THREE YOUNG BOYS BRUTALLY MURDERED BY IRA TERRORISTS - THIS IS THEIR STORY...
Name: Fus. Joseph McCaig
From: Westwood Avenue, Ayr
Joseph was the older Brother of John McCaig. He was
found dead next to his younger Brother and his friend
Name: Fus. John McCaig
From: Westwood Avenue, Ayr
John was the youngest of the three boys. The British Army immediately raised the minimum age for serving in operations to 18 in response to the death of 17-year-old
John McCaig. John was serving with his older Brother, Joseph, who was murdered alongside him & and his friend Dougald.
Name: Fus. Dougald McCaughey
From: Weir Street, Glasgow
Dougald was the oldest of the three young men brutally murdered by the IRA. His younger Brother, David, was serving with the same unit in Belfast with him at the time of his death.
They were the fourth, fifth and sixth soldiers to die, but the first to be killed off duty. Two of them, John McCaig and his brother Joseph, were among the youngest military casualties of the troubles.
On the 10th March 1971, John, Joseph and Dougald had some free time. What better way to spend your free time as young men than enjoying a pint with your mates. Belfast to these boys would not have looked too much different from home, they were only in another part of the United Kingdom after all.
At 14:05 they left Girdwood Barracks to enjoy their recreational time in Belfast City Centre. They were under orders to return to the Barracks by 18:30 that same evening.
They spent the afternoon drinking in Mooney’s Bar before moving to Kelly’s Cellar in the Cornmarket area. At 18:30 the three boys were still in Kelly’s Cellar with two other men, one of these men was an ex-British Army soldiers who lived in the Ardoyne area and worked as a Postman.
When the three boys did not appear back at their barracks by 18:30, they were listed by the Officers on duty as AWOL (absent without leave).
It is widely believed the boys were approached by young females whilst at the bar, these young females befriended them with the intention of later giving them over to the Irish Republican Army (IRA), this atrocious way of working was called a ‘Honeytrap’.
At approximately 19:00, a man arrived at Kelly’s Cellar in a car. The boys left the bar and entered the car in the company of the others who they met inside. They car drove away 5 minutes later.
Our boys entered the car thinking they were safe, thinking they were going to a party, thinking everything would be alright. Three young boys who only wanted to be young boys and have a bit of fun.
At about 19:25 therewas 5 gunshots heard coming from the direction of White Brae. White Brae is an area of hills on the outskirts of north Belfast.
John, Joseph and Dougald were found dead at the side of the road at approximately 19:45. Their bodies lying together at the side of the road were found by three young children who were out looking for a horse in the field. A man driving his car noticed the children on the road and stopped to see what had happened. After seeing the bodies the man told the kids to "go away" before driving to a local bar asking the barman to call 999.
POINTS OF INTEREST:
The three boys were serving together with the Royal Highland Fusiliers.
20,000 people across Northern Ireland attended rallies in sympathy of what happened.
A crowd of 10,000 people gathered at Belfast City Centre cenotaph. Traffic came to a halt as people flooded the city centre in shock of the murders. The mourners walked in silence, many weeping openly.
Platoon Sergeant of the murdered Three Scottish Soldiers, P. Sloan, said “I will never forget those poor boys. Every time I think of the way they died I go cold.”
A quote from one of the Children who found the boys said “we were just standing there frightened and not knowing what to do. Two men came along and one of them touched the head of a man who was lying over another. His head fell back and the man said," they are stone dead".
John and Joseph had an older Brother (20) serving in Singapore with the Royal Marines. He was flown home to attend their funerals.
The Coroner told the inquest jury “You may think that this was not only murder but one of the vilest crimes ever heard in living memory”.