On 27 August 1979, a convoy from A Company 2 PARA was heading towards the town of Newry. As they passed Narrow Water Castle, a 500lb (226 kg) bomb hidden among hay bales in a trailer was detonated by remote control.
A 4 ton vehicle was destroyed and six members of A Company died in the blast. The convoy then came under fire from the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and A Company returned fire.
As an airborne reaction force was en route, A Company took up positions near a gatehouse which was only a short distance away.
The terrorists had identified this as a likely deployment spot and had placed a second bomb there. The second 1000lb (453 kg) device was not detonated until Lt Col Blair and Major Fursman were both in the vicinity. The devastating blast killed them both, alongside ten other soldiers. Miraculously, the helicopter, which was in the process of evacuating the first casualties, survived.
This terrorist action resulted in the British Army’s greatest loss of life in a single incident in Northern Ireland with 18 men killed.