Hampshire gunners' morale high despite terror attacks in Ulster in 1971

Hampshire Gunners double back to their patrol vehicles after checking for explosives beneath a bridge.
Hampshire Gunners double back to their patrol vehicles after checking for explosives beneath a bridge.
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The Hampshire Gunners, 27 Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery, serving in the Rhine Army, had been posted to Northern Ireland nine weeks previously. 

In Londonderry and Armagh, News reporter Tony Simms and staff photographer David Lolley visited them to see how they were faring on an emergency posting that meant leaving their guns behind and acting as infantrymen. 

Regularly, the Hampshiremen came under fire from terrorist snipers, bombers and machine-gunners. Three of their comrades had died but the Gunners’ morale was high. 

In nine weeks of continuous duty in the streets of Londonderry, the Battery ammunition returns showed that only two rifle rounds had been fired. 

Troops who fired live rounds had to make a written report on the incident, face interrogation from the Special Investigation Branch about why they opened fire and were not allowed to clean their rifles until they were checked by ballistic experts. 

Every round had to be counted for. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​