Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1972, Private Thomas Callaghan, the Ulster Defence Regiment, was killed in Northern Ireland.
A part-time member of the regiment, he was employed by Ulsterbus as a driver on a one-man-operated bus which ran on the Guildhall to Creggan route in Londonderry. The previous year bus services had been halted in that area for several weeks, and were returned in October after talks with the tenants’ associations who, according to an Ulsterbus manager, had “assurances from certain organisations in the area”.
On the day of his death, Private Callaghan was dragged from his bus by members of the IRA and bundled into a car, his passengers terrorised. Three hours later his body was found, he had been gagged, hooded, and shot in the back of the head. Private Callaghan was the second Catholic in the regiment to be murdered; after his death a group of priests issued a statement in which they said, “The people responsible sometimes claim to be our protectors but what irresponsible protectors they are showing themselves to be”.
Thomas, from Limavady, County Londonderry, was 47 years old and married.