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  • Christina Drummond

Privates Richard Greener, Jayson Burfitt, Blair Bishop, Mark Norsworthy, Stephen Wilkinson, Peter Bu

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1988 a roadside bomb was detonated, targeting a bus transporting soldiers near Ballygawley in Northern Ireland, killing eight soldiers and injuring twenty-eight more. An unmarked bus was transporting 36 soldiers of The Light Infantry from RAF Aldergrove to a military base near Omagh. The soldiers had just finished 18 months of a two-year tour of duty in Northern Ireland and were returning to the base after a short holiday. As it was driving along the main road from Ballygawley to Omagh, IRA members remotely detonated a roadside bomb containing 200 lbs of semtex. According to police, the bomb had been planted in a vehicle by the roadside and had been detonated by command wire from 330 yards away. An inquest into the attack was told that the road was usually off-limits to military vehicles, due to the threat from the IRA. The driver of the bus, also a soldier, claimed he had been directed on to the road by diversion signs. The inquest heard that signs had not been placed by the police or the roads service. The IRA denied placing any signs and said that military buses often used the road. The mother of one of those killed accused the British military of negligence and claimed it was “trying to conceal the truth.” Shortly thereafter, the Provisional IRA issued a statement claiming responsibility. After the attack the British military decided to start ferrying their troops to and from East Tyrone by helicopter to avoid any future attacks. Ten days after the atrocity, three IRA members were ambushed and killed by the Special Air Service (SAS) at Drumnakilly, County Tyrone. They were identified by British intelligence as the perpetrators of the bombing. Those killed were (top row): Private Richard Greener (21) from Tyne and Wear; Private Jayson Burfitt (19) from Bath; Private Blair Bishop (19) from Hereford; (lower row): Private Mark Norsworthy (18) from Plymouth; Private Stephen Wilkinson (18) from Salisbury; Private Peter Bullock (21) from Bristol and Private Jason Winter (19) from Taunton. Private Alexander Lewis (18) from Salisbury was also killed but there is no known photograph.

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