Tributes to soldiers murdered 40 years ago in Crossmaglen
Tributes have been paid to three young soldiers who were murdered in an ambush by the Provisional IRA in south Armagh 40 years ago.
Grenadier Guards Glen Ling, aged 18, Graham Duggan, 22, and 20-year-old Kevin Johnson were shot and killed while on foot patrol in the village of Crossmaglen on December 21, 1978.
The three were in the lead of an eight-man patrol when a red Royal Mail-type van drove past them and skidded to a halt.
A machine gun mounted in the back of the vehicle then opened fire, hitting all three and scattering Christmas shoppers who had to dive for cover.
The injured soldiers were flown by Army helicopter to Musgrave Park Hospital but were declared dead on arrival.
Kenny Donaldson, spokesman for Innocent Victims United, said: “As an organisation our thoughts and prayers are with the Ling, Duggan and Johnston families as yet another milestone anniversary is reached since their loved ones were so callously murdered by Provisional IRA terrorists whilst they performed their duty in my native homeland of Crossmaglen.
“The attack was carried out days out from Christmas when the area was busy with civilian traffic on foot and within vehicles.
“The message brutally conveyed by PIRA terrorists was that they were prepared to murder almost 365 days of the year in an effort to advance the self-justified ideological cause they developed and represented.
“It is important that we continue to remember the sacrifices made by soldiers of regular Army regiments within the British Army who were sent across to NI to perform a role for which they were never trained but for which they in the main carried out with professionalism and restraint.”