pattern of pro nationalistic garbage.

point 1: The Army were sent into Ulster to protect the Nationalists (Catholics). The PIRA, almost extinct and not even a threat, used this as an excuse to reform and rearm, to take millions of US dollars of simple minded americans to buy guns and bullets to kill soldiers.

point 2: Gerry Kelly is a liar. It was not the British Governments decision to attack Catholics or anybody else it was the Catholics who attacked the soldiers.

point 3: get your facts right before posting, I lived in it and know what it was like. You seem to have this romantic airy brained view of the poor oppressed being beaten into submission by the nasty cruel soldier - it never happened.
 
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I know many who served in N.I. and personally know 2 who lost their lives there.
Apologies if you were refering to anything in my post, taken from verified news reports and broadcast on worldwide tv. I most certainly never have and never will buy into the pro nationalistic garbage.
Although i thought i had made it clear where my thoughts lay with the highlighted part, which i did in reply to the first post.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Red Devil said:
As one who served in Ulster for many a month I would suggest that you exercise caution in this thread, there are only a couple of posts and already I see a pattern of pro nationalistic garbage.

point 1: The Army were sent into Ulster to protect the Nationalists (Catholics). The PIRA, almost extinct and not even a threat, used this as an excuse to reform and rearm, to take millions of US dollars of simple minded americans to buy guns and bullets to kill soldiers.

point 2: Gerry Kelly is a liar. It was not the British Governments decision to attack Catholics or anybody else it was the Catholics who attacked the soldiers.

point 3: get your facts right before posting, I lived in it and know what it was like. You seem to have this romantic airy brained view of the poor oppressed being beaten into submission by the nasty cruel soldier - it never happened.
Convenient how people choose to 'cherry pick' the parts of history that make themselves sound good......or sound like the 'good guys' or 'the victims'!!!

What about 1905, 1906, 1916 or 1845...........?

The Great Famine of 1845-1849 when 2 million Irish were 'murdered' by the British by stealing the imports of food from America to help the starving and ill.....oh yes....the aid and help came from America and was re-routed to Southampton and a huge tax added to the cargo so the Irish could not afford it !!!

Therefore these 2 million people died !!!

Where did Northern Ireland come from ?

It was an area carved out by the British - again they cherry picked the parts of the Irish republic they wanted and left the rest behind.

No way did the Irish ever agree to this you know. If a vote was held throughout the whole of Ireland as to the British ruling over Northern Ireland - this idea would have been rejected !!!

So the British checked out where all the voters lived who supported their rule - and drew the boundaries to encapsulate all the 'yes' voters. The borders cut 3 counties in half so as to exclude the 'no' voters from having their say !!!

6 counties in all were 'stolen' from the Irish.......and people still wonder why the Irish are angry about this.

The IRA were a perfectly legal army set up to protect the Irish. As every country has an army !!!

They resorted to very nasty and underhand tactics in order to try and get back what is rightfully theirs...........I know this and I dont condone it - but I do sympathise with them and why they were upset.

If someone turned up and took away one third of England against everyones wishes......how would you lot feel ?

Would you just say - "Hmmmmmm OK then thats good"........

My father is Irish so I know quite a bit about the history of all this - it gets handed down from generation to generation so all Irish people know about this - not the idiots from the North - those who live in the 'stolen' land but those from the Republic who just want their country back !!!

Same happen in my country Romania you know.

Those filthy, stinking animals the Communists come and take away half our country - they take everything that is good - they force their language and ways on us and then leave taking everything of any value with them - and now we are a very poor country OK.

It's a bit weird how I have 2 halves to me - Irish/Romanian and both countries have always been oppressed and bullied by others !!

So please dont tell me to exercise caution and say what others want to hear - why should I ? I only speak the truth about what happens - and its all recorded in the history books too you know !!!

I think maybe not enough people are taught about the history of these things. In my country every child learns about the bad people who came and ruined our land......I also think the majority of Irish people know their history in pretty good detail......and yet the people who did the bad things like Britain and Russia look away and dont like to remember what has been done !!!

Maybe people wont like me for speaking like this but its only the truth and if they cant face the truth then so be it !!!!
 

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There are two things that are to be approached carefully in forums - politics and religion. And before you, yet again, stereotype me, I am of Irish grandparents and was baptised a catholic, although now I am a fully committed athiest.

I am not interested in things that happened before I was even born, and am certainly not interested in your apparent left wing version of history which is vastly different from reality.

Going slightly off topic for a moment, lets look at India. We were, according to the same left wing brainwashers in your schools, the colonial oppressive dictators who ruled India with beatings and cruelty. Now - you go ask an Indian who they modelled their government on, their army on and their officers still trained by? British. They will also tell you that the worst colonialists in their history were French and Dutch. The British were far far better.

Back to Ireland. The soldiers were asked, yes, ASKED to be sent in by the Nationalist population because of their being terrorised by the Protestant population. Whitelaw, the Home Secretary, was against it but Dublin also asked him to go in and protect the Catholics, so he did.

The IRA were never an official Army of Ireland, I cannot believe that you believe this idiotic statement. The Guarda are the police and the Irish army is a seperate entity altogether.

The IRA were always a terrorist organisation, always had been. Then the OIRA decided that bombs and bullets would never solve anything and became a political organisation, and eventually Sein Fein.

Out of this was born the PIRA, hotheads and psycho's who'se only interest was playing with guns and killing innocent people, for fun. Oh yes, they used the "occupation" as a reason but it had nothing to do with that in reality.

By theis time the nationalist population were under the thumb or PIRA by threat and intimidation. They were too scared to speak out and paid "lip service" to the psycho's with the guns. Many nationalist folk told the Security Forces about things that were going on, and in my job, part of the time, in an Army Int office, I saw these reports and subsequent follow ups.

As for so called "Bloody Sunday" - again you will obviously believe the crap emanating from the Catholic terrorist side. When the soldiers were confronted by the rioting crowd, they had actually formed a sort of peace and were negotiating with the march leaders when gunmen, who had situated themselves in nearby flats and windows, opened fire upon the troops. But the troops were on the other side of the crows, as the terrorists, cowards that they are, were hiding behind the common man (and woman). This is fact, believe what you will.

Naturally the soldiers returned fire, the crowd being caught in the middle and inevitably, some got hurt. Whether this was from soldiers guns or terrorist gund has never been proved either way.

If you are looking for anybody to blame for the problems in Ireland then look no further than the PIRA and INLA and other smaller offshoots.

Me and my family lived there later on, in Belfast, and we loved it. The people are beautiful and were so warm and friendly. They still are.

Tell the hundreds of dead, those deliberately led into a car bomb in Omagh, those kneecapped for smiling at a soldier, never to be able to walk properly again. Tell these people that it was the soldiers fault and they will tell you straight - it was the terrorists, the terrorists on both sides, leading their blind, bigotted campaign against an enemy they would walk past in the streets when shopping.

I once stood on Donegal Place in Belfast, the City Hall to my rear, and said to my wife - which side is which? She replied that it was impossible to tell, everybody was the same. Yes, everybody was the same, until they turned to go home. The Catholics went left and along into the Falls Road and the protestants went right, into East Belfast.

Victoria Hospital in the Falls was the best hospital in the world for treating gunshot wounds, medical people came from all over the planet to study there. And the victims? Strange - none, or extremely few, had been shot by soldiers?????? The soldiers, we had our own section of a hospital at Musgrave. so, who was shooting all these people, these innocent people, who were in Victoria Hospital??? The terrorists that's who. How many people had their businesses, their livelihood, blown out from under then just because of where they lived and worked? Children into orphanages because their parents had been killed in a ramdom bomb attack by nameless cowards who were in a bar somewhere when it went off.

A friend of mine lived in Hannover, then West Germany, he was on his way to the shops with his wife and two little ones. For some reason they were some way behind him when he reached his car. As he opened the door, it blew up. Little microscopic pieces of him showered his wife and children, blood, tissue and fragments of bone flew threw the air mixed in with car parts, burning fuel, rubble from the road and flying glass. He never knew what hit him, but the scars are with his children and widow for life. His crime? He belonged to a Regiment which had had astonishing success in Ireland, had not lost a single soul in the province and was responsible for many arms finds, abortive bomb attempts and, most importantly, were respected by the locals. The PIRA could not let that go could they???


A referendum was held twice in Ulster and once in Eire - the question was - Do You Want Ireland To Be United? The overwhelming answer was NO. The Eire population did not want Northern Ireland back, and the Northern Irish did not want to be part of the south - they were HAPPY with the way it is.

As a direct consequence, Dublin retracted the part of their constitution, written after WW1, that demanded the return of a unified Ireland, the people did not wish it, so the Eire government dropped it. Democracy in action. The terrorists no longer had any excuse, no matter how feeble, to continue their charade and subsequently, peace fell upon the North.

If you still do not believe then I recommend a short holiday in Belfast and visit the pubs and bars in the City and listen to the people that really matter in this, the Irish. I think you will be surprised by what you hear.

Carly, you are far too young to KNOW what really took place, you only have what you have been told. A biased report is not necessarily fact but can shape your life. You need to look at the broader picture. A teacher in an irish school will tell you a historical event but based on his, or her, belief - its only natural. The same event, being told by a professor of history will be more fact laden and with little or no bias. A left wing teacher (the majority) will always tell you a "version" and it will be a version different from an "old school" type of teacher who looks only at facts.

As you are Irish by birth, tell me, why are you here at all, in the land of your so called enemy? Could it be double standards by any chance?
 

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I don't consider myself to be Irish by birth - I am Romanian because I have the choice to be.

You don't care about anything that happened before you were born ?

Well that means this is all wasted on you then......as I said before - we got a case of cherry picking events that fit in with what you want it to fit in with !!!

We'll ignore the 2 million people who starved to death and died from other diseases due to the British actions at that time - doesn't quite fit in snugly with your ideas does it.....?

We better forget that the North of Ireland was taken against the wishes of the majority of Irish people too yes ? Makes all your points souind so much more valid then doesn't it ?

I don't learn stuff from people who taught me in my school.....I went to school in Romania and they dont teach this thing there OK.

I read the history books and learn the facts only - all history books say the same as I said.......your version of things is not history, it's not written in any books anywhere is it ? No, but it is the version the Army etc etc want people to hear !!!

I didn't actually make any comments whatsoever in the original post of this thread......It's obviously a newspaper article - and I added the song at the end to see what others feel about it all.......

Double standards ? What is meant by this ?

Because I come to UK to study ?

I do this because I can - and I pay my own way too - I dont scrounge from the state or expect anyone else to pay for what I do - I work full time and earn nice money OK and my boss sponsor me to do this degree because I am good at my job.

I work and study unlike many who dont !!!

I pay my tax and I pay all other money I owe to the UK - I take nothing for free OK - so dont accuse me of double standards !!!

I am quite happy things in Ireland have calmed down though - I still dont think the British should keep this 'stolen' land but so what - I am only 1 of many who are ignored - this referendum means not a lot if you ask me - Sinn Fein means "we ourselves" and they will not give up like many think they have - this is just the calm before the next storm !!!

To see Gerry Adams, Martin McGuiness and Paisley all sat round the same table is amazing if you ask me - but its all false and wont last long sadly.

The Irish are incredibly proud people - well the ones from the Republic are !!! ....and they wont just let this rest like this, no way........

Anyway...........you have your opinion and I have mine and neither of us is ever going to change it any time soon are we.....

So maybe its best we choose to disagree........shame no one else has a view on this matter - perhaps its the wrong place for this kind of thing but hey......it's posted in the right place and people are not compelled to react - freedom of speech etc etc, lol.

Now I made you hate me but such is life.

Takes me a very long time to write all this too :eek: :)
 

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I hate nobody Carly, not even you. However Inter Milan is about to kick off so needs must..... your banner on your obverly large signature, says irish born so what am I supposed to believe?
 

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Red Devil said:
I hate nobody Carly, not even you. However Inter Milan is about to kick off so needs must..... your banner on your obverly large signature, says irish born so what am I supposed to believe?
My banner says Irish by birth....United by the grace of God...........

............and it refers to the players on the banner - they are all Irish !! :p
 

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danfelixbuffy said:
Dont let yourself be offended by him c. hes a bit of an old fuddy duddy-i used to think i knew it all when i was younger but i GREW UP!
And what do you know? To quote a well know phrase "Been there, etc" - have you ever been out of the protective arms of mummy?
 
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