Thread: Stirling
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:17 PM   #47
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Lightbulb Herbert Westmacott

In the se7en years between the SAS first going in to Northern Ireland and the mid- 1980s only 2 of their number were killed.. The first was Captain Herbert Westmacott. On 2 May 1980 he led a patrol which stormed a house in Antrim Road, Belfast, where an IRA team was hiding.. They hit the wrong door, Number 369 instead of 371, with their sledgehammers.. The IRA unit had a 7.62-millimetre M60 machine gun in the house next door and 2 bursts were fired.. Captain Westmacott was killed. He was wearing body armour, but he was shot in the throat. The IRA men eventually surrendered.. The door, riddled with bullets and known as the Westmacott door, is now displayed at Stirling Lines...

Captain Herbert Richard Westmacott, MC (11 January 1952 – 2 May 1980) was a British Army officer who became the first person to be awarded a posthumous Military Cross. As an officer of the Grenadier Guards (2nd Battalion) on Extra Regimental Employment to the Special Air Service (SAS), he died in an encounter with the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). He was the highest-ranking officer of the SAS to be killed in Northern Ireland during Operation Banner..

He was in command of an 8 man plain clothes SAS patrol that had been alerted by the Royal Ulster Constabulary that an IRA gun team had taken over a house on Antrim Road, Belfast.. A car carrying three SAS men went to the rear of the house, and another car carrying 5 SAS men went to the front of the house.. As the SAS arrived at the front of the house the IRA unit, nicknamed the "M60 gang", opened fire from a window with an M60 machine gun, hitting Captain Westmacott in the head and shoulder killing him instantly. The remaining SAS men at the front, returned fire but were forced to withdraw..One member of the IRA team was apprehended by the SAS at the rear of the house, preparing the unit's escape in a transit van, while the other three IRA members remained inside the house. More members of the security forces were deployed to the scene, and after a brief siege the remaining members of the IRA unit surrendered.His death left him as the highest ranking SAS officer to be killed in Northern Ireland..

After his death Westmacott was posthumously awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in Northern Ireland during the period 1 February 1980 to 30 April 1980..Captain Westmacott's cousin is Sir Peter Westmacott, a British ambassador who facilitated the first meeting between Gerry Adams and Sir Patrick Mayhew...

Sir Peter John Westmacott, KCMG LVO (born 23 December 1950) is a senior British diplomat, who effective January 2012 is Her Majesty's Ambassador to the United States of America, in succession to Sir Nigel Sheinwald..Westmacott joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1972, and his first overseas posting was as Second Secretary at Tehran, Iran, in 1974. In 1978, he was sent to the European Commission in Brussels, and from 1980 to 1984 he was in Paris. After a period in London he was in Ankara as Head of Chancery from 1987..In 1990 he was Deputy Private Secretary to HRH The Prince of Wales, and in 1993 was sent to Washington to serve as a Counsellor. Later postings included Director for the Americas in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Deputy Under Secretary of State..From 2002–06, Westmacott was HM Ambassador to Turkey where, in 2003, he dealt with a suicide bomb attack directed at the British Consulate in Istanbul, killing 15 people; thereafter he was closely involved in negotiations attempting to bring Turkey into the EU. Formerly HM Ambassador to France since 2007, he took over as HM Ambassador to the United States in January 2012..The Prime Minister's Office announced Westmacott's appointment on 24 June 2011..

Patrick Barnabas Burke Mayhew, Baron Mayhew of Twysden, PC (born 11 September 1929), is a barrister and Conservative Party politician..Mayhew was educated at Tonbridge School and Balliol College, Oxford. He was called to the Bar from the Middle Temple in 1955...

Westmacott, whose German-born wife was pregnant, was buried in a ceremony attended by SAS men in Sussex.

He became one of the first officers to be awarded a posthumous Military Cross.

His wife had a daughter soon after his death and has since remarried in Germany.

One SAS Ulster veteran said yesterday: "The Provos could easily have wiped out half a dozen RUC men. Our guys had no time to mess about."

Just a week before his death, Westmacott was chatting to a much-decorated senior officer. "What is it like to come under fire, sir?" he asked.

"You will know what to do. Your training and courage will take over," he was told.

The young officer replied: "I am worried, sir. I have this premonition that the first time it happens, I will be killed." to go on all-Fours; that is the Law.. Are we not Men..I must confess that I lost faith in the sanity of the world..But there are times when the little cloud spreads, until it obscures the sky.. And those times I look around at my fellow men and I am reminded of some likeness of the beast-people, and I feel as though the animal is surging up in them.. And I know they are neither wholly animal nor holy man, but an unstable combination of both...

Last edited by lightgiver; 09-09-2014 at 06:22 PM.
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