Lights, camera, action as the B Specials are put in spotlight

By Derek Lord

Published: 10/10/2008

LAST weekend the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association held a meeting to commemorate its 40th anniversary.

During the course of the event one founding member praised the courage of all those who had risked life and limb to bring about social justice for all creeds in what was then a society where Protestantism ruled the roost. He went on to say that the movement had achieved its three main objectives through peaceful protest, namely one man/one vote, the disarming of the RUC and the disbandment of the B Specials.

The B Specials were an armed militia composed almost completely of Protestant loyalists. Indeed, the first gun I ever fired was a Lee Enfield rifle that belonged to a pal of mine who had joined the Bs. At weekends he would bring his weapon to a field near where we lived and give us turns at shooting a piece of paper pinned to a tree. Thinking back on it, I realise that what we were doing was probably highly illegal but it was much more exciting than trying to hit those wee metal ducks with an air rifle at the amusement park in Bangor.

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