Queens Own Highlanders

 

Regimental Secretary Home HQ, The Highlanders (4 Scots) Cameron Barracks Inverness IV2 3XE (01463 224380) Website


11.09.1972 Pte William McIntyre. Aged 23 (attached to 1 A and SH) from Aberdeen (Married) Fatally wounded by a massive landmine near Dungannon Co Tyrone which hit their APC the previous day, two soldiers from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were also killed in the explosion.


10.12.1973 Pte James Hesketh. Aged 21 (A. Coy) 

From Clydebank Dunbartonshire (Single) Shot dead while on foot patrol in the lower Falls ,West Belfast.

[ Pte James Hesketh ]

08.07.1979 Pte Alan John McMillan. Aged 19 (D. Coy) From Evanton, Ross-shire. (Single). Killed while on foot patrol in the Crossmaglen area by a remote controlled bomb.


24.08.1979 L/Cpl D. Lang. Aged 25 (HQ. Coy) (Married)  Was killed in a helicopter crash together with L/Cpl Wares (Gazelle hit some power lines)


24.08.1979  L/Cpl D.A. Wares. Aged 23 (HQ. Coy) (Single) Was killed in a helicopter crash (Gazelle hit some power lines)


27.08.1979 Lt/Col David Blair. Aged 40 Commanding Officer (Married ) In two remote controlled bomb attacks at Narrow Water near Warren Point. The first bomb was left in a parked lorry in a lay-by, which was detonated as an army convoy passed by. The second bomb was left in a near-by gate house, This second bomb was detonated when reinforcements arrived at the scene of the first explosion. A total of 18 soldiers were killed including Col Blair and his signaller L/Cpl Victor Macleod.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Blair died with 17 other soldiers when the IRA blew up an army convoy 25 years ago today. His daughter, a Times writer, dreaded her first visit to Warrenpoint

“DAVID’S dead.” The words were barely audible, but moments later I heard my mother sobbing in the next room. Numb with shock and disbelief, I carried on watching The Great Escape with Andrew, my eight-year-old brother. Then my grandfather came to us. He, too, was in tears. That was exactly 25 years ago, the evening of August 27, 1979, and I was ten years old. My father, Lieutenant- Colonel David Blair, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Own Highlanders, had been killed by the IRA at Warrenpoint, along with Lance-Corporal Victor Macleod and 16 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment. It was the British Army’s worst single peacetime loss since the Second World War. Nobody has been arrested or prosecuted for the killings. Hours earlier, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, 79, his grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, 14, Paul Maxwell, 15, a local boatman and Lady Brabourne had been blown up while fishing in Donegal Bay, on holiday.

My father had been my hero. Dark-haired, 6ft, with green eyes, he was fit, strong and handsome, and always with a ready smile. When we learnt that we would be moving to Hong Kong after his four-month tour of duty in Northern Ireland that autumn, he tutored me every night at the dining-room table for my 11-plus, and with his lessons in the six ways of doing a fraction, I passed. My father treated me as an adult, encouraged me to explore and learn. The last words I remember him telling me before he left our home in Redford barracks in Edinburgh, where we lived with the rest of the regiment, were: “Look after Mummy and Andrew.” Today the now-notorious stretch of road at Narrow Water, close to the village of Warrenpoint, on the border with the South, bears few scars of the devastation wrought that day. The Elizabethan stone keep overlooking the 50-yard stretch of water that separates North and South Ireland is bathed in warm summer sunshine. A boat is moored upriver and bobs peacefully in Carlingford Lough and the hills of southern Ireland rise a few hundred yards away. I had dreaded my first visit to Narrow Water, not knowing what to expect, nor even why I had to go there, but I found it surprisingly peaceful. Only when I arrived did I realise that I had come to lay ghosts to rest and somehow to reassure myself that my father was not waiting for me to take him home.


27.08.1979 L/Cpl Victor Macleod. Aged 24 (HQ. Coy) From Inverness. (Single) Killed at the same incident as his Commanding Officer at Warren Point.


27.02.1990 Cpl R.D. Turner. Aged 25 (D. Coy) (Married) Killed in a tragic shooting accident