Early Days

Changing Times

Final Period

The first application forms to join The Ulster Defence Regiment were available in police stations and army careers offices from 1st January 1970, shortly afterwards they could be obtained from public libraries and post offices through out Northern Ireland. All men between the age of 18 & 55 of good character normally living in Northern Ireland. The army were interested in recruiting men from both religions. Each person would be strictly vetted at army headquarters before being consisted for a 3 year contract in The UDR.

The first two recruits were sworn in on the 18th February 1970. James Mc Aree was a 19 year old Catholic Bookmakers clerk, with Albert Richmond who was a 47 year old Protestant.

The first UDR Commanding Officer was 49 year old Brigadier Logan Scott- Bowden. Scott- Bowden came from Moresby, Cumberland who was educated at Malvern College and Royal Military College, Woolwich before being commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1939.

The UDR was formed into 7 battalions; one for each county and one for the City of Belfast. They were numbered as follows:

1. Antrim
2. Armagh
3. Down
4. Fermanagh
5. Londonderry
6. Tyrone
7. City of Belfast






The regiment was to be manned by 6000 men with the assistance of up to 200 regular army personnel, making The UDR the largest regiment in the British Army. While the members were on duty they were bound by military law, although they were only on a part-time contract.

The aim of The UDR was to protect Northern Ireland from terrorist attack by the way of guarding key installations and patrolling the country carrying out check points and road blocks as and when required, The UDR was not to take any part in public orders duties or serve outside the Province.

By the time The UDR went operational on the 1st April 1970 it had a strength of 2440; of which 946 were Catholics. On the 30th April 1970 the 400 members of the regiment carried out it's first operation called Operation Mulberry, aiding 1600 regular troops to carry out an all night search for terrorist arms by setting up check points on the border roads throughout Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh.


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