The Shorland is an armoured patrol car that was designed specifically for the Royal Ulster Constabulary by Frederick Butler. The first design meeting took place in November 1961. The third and final prototype was completed in 1964 and the first RUC Shorlands were delivered in 1966. They were reallocated to the Ulster Defence Regiment in 1970. The Royal Ulster Constabulary soon replaced the Shorland with an armoured Land Rover with more conventional profile and no machine gun turret.

Shorland Internal Security Vehicle
A Mk1 Shorland Internal Security Vehicle
TypeArmoured car
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
In serviceRoyal Ulster Constabulary
Ulster Defence Regiment
WarsThe Troubles
Lebanese Civil War
Rhodesian Bush War
Second Malayan Emergency
Internal conflict in Burma
Sri Lankan Civil War
Libyan Civil War
Production history
ManufacturerShort Brothers and Harland
Length4.60 m (15 ft 1 in)
Width1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Height2.29 m (7 ft 6 in)

7.62×51mm NATO machine gun
EngineRover petrol
91 hp (68 kW)
Suspension4 X 4
260–510 km (160–320 mi)
Maximum speed 88 km/h (55 mph)

The vehicles were built by Short Brothers and Harland of Belfast using the chassis from the Series IIA Land Rover.

By the nineties, the Land Rover Tangi, designed and built by the Royal Ulster Constabulary's own vehicle engineering team, was by far the most common model of armoured Land Rover.

Shorts and Harland continued to develop the original Shorland from an armoured patrol car with a crew of three to an armoured personnel vehicle, capable of carrying two up front and six in the rear; a small number of these were used on the streets in Northern Ireland as late as 1998.

In 1996, the Short Brothers sold the complete Shorland design to British Aerospace Australia.

They were also used by the RAF Police in Germany in the 1990s for Special Weapons (Nuclear) escort duties.

Design Edit

The Shorland is a long wheelbase Land Rover with the turret similar in appearance to that of a Mk 2 Ferret scout car. The vehicle has upgraded suspension to deal with the extra weight of the armour.[1]

August 1969 deployment Edit

In August 1969 widespread sectarian violence and street unrest broke out in Northern Ireland, set against the backdrop of the ongoing Northern Ireland civil rights movement. In response the RUC deployed Shorland armored cars in Belfast, initially in a crowd control role.[2] On 14 August an IRA unit[3] opened fire on RUC officers and loyalist militants gathered at the intersection of Dover and Divis Street, at the edge of the predominantly Catholic district. Protestant Herbert Roy (26) was killed[4] and three officers were wounded.[5] Police responded with bursts from Sterling submachine guns.[6] At this point, the RUC, misinterpreting the unrest as an IRA uprising, deployed the Shorlands in a live-fire role,[7] and their .30 calibre bullets reportedly "tore through walls as if they were cardboard".[8] In response to the RUC coming under fire at Divis Street, three Shorlands were requested. The Shorlands came under fire, and were also attacked with an explosive device and petrol bombs. The RUC believed that the shots had come from the Divis Flats complex. RUC officers inside the Shorlands opened fire with their turret-mounted machine-guns. At least thirteen Divis flats were recorded struck in the hail of gunfire. A nine-year-old boy, Patrick Rooney, was killed instantly by Shorland machine-gun fire as he lay in bed in one of the flats. He was the first child fatality during the violence.[9]

The Republican Labour Party MP for Belfast Central, Paddy Kennedy, who was in the vicinity, phoned RUC headquarters and pleaded with Northern Ireland Minister for Home Affairs, Robert Porter, for the Shorlands to be withdrawn and the shooting to cease. Porter responded that this was impossible as "the whole town is in rebellion". Porter told Kennedy that Donegall Street police station was under heavy machine-gun fire when in actual fact it was undisturbed during the entirety of the unrest.[10] Following the shooting of Catholic man Hugh McCabe in the Divis complex, a mob of 200 loyalists attacked Divis Street and began burning Catholic homes there.[11] Six IRA members in St Comgall's School opened fire with rifle and submachinegun fire, repelling the invasion and wounding eight.[12] Shortly afterwards an RUC Shorland appeared and opened fire on the school,[11] but the IRA unit returned fire and escaped.[7]

The Scarman Tribunal later commissioned by the UK Government to investigate the Northern Ireland violence of August 1969 was highly critical of the RUC's deployment of Shorland armoured cars:

The use of Browning machine-guns in Belfast on 14 August and 15 August... was a menace to the innocent as well as the guilty, being heavy and indiscriminate in its fire: and on one occasion (the firing into St Brendan's block of flats where the boy Rooney was killed) its use was wholly unjustifiable[7]

Variants Edit

Mk 1 Edit

  • 67 bhp (50 kW) engine

Mk 2 Edit

  • 77 bhp (57 kW) engine

Mk 3 Edit

  • Introduced in 1972
  • 91 bhp (68 kW) engine
  • Thicker armour than Mk 1, Mk 2

Mk 4 Edit

  • Production started in 1980
  • 3.5 litre Rover V8 petrol engine
  • Improved armour over Mk 3

Series 5 Edit

  • Based on the Defender 110 chassis
  • 3.5 litre Rover V8 petrol engine or 2.5 litre Rover Tdi Turbo diesel engine
  • Welded armour fully enclosed body.
  • Versions
    • S5 - Prototype Armoured Patrol Car
    • S51 - Armoured Patrol Car
    • S52 - Armoured Patrol Car
    • S53 - Air Defence Vehicle
    • S54 - Anti-hijack Vehicle
    • S55 - Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC)

Current and former operators Edit

Former Netherlands Police vehicle

See also Edit

  • Shorland S600, an armoured personnel carrier developed in 1995 based on the Mercedes-Benz Unimog

Notes Edit

  1. ^ "The Shorland Armoured Car | Royal Irish - Virtual Military Gallery".
  2. ^ Geraghty, Tony. The Irish War: The hidden conflict between the IRA and British Intelligence. JHU Press, 2000. p.21.
  3. ^ Bishop, Mallie, p109, Hanley, Millar, p127
  4. ^ Sutton Index of Deaths: 1969 Archived 19 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Conflict Archive on the Internet.
  5. ^ Hastings, Max. Going to the Wars. Pan Macmillan, 2001. p.39.
  6. ^ "The circumstances of the deaths of Patrick Rooney, Hugh McCabe, Samuel McLarnon and Michael Lynch in Belfast on 15 August 1969" (PDF). Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. 5 May 2021. pp. 109–111.
  7. ^ a b c Violence and Civil Disturbances in Northern Ireland in 1969 – Report of Tribunal of Inquiry Archived 27 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1972.
  8. ^ Coogan, Tim Pat. The Troubles. pp.91–92.
  9. ^ All of the Patrick Rooney incident from; McKittrick, David. Lost Lives. Mainstream, 1999. pp. 34–36
  10. ^ All of the Kennedy/Porter exchange from, Bishop, Mallie, The Provisional IRA, p111
  11. ^ a b Hastings, p.45
  12. ^ Bishop, Mallie, p 112
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Trade Registers". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  14. ^ The Military Balance 2021, p. 472.
  15. ^ The Military Balance 2021, p. 473.
  16. ^ Monteiro, Berliet, Chaimite e UMM – Os Grandes Veículos Militares Nacionais (2018), p. 36.
  17. ^ Locke & Cooke, Fighting Vehicles and Weapons of Rhodesia 1965-80 (1995), p. 94.

References Edit

External links Edit