Major General Mike Reynolds, the Queen's Regiment, recalls some tense episodes when stationed in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s.
Mike Reynolds
Major General Mike Reynolds

Suddenly, over the radio came a message saying there’s trouble in the Diamond. So I drove straight down to the Diamond to find a huge stone throwing, bottle throwing mob, Catholics and Protestants against each other. And Mr Hume, John Hume, was there and I drove straight into the middle of it and found him. And he said “Major, you’d better get some people here, get more troops here, this is getting out of control”. And he stood on top of the landrover and appealed to them to disperse and they wouldn’t. And in fact, I think it was an occasion, yes, when a Protestant had been kicked to death and so there were pretty angry people about. And I stood in the middle with John Hume and they all stopped throwing everything to listen to Hume and the British Army major with his landrover. And then suddenly they came from both sides, and I got hit on the head with a, I’m not sure whether it was a bottle on my head and a stone on my hand or the other way around. Anyway, I ended up in a pool of blood on the floor, which taught me a lesson: never go between a Catholic and a Protestant crowd. Anyway, I had got a message back to Battalion Headquarters and at least one, if not two companies came marching to the rescue and the crowd eventually dispersed. And I was patched up and it wasn’t serious anyway. But I did appear, I think, in the 'Daily Mirror', on the front page in fact, with blood all over my face and so on.
My children were about to go back to boarding school, to a Convent, and my wife rang up for them to say goodbye to Daddy. And at that precise moment, there was an Ulster bus outside the window that had been hijacked by a screaming mob of Catholics, who were threatening to burn it unless, I don’t know what, unless something. I mean you couldn’t tell. I remember they had this awful thing, "When you kill a British soldier, clap your hands, clap your hands" and they were all singing that, and it was a thoroughly nasty thing. And I had to pretend to my little daughters that there was nothing untoward going on while that was happening. They couldn’t hear it, of course.