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This Day in British Military History


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Feb 12th, 1997

Northern Ireland shootings: The last soldier murdered

For the last 12 years the family of Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick had cause to hope that at least no one else would have to endure what they had been through.
Shot by a sniper as he manned a checkpoint in Bessbrook, south Armagh, in February 1997 he held the tragic distinction of being the last British soldier to be murdered by paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. Until now.

Within months of his killing, the Provisional IRA announced its second ceasefire, paving the way for the Good Friday Agreement and the road toward arms decommissioning.

In the intervening years his death has been the subject of intense controversy, amid claims that it could have been prevented and that he was deliberately sacrificed to save an informer.

But his parents, John and Rita, from Underwood, Notts, have been staunch supporters of the peace process, even facing criticism for doing so.

That support has been tested to the limit. When Bernard McGinn was convicted of the killing in 1999 he was sentenced to a total of 490 years in prison.

He had been found guilty of murdering a total of three soldiers and making the London Docklands bomb among other terrorist charges.

He was out of prison sixteen months later, released under the Good Friday Agreement. His conviction was later quashed when the Court of Appeal in Belfast ruled that he had not been properly cautioned when he was arrested.

Battle of Pasir Panjang

The Battle of Pasir Panjang initiated upon the advancement of elite Imperial Japanese Army forces towards Pasir Panjang at Pasir Panjang Ridge, on February 13, 1942, during World War II in the Battle of Singapore. 13,000 Japanese troops had made an amphibious landing in the northwest part of Singapore, near Sarimbun, advancing south towards Pasir Panjang. They had already captured Tengah Airfield en route. The 13,000 attacking Pasir Panjang comprised a significant part of the total strength of 36,000 Japanese troops attacking Singapore as a whole.

The 1st Malay Brigade (together with the British 2nd Loyal Regiment), commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel J.R.G. Andre, consisted of less than three sections of the Mortar Platoon and the Anti-Aircraft Platoon, with the Bren Gun Carrier Platoon under Captain R.R.C. Carter held in reserve. They received orders to defend the approach to Pasir Panjang ridge, known as "The Gap." The 44th Indian Brigade positioned on their right flank.

A Malay platoon, consisting of forty two infantry, commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi, took part in the defenses of Bukit Chandu. He and his men would take the brunt of the Japanese assault.

Four IRA members were killed on February 16, 1992. The four, Peter Clancy, Kevin Barry O'Donnell, Sean O'Farrell and Patrick Vincent, were killed at Clonoe after an attack on the RUC station in Coalisland.


The Clive Barracks bombing was a bomb attack carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army on 20 February 1989 on a British Army barracks called Clive Barracks at Ternhill, Shropshire. The attack injured two soldiers from the Parachute Regiment, and destroyed a large part of the barracks.