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08/04/2009

Memorial To Murdered Scottish Soldiers Sought

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There's a move underway to have a permanent memorial erected to a group of off-duty soldiers whose brutal murders shocked Northern Ireland nearly four decades ago.

The Oldpark/Cavehill branch of the Royal British Legion is a prime mover in the bid to remember the three young Scottish soldiers who were discovered shot in the back of the head by the IRA in 1971. A recent commemoration service at the scene is pictured here.

After drinking in a city centre pub, women were involved in luring the young victims to the isolated White Brae off the Ligoniel Road where they were murdered, execution style.

The deaths of the three young fusiliers - brothers John and Joseph McCaig, aged just 17 and 18, and Dougald McCaughey, aged 23 - sparked an outpouring of grief which saw workers take to the streets of Belfast to stand in silent tribute on the day of their funerals.

Now, members of the local Royal British Legion - including a Royal Highland Fusiliers soldier who served alongside the victims - are now pushing for a memorial tribute to be erected in the spot where they were found.

The group has commissioned a badge to raise funds for the project, which they hope will be in place in time for next year's memorial service.

Designed in the shape of the Scottish Soltaire, with three Scottish poppies and the traditional 'Lest We Forget' motto, the badges have proven popular within weeks of issue.

The first batch of 2,000 sold out in days and an additional batch of 2,000 were sold on pre-orders alone. A further 4,000 are now on order, with 1,400 pre-ordered.

Final drafts of the memorial are currently being drawn up and planning permission is still to be granted, but it is hoped it will take the shape of a Scottish cairn - a conical pile of stones - along with a plaque containing the details of the incident and the faces of the three men.

The group have looked into bringing in stone from Ayrshire in Scotland where the two brothers were from.

(BMcC)

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