Ireland's Cause

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Chapter 10: Churn Bomb Ambush

It was Monday morning and all of Glenbeg was a buzz about the hiding that Bernie, Stephen and the crowd had given the Brits in Omagh the previous day. Overnight graffiti had appeared on the walls of the burnt out houses near the front gates of the barracks.

“Irish Red 1 MRF Brit 0”

“Irish Red winner! 2 balls with 1 kick”

The houses proclaimed tauntingly to all inside the barracks walls.

Kenneth and his colleague Lesley, who had had the misfortune of accompanying Kenneth on Sunday had been rushed to the barracks infirmary. The doctor there wanted to refer them immediately to the Belfast Military Hospital but Kenneth had insisted that he remain in the Glenbeg barracks for treatment. The doctor had conceded on Kenneth remaining but had referred Lesley and Ringo, who had suffered a bad head wound and was suffering from concussion, to the Belfast Military Hospital. Kenneth’s cuts on his face and head were stitched and his swollen testicles and head were iced and treated. His bullet proof vest had saved him from having broken ribs and internal damage. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that only for Ringo and Andy’s intervention that the two MRF men would have been kicked to death.

While Kenneth remained under medication in the infirmary, Harold raged at the barrack commander who refused to send men out to remove the painted graffiti. Lieutenant-Colonel Smyth Trimble told the upset MRF man that he was concerned that it was a trap to lure his men out and that he would treat it has such, and approach the removal with caution, having first secured the surrounding area. When Harold had stormed away the commander and his officers had quietly laughed at the MRF man discomfort. That is all except the angry Captain Oswald who had burnt the buildings in the first place. He had developed a great admiration for the MRF and their tactics and aspired to be welcomed into their ranks someday.

On Monday night Stephen and Jimmy called into Sean house for a visit. While there they talked about Jimmy’s idea of a bombing ambush. Jimmy explained that when he had returned the walkie talkies to the South Armagh Brigade, that he had talked to a bomb maker there who had showed him his technique for making road side bombs with milk churns. He had also given Jimmy some dynamite and a loan of a blasting detonator. Jimmy was anxious to attempt this new idea and thought that he knew of a good opportunity.

Sean looked at Stephen as he listened to Jimmy’s plan and he realised that Ann was right, he was not the do all and end all of the local struggle. Sure, himself and his father and family had done a lot but if they hadn’t done it someone else would have. Didn’t Bernie take on that Blondie bastard and she had kicked his British arse! He also thought that if he walked out of this room that Stephen, Jimmy and the rest were quite capable of carrying on this fight themselves. They were here because he was the local Company Officer Commanding. He was proud and glad that he and Ann had come to the decision that he should continue with his involvement in the Republican Army.

He pulled his thoughts back to what Jimmy was saying.

“So either a UDR or a RUC or a Brit patrol drives along this road once a day or every two days.” Jimmy said “My Uncles farm is divided by the road and he says he always sees them.”

“Is there a good spot for the churn?” Sean asked.

“There is” Jimmy replied “there’s an old run down house with briars and nettles growing all over the place, they are growing out to the road. We could paint the churn black and green and hide it in that wild growth.”

“Where would we donate the bomb from?” Sean wanted to know. “We would need to have a good view of the road on both sides of the approach to the bomb and of the bomb itself.”

Jimmy smiled with confidence “The house is a ruin, nearly demolished and the field behind the house is a hill. Half way up the hill around 50 meters from the house there’s a hedgerow. We could run the wire from the churn out through the house and up to the blasting detonator. There’s a clear view of the road, both ways, from up the hill”

Stephen nodded in agreement “You know the house Sean. Remember I had wanted to put an arms dump there but after we looked at it we decided not to.”

Sean pulled on his cigarette “Aye, I do know it lads. How about the get away?”

Jimmy answered “After the blast we stay behind the hedgerow as cover and retreat back up the hill and down the other side. There’s a gate into the field back onto the road. We have the car parked in the field out if sight and head off towards Draperstown.”

“How about the timing of this? What time of the day do they drive by?” Sean asked.

“That is a problem” said Jimmy. “There is no set time, so we would have place the churn in the briars around 6 in the morning before it gets bright. Then run the wire back to the hedgerow to lie there hiding from sight all day, until the Brits came driving by.”

“And” added Stephen, “if they don’t come the first day then we have to wait for the next day so it might be for more than one day. We would either have to move the bomb each evening or keep someone there on watch all night.”

Jimmy replied “I think that we should disconnect the bomb and leave it overnight, with two lookouts. That way we will know if the site has been compromised, and if the uncle is right some patrol will be along the second day.”

Sean turned to Stephen “Well I can see that you are up for it kid.”

“I am” said Stephen “and it need only be us three and one more.”

Sean nodded and thought for a few minutes mulling the different pro’s and con’s.

Sean smiled at the two younger Volunteers “You have this well thought out boys. It sounds a good simple operation.”

The two lads glanced and winked at each other.

Stephen grinned and replied “it is a simple and fast hit. It will do wonders for the other lads if we can pull this off so soon after that night in the barracks”

Sean agreed but he had one change to the plan “I hate to disappoint you, Stephen but me and Jimmy will do the day stretch and you, and I think Barry will do the night.”

Stephen sighed disappointed “If that’s what you want Sean. I would love to be there for the blasting, but at the same time I can’t have all the fun. And Omagh lifted me right back on track, so you can have this one”

Jimmy got up “Alright I’ll work on the bomb tonight and I’ll have it ready for tomorrow morning. I have the churn at home already. I lifted one from some loyalist farmer up north Armagh way, on the way back from south Armagh. It’s better to be prepared” he laughed.

“Spot on” says Sean and he turned to Stephen “Me and Jimmy will go in the morning. Barry is out of work on the sick until Wednesday according to Da but he wants to stay active so this will ease him back into action. Don’t say anything to him until you go to collect him. I’ll bring all the gear with me.”

“OK” says Stephen “I have the waterproof sleeping bags at home, so I’ll drop them over to you tonight.”

“So Jimmy, I’ll pick you up in the morning at around 5:30, to give us time to load up the churn and get to your uncle’s place.” Sean advised.

Then he said to Stephen “You pick up Barry at 8:00 in the evening. It will start getting dark around nine, so it will be getting too dark to identify any approaching vehicles. But drive over unannounced to pick up Barry. Just tell him that ye are going on a night long mission and then go straight to the bomb site, OK?”

Stephen nodded “Not a bother, I won’t say a thing. Same for all of us. Mums the word boys.”

Jimmy cut in “Remember there’s a session on in Cleary’s tonight to celebrating the Omagh Rumble. Will Bernie be there?” he asked.

“No” Stephen replied “she is staying in Omagh for another day or two. That scrap and getting stuck into that fucking Brit bastard lifted her right up and back on track. He nearly broke her but she is stronger than ever now.”

Stephen added proudly. “And mad anxious to get back into action too.”

“Good to hear that, Bernie is one in a million.” said Sean then added “we had better drop in to Cleary’s to show our faces, but easy on the drink lads. We need to be alert, not sleeping on the job” he laughed. “Now head away and I’ll see ye at Cleary’s in an hour for one or two.”

That night Cleary’s was packed to the rafters. Most of the tortured men were there with their families. Some still hunched over and shook looking, others were showing signs of improving but once they started talking about Bernie and Omagh they all perked up and all started talking and asking Stephen questions, reliving the beating that the MRF bastards had received.

Stephen was retelling the story constantly. Everyone was amazed and delighted to hear of Bernie’s attack on that Blondie fucker and when it came to talk about how the people had all reacted and joined in, both in the beating and the bottle throwing attack, there was all praise and pride for the Tyrone and Derry nationalist population.

Bernie’s absence was regretted and everyone was wishing her well and talking to her parents about how proud they must be of her. Poor Mrs Daly agreed that she was so proud but privately thought to herself how worried she really was.

“God Almighty” she thought “Bernie is going to become more active. God only knows where this will end.”

She shuddered when she heard about the graffiti and thought that it would only single her Bernie out for more special treatment. She was so worried that all she wanted to do was go home and pray but instead she steeled herself to be a proud republican and join in the celebrations.

Sean sat at a table with Ann and in a repeat of the aftermath of Bloody Sunday, people were approaching Sean and whispering their offers of support and requesting to be considered for recruitment into the Army. Others offering their houses as safe houses, their farms as training facilities or whatever the Army needed them for.

This time there were offers from all ages. The whole area population was now an ally. Sean smiled to himself as he looked around at the crowd. Paddy had both nieces behind the bar and he was outside picking up glasses and mingling with the crowd talking to everyone. Sean felt the hairs on his neck stand up and a chill ran down his back as he remembered the Shades words about something not being right about Paddy.

“I’m going to have to think about this one” he thought.

After a few hours Sean and Ann left. Jimmy had only dropped in for around an hour doing the rounds talking to all of his mates. Younger than Stephen, he was on the local football team and well known so it had taken him quite a while. But he was pumped about tomorrow and didn’t want to let anything slip about it. It had been especially hard when he was sitting talking to Barry and Helen knowing that Barry was going to be there with them but he had managed to keep quiet. As he sat listening to someone telling another story about last year’s football games he sat back in his chair nursing his pint. He was delighted that Sean had picked him for the engineering unit. He had to leave school early to work on the farm, so he was thrilled to be training in something special. Being sent to South Armagh to return the walkie talkies had been a great bit of luck. As soon as the lad in Armagh had started telling him and showing him how to work with a churn bomb, his uncles farm had jumped to his mind. On his way back to Glenbeg he had following Sean’s training and he had taken a different route home. This had brought him close to Portadown through a strongly loyalist farming area. He had spotted the churns at the top of a lane way with Union Jack bunting tied to them. He stopped his car, and having a fast look around had grabbed one and threw it into the boot. He started smirking to himself thinking about the irony of using some loyalist fucks churn to take out a couple more of them Brit bastards.

“Aye, a suitable ending to a loyalist churn” he thought and he laughed out aloud but no one notice. Everyone, especially the tortured ones, were allowed a lot of leeway tonight.

Jimmy left early to get stuck into his mission. It would take a few hours work and he wanted everything to be perfect. Stephen left with Barry and Helen around midnight. He too was tempted to tell Barry about the plan for tomorrow but considering Sean’s warning and the fact that Barry mightn’t be needed, if Jimmy’s churn bomb was left off during the day he said nothing.

No best to stay stump and wait it out. He missed not having Bernie with him but he knew that she would be back home soon enough. It was great to see the spirit lifted in everyone. Plus, he had seen a lot of people quietly talking to Sean so that meant their wee Army so going to get bigger and more support.

“Yes” thought Stephen “it was a good night.”

The next morning Sean drove around to Jimmy’s parents’ farm. Jimmy had worked in a shed out the back by the milking parkour late into the night, but everything was now ready. He had told his Dad that he wouldn’t be around for the milking, both in the morning and in the evening. His Dad had sighed and shook his head. He didn’t want Jimmy to be so involved.

“He should support the boys but he didn’t have to be one of them” he and Jimmy’s mam had argued with Jimmy. But it fell on deaf ears. After the beating in the barracks both had prayed that Jimmy would see sense and back away but no, he seemed to become more determined than ever to be active.

Jimmy’s dad shook his head “It was all the missus family fault, singing their rebel songs and talking history all of the time” he thought to himself.

But Jimmy seemed to thrive on his involvement and usually it didn’t affect the work on the farm, at least not till lately. Jimmy’s dad had listened to Jimmy working on his mystery project and had wondered what it was. Early next morning he heard Jimmy get up and go back out to the shed. He got out of bed and was looking out the window at the shed when he saw Sean Clarke drive into the yard, just before dawn and reverse his car up to the shed. He knew that this project was going to cause a problem for someone. Sure enough he watched out of his bedroom window as he saw Sean and Jimmy carrying a churn, a fucking churn for fucks sake, ever so gently out of the shed and place it so tenderly onto a blanket in the boot of Sean’s car.

“Yep” he said “a big problem and hopefully not for Jimmy and us.”

Meanwhile Sean was securing the churn ever so carefully.

“There’s no need to be so nervous” Jimmy told him. “It’s dynamite not gelly, it won’t blow without it being detonated”.

“I don’t care” Sean replied” I don’t want us being an own goal” referring to the slang for Volunteers being killed by their own bombs by accident.

Once Sean was confident that the churn wouldn’t move they set off. It was getting brighter earlier every morning and they didn’t want it to be too bright when they unloaded the churn bomb at the ruins. When they arrived at the ruin they carried the churn around to the back of the ruins where they were out of sight. Sean left Jimmy connecting the wire to the dynamite packed into the churn and then Sean continued driving up the winding road till he came to the gate going into the field that he was parking his car in.

He pulled up and opened the gate into the field and he drove the car into the corner. The hedgerow was tightly trimmed but it was tall enough to block the view of his car from the road.

Stephen had been right about that Sean thought. He had relied on Stephen and Jimmy’s report of the ambush area and was glad that they had done a good job on the recon of the area. He got out of the car and following the hedgerow he made his way up the field, he then cut across the open field to the ruins. There Sean and Jimmy fought their way through the briars growing all over the ruins till they got to the road side, they placed the churn as close to the road as the could without it being seen. They then ran the wire from the churn and headed back up the open field. This was the dangerous part as they were totally exposed to being seen as daylight was just breaking, but they hoped that they would not be that visible.

Once they got to the hedgerow, halfway up the field they worked the wire feed through to the other side of the hedge and then hooked the wire up to the blast detonator. Jimmy set the detonator into a place where they were well hidden in the hedge and by burrowing through the hedge and breaking some of the branches they had a good view of the roadway. They were dressed in military camouflaged gear and Sean had brought Stephens rainproof army sleeping bags to lay in, in their burrowed hide hole.

They climbed into the sleeping bags and settled down prepared for a long day but hoping for a short one. The day dragged on with the sun shining for most of the fine early May day. After all of the April rain they enjoyed soaking in the sun with the hedgerow providing shelter from the stiff northern wind. Jimmy’s uncle had been advised to keep his cows out of those fields and to stay away from them himself so no one came their way. Sean had brought sandwiches, chocolate bars and bottles of cold tea to eat and drink during the day. They kept an anxious eye on the road and any sound of an engine had them scanning the road for any sign of a military vehicle. This was a quiet country road and today seem extremely quiet. A few cars and tractors was all that passed by. Jimmy nodded off to sleep for a while and Sean twisted and turned as his body rebelled at the continuing inaction. Time dragged on and there was still no sign of any Security Forces patrol.

Barry sat at the kitchen table sipping a cup of tea and smoking a filterless cigarette. Helen stood leaning against the counter staring at the side of his head.

She sighed and said “I love you Barry and I don’t want to lose you. You have a family now, two little children that should be your main priority.”

Barry sat staring at the table drawing on his cigarette saying nothing.

“They nearly killed you in the barracks love. What if you were sent to prison for years? The kids would grow up without you and not get to know you.” Helen continued making her point.

Still Barry said nothing.

“God Almighty” she thought “He is wretched looking”

Sighing once again she repeated probably for the tenth time that day “Why do you think that you have to continue fighting in the Army? Some of the other lads have said that that’s enough. Time for someone else to step up. It’s no shame, Barry. Walk away. You can still be a supporter and we can live and have a proper life and family.”

Barry sat and stared at the table “God will she ever shut the fuck up. She thinks that she has all of the fucking answers.” Tears welled in the side of his eyes. “Well she knows fuck all. How ashamed she would be of me if she knew, and my poor mother. What a fuck up I have become” he thought bitterly.

He continued to stare at the table, refusing to make eye contact “Why, oh why did I ever go into that fucking club? I can’t even remember the most of what had happened.”

Helen voice moaned on. He was zoned out of her voice so he only heard the odd word......Dead Volunteers.........children ......love.... Family..... Raids .....frightened children. Then they heard the car stop outside and she finally stopped talking as she went to look out the window to see who it was.

At quarter to eight Stephen pulled up outside of Barry’s bungalow, parked the car and got out. He casually looked around the surrounding area for anything suspicious or out of place as he took the last couple of drags of his cigarette and tossed the butt back onto the road. He felt much better since he had decided to be active again and the fact that Bernie was feeling much better and had made the same decision only added to his contentment.

He knocked on the door and a not at all happy Helen opened the door. She gave a very forced smile and told Stephen to come on in and nodded to the kitchen door. Stephen went into the kitchen and sat at the table opposite Barry while Helen returned to her spot against the counter.

“What about cha Barry?” greeted Stephen.

Barry gave a weak smile and nodded in reply.

“I’ll tell you What about cha” snapped Helen “Look at the state of him for God’s sake Stephen. And he wants to go back to active service! Barry, your children and me what about us?”

She glared at Stephen “And you Stephen Maguire, you couldn’t give a hoot about Barry! You just want someone to help you kill Brits. And look what that’s brought on us. Barry, you, poor Bernie, for God’s sake, and a dozen others, beaten and abused to within an inch of your lives.”

Stephen looked at her, knowing that she was not from a Republican background and was deeply in love with Barry and their children, what could he say, as she continued,

“And you want Barry to go back for another go? I should throw you out of the house Stephen”

Helen buried her face in her hands and started sobbing uncontrollably. Barry half stumbled and half jumped up to console her. Putting his arm around her he nodded at Stephen to leave and that he would follow him outside in a few minutes.

Stephen left the kitchen and went outside.

“Christ” he thought “Helen is in a bad way. Maybe Sean should give Barry and Helen more time. This isn’t going to help anyone.”

He leaned on the car and saw that it was nearly dusk as he lit another cigarette.

“If Barry doesn’t come I will try to get Timmy or maybe Gerry.” He thought to himself.

Inside Barry was talking to Helen. His mind was racing trying to cover so many angles and possibilities. Helen was right but he couldn’t tell her that. He had to buy time. He had to calm her down to get her off his back while he figured out what to do. But he also had to keep that Blondie bastard onside while he tried to sort this mess out.

Christ Almighty, he had to come up with an idea, plus he had to keep Stephen and the boys on side too.

“Holy fuck” he thought.

He held and whispered to Helen “Listen love. Give me some time. I hear what you are saying about the children and you. I do, but I need time to work this out and make the right move at a right time. Do you hear love?”

Helen had stopped sobbing and was standing still and rigid against him “I’m not prepared to live like this. So I’m saying to you, that you don’t have much time. Do you hear me love?” She asked.

Barry nodded, pecked her on the top of her head and walked out the door to Stephen. He stood beside Stephen and lit a cigarette off of Stephen’s cigarette butt.

Stephen touched his arm “I was going to ask you to come with me tonight but I dunno now Barry. Helen is really rattled man. Give it a skip for a while. I can get someone else for tonight. It’s only keeping a watch on an old ruin. We won’t be up to any action or anything.”

Barry paused, he knew he couldn’t take part in any action with Blondie breathing down his neck.

He said to himself that Blondie would have a seizure, but he needed to be tight with Sean, and God help us Stephen too, until he thought of a way to get out of this. And, he could do with a break from listening to Helen crying and moaning.

“Nah” he forced a laugh and tossed his cigarette butt onto the roadway, “I need to get back into this kiddo.”

They jumped into the car and headed for the target area. It was still bright but not for long so they had to hurry. As Stephen drove he talked about how he and Bernie had talked about that night of torture and how they had worked through all the emotional upheaval.

Stephen said to Barry “Maybe you need to take extra time with the wife and kids” he talked and he talked trying to help Barry in some way.

Barry sat there thinking “Christ Almighty. Like he fucking knows what is going on in my head. Another one who thinks he knows it all. Nobody knows my problems. Why don’t they all just shut the fuck up and let me think.”

Then it dawned on him. He must have always known but he refused to see it.

“I will set up the lads for Blondie, then I’ll get the ball of money and get the fuck out of here, with Helen and the kids. It is simple, there is no other way” he decided. Now that he had made his decision it was like a weight off of his shoulders, no off of his whole back and body. He cheered up and smiled.

He turned to Stephen and said laughing “Shut up yapping, it’s going to be a long night listening to you plus I need some sleep cos I’m back to work in the morning. I was supposed to be off for another while but I want to get back to the real world.”

Within minutes they turned into the field that Sean had parked in and parked beside him. They were not as well concealed but that was only temporary because as soon as Sean and Jimmy left Stephen could move his car into the space. There was still daylight as they walked up the field, hugging the hedgerow in order not to be seen.

Barry had settled down and now that he had the beginnings of a plan he was more interested in what they were doing in that field at night. He didn’t want to be involved in anything yet, without having talked to Blondie first and as Stephen outlined the plan he was not too concerned as it was unlikely that there would be any security vehicle passing now before it got dark. This could be perfect, if he got word to Blondie, the Brits could take Sean and Jimmy out of it right here tomorrow. That should satisfy that Brit bastard.

He smiled to himself “This might be over faster than I thought.”

Stephen gave a low whistle as they walked down the hill and Barry saw the hedgerow shaking and moving as Sean emerged stiff and sore from a day of lying there without hardly any movement. He stretched and shook Barry’s hand

“Good to see you back in the field kid” he said without waiting for a reply he continued, “Has Stephen filled you in?”

Stephen cut in “No, not really. We were talking about other shit.”

“Sound” said Sean “here’s the plan. We have a churn full of dynamite down there in the ruins with a wire coming up through the field to the blasting detonator, at the other side of the hedge. We have word that the security force uses this road every couple of days, so we plan to blow up the churn bomb as they drive by. But within 10 minutes it will be too dark to safely identify a military vehicle so we will disconnect the wire until tomorrow morning. In the meantime, you and Stephen here, will keep an eye on things in case somebody interferes with the bomb. Myself and Jimmy will be back in the morning. Is that sound?”

“It is Sean” Barry replied and was thinking “I have to get them away just in case any security forces arrive before they leave.”

He was just starting to encourage Sean to leave when they heard Jimmy squealing like an excited pig from the hedgerow.

“They’re coming! They’re coming!” he whispered loudly.

Sean pushed past the younger two and scrambled forward with Stephen right behind, grabbing Barry and struggling to push through the hedgerow. Barry was nearly paralyzed with fear. At the other side of the hedge Jimmy was staring down the road as two jeeps were speeding towards their bomb, his two hands on the plunger of the detonator.

“Get the first one” Sean whispered “we want the wreck to block the road.”

Jimmy nodded still staring at the jeep, remembering the South Armagh man’s instructions he counted the telegraph poles and just before the lead jeep got in line with the ruins he pushed the plunger on the detonator.
There was a flash of light as the bomb ignited and exploded. The huge explosion roared out as the force of the explosion and the pieces of the churn and other bits of metal that Jimmy had used as shrapnel were tore into fragments and hurled into the air. The nearest wall of the ruins disintegrated while the front wing of the lead jeep took the brunt of the explosion. The forced air and shrapnel tore into the front side of the jeep, forcing it to spin and lift off the road as the jeep overturned. The jeep hopped off the half wall on the opposite side of the road, half knocking it as the jeep rested on its roof half way through the demolished wall.

Inside the jeep the four RUC occupants were in a state of shock. They had saw the flash to their side, as the bomb exploded. The flash was so bright that it nearly blinded them. The force of the explosion pushed the wing and door of the jeep in on top of the officer in the front passenger seat. His legs crushed and trapped, blinded and hanging upside down he was screaming with pain, shock and uncertainty.

Shrapnel had burst through the windows tearing into any unprotected flesh of the jeep’s occupants, leaving them riddled with burning pieces of steel imbedded into their bodies. They struggled to comprehended where they were and how best to get free and get relief from the burning pain in their ears, eyes and bodies.

In the second jeep, the following RUC Officers looked on in shock and horror at the scene of fiery smoky chaos that developed before their very eyes. The driver slammed on the brakes and the second jeep screeched to a sliding halt, the occupants already jerking their doors open. The Sergeant shouted at the driver to radio for back up and instructed the other two to watch each side of the road and the countryside beyond. Grabbing the fire extinguisher, he ran to the destroyed jeep, smoke beginning to curl into the air. The occupants in the back seat were struggling out of the back seat driver’s side window, blood pouring from head wounds. The sergeant turned the fire extinguisher onto the growing flames from the engine. His driver came running up to try to help the officers out of the jeep. The front passenger was still trapped by his legs and was laying, half hanging awkwardly against the upside down roof of the car. The Sergeant and his driver helped the other three occupants out and dragged them towards safety in the direction of their jeep. The driver started giving first aid to the wounded men patching them up and attempting to stem the flow of blood. The Sergeant was inside the destroyed jeep doing the best that he could to assist his severely injured colleague. In the distance they could hear the wail of sirens. The four RUC men did the best they could do to secure their area and assist their wounded fellow officers as they anxiously scanned the surrounding fields in the descending darkness, guns on the ready to shoot at any further threat. The adrenalin rush of panic and instant response easing up in their bodies, their feelings racing from rage to relieve, that they were in the second jeep, to guilt and back to a rage that they might be helpless now but revenge would be theirs on those IRA bastards.

Up the hill from the kill zone, Sean and Jimmy backed ever so slowly out from the hedgerow dragging their gear, anxious not to make a sudden move that would be noticed by the RUC men in the surviving jeep. Once out they moved silently and steadily up to the top of the hill crouching low behind the hedgerow. Barry was in a state of shock, not knowing what to do and afraid to say anything in case he said something wrong or said too much. Blondie was going to kill him when he found out that he was there and did not stop the ambush.

Getting back to the cars, they piled everything into Sean’s car. Jimmy opened the gate out to the road and Sean said quietly to Stephen

“Drive out slowly, don’t rev the engine but once on the road drive like a bat out of hell!”

He glanced at Barry who was nervously looking back up the hill, visibly shaking, and then nodded his head at Stephen

“Is he alright?” Sean asked worriedly.

Stephen shrugged his shoulders and replied “I’ll talk to you tomorrow. C’mon Barry, let’s get the fuck out if here kid.”

Cautiously, they drove out of the field onto the road. After driving for a mile up the road they split up, one car headed into the mountains and the other headed towards Draperstown, putting miles between them and the havoc that they had just wretched.

Barry sat in a shocked silence, shaking uncontrollably while praying quietly to himself.

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