• Christina Drummond

Private Richard Wilson, James Cochrane, and Private Robert Smith, Ulster Defence Regiment


Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1980, Private Richard Wilson, James Cochrane, and Private Robert Smith, Ulster Defence Regiment, were killed in Northern Ireland.

They had been travelling in the first of two Land Rovers on the Rathfriland to Castlewellan road in County Down, and when they reached Burren Bridge a bomb exploded, killing them and injuring four other soldiers. The explosion, triggered from a nearby derelict house, left a crater more than twelve feet deep and the second Land Rover, unable to stop in time, drove into the crater. Rescue attempts were hampered by waist-deep water due to water pipes having been damaged.

All three soldiers were full-time members of the Ulster Defence Regiment. Private Smith had joined the previous year; from Comber, he was eighteen years old. Private Cochrane had served in the regiment for four years; from Downpatrick, he was twenty-one years old. Private Wilson had served for three years; from Newcastle in County Down, he also was twenty-one years old. .

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