Tyrone National Graves Association remembers Vol. Charles Breslin, brothers Vol. Micheal Devine and Vol. David Devine shot dead by British Army/SAS on 23 February 1985 in Strabane, County Tyrone, as they crossed open fields in darkness to dump weapons intended for an ambush which had been postponed. No warnings were given, over 100 rounds were fired. The volunteers bodies were left on the hillside for seven hours after their murder.
Vol. Charles Breslin was from Strabane’s Head of the Town area and was the youngest boy in a family of eight. He developed his political views at an early age and was an avid reader of Irish history. At the age of 15 he became a member of Fianna Éireann before joining the local unit of the IRA, where he proved to be a daring and committed Volunteer who worked hard to perfect his technical knowledge. He was an easy going individual with a great sense of humour who was a victim of constant harassment at the hands of the British Army and RUC.On one occasion he was taken to Castlereagh Interrogation Centre and was badly beaten by members of the RUC who then placed a plastic bag over his head until he lost consciousness. He spoke little of his ordeal for fear of upsetting his family.
Vol. David Devine was one of six children who grew up in the Strabane area of west Tyrone. A pupil of St Colman’s High School, he was regarded as a quiet but clever student. He joined the local Fianna Éireann when he was 14 years old and worked energetically to assist the local IRA unit before becoming a Volunteer in Óglaigh na hÉireann about six months before his death. His eldest brother, Hugh, was a former POW who died within a few short months of his release in 1983 and it is widely believed that a severe beating received at the hands of British soldiers was a contributory factor in his death. David was one of the youngest IRA Volunteers to be killed during this phase of the campaign. He was 16 years old.
Vol. Micheal Devine from Strabane, joined the IRA early in 1984 and rapidly proved himself to be a dedicated and capable Volunteer. A former Irish snooker champion, Michael was well known in Strabane and well-liked by all who knew him. Extremely security conscious, he discussed his deeply-held political beliefs only with his comrades. Thus to local people his tragic death and revelations of his republican involvement came as a total surprise. Micheal was a fully committed Volunteer for whom no task was too great or too small. He rapidly won the respect of his comrades as a careful planner who always did his utmost to ensure the safety of other Volunteers. As well as actively participating in operations against the crown forces he displayed great ability in Intelligence work.
Remember Charles, Micheal and David with Pride.