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  • Christina Drummond

Guardsman Daniel Blinco, 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1993, Guardsman Daniel Blinco, 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards, was killed in Northern Ireland. He had been on a foot patrol in Crossmaglen, County Armagh, when he was shot by a sniper.

His death was the first in Northern Ireland after the Downing Street Declaration, a “charter for peace and reconciliation” issued two weeks earlier by Prime Minister John Major and the Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, Albert Reynolds. It was a joint peace initiative, pledging to “seek mutually agreeable political structures in Northern Ireland and between the two islands”. He was also the last soldier killed by snipers in South Armagh before the first IRA ceasefire in 1994.

Guardsman Blinco had joined the army in 1991, and had planned to leave in 1994; this was his second tour of Northern Ireland. He is remembered as an avid sportsman, a friendly and outgoing young man. At a ceremony in his home town to dedicate a memorial bench in his name, his mother read out a poem “He Is Gone” by English poet and painter David Harkins – one of the lines being "You can shed tears that he is gone, or smile that he lived”.

Daniel, from Melbourne in Derbyshire, was 22 years old.

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