CCTV bid to protect memorials to murdered Scots soldiers


Campaigners have called for CCTV cameras to stop vandals targeting memorials to three Scottish soldiers killed by the IRA during The Troubles.

Dougald McCaughey, 23, from Glasgow, and Ayr brothers John, 17, and Joseph McCaig, 18, were shot dead in 1971.

Tributes to the Royal Highland Fusiliers at White Brae, Ligoniel and at Ballysillan in Belfast have been desecrated 27 times since 2010.

Graffiti and paint have been used to deface the memorials.

In a bid to protect them Kris McGurk, director of the Three Scottish Soldiers Campaign for Justice group, wrote to Belfast City Council on Wednesday to request CCTV cameras at the sites.

‘Deliberate disrespect’

Earlier this week the soldiers’ families issued a statement after the latest incident, which involved the theft of a stone flower pot.

They claim the memorials are damaged more than any others in the province.

The statement said: “To desecrate a memorial is a terrible shame, regardless if the attack is on the memorials or anything placed by them – the principle is the same.

“Our boys did not belong to gangs, they did not seek trouble or to hurt anyone, they were sent there to stop two communities from ripping themselves apart and tragically because of this had their lives taken in one of the vilest ways by the people they were there trying to protect.

“Even in death, their memory is being caught up in the crossfire of these twisted people, the constant and deliberate disrespect they are shown must stop immediately.”

On 10 March 1971 the off-duty soldiers, who were stationed at Girdwood barracks, were killed while out on an afternoon pass.

It is believed they were lured out of Mooney’s bar in the city centre by a group of women who promised to take them to a party.

Instead they were taken to White Brae, Squire’s Hill, off the Ligoniel Road in North Belfast, where they were shot dead at the side of the road.

Their bodies were dumped on top of each other before being discovered by local children at 21:30 that night.

At the inquest, the coroner said: “You may think that this was not only murder, but one of the vilest crimes ever heard of in living memory.”

The men were the fourth, fifth and sixth British soldiers to be killed in Northern Ireland but the first to be killed while off-duty.

All three funerals took place in Scotland but on the same day 20,000 people attended a memorial service in Belfast.

No-one has ever been convicted of the murders.

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