Sunday 17 February 2019


The Provisional IRA attacked a British Army observation post near the Irish border with small arms fire.  The gunmen were concealed in a wooded area along the border, near Jonesborough, with open ground between themselves and the Royal Green Jackets.  Unable to advance on the terrorist positions a helicopter was called in from the nearby Bessbrook army base.  The Gazelle helicopter was to provide information to the embattled troops.  On board were three officers, including the commanding officer of 2nd Battalion Royal Green Jackets, Lieutenant-Colonel Ian Corden-Lloyd.

As the helicopter passed over the area it was fired upon from the ground.  The pilot took abrupt evasive action and in doing so lost control and crashed.  Lt-Col Corden-Lloyd was killed, but the other two officers survived.  The incident was reportedly witnessed by several Garda officers south of the border, but they did not intervene as the IRA fled back into the Republic.

Lt-Col Corden-Lloyd was one of the most senior officers to be killed in action during the course of the Troubles.  This, combined with the downing of a military helicopter, was a major propaganda coup for the IRA.  They claimed to have shot it down with a special 'magnetic bullet' fired from an M60 machine gun, but the army countered that 'no such bullet existed'.  The army also said no hits were found on the wreckage, but later admitted that IRA action had caused the crash.

Lt-Col Corden-Lloyd was 39 and married with three children.  South African-born he was buried with full military honours at Magdelene Hill Cemetery in Winchester.  He had almost 20 years of military service behind him when he was killed and had previously served in both the Gurkhas and the SAS.  He was awarded the Military Cross in 1972 for his service during a previous tour of Northern Ireland.  In 1976 he was awarded an OBE.

The funeral of Lt-Col Corden-Lloyd