Political violence in the Troubles: 1972-1973

This timeline chronicles known examples of paramilitary and politically motivated violence during the Troubles, between 1972 and 1973. This chronologies are regularly updated as new information becomes available. We welcome information about errors or incidents not listed here. The term “civilian” is used for individuals or victims with no known or established political or paramilitary affiliations.

1972
January 5th: An IRA sniper shoots dead a British soldier patrolling the Lower Falls area of Belfast.
January 7th: British troops kill an IRA member during a gun battle in Belfast.
January 12th: An IRA team shoots dead an off duty RUC officer in Belfast.
January 13th: An IRA sniper shoots dead a UDR soldier in County Antrim.
January 18th
: A Catholic civilian from Belfast is murdered after he provides police with information about an IRA operation.
January 21st: A British soldier is fatally wounded after treading on a landmine laid by the IRA in County Armagh.
January 27th: The IRA fire on a RUC vehicle in Derry, killing two officers.
January 28th: An off-duty RUC officer is killed when IRA gunmen fire on a garage in Belfast.
January 30th
: ‘Bloody Sunday’: British soldiers open fire on civil rights protesters in Bogside, Derry, killing 14 people and injuring others.
February 1st: An IRA sniper shoots dead a patrolling British soldier in the Falls area of Belfast.
February 2nd: A Catholic bar in Stewartstown, County Tyrone, is bombed, killing one civilian.
February 5th: Two IRA personnel are killed when a bomb they were carrying across Lough Neagh accidentally explodes.
February 8th: Red Hand Commando members shoot dead a Catholic man on Crumlin Road, Belfast.
February 10th: The RUC shoot dead an IRA volunteer during a gunfight in County Antrim. In County Armagh, two British soldiers are killed when their armoured vehicle is destroyed by an IRA landmine.
February 13th: An off-duty British soldier is killed by the IRA in the southern town of Newtonbutler, County Fermanagh.
February 16th: IRA gun attacks in Derry and County Down leave two British soldiers dead.
February 22nd: The Official IRA detonates a car bomb near a British Army building in Aldershot, England, killing seven soldiers. The attack was in retaliation to the ‘Bloody Sunday’ shootings of the previous month.
March 4th: A bomb, likely planted by the Provisional IRA, explodes in the Abercorn Restaurant in central Belfast, killing two civilians and injuring more than 130.
March 4th: A UDR captain is kidnapped and murdered by operatives from the Official IRA.
March 20th: The Provisional IRA detonates a car bomb on Donegall Street, central Belfast. The blast kills even people: four civilians, two RUC officers and a Loyalist UDR volunteer.
April 14th: The Provisional IRA detonates 24 bombs in numerous locations across Northern Ireland, injuring dozens of people and causing significant property damage.
April 22nd: The British Army fire rubber bullets into a Catholic crowd in Belfast. An 11-year-old boy, Francis Rowntree, is hit in the head by a rubber bullet and killed.
May 13th-14th: A British soldier and a Provisional IRA member are killed during two days of gunfights in Springmartin, Belfast.
May 25th: The Official IRA kidnaps and murders a British soldier from Derry while he is on leave, leading to public outrage.
June 8th: A member of the Garda Siochana, the Republic of Ireland police, is killed by a roadside bomb near the border with County Fermanagh.
July 9th: Five civilians, three of them teenagers, are shot dead by British Army snipers as they staked out a timber yard in Springhill, Belfast. Another five people are killed in violence elsewhere in the city.
July 16th: Tobias Molloy, an 18-year-old IRA volunteer, is killed by a rubber bullet in Strabane, County Tyrone.
July 19th: Alan Jack, a five-month-old baby, is killed when a Provisional IRA bomb explodes in central Strabane. Alan is the young child to die during the Troubles.
July 21st: ‘Bloody Friday’: the Provisional IRA detonate 26 bombs in various locations around Belfast, killing 11 and injuring 130.
July 31st: An unknown person or group explodes three car bombs on the main street of Claudy, County Londonderry, killing nine people and injuring 30. The Provisional IRA denies responsibility for the bombings.
August 3rd: A Scottish-born British Army bomb disposal officer is killed while trying to defuse an IRA bomb in Strabane, County Tyrone.
August 7th: Two British soldiers, aged 21 and 22, are killed by IRA land mines while on patrol near Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh. In Newtonbutler the IRA shoots dead an off duty UDR soldier.
August 26th: Two UDR soldiers are killed by an IRA bomb while inspecting an abandoned car near Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.
August 28th: A Protestant farmer in Newtonbutler is killed by a Provisional IRA booby trap he discovered in his field.
September 10th: Three British soldiers, all aged in their early 20s, are killed by a Provisional IRA land mine near Dungannon.
September 14th: A 91-year-old woman, Martha Smilie, is killed by a UVF car bomb in Belfast. She is considered the oldest victim of the Troubles.
September 21st: Near Derrylin in County Fermanagh, IRA gunmen enter the home of an UDR soldier and murder him and his wife.
October 16th: Two Official IRA volunteers are shot dead by British soldiers at a vehicle checkpoint in Ardboe, County Tyrone.
October 22nd: An off duty UDR soldier, aged 22, is shot dead at his farm in County Fermanagh by the IRA.
October 24th: Two Catholic civilians are stabbed to death in County Fermanagh. Two British soldiers are later convicted of murder and given life sentences for the killings.
October 31st: Red Hand Commandos shoot a Catholic civilian as he worked in Belfast.
November 11th: Red Hand Commandos enter a shop in Crumlin Road, Belfast, and shoot dead the Catholic owner.
November 16th: An IRA booby trap explodes beneath the car of an off duty RUC officer in Enniskillen, killing him.
November 28th: A Provisional IRA team fire rocket-propelled grenades at an RUC base in Belleek, County Fermanagh. One grenade hits a RUC in the chest, killing him.
December 7th: The Provisional IRA abduct and execute Jean McConville, a Catholic woman who had given aid to a wounded British soldier.
December 16th: A 26-year-old IRA volunteer is found dead from gunshot wounds in his butcher’s shop.
December 20th: Loyalist gunmen attack the Top of the Hill in Derry, killing five civilians (four Catholics and a Protestant).
December 27th: The Provisional IRA kidnap and execute Thomas Niedermayer, a German businessman and consul. In Strabane, a 22-year-old IRA volunteer is shot and killed by a British Army patrol.

1973
January 1st: Two men are shot dead by Loyalists near Burnfoot, County Donegal.
January 14th: An IRA booby trap explodes in Derry, killing two RUC officers. Another RUC officer is killed by an IRA land mine in Cappagh, County Tyrone.
January 20th: A Loyalist car bomb explodes in Sackville Place, Dublin, killing a 25-year-old man.
January 30th: A UDA volunteer, Francis Smith, is shot dead in Belfast by the IRA.
January 31st: A 14-year-old Catholic boy, Philip Rafferty, is kidnapped and murdered by Loyalists in Belfast while on his way to band practice.
January 31st: A 17-year-old Catholic, Gabriel Savage, is shot and killed while walking along a road in Belfast.
February 1st: A civilian is killed by a UFF grenade in Belfast, apparently because he had been doing construction work on a local Catholic primary school.
February 1st: An IRA gunman shoots dead a British soldier in Strabane, County Tyrone.
February 2nd: A 21-year-old Protestant civilian, James Greer, is shot dead by the IRA in Belfast. The body of a murdered Catholic civilian, Patrick Brady, is also found in the city.
February 3rd: Two men are shot dead in Belfast, one a Catholic civilian, the other an IRA volunteer.
February 4th
: British soldiers shoot dead a Provisional IRA member and three civilians in Belfast. Three other people are killed in unrelated incidents elsewhere in the city.
February 7th: Loyalists organise a general strike and shutdown of business, attacking those that remain open. Dozens of businesses are bombed or set ablaze and four people are killed.
February 8th: The Provisional IRA starts its bombing campaign on the British mainland by planting four bombs in London. Two of the bombs explode, killing one person and injuring 200 others.
February 10th: Two IRA volunteers are killed when an explosive device detonates prematurely in Strangford, County Down.
February 18th: Loyalist gunmen attack Catholics in Belfast, shooting two dead.
February 20th: Two British soldiers are shot and killed by the IRA during a gun attack in Belfast.
February 25th: A nine-year-old Catholic boy, Gordon Gallagher, is killed at his home in Derry, after finding an IRA bomb hidden in the family’s garden.
February 27th: Two RUC officers are gunned down and killed by the IRA in Moira, County Antrim.
March 8th: Two Provisional IRA car bombs explode in London, killing one man and injuring more than 200 people. Two other IRA bombs are located and defused. This heralds the start of the Provisional IRA’s bombing campaign on the British mainland.
March 8th: In Belfast, a British soldier at a checkpoint is shot dead by an IRA sniper, while a Catholic civilian is also killed by Loyalists.
March 17th: A 19-year-old UFF member dies when a bomb he was transporting in his car detonates near Strabane, County Tyrone.
March 23rd: The Provisional IRA lures a British Army patrol to a house in Belfast. Three British soldiers are shot dead. Elsewhere in Belfast, Loyalists shoot dead a Catholic civilian.
May 5th: An IRA booby trap kills three British soldiers near Crossmaglen, County Armagh.
May 13th: Provisional IRA operatives bomb a British Army patrol in Belfast, killing two soldiers. In County Tyrone an IRA volunteer was killed while attempting to run a UDR checkpoint.
May 17th: A booby trap planted by the Provisional IRA kills five off-duty British soldiers in Omagh, County Tyrone. In Belfast, Loyalists kill two Catholic civilians.
May 22nd: Thomas Friel, a 21-year-old Catholic civilian, is shot by a rubber bullet during unrest in Derry. He dies five days later.
May 24th: Two British soldiers searching a house in Cullaville, County Armagh are ambushed and killed by IRA volunteers.
May 31st: UFF and UVF paramilitaries attack three Catholic bars in Belfast, killing two people and injuring more than 20 others.
June 2nd: Loyalist paramilitaries shoot dead two Protestant civilians in Belfast.
June 5th: A 22-year-old RUC officer is shot and killed from a moving vehicle in Enniskillen.
June 12th: A Provisional IRA car bomb detonates in Coleraine, County Londonderry, killing six Protestant civilians, all of them over the age of 60. In Belfast, a Catholic civilian is shot dead by the British Army.
June 21st: A British Army dog handler is killed by an explosion while searching for IRA booby traps in Ballycolman, County Tyrone.
June 25th: A Provisional IRA bomb detonates prematurely near Omagh, killing the three IRA volunteers transporting it.
June 26th: Paddy Wilson, an SDLP politician, and his female secretary are kidnapped and murdered by Loyalist paramilitaries. Their bodies are dumped in a Belfast quarry. Two other Catholic civilians die in Derry, one killed by the IRA, the other by the British Army.
September 5th: A 21-year-old Catholic civilian, Patrick Duffy, is killed by a bomb while driving his tractor in County Fermanagh.
September 7th: An off duty UDR soldier is shot dead while on a milk round near Belcoo, County Fermanagh.
October 12th: A 24-year-old Catholic civilian is killed when the Provisional IRA bomb a shop in Annaghmore, County Fermanagh.
December 15th: A 20-year-old IRA volunteer dies after a bomb he was carrying detonates prematurely outside Strabane. County Tyrone.
December 24th: The Provisional IRA bombs two London pubs on Christmas Eve. No people are killed but several sustain serious injuries.

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