The sign has now been replaced with one commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Clonoe Martyrs which takes place in a few weeks in East Tyrone.
Local republicans were contacted by the organisers, which includes the volunteers families and the East Tyrone Societies, who asked if we would help erect a number of signs highlighting the anniversary. We were only too happy to help.
Volunteer Kevin Barry O Donnell , Volunteer Patrick Vincent, Volunteer Sean O Farrell , Volunteer Peter Clancy were Killed in Action at Clonoe in 1992 , this will be marked by a Weekend of events , 16th - 18th Feb, organised by the Volunteers Families in association with the Eammon Ceannt Society Coalisland Clonoe, & the Thomas Clarke Society Dungannon.
On the 6th February 1992 the SAS launched a deadly ambush on an Active Service Unit of the IRA’s East Tyrone Brigade, killing four Volunteers – one with his hands in the air to surrender. The series of events that led to the slaughter began at 10.30pm on Sunday, 16 February 1992. Two East Tyrone ASUs positioned themselves in the centre of Coalisland to carry out a daring attack on the heavily-fortified RUC barracks in the town.
The unit that would actually carry out the attack was armed with a Russian-made DHSK 12.7mm heavy machine gun and AKM assault rifles. The machine gun was mounted on a tripod on the floor of a flatbed truck. Daringly, the attack unit drove up to the barracks and strafed the main observation post with a sustained burst of tracer fire from the heavy machine gun. Another IRA unit provided cover.
With the attack over, both units withdrew and headed towards the nearby Dernagh Cross before driving to the rendezvous point at St Patrick’s Church in Clonoe, where the weapons were to be checked in prior to being returned to their dumps.
The Volunteers began stripping down the heavy machine gun. After the weapon was immobilised, the SAS, lying in wait, opened fire.
Local people describe firing going on for at least ten minutes, with no fire returned by the Volunteers. An independent eyewitness saw one Volunteer attempting to surrender but cut down by withering SAS fire.
The backup unit, which had split into two cars and was travelling along different routes from Dernagh Crossroads, also came under sustained fire but all the Volunteers managed to escape.
Republicans in Newry will be mobilising for this fitting tribute for four brave IRA volunteers