1978 Lisnamuck shoot-out

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Lisnamuck shoot-out
Part of The Troubles
Date17 March 1978
54°50′07″N 6°45′51″W / 54.8354°N 6.7641°W / 54.8354; -6.7641Coordinates: 54°50′07″N 6°45′51″W / 54.8354°N 6.7641°W / 54.8354; -6.7641
Result Capture of IRA commander Francis Hughes by British forces

IrishRepublicanFlag.png Provisional IRA

Flag of the British Army (1938-present).svg British Army
Commanders and leaders
Francis Hughes Lance-Corporal David Jones  
2 Volunteers 2 SAS soldiers
Casualties and losses
1 injured and captured 1 killed, 1 injured
1978 Lisnamuck shoot-out is located in Northern Ireland
1978 Lisnamuck shoot-out
Location within Northern Ireland

On the night of 17 March 1978 at around 21:20 a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) unit and a Special Air Service (SAS) unit became engaged in a shoot out in a field in Lisnamuck, near Maghera, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.[1] The leader of the IRA unit was Francis Hughes who was from Bellaghy, County Londonderry, who at that time was the "most wanted man" in Northern Ireland when a year earlier on 18 April 1977, Hughes, Dominic McGlinchey and Ian Milne were travelling in a car near the town of Moneymore when an RUC patrol car carrying four officers signalled them to stop.[2][3] The IRA members attempted to escape by performing a u-turn, but lost control of the car which ended up in a ditch.[2] They abandoned the car and opened fire on the RUC patrol car, killing two officers and wounding another, before running off through fields.[2][3] A second RUC patrol came under fire while attempting to prevent the men fleeing, and despite a search operation by the RUC and British Army (BA) the IRA members escaped.[3][4]

The shoot-out occurred on St. Patricks night 1978. Lance Corporal David Jones and another soldier were in an OP near the Glenshane Pass area. At around 21:15 the troops saw two IRA volunteers wearing military style camouflage style clothing. One of the British troops apparently saw the word "Ireland" sewn on to one of the IRA volunteers clothing. Lance Corporal Jones stood up believing they might be a unit of the Ulster Defence Regiment and shouted at the men asking them what they were doing. The two IRA volunteers opened fire on the British troops. In the gun battle that ensued, Lance Corporal Jones was killed and another SAS man wounded, while Francis Hughes was badly injured and captured in a nearby field the next morning, the other IRA volunteer escaped.[5][6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mark Urban - Big Boys Rules: The SAS and the Secret Struggle against the IRA, p.71
  2. ^ a b c The Trigger Men, pp. 124–126.
  3. ^ a b c Ten Men Dead, p. 117–118.
  4. ^ Sutton, Malcolm. "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths". cain.ulst.ac.uk. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  5. ^ "David Jones | ParaData". paradata.org.uk. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  6. ^ Sutton, Malcolm. "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths". cain.ulst.ac.uk. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  7. ^ Melaugh, Dr Martin. "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1978". cain.ulst.ac.uk. Retrieved 14 November 2017.