Off duty soldiers were lured to their deaths
The three Scottish soldiers killing took place on March 10, 1971.
Dougald McCaughey, as well as John and Joseph McCaig -aged 23, 17 and 18 - were serving with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Highland Fusiliers, stationed at Girdwood barracks in Belfast.
They were given an afternoon pass and headed for the Mooney’s, a Belfast city centre bar in Cornmarket, considered to be a safe area for British soldiers at the time.
While there, they were lured out by a group of women who promised them a party, a tactic that became know as a honeytrap.
But instead, they were taken to White Brae, Squire’s Hill, off the Ligoniel Road in North Belfast.
An inquest held later in 1971 could not determine the exact sequence of events, but it is believed all three were relieving themselves at the side of the road when two of them were shot in the head and one was shot in the chest by members of the Provisional IRA.
Their bodies were dumped on top of each other before being discovered by local kids at 9.30pm that night.
At the inquest, the coroner remarked: “You may think that this was not only murder, but one of the vilest crimes ever heard of in living memory.”
The trio were the fourth, fifth and sixth British soldiers to be killed in Northern Ireland, but the first to be killed while off duty.
All three funerals took place in Scotland but on the same day 20,000 people attended a memorial service in Belfast.
The killing caused an extreme crisis in the Northern Irish Government. Rev Ian Paisley called for the resignation of the government and 4,000 shipyard workers took to the streets to demand internment.
Northern Irish Prime Minister James Chichester-Clark eventually resigned when the UK Government refused to commit the additional number of troops he wanted to maintain order.
As well as forcing the British Army to review its security arrangements for off-duty soldiers, it also led to the minimum age of service in the province to be raised to18.
No-one has ever been convicted for the killings.
In 2012 the historical enquiries team published a report. It found IRA member Anthony Doherty was questioned over the murders, making admissions he was involved but had not shot the boys. Other names mentioned were Martin Meehan (died in 2007) and Patrick McAdorey, who was shot dead by the army on August 9, 1971.
It is also believed Sean Meehan, Martin’s brother, may have been involved. He turned informer and is now believed to be living in America.