Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1972, Gunner Robert Steven Cutting, 29 Commando Royal Artillery, attached to the Royal Marines,was killed in Northern Ireland, shot by a member of his own unit who mistook him for a gunman.
Two patrols were in the New Lodge area of Belfast in the early hours of the morning when they encountered each other close to the junction of Lepper Street and Stratheden Street, when shots were fired.
Gunner Cutting’s brother-in-law was serving in Northern Ireland at the time, and he believes that the correct procedure for engagement was not observed, referring to the Yellow Card, which gives instructions on what to do before firing weapons. In 2012 the Cutting family were granted a review by the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Historical Enquiries Team, which confirmed that the army had not convened a Board of Inquiry to investigate Gunner Cutting’s death at the time – the family had been previously told that the document could not be released because of “crown immunity” but were later told that it could not be found. In 2013 the family still sought a full explanation; the Historical Enquiries Team was wound up in 2014 due to budget cuts within the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Gunner Cutting’s father, Colour Sergeant Vincent Cutting R.M., who had died some years before, is buried with his son in the Agecroft Cemetery, Pendlebury, Salford.
Robert, from Blackley, Manchester, was 18 years old.