Ulster Defence Regiment

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The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was a former regiment of the British Army in existence from 1969 to 1992.

According to the study Lost Lives, 206 members of the UDR and Royal Irish Regiment were killed during the Troubles between 1966 and 2003. Forty-two ex-members also lost their lives.[1] Lost Lives lists the UDR as being responsible for 8 deaths.[2] However, off-duty members of the Regiment were also involved in a number of loyalist killings.

Contents

Formation

The UDR was formed as a result of the 1969 Hunt Report, which recommended the disbandment of the Ulster Special Constabulary. It became operational on 1 April 1970.[3]

Subversion in the UDR

In a secret report prepared in August 1973, 'Subversion in the UDR' British military intelligence acknowledged that the UDR had been infiltrated by loyalist paramilitaries.[4]

The report stated:

It seems likely that a significant proportion (perhaps five per cent - in some areas as high as 15 per cent) of UDR soldiers will also be members of the UDA, Vanguard service corps, Orange Volunteers or UVF. Subversion will not occur in every case but there will be a passing on of information and training methods in many cases and a few subversives may conspire to 'leak' arms and ammunition to Protestant extremist groups. The presence within the UDR of members of extremist groups does, however, contain within it the danger that at some future stage, if HMG's actions were perceived to be unfavourable to 'loyalist' interests, those men could act as a source of information, training and weapons for their fellows and might even work within the UDR to make it unreliable.[5]

The report also commented on arms and ammunition losses from the UDR:

Since the beginning of the current campaign the best single source of weapons (and the only significant source of modern weapons) for Protestant extremist groups has been the UDR.[6]

The report concluded:

But by the nature of its being, and the circumstances in which it operates, the regiment is wide open to subversion and potential subversion. Any effort to remove men who in foreseeable political circumstances might well operate against the interests of the UDR could well result in a very small regiment indeed.[7]

Amalgamation

The UDR merged with the Royal Irish Rangers on 1 July 1992 to form the Royal Irish Regiment.[8]

External Resources

Notes

  1. David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney, Chris Thornton, and David McVea,Lost Lives: The story of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles, Mainstream Publishing, 2004, p.1530.
  2. David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney, Chris Thornton, and David McVea,Lost Lives: The story of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles, Mainstream Publishing, 2004, p.1530.
  3. The Ulster Defence Regiment, Army.mod.uk, accessed 23 August 2010.
  4. Subversion in the UDR (Ulster Defence Regiment), by British Military Intelligence (1973), CAIN Web Service, accessed 23 August 2010.
  5. Subversion in the UDR (Ulster Defence Regiment), by British Military Intelligence (1973), CAIN Web Service, accessed 23 August 2010.
  6. Subversion in the UDR (Ulster Defence Regiment), by British Military Intelligence (1973), CAIN Web Service, accessed 23 August 2010.
  7. Subversion in the UDR (Ulster Defence Regiment), by British Military Intelligence (1973), CAIN Web Service, accessed 23 August 2010.
  8. Our Honourable and Glorious Regimental History, Royal Irish Regiment, army.mod.uk, accessed 23 August 2010.
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