Wednesday, 14 August 2019

ON THIS DAY IN 1972, CORBYN'S MATES...

The Provisional IRA murdered two British soldiers in the Andersonstown district of west Belfast.  The army had commandeered the Casement Park sports stadium almost two weeks earlier and were still working on improving its defences.  One of those killed in the attack was the base commander, Major David Storrey.  The new base was situated in the heart of a republican area and was under attack on an almost daily basis.  A soldier had been shot and paralysed while working on the perimeter fencing three days before Maj Storrey's murder.

It was this persistent sniper activity that led to a detachment of troops being sent out to monitor the housing estate beyond the Main Stand.  On the fateful morning, just after 9am, Major Storrey left the stadium to check on his troops.  He had only just returned to active service after being injured and hospitalised in rioting a week earlier.  Accompanying him was a Royal Engineer by the name of Craftsman Brian Hope.  As they were crossing a small stream that ran behind the houses a bomb exploded, killing Cfn Hope.  When other soldiers arrived they found the commander lying next to the stream, still breathing.  He died two hours later in hospital.

The homemade bomb was thought to contain around 35lbs of explosive and had nuts and bolts packed around it.  The explosion shattered several windows in the surrounding houses.  Some locals discreetly voiced annoyance that the bomb had been left in an area where their children often played.

Soldiers amid the rubble of rioting near Casement Park on 6 August 1972

36-year-old Major David Anthony Storrey served with the 19th Regiment Royal Artillery.  He came from Ascot in Berkshire and was survived by his wife and three children.  Craftsman Brian Hope, 20, was affectionately known as 'Bob'.  He was a mechanic attached to Major Storrey's regiment.