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General Service Medal Northern Ireland (in box of issue)


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I don't think anyone would argue with me, when I say researching a "modern" General Service Medal, is not the easiest thing to do. Especially the Northern Ireland campaign! It's certainly not my normal area of expertise, but when happened across this one I thought I'd give it a go. Although they do pop up from time to time, still in there boxes, I don't recall ever seeing one that included the reciperents battalion. A few things that struck me other than the naming on the box, was the fact that it didn't appear to have ever been worn? I made some enquiries on the battalions Facebook page hoping to perhaps that the chap himself might be on there or someone might recall him, sadly this wasn't the case. From that coupled with the fact that it doesn't appear to have ever been worn, I assume he only did the minimum amount of time back then of 3 years, then left the army, without ever having had the opportunity re requirement to wear his medal. It being 45 years or so since he must have served, I suppose it isn't surprising although sad, that no one remembers a chap that was only in the battalion a couple of years? Anyway I did a little digging regardless and think I can with some level of certainly reveal the following about him and the battalion during this potential service.....

24219811 Pte S A CLARKE 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment.

His number suggests that he would have enlisted at some point between September 1970 and March 1971.
The battalion were stationed in Munster Germany.

CLARKE would have had to enlist for a minimum of 3 years. The battalion conducted 2 tours of Northern Ireland during this time.

02.08.72 - 06.12.1972 Belfast Hastings Street (Lower Falls).

27.07.1973 - 29.11.1973 Londonderry.

During the Belfast tour, the battalion were actively engaged against the IRA and were involved in regular gun battles with them.

The battalion lost 4 men -

17.07.1972 L/Cpl John BODDY - IRA sniper on Grosvenor Road
25.09.1972 Cpl John BARRY - IRA sniper Cyprus Street
29.07.1972 Pte Ian BURT - IRA sniper Albert Street
24.10.1972 Pte Robert MASON - IRA sniper Naples Street (Grosvenor Road).

IRA gunman killed 2nd battalion declassified files state -
06.10.1972 Daniel MCAREAVEY shot and killed in disputed circumstances on the junction of Bosnia Street and Plevna Street, following a blast bomb attack. Two other gunman were wounded.

The battalion also had a number of decorations awarded during this tour, included a DCM.

Clarke 2 RAR.jpg

Clarke 2 RAR 002.jpg

Clarke 2 RAR 003.jpg

Clarke 2 RAR 004.jpg

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Most interesting. While it will be a good 30+ years before his service records are released you have done well in your research. It shows what can be achieved without papers and given a lot of the undercover ops will be covered by the official secrets act long after we are worm food youve probably done as much as you will be able to do unless you are able to contact one of his comrades in arms.

 

Paul

 

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The Castle January 1973 -

The capture of James Emerson Bryson and
the ventilation of Mr. Lynton have been the
highlights of the tour so far The events surrounding this action are so well described elsewhere that no more need be said.
Twelve hours after 'C ' Coy, under the command o f Major Neil Crumbie.
arrived in Belfast, they moved in to search a derelict house in Grosvenor
Road. Within minutes it was patrolling the streets. During the search
'Sniffer' (a device for sniffing gelignite) uncovered these items under a
carpet in the corner of a first Hour room.

About the nicest thing about our early days
in Belfast here was taking over from the 3rd
Battalion: so many of them are old friends
They looked after the Advance Party very well
and did all they could to make sure the transition was as smooth as possible. W e’re also quite
sure that the locals appreciated seeing the same
cap badge even though there were some different accents for them to fathom.
The main body of the Poachers arrived in
the wake of the now famous Operation Motorman. The Pompadours ran it for a day and
a half and then we were launched at midday
on 2nd August. We would have looked a bit
strange to an outsider that day. We had two
companies (‘A ’ and Sp) of the Pompadours and
Sp Coy of 1 PWO but none of our own until
late evening. ‘A ’ Company became operational
at 8 p.m. and ‘C ‘ Coy followed at 10 o’clock
They both started out with an intensive patrol
programme so that the maxim um numbers
could get to know their areas quickly and to
impress the locals. ‘B’ and Sp Coys arrived on
3rd August and by midnight that night we were
complete. The new arrivals followed the previous night’s pattern and so the battalion area
was seemingly crawling with soldiers.
The biggest thing that struck the first-Belfast tour men was the desolation. A huge number
of houses are derelict and the empty sockets
of their doors and windows glower at you as
you pass. The whole area is overlooked by the
notorious but ultra-modern Divis flats. Unfortunately though, the vandals have been at
work here too: no lifts work and most of the
stairway lights are broken. The surrounding
open spaces are packed with piles of stones
which are am mo dumps for the little boys when
they welcome our armoured patrols.
The armoured ‘Pigs’, so familiar to the old
hands, have been added to by a fleet of 6
wheeled Saracen Armoured Cars. They have
been out of use in Germany for some years but
this lot were mostly brand new—part of a
cancelled contract to the Libyan Army. It was
Libya that was reported to be supplying arms
to the IRA: ‘It’s an ill wind’. The Saracens
(called ‘Jumbos’ over here) came in so fast that
many of them are still ---------------- ?
Restored Recoup (R & R) has become the
major topic of conversation and what a great
fillip it is to our morale. Those of us not
actually involved feel better for seeing the
bright eyes and perm anent grins of those about
to go. We are also succeeding in getting folk
out of Belfast for a change of air. Even a day
on the range is a change—all that grass! Someone said when we arrived in August, ‘Just think,
by the time we go back to Munster, all the
leaves will be off the trees’. He was greeted by
a chorus of 'W hat b------ trees!’ We have
actually found one now: it’s in a back yard
north of the Peace Line (an evergreen!).
The Lower Falls (the Reservation'), being the
centre of hard-line Republicanism, has attracted most of our attention and will continue to
do so. Although the particular 'parish’ of ‘A ’
Company, most of the battalion has seen its
grim and dirty little streets at close range and
listened to the lilting accents of its womenkind.
It is also the place where we’ve had most of
our successes—and long may they continue.
‘B’ Company, concentrating on the Divis
Flats, have achieved a relative peace and quiet
almost unknown. Even the deprivations of the
vandals are being put right—by the inhabitants.
The ‘East E nd’—a bit of the City Centre—the
Drummond Domain has been very active. Car
bombs have been the dish of the month: there
were two beauties. One brought us some
strange friends—the SDLP—their offices were
one of the targets. The CO has renewed an old
SDLP acquaintance— Paddy Devlin (no known
relation to Bernadette!) and C/Sgt. Groom
helped by bricking up some dangerous looking
derelicts nearby. ‘B’ Company also see quite
a lot of our Munster neighbours, the Welsh
Guards, and once found that they each had a
check-point at the same cross roads!
‘C ’ Company have, perhaps, had the most
varied month, ranging from the re-landscaping
of the notorious Grosvenor Park Football
G round (to prevent its use for more nefarious
purposes) to (he weekly bomb scares at the
sprawling premises of Northern Ireland Carriers The problem facing a search for a parcel
bomb is easily understood when there are
usually over 4,000,000 parcels there on any day
Major Crumble assumed the honorary appointment as their Security Advisor and is looking
well on it 'C Company has established a perm anent look-out on the tail Telex H ouse Being
a very com m ercial organisation, one wonders
how long it will be before the Company invites
tourists (at a suitable fee) up there to view the
notorious Lower Falls and Distillery
Support Company on the Peace Line have
had the unique experience of being shot at by
both sides! It was good to discover that Prot
marksmen were seemingly no better than the
Cowboys on the other side Fortunately, the
experience was an isolated incident and generally the Company is doing a grand job North
of the Peace Line and relations with the locals
are good.
A’ COMPANY — NEW S FROM THE
RESERVATION
IRA CHIEF CA U G H T IN CAR-RAM
In the middle of Thursday afternoon, 14
September, the Company captured Jim Bryson,
who commanded ‘B’ Coy of the Provisionals,
one of the most wanted terrorists in Belfast
L/Cpl Ley felled him with a rugby tackle as he
fled after a section led by Cpl. Nichols rammed
his hi jacked car with a 10 ton Saracen in the
notorious Leeson Street.
The chase began when Cpl Nichols and
Driver O'Brian spotted the stolen car in a
queue of traffic Both vehicles met seconds later
in Leeson Street where the wanted car reversed wildly before hitting a wall. As one of the
two passengers raised a gun Pte. Sentence, the
vehicle gunner, ordered the driver to ram the
car The two gunmen fled and the soldiers
quickly dismounted to give chase. Shots were
exchanged and one gunman was hit before he
disappeared into a house in one of the many side streets. Cpl Nichols' section was by now
strengthened by the remainder of 3 PI, 2 PI
and 7 PI from ‘C ’ Company as a crowd of some
200 people had gathered in the street. 2Lt.
Groom and Sgt. Arnold followed a trail of
blood which led from the yard of one house
over a 12 foot wall and into another house
where they found the wounded man being
given first aid by three others.
During this chase a 'cut-off group', Sgt Whitfield and L/Cpl Codling, whilst climbing another wall, came upon Jim Bryson pointing his
pistol at a foot patrol Bryson, hearing movement behind him, ran off and into the arm s of
L/Cpl. Ley and Pte. A m berton. So ended the
days of cat and mouse and two near misses.
It was a game as if Tom and Jerry had played
it for real, lt saw two near misses and many
crash outs, all of which ended with the Company Commander banging his fists on the pilots
seat in frustration and the Senior N CO ’s cursing bad luck Finally, observant and quick
thinking soldiers led by a determined junior
NCO put everyone out of their misery, and
instead of gloom, Mulhouse is a happy place.
The Daily Telegraph
‘Among those detained were Jim Bryson,
leader of the 2nd Bn and the second most w anted m an in Northern Ireland. Mr. Whitelaw,
the Ulster Secretary, was so delighted he made
a special point of congratulating the Army and
Police. He asked Major-General Robert Ford
to pass on his congratulations, especially to the
2nd Bn Royal Anglian Regiment, who captured
Bryson and four other men in the Lower Falls
on Thursday.’
Irish Times
The British A rm y claimed yesterday to have
captured twenty top IRA men during the previous 48 hours. Yesterday, the Commander of
Land Forces, General Robert Ford, visited the
Commanding Officer of the Royal Anglians,
who are said to have made most of the captures, to convey to him the congratulations of
the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Mr
Whitelaw .’


2nd Battalion
CORPORAL MICHAEL PHILIP BODDY
On the night of Thursday, 17th August, 1972,
Corporal Michael Philip Bodily, whose home
was in Peterborough, was killed by a sniper's
bullet while leading his Section in the Lower
Falls area of Belfast. He had been with the
Battalion for four years.
He joined the Regiment us a Boy Soldier in
1963 and became a member of the Corps of
Drums at the Depot. He continued in this employment on joining the Battalion in 1966. He
was an excellent drum m er and was twice selected to be the Commanding Officer's Bugler,
firstly at the Regimental Depot and later while
serving with the Battalion. He was a most capable musician and dedicated to the Corps of
Drums, there are many drummers who have
cause to be grateful for his excellent teaching.
A well-liked, cheerful and most helpful NCO
who will be sadly missed by all officers and men
of the Battalion.
We offer our deepest sympathy to his wife
Marlene, and his parents Mr. and Mrs. E. M
Boddy on this tragic loss, which we all share.

CORPORAL JOHN MICHAEL BARRY
John Barry enlisted in the Regiment at Lincoln in October 1966 and went to the Regimental Depot at Bury St. Edmunds when he
was sixteen.
He joined the 2nd Battalion in Cyprus in
March 1967 and served as a rifleman before
joining the Officers’ Mess Stuff in Felixstowe.
He served for two years in the mess, travelling
to Gibraltar and Malaya. In October 1970 he
transferred to ‘A' Company for the Battalion's
first tour in Belfast, and remained with them
for two years, gaining promotion to Lance
Corporal and then Corporal in February this
year.
He was wounded in the head on 23rd September while leading his section in McDonnell
Street in the Lower Falls district of Belfast
He died from his wounds two days later in The
Royal Victoria Hospital.
Known as a bold and fearless soldier, and a
cheerful, good hearted and com passionate man.
he was a strong but fair leader who was liked
and respected by his men. His loss will be felt
by all members of the Battalion hut most especially by those members of A' Company
who knew him so well.
We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife.
Mrs. Kathleen Barry, and his father, Mr
Barry, and share their grief.

PRIVATE IAN STUART DAVID BURT
Ian Burt joined the Army as a Junior Leader
in August 1960 He was trained at The Infantry
Junior Leaders Battalion at Oswestry and The
Queens Division Depot at Bassingbourn before
joining the 2nd Battalion T he Royal Anglian
Regiment in Munster in June this year
He came to Belfast with ‘B’ Coy, and was
working as a member of a patrol from 4 Platoon when he was shot dead by a terrorist
sniper during a follow-up operation in Albert
Street on 30th September
He was a keen, hardworking and enthusiastic
young soldier, a cheerful and reliable comrade
and full of life He will be missed by all members of the Battalion and particularly by his
friends in 'B‘ Com pany with whom he was so
popular.
We offer our deepest sympathy to his parents,
Mr. and Mrs. A D J Burt, on their tragic
loss, which we all share.

PRIVATE ROBERT MICHAEL MASON
Robert Mason enlisted in the Regiment on
20th August, 1970, the day after his seventeenth
birthday, and went to the Regimental Depot at
Bury St. Edmunds.
He joined the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in December 1970 in Londonderry and served with them for three months
before he was sent home because he was under
eighteen. He was posted to Tiger Company 4th
Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment who
were doing demonstration duties at OCS Mons
and RMA Sandhurst. Whilst on exercise with
Tiger Company in Wales he broke his leg and
as a result did not go to Gibraltar with them
He joined the 2nd Battalion on 6th September
1972, and was serving with 'C ' Company.
He was shot by a terrorist sniper on 24th
October while on patrol in the Grosvenor Road
area of the Lower Falls.
He is remembered for his cheerful sense of
humour, his determination and his industry. He
was an excellent GPMG gunner and won a
prize at the Depot for being the best shot His
loss is felt by all members of the Battalion but
most especially by his comrades in 'C' Company, who, although he had only been with them for six weeks, had already got to know
him very well
We extend our deepest sympathy to his father
and mother, Mr and Mrs P. D. Mason, and
his brothers and sisters.

 

 

 

The Castle January 1974 -


In this first once-a-year Castle we must record
that for the Second Battalion (as with the other
battalions, no doubt) it has been an extremely
busy year. The Press date of the last issue saw
us in Belfast and at the same time this year we
are back again, this time down the road in
Londonderry, where the name of the Regiment
is known only too well. In between we packed
a great deal into our short time in Germany
and proved for the nth time that it is possible
to do more than one thing at a time—just!
Like all good Battalion Reviews we shall start
at the beginning and work forward.
That last month of our tour in Belfast in 1972
was like the three that preceded it, except for
one thing: it was the last. The cold weather
of November reduced terrorist activities in
quantity but produced a different quality. Shooting at A Company’s base at Mulhouse continued as night entertainment to supplement the
television. One attack was so steady a 10-rounds
application at a sangar that the sentry used his
loud hailer to send corrections to the gunman
Towards the end of the tour we became painfully aware that the IR A had a new weapon
— the RPG 7. The first attack missed a Saracen
but made a good hole in a factory wall; the
second hit the very top of Albert Street Mill
— fortunately without producing casualties
But the third did— a Saracen on patrol to
monitor and protect, if necessary, a People’s
Democracy March was fired on by both small
arms and an RPG-7 and Pte. Sanderson of
A Company was badly hurt. This last incident
occurred just two days before we handed over
to 1st Bn. The Queen’s Lancashire Regt.

It was about now that we heard the list of
awards for our second Belfast tour. The CO’s
Mention in Despatches we already knew, but to
this was added Major Charles Barnes, Capt.
Roger Howe, Capt. Alan Thompson, all
awarded the MBE, Sgt. Nigel Whitfield a very
well-earned DCM, Lieutenant Tom Longland
and Second Lieutenant Michael Shipley Mentioned in Despatches. We were all delighted and
the cork-popping was heard the length of the
barracks.
23945040 Sergeant Nigel WHITFIELD, The Royal Anglian Regiment


Londonderry -

So it was that, as July faded away into
history, the Second Battalion found itself once
more relieving the Third Battalion ‘in the line’.
Twice in one year— it can’t last and we hope it
won’t happen again. Just as they did in Belfast,
the Pompadours handled our reception and
handover like the very good friends they are.
Soon they were gone, the grins disappeared and
we settled down to the job in earnest. I won’t
attempt to describe the area, the camps or the
people. Anyone who wants to know more can
approach the nearest Army Careers Information Office and ask to be able to come and
sample the place first hand. Suffice to say here
that we deal almost exclusively with Catholics
and the majority are hard-line Republicans. By
definition they do not like the British Army,
government, RUC and law and order generally.
They complain volubly and frequently, but we
can’t ! In a way the triviality of the majority of
complaints gives grounds for some comfort.
They’ve nothing better to rattle on about. Some
of the things we are alleged to have done indicate that most of Dave Allan’s Irish jokes are
in fact true episodes of Irish life. We are the
last of the Royal Anglian battalions to come to
Londonderry and there’s no doubt that the
other two made a name for themselves here.
Unfortunately, it is unprintable in this Journal,
but the others will be pleased to know that we
have inherited it!
As these notes are written we are within our
final four weeks and thinking constantly of our
return to a more normal existence. In describing life in BAOR in that way, one can perhaps
give some idea of how odd it must be here!
What is so sad is that Londonderry is a charming little place standing in truly beautiful
countryside. The air is clear and unpolluted. If
only these misguided folk would sort themselves
out— and they have the ultimate solution in
their hands—Londonderry would be a very
pleasant place to be indeed. We hand over to
the 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Regiment. So
although the Royal Anglian badge leaves the
City, the Queen’s Division is well represented.
The ‘long distance’ battalion here is also ‘ours’
— 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of
Fusiliers—at Ebrington Barracks.

 

 

 

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