When British troops went in to Northern Ireland
August 1969 was a turning point in the history of Northern Ireland. It was then that the Labour Government of Harold Wilson took the decision to send troops onto the streets, first of Derry, then of Belfast.
The measure was presented as temporary – troops were needed, they said, because, with riots sweeping the streets, with huge parts of Derry and Belfast sealed off behind barricades and with pogroms starting to develop, it was clear that the Unionist government at Stormont had lost control. It was to be a ‘stop gap’. The troops would be withdrawn ‘as soon as law and order is restored’.