On This Day…
On the 31st July 2007 Op Banner ended
Operation Banner was the operational name for the British Armed Forces’ operation in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 2007, as part of ‘the Troubles’. It was the longest continuous deployment in British military history.
The British Army was initially deployed, at the request of the unionist government of Northern Ireland, in response to the August 1969 riots. Its role was to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and to assert the authority of the British government in Northern Ireland. This involved counter-insurgency and supporting the police in carrying out internal security duties such as guarding key points, mounting checkpoints and patrols, carrying out raids and searches, riot control and bomb disposal.
300,000 soldiers served on Op Banner
More than 300,000 soldiers served in Operation Banner. At the peak of the operation in the 1970s, about 21,000 British troops were deployed, most of them from Britain. As part of the operation, a new locally-recruited regiment was also formed: the Ulster Defence Regiment.
Royal Signals Support
As Army troop levels in Northern Ireland increased after 1969, so did those of the Royal Corps of Signals. For most of the conflict, 39th Infantry Brigade HQ and Signal Squadron provided signals support for its brigade in the east, while 8th Infantry Brigade HQ and Signal Squadron did the same in the west and 3rd Infantry Brigade HQ and Signal Squadron in the south (although this squadron was disbanded for most of the 1980s). 233 Signal Squadron (Northern Ireland) provided theatre-wide specialist communications and support activities and spawned 225 Signal Squadron in 1986. In 1990, 225 and 233 Signal Squadrons became part of the re-formed 15th Signal Regiment.
722 members of the Armed Forces were killed as a result of terrorist action, 719 died in other circumstances and 6,100 were wounded. The Royal Corps of Signals lost 16 soldiers to terrorist action and a further 20 soldiers to other causes.
An Op Banner display case at The Royal Signals Museum, Blandford
Please note the factual news report (below) may cause distress. It discusses the deaths of soldiers and shows the remnants of the mini-bus blown-up by the IRA which killed six soldiers including five from the Royal Corps of Signals.
The soldiers are featured in On this day 15th June
The Corps Centenary book ‘Roger So Far” celebrates many of the Corps’ achievements during its first 100 years.
This hardback, illustrated coffee table book is packed full of stories about people, units and events in the context of campaigns, technologies and equipment. RRP £30 with discounts for Regular, Reserve and Retired Corps members.
Buy now from the Royal Signals Museum Shop