EX-SERVICES personnel are appealing for family members of their late friend, who was killed by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb, to make contact and help them mark the 40th year since his death.

The conflict in Northern Ireland cast a shadow across the whole of the United Kingdom for decades. The causes to the troubles were very complex, with many factors fuelling the conflict including sectarian, religious and political.

In 1979, Paul Fryer, who lived in Garden Suburbs, Cross Keys, was despatched as a soldier to the province, as the Argus reported at the time.

Just three weeks later, he was killed after stepping on a hidden device which contained 500 lbs of explosive material.

He was only 18-years-old.

South Wales Argus:

The South Wales Argus covered Paul Fryer's death

Recalling his friend's death, M.E. Browne said: "Paul’s death was the first that many of us had experienced on an operational tour - but sadly for many not the last.

"It happened near the market town of Crossmaglen, South Armagh.

"I recall that immediately following his death, within camp there was an overwhelming feeling of sadness and shock that he had been killed so needlessly and that he would remain forever young. He will always be remembered as a fun loving 18-year-old.

"Every single one of us grew up that day as we became aware of conflict and the devastating effect it could have on a family."


Mr Browne, with a group of other personnel, are now arranging a gathering at the former soldier's grave to mark the poignant anniversary of Mr Fryer's death.

He also issued an appeal for family members to contact the group, so they can help mark the date.

"Paul was buried in a plot in Danygraig Cemetery, Risca, marked with a military headstone," he said.

"I visited the grave in 2018 with two close friends, Bob Stanbridge and Phil Wright, who also knew Paul well and served in Prince of Wales Company in Crossmaglen.

"Paul will never be forgotten by those of us who knew him and in this, the 40th year since he was killed, we will remember him at his graveside.

South Wales Argus:

Paul Fryer's grave

"We are aware that, although Paul's parents have passed on, he has relatives who are still visiting his grave. During our visit last year there were flowers and messages on the grave, although unsigned.

"We would dearly love to have any of Paul’s relatives with us when we remember him and hope that this short article will be seen by a relative who will get in touch."

If you are a family member, you are asked to contact Bob Stanbridge on 07770 972035