Two views of the UDR

The countdown has begun to the disbanding of 3,000 serving RIR members. Since September 1, they have not been deployed outside their barracks, and today a final review of all three battalions will be staged in Belfast in front of senior politicians and dignitaries. The first tranche of redundancies will come in December…

…This may make sense in London because no bombs are going off, but
the purpose of terrorism is to terrify people," said Willie Frazer, of
Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair). His father, who was in
the UDR, was killed by the IRA. "We are being asked to trust people and
this country will be left without any sort of defence force. There are
[soldiers] still getting death threats."There had been "a few
bad apples" in the UDR but "less than 1% of the 50,000 people who
joined the regiment were dropping information off to the loyalist
paramilitaries" (Guardian, 6  October)

This is an original British army intelligence document for the Ministry of Defence, and according to it, “It seems likely that a significant proportion (perhaps 5% – in some areas as high as 15%) of UDR soldiers will also be members of the UDA, Vanguard Service Corps, Orange Volunteers or UVF”. It further states that following an arms raid on a base in Belfast at Lisley Drive in October 1972 where a substantial number of weapons came into the hands of loyalist paramilitaries that it subsequently transpired that the guard commander on the night of the raid had nine previous convictions for deception, had spent a period in jail and had been arrested in September 1972 for riotous behaviour outside Tennant Street RUC station following the shooting of two men by security forces in the Shankill and the arrest of an UDR-UDA leader. He had one UDA trace and three separate reliable reports indicated that he was a member of the UVF. That was the UDR guard commander in one of their important armouries in Belfast. It further states that there can be little doubt that subversion in the UDR has added significantly to the weapons and ammunition stocks of Protestant extremist groups. In many cases ex-UDR weapons are the only automatic and semi-automatic weapons in their possession. This is a Ministry of Defence evaluation. (Oireachtas Report, 4 October)

The original Army document ‘Subversion in the UDR’ is available for download here.



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