Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1981, Sergeant Julian Patrick Connolly, the Ulster Defence Regiment, was killed in Northern Ireland.
Sergeant Connolly had joined the regiment eight years earlier, and was a part-time member. He was off-duty at the time of his death and at work at the Belfast Zoo where he was employed as a groundsman. A gunman disguised himself as a postman and showed up at the zoo claiming he had a letter for Sergeant Connolly, then shot him at point-blank range. After Sergeant Connolly fell to the floor, he was shot several more times. Three men were charged with the murder, two had their convictions quashed but the third, the actual gunman Charles McKiernan, was convicted. McKiernan cried in court and said he wished he could turn the clock back.
Sergeant Connolly’s wife said: “He didn’t have to join the UDR but he thought if he did it might help bring peace. He loved it here and loved the people.” They had met in England and lived there for several years before moving to Northern Ireland in 1964. There is a memorial plaque in his honour at the rose gardens in the zoo.
Julian was 49 years old and married with two children.