SOLDIERS and relatives of one of two Scots soldiers killed in an IRA gun and bomb attack at a Fermanagh checkpoint have marked the 25th anniversary.
A memorial service was held at Palace Barracks in Holywood and a visit was arranged to the site at Derryad to lay a wreath on the spot of the attack.
Private Jim Houston and Lance Corporal Michael Patterson of the 1st Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers were fatally wounded when an IRA gang opened fire as soldiers manned the checkpoint at an isolated junction.
In December 1989 the permanent vehicle checkpoint, located close to the border was manned by eight soldiers from the 1st Battalion The King’s Own Scottish Borderers and a police officer from the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
The attack took place shortly after four o’clock in the afternoon of the 13th and was finally repulsed by a section of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers that was patrolling nearby. The Provisional IRA had sealed off roads leading to the checkpoint.
A truck was then driven from the border and halted at the checkpoint. As Private Houston began to check the back of the truck, the IRA opened fire with assault rifles and threw grenades into the compound.
Two rocket-propelled grenades were fired at the observation post while a flame-thrower was aimed at the command post. Two soldiers, Corporal Robert Duncan and Lance Corporal Ian Harvey, were bestowed the Distinguished Conduct Medal while Lance-Corporal Patterson received a posthumous Mention in Dispatches for his actions during the attack.
Private Houston’s widow, Shirley, and their son Daniel, joined a memorial service at Palace Barracks along with members of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers Association (Northern Ireland Branch) and soldiers of 1 Scots.
Afterwards, soldiers from 1 Scots made the journey to Derryad, close to Lisnaskea, to lay a wreath at the site of the attack – including Sergeant Tam Meighan (27) from Glasgow whose uncle Scott Dunn was among the soldiers who repelled the IRA gang in the attack.
Sergeant Meighan said: “The attack at Derryad is an important part not only of my regimental history but also for my family. It has been great comfort to be able to pay my own respects not only with the Battalion but also personally at the site itself.”
Sergeant Meighan was accompanied to the site by 1 Scots Commanding Officer, Lt Colonel Matt Munro and by 1 Scots Regimental Sergeant Major Stephen Boyle (38) from Livingston in West Lothian.
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