The story of Thomas Curry
Steven McCaffery, Irish News | 03 May 2006
THOMAS Curry, a civilian sea captain from Lancashire, was gunned down by hooded men after going ashore in Belfast to post a letter. Capt Curry was well known at Belfast's commercial docks and he stopped for a drink in a nearby bar before returning to his vessel, the Orwell Fisher. The UDA/UFF launched an attack on the pub. A witness remembered seeing hooded men "with a sub-machine gun, spraying the customers in Muldoon's Bar with bullets, while a home-made pipe bomb was thrown in".
Nine customers and staff were injured, including two off-duty solders in civilian clothes who were drinking at the bar. The Irish News reported at the time that the attack on May 31 1973 was one of three "bomb and bullet attacks on Catholic-owned public houses" that day. "Belfast's night of bloodshed began at 8:30pm when a gunman sprayed the inside of Muldoon's bar with bursts of sub-machine gunfire," reads the report in The Irish News. "One man standing at the bar close to the door was in the direct line of fire and was hit at least twice in the throat. He died almost immediately."
Capt Curry was from Preston in Lancashire and had been married for only six months when he was killed. Members of Belfast's seafaring community attended a dockside service as his coffin was carried aboard his vessel for its journey home. Annex E records that in the weeks after Thomas Curry's murder, the same army sub-machine gun was used in four attempted murders - including when shots were fired from a passing car injuring four Catholic teenagers on Belfast's Antrim Road in June 1973.
The main 'Subversion' document, to which Annex E is attached, records that: "There can be little doubt that subversion in the UDR has added significantly to the weapons and ammunition stocks of Protestant extremist groups." It adds: "Neither the British army, nor the minority community has yet experienced the full force of these weapons, for many are in store." Looking to the future, it strikes a warning note: "It is a statement of the obvious that circumstances may well arise in which all the weapons stolen from the UDR may well be used, perhaps against the British army. They would form a most significant part of the armoury of the Protestant extremists."