Belfast Telegraph

Murdered British soldier's family told the truth - 40 years later

By Amanda Poole

The family of British soldier Paul Carter, who murdered by the IRA in 1971, have spent the last 40 years believing he died alone in Belfast and without any assistance, until now.

Some 40 years after Private Carter was killed, an inquiry by Northern Ireland’s Historical Enquiries Team (HET) has revealed two young men from the Falls Road area risked their own lives to help save the soldier’s life.

On September 14, 1971, Private Carter had been guarding an Army vehicle that was delivering medical supplies when he was shot twice in the chest by an IRA gunman.

Relatives of the soldier, who was serving in Northern Ireland as part of the 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Regiment, were told no-one tried to help him, and that attempts were even made to steal his rifle.

At the time it was also rumoured that local people tried to steal the body of the 21-year-old soldier as he lay dying on the ground close to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The HET report said: “Two men, who were close by, ran down the road to where Private Carter was lying and carried him to the casualty building inside the hospital.

“As they were doing so, they heard a second burst of gunfire but continued to carry Private Carter to safety.”

Private Carter’s family, who live in Brighton, told the BBC they found it difficult to get answers about their loved one’s death at the time and the revelation in the HET report had brought them comfort.

The soldier’s younger sister, Trudie Baker, said: “We were told that somebody tried to take his rifle from him while he lay bleeding to death. That was not true.

“The way it was told to us, he was on his own, and that wasn’t the case.

“He wasn’t just left there to die. To me that has made a huge, huge difference.

“To find that somebody wanted to help him, and a lot of people did, that has been just invaluable for me.”

Private Carter’s death is one of almost 2,000 that has been re-examined since the HET was set up in 2005.

No-one has ever been arrested for his murder, and it’s unlikely the case will be solved.

However, Trudie said knowing her brother didn’t die alone is some consolation after 40 years of grieving and she wants to publicly thank the people in west Belfast who tried to help him.

A further 1,200 deaths that took place during the Troubles of police officers, paramilitaries, civilians and soldiers are still to be re-examined by the HET.

Background

On September 14, 1971, Private Paul Carter (right) from the 2nd Battalion, The Queen’s Regiment, was shot twice in the chest by an IRA gunman as he stood guarding an Army lorry delivering medical supplies in west Belfast.

At the time the soldier’s family was told nobody went to his aid and that attempts were made to steal his rifle and his body.

The Historical Enquiries Team re-examined Private Carter’s murder and its investigation revealed this was not true.

Two young men from the Falls Road area risked their own lives to try and save his.

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