Families of Scots soldiers killed by IRA ask for CCTV at memorials

Family members of three Scottish soldiers murdered by the IRA in Belfast are to request that CCTV be installed to protect memorials to them.
Joseph, left, and John McCaig were killed in 1971.Joseph, left, and John McCaig were killed in 1971.
Joseph, left, and John McCaig were killed in 1971.

Dougald McCaughey, 23, was killed along with brothers John and Joseph McCaig, 17 and 18 respectively, from Ayr in 1971.

Memorials to the three soldiers of the 1st Battalion, Royal Highland Fusiliers at White Brae, Ligoniel and at Ballysillan in north Belfast have been repeatedly attacked.

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In total they have been attacked 27 times since they were installed in 2010 following fundraising by the Oldpark/Cavehill branch of the Royal British Legion.

The White Brae memorial, at the remote roadside where the soldiers were killed, is the most frequently targeted. They are among the most attacked memorials in Northern Ireland. In the most recent incident at the weekend, a flower pot was stolen. Previously, paint was poured over the memorial stone at Ballysillan, and during other incidents IRA slogans were daubed on the memorial and poppies destroyed.

David McCaughey, cousin of Dougald, said the repeated attacks make him “sick to his stomach”.

“These are memorials to three innocent men, they were not bad people, yet their memory is the most disrespected by local gangs,” he said.

Kris McGurk, director of the Three Scottish Soldiers Campaign for Justice group, said he will be writing to Belfast City Council on behalf of the families to request CCTV be installed at the sites.

“If these people cannot once and for all leave the memorials alone and let our boys peacefully be remembered, we are left with no other option but to request the assistance of Belfast City Council in adding some prevention measures in the area,” he said.

“In 2018 it would be a terrible shame if CCTV were required to simply stop a memorial to three innocent boys being disrespected.”

Before the weekend, the last incident had been in November 2016.

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The soldiers were off duty at a bar in Belfast on 10 March 1971 when they were befriended by IRA men who lured them into a car promising to take them to meet girls at a party. Instead they took them to White Brae, Squire’s Hill, off the Ligoniel Road and shot them dead.

Mr McCaughey has pledged to keep fighting for justice.

“This is a scar in my family that has never healed. I made promises to family that are no longer living that I would never let these boys be forgotten, I will never break that promise,” he said.