Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1972, Private Henry James Russell, 9th Battalion, the Ulster Defence Regiment, was killed in Northern Ireland.
Private Russell had previously been serving with the Royal Air Force, as had his father and uncle before him. He wanted to return to Northern Ireland to be with his family, so joined the UDR as a part-time member, just a few weeks before his death. He also had been working as a nurse at Purdysburn Hospital on the Saintfield Road in Belfast, and had left his home the previous evening to work on the night shift.
Just after two o’clock in the morning of the 13th of July, his body was found by an army patrol in Sydenham. He had been beaten and tortured, with a cross burned into his back, stabbed several times, and shot in the head. Members of the UDA are believed to have been responsible, and to have targeted Private Russell as he was considered a Catholic, although he called himself agnostic. He lies buried in the Victoria Cemetery in Carrickfergus, County Antrim.
Henry, from Carrickfergus, was 21 years old.