• Christina Drummond

Gunner Alan David Ayrton, Gunner William John Beck, Lance Bombardier Keith Charles Richards, and Gun


Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1979, four soldiers were killed in Northern Ireland when an IRA landmine, remotely detonated, exploded underneath the Land Rover in which they were travelling. Those who died were Gunner Alan David Ayrton (pictured), age 21, from Accrington in Lancashire; Gunner William John Beck, age 23, from Belfast; Lance Bombardier Keith Charles Richards, age 22, from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire; and Gunner Simon Peter Evans, age 19, from Chippenham in Wiltshire. They were volunteers from 22 Locating Battery serving with 16 Air Defence Regiment.

On the day of their deaths they were travelling in the second Land Rover in a two-vehicle patrol on the Ballygawley Road at Glenadush, near Dungannon in County Tyrone. Shots were fired at the first vehicle, the soldiers returned fire but the gunmen escaped. The second vehicle was thrown thirty yards into a field by the massive explosion, and it was later estimated that between 800 and 1,000 lbs of explosives had been used – the pathologist at the inquest stated that all four soldiers would have died instantly. They had only been in Northern Ireland for two weeks.

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