Belfast Telegraph

General tells of 'mayhem' after Narrow Water attack

By Gillian Halliday

A retired Army general has spoken of witnessing the aftermath of the IRA attack which killed 18 soldiers in Co Down nearly 40 years ago.

The Narrow Water Massacre saw the Provos launch a double bomb blast near Warrenpoint on August 27, 1979.

Just hours earlier the IRA had assassinated Lord Mountbatten in a separate bomb attack in Mullaghmore, Co Sligo.

General Sir Mike Jackson, who completed three tours of Northern Ireland, said he was one of the first to arrive on the scene at Narrow Water.

In an interview with the Forces Network, he described the "mayhem", as he recalled the "burning vehicles, dead bodies" and "bits of bodies".

Following the attack, General Jackson, who at the time was a Parachute Regiment officer, also had to identify one of his friends.

"The IRA clearly put a lot of thought into this attack with the use of two bombs - the second quite cunningly thought through as to what might be the Army and the police's reaction, where would they go," he said.

Sir Mike - who has given evidence at the Ballymurphy Inquest - said he believed the arrival of troops in Northern Ireland in 1969 "could not have been avoided" given the "deteriorating" security situation.

"The police force then was relatively small and without doubt, the nationalist population had been discriminated against," he added. "And what started as basically civil dissension became, to some extent, taken over by a violent fringe - in due course the IRA emerged."

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