Belfast Telegraph

Scottish soldiers murdered by IRA 45 years ago remembered

By Rebecca Black

The family of a young Scottish soldier shot by the IRA 45 years ago have thanked the people of Northern Ireland for remembering him.

Dougald McCaughey (23) was shot dead along with brothers Joseph (18) and John (17) McCaig on the outskirts of north Belfast after being lured from a city centre bar by IRA men who befriended them.

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph revealed their killers are still on the run in the Republic.

Last night acts of Remembrance for them took place at the Cenotaph in Glasgow as well as White Brae in Belfast where they were killed.

Dougald's cousin David said it is of enormous comfort to his family that the boys are still remembered in Belfast with services and memorials.

The memorial to the soldiers at White Brae has been attacked a number of times, but the Ligoniel branch of the Royal British Legion has repaired it each time.

"People here on the mainland remember nothing, they forgot the boys but the people of Northern Ireland never did," he said.

"From even the night before the anniversary I was getting scores of private messages on Facebook from people who remember them."

Mr McCaughey said he is touched by how many people and groups turned out for the act of Remembrance in Glasgow yesterday evening. "It is a sad day for us, but the support helps enormously," he said.

"It is also my son's birthday. He is now 22, born in 1994 on the same day the boys died. His middle name is Dougald." The Belfast Telegraph yesterday revealed details of the HET review of the murder investigation, including a finding that the young soldiers had been deviously befriended by IRA men at a bar in Belfast and lured into a car on the promise they would be taken to a party with women.

The report also revealed that while the RUC started the murder investigation, it was taken over by a team from the Metropolitan Police.

It further detailed how police suspected north Belfast IRA man Patrick McAdorey and Anthony 'Dutch' Doherty of being involved in the deaths.

McAdorey was shot dead by the security forces before he could be charged with the murders. Doherty, meanwhile, escaped from Crumlin Road Gaol, where he had been interned, in December 1971 and went on the run in the Republic before he could be charged.

The HET noted that while Martin Meehan's name had been linked to the killings, there was no intelligence or evidence to formally connect him.

No one was ever charged over the murders, and the HET report found no new lines of inquiry in its review of the case.

Mr McCaughey is now calling for a public inquiry into the murders after receiving the HET report. He is adamant that the family will not stop campaigning until they get answers. "It was a dirty, dirty war," he said.

"The open verdict at the inquest stuck in my throat. An open verdict on those three boys after six or seven bullets went into their skulls? Anywhere else in the UK they would have no qualms about recording it as murder.

"I get angry again every time I read the report."

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