Northern Ireland news

First UDR member of Troubles to be killed remembered

Winston Donnell (closest) was the first serving member of the UDR killed during the Troubles remembered
Connla Young

ORANGE Order members gathered yesterday to remember the first serving UDR member to be killed during the Troubles.

Winston Donnell was shot dead close to the Tyrone/Donegal border on August 9, 1971,

He was the first serving member of the regiment, which had been formed the previous year, to be killed by republicans.

It is believed the IRA was responsible for the ambush at a checkpoint near Clady, close to the Co Donegal border, that resulted in his death.

The 22-year-old was shot dead on the same day that internment was introduced 50 years ago.

From the Hillhead Road, Urney, Co Tyrone, he was one of four brothers who were all members of the UDR.

Shortly before the ambush a taxi had approached the patrol but turned up a laneway.

Kenny Donaldson from the South East Fermanagh Foundation said that "a short time later a car approached from the same direction with the back window out and turned at the same place.

"This time the car started to reverse and Winston and another member, who were covering their comrades, saw what was happening," he said.

"Winston jumped into the middle of the road to stop them but was fired on by a Thompson sub machine gun.

"As a result of multiple injuries, he died almost instantly."

Mr Donaldson added that Mr Donnell "showed great courage that night and ultimately sacrificed his own life to save his comrades, one of whom was his own brother".

He was later buried with full military honours while members of the UDR fired a volley of shots over his grave.

His funeral was attended by then Stormont Prime Minister Brian Faulkner.

Mr Donnell was a member of Tullywhisker Orange Lodge, which is Co Donegal and Tullywhisker Border Guards Pipe Band.

Members of the lodge gathered yesterday to hold a service in his memory and for another UDR member, Kenneth Smyth, who was killed in December 1971.

UDR associations locally also marked the anniversary with a parade and wreath laying ceremony.

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