60 Years Ago: The Gough Barracks Raid

On June 12 1954, the Irish Republican Army staged a spectacular Military Operation, causing great embarrassment and alarm to the British Occupation when it carried out a massive arms raid at the British Army’s Gough Barracks in Armagh, the home of the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

In planing since January by the Dublin Brigade training officer Leo McCormick and it’s Intelligence Officer Eamonn Boyce, and GHQ representative Charlie Murphy, the plan was a daring one that saw an IRA Volunteer enlist in the British Army at Gough Barracks so as to gather the vital intelligence needed for the raid.

With the intelligence gathered, the IRA sprung into action launching the operation from a Farm house in Dundalk and 19 Volunteers of the Dublin Brigade commandeered a big red cattle truck and made their way over Britains illegal border to Armagh.

At 3pm on a busy Saturday the Volunteers arrived at Gough Baracks. The British sentry was quickly captured and 4 IRA Volunteers took the Guard House. An IRA sentry now dressed as a Brit soldier stood armed guard as the cattle truck drove into the barracks. With the guard house taken, the IRA made straight for the Armoury and the vital weapons. All other British soldiers encountered were tied up and held under armed guard including a high ranking officer.

Within just 20 minutes the IRA operation was completed and the Volunteers made there way back over the border having relieved the forces of Occupation of 340 rifles, 50 sten guns, 12 bren guns, and a significant number of small arms.

The Gough Barracks Raid was international news, and came at a time after the 1940s campaign when many believed the IRA had been beaten. In reality the IRA had been planning for the Border Campaign that would begin in 1956.

The Gough Barracks Raid demonstrates that even when Republicanism is at a low ebb it is never defeated, and the Phoenix will always rise from the flames until Britain is driven out and Ireland is a Sovereign, Independent 32 County Republic!

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