Operation Banner was the operational name for the British Armed Forces' operation in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 2007, as part of the Troubles. It was the longest continuous deployment in British military history. The British Army was initially deployed, at the request of the unionist government of Northern Ireland, in response to the August 1969 riots.
Its role was to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and to assert the authority of the British government in Northern Ireland. This involved counter-insurgency and supporting the police in carrying out internal security duties such as guarding key points, mounting checkpoints and patrols, carrying out raids and searches, riot control and bomb disposal. More than 300,000 soldiers served in Operation Banner.
At the peak of the operation in the 1970s, about 21,000 British troops were deployed, most of them from Britain. As part of the operation, a new locally-recruited regiment was also formed: the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).
The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) waged a guerrilla campaign against the British military from 1970 to 1997. Catholics welcomed the troops when they first arrived, because they saw the RUC as sectarian, but Catholic hostility to the British military's deployment grew after incidents such as the Falls Curfew in 1970, Operation Demetrius in 1971 and Bloody Sunday in 1972.
After the Belfast Agreement in 1998, the operation was gradually scaled down and the vast majority of British troops were withdrawn.
During the operation 1,441 British servicemen and women lost their lives.
Having served on three tours of Operation Banner myself and being friends with a few of the 1441, I wanted Tactical Coffee to honour the fallen, Tactical Coffee produced a coffee blend and named it ‘1441’ This coffee blend is made from 100% Washed and Polished Arabica Coffee beans from Guatemala and Colombia and is a Medium to Dark Roast.
While producing this blend we wanted to give something back to the Veteran Community, so we reached out on social media for a charity to support and decided to give a small donation of £1.00 from each sale of 1441 to Veterans in Action. (1441 is available here)
Veterans In Action (VIA) is a charity that helps veterans who suffer from the effects of war or who find it hard to adjust to civilian life. VIA use a unique program called the ALIVE Program that has three distinct stages that puts the onus on the individual to make the changes in order for them to move forward. To find out more about what VIA do and the ALIVE Program follow the link to their website www.veteransinaction.org.uk