Belleeks landmine attack

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Belleeks landmine attack
Part of the Troubles
Belleeks landmine attack is located in Northern Ireland
Belleeks landmine attack
County Armagh,
Northern Ireland
Coordinates54°31′42″N 7°12′39″W / 54.52833°N 7.21083°W / 54.52833; -7.21083Coordinates: 54°31′42″N 7°12′39″W / 54.52833°N 7.21083°W / 54.52833; -7.21083
Date31 March 1976
TargetBritish Army soldiers
Attack type
Land mine
Weaponshigh powered explosives
Deaths3 British soldiers
PerpetratorProvisional IRA
South Armagh Brigade

The Belleeks landmine attack was a Provisional IRA (IRA) bomb attack on a British Army landrover that occurred on the 31 March 1976 near the South Armagh village of Belleeks. Three soldiers were killed in the attack and another seriously injured.[1] They were the first British soldiers to be killed by the IRA South Armagh Brigade since the 1975 truce with the British officially ended in early January 1976.[2][3][4]


After the Reavey and O'Dowd killings, which happened on the 4 January 1976,[5] & the Kingsmill massacre which happened a day later on the 5 January,[6] in which a total of 16 civilians had been killed from these sectarian attacks, the British government decided to send the SAS into south Armagh a few days later.[7] Then the truce between the IRA & British was officially over.[4]


The local IRA active service unit had been studying the route the British Army mobile patrol had been taking for a number of weeks. On the 31 March they decided to attack the mobile patrol with a landmine using command wire, the explosives themselves were packed into milk churns. When the mobile patrol was crossing over Carrickgallogly bridge the mine was detonated destroying one of the British Army landrover and killing three British soldiers and badly injuring another one. The soldiers killed were David Ferguson (20), Roderick Bannon (25) and John Pearson (23) who were all members of the British armies Royal Scots regiment. [8] [9]

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths".
  2. ^
  3. ^ "CAIN: New Year Releases 2006 - Public Records of 1975".
  4. ^ a b "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1976".
  5. ^ "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths".
  6. ^ "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths".
  7. ^ Mark Urban Big Boys Rules: The SAS and the Secret Struggle against the IRA pp.xi
  8. ^ Toby Harnden - Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh pp.345
  9. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1976".