Day of quiet reflection for families of three slain Scottish soldiers

The three slain from the Royal Highland Fusiliers: from left, Dougald McCaughey, John McCaig and Joseph McCaig
The three slain from the Royal Highland Fusiliers: from left, Dougald McCaughey, John McCaig and Joseph McCaig

The families of three off-duty Scottish soldiers killed by the IRA in 1971 have issued an emotional thanks to News Letter readers on the 46th anniversary of their killing.

The three young soldiers were Dougald McCaughey, 23, John McCaig, 17, and Joseph McCaig, 18, from the Royal High land Fusiliers. They were enjoying drinks in a Belfast bar while off duty on March 10, 1971 when IRA men lured them to their deaths on the pretext of meeting girls at a party.

Kris McGurk at the monument for the three Scottish soldiers murdered in the IRA "honeytrap murders' in 1971. 
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Kris McGurk at the monument for the three Scottish soldiers murdered in the IRA "honeytrap murders' in 1971. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Their bodies were found in north Belfast in what was dubbed ‘the honeytrap murders’. They were the first off-duty soldiers to be murdered during the Troubles.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Belfast to express shock and solidarity.

Last year the soldiers’ families began a campaign to raise money for private legal action to bring the killers to justice.

Promoted by the News Letter, our readers played a major role in reaching the £10,000 goal to get the action moving, with now over £12,000 raised.

Three Scottish Soldiers campaign director Kris McGurk told the News Letter: “I spoke with some members of the families this morning [Thursday]. I think for them Friday will be a day of quiet reflection.

“They asked me to pass on their sincere thanks to the News Letter and its readers, which they said have been a shining example of how people should support one another.

“For them, the publicity and financial support you have given them has been simply phenomenal.

“They have been humbled and overwhelmed by the support.”

Now that adequate funds have been raised to launch a legal action, the lawyer behind the case, Omagh bomb civil action lawyer Matt Jury, is assessing the case to decide the best way to proceed, he said. Options under consideration include a fresh inquest, a public inquiry or private civil or criminal actions.

At the start of last month, after reports by the News Letter Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote letters of support to the families for their campaign and to apologise for the actions of her SNP colleague MSP John Mason. Asked to support the campaign on Twitter, he declined, describing the IRA as “Irish freedom fighters”. He later apologised.

• Cheques for the legal action can be sent to ‘The Three Scottish Soldiers Fund’ c/o McCue & Partners LLP, 4th Floor, 158 Buckingham Palace Rd, London, SW1W 9TR.

MAKE A DONATION ONLINE: www.crowdjustice.org/case/three-scottish-soldiers

Morning View: Please donate to the action against the Scots solider kllings