Weapon's theft recorded in every county
Steven McCaffery, Irish News | 03 May 2006
The 'half-truths' presented to politicians are all the more shocking when set against yet another document listing how army guns were passed to loyalists. The document entitled 'Subversion in the UDR', detailed in yesterday's Irish News, revealed how loyalists launched major weapons raids on army bases in 1972/73 with the help of soldiers.
But in addition to this document, a separate file shows how military officials recorded the loss of small amounts of weapons at locations in every county in Northern Ireland. The losses usually involve single weapons - one officer calculating them on the back of a page, as pictured.
A total of 64 weapons - mainly semi-automatic rifles - were recorded as stolen from UDR members. The author fills out a 'comment' box for each case and in 23 cases collusion was suspected.
The comments written for these cases include remarks such as:
- "UDA Portadown believed responsible. Possible collusion with unknown member of unit."
- "Three armed masked men took two UDR soldiers' weapons whilst sitting in their car outside their home. One soldier's son is known to be member of the UDA."
- "Car stopped by armed men. Weapon taken. One of the men seemed to know soldier. Possible collusion, but maybe coercion as children were in the car at the time." In the majority of cases the weapons went to loyalists - but two thefts are blamed on republicans. In one of these, the IRA brutally murdered UDR member Tommy Fletcher who was taken from his Fermanagh farmhouse in front of his wife and shot 14 times in a nearby field.