Remembering the Fallen: on this day three soldiers lost their lives in Northern Ireland, seven years apart; and another died from his injuries several days after his fellow soldier was killed.
In 1972 Lance-Bombardier Brian Thomasson (pictured, left) and Lance-Bombardier Eric Blackburn (sadly no photo available), Royal Artillery Regiment, were killed in a bomb explosion in the bowling green pavilion at Brooke Park in Londonderry. Warning had been given of a bomb, and both soldiers had been in a position of safety after the warning - however, they were being stoned by children so moved forward to try to get the children to safety, otherwise they may have been injured (albeit possibly seriously) but not killed. Lance-Bombardier Blackburn died instantly, and Lance-Bombardier Thomassen died in the ambulance on the way to hospital. Eric, from Maidstone in Kent, was 24 years old and married; he was due to go home the following day but his leave was cancelled at the last minute. Brian, from Bolton, was 21 years old.
In 1979, Kingsman Christopher Shanley (pictured, right), 1st Battalion King’s Regiment, was shot and killed in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast. He had been driving a Saracen armoured car which came under fire from a house that had been taken over by gunmen who were waiting for them to pass. Lance-Corporal Stephen Rumble, travelling with him, was seriously wounded and died nine days later. Both soldiers were hit in the head as bullets ricocheted around the interior of the vehicle. A man from Turf Lodge was jailed for the killings as well as for the manslaughter of a prison governor, and he plead guilty to a total of twenty-one terrorist charges. Christopher, from Liverpool, was 21 years old. Stephen, also from Liverpool, was 19 years old and left behind his pregnant wife.