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RCT - Operation Banner


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Can anyone tell me what the number of RCT service coaches was in Northern Ireland during Operation Banner would have been?

 These were supplemented by vehicles operated on a private hire basis from Ulsterbus but there were a number of Strachans and Marshall bodied Bedford SB's in use in a variety of liveries included "Ulsterbus look-a-like" liveries. There were further ex-Ulsterbus vehicles operated with military drivers. Ulsterbus operated a covert driving school to train RCT drivers to drive PSV vehicles. I have been able to document these fairly accurately but want to complete the picture so to speak. 


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I can’t answer your question, but thought this photo may be of interest. I was with LAD REME, 18/26 Sqn RCT from 1972 to 1974, serving for a year in Lisburn and a year in Ballykelly, where the photo was taken. We had 2 or 3 coaches there and a few more in Lisburn, all painted in different colours, but all army coaches, not civilian.

Apologies for poor quality of picture.



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I think I accidentally captured the same vehicle (although it may be a different one because of the windscreen) at Portrush on a summer Saturday. The civilian number plates were changed regularly to fool the terrorists.

The Ulsterbus Leyland Leopard was on a civilian private hire. 

Screenshot (2687).png

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  • 2 years later...

hello ex-boy,  apologies, very late to the game,

my father was a REME vehicles Tiffy, he was posted to 18 SQN wksp in 1972, he came over from Fremington/Instow

looks like 4 April through 7 August, 

he was a SSGT, at the time, and left to go over to Celle, with 1RGJ LAD

as far as i recall he was based in Thiepval Barracks, he said was living in a caravan by the side of the SGTS mess, at that time I believe Magheralave Rd was open to traffic.  

if you have any photos / details of that time please message me, would love to find out more (good/bad)

many thanks,


I got to Lisburn much later Feb 1988 - April 1990.  had an interesting time,  got our MQ at Pond Park;  nicely re arranged courtesy of PIRA in December 88


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