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Network Members’ Digital Exhibition

RUC Hat

(Decorum NI)

“The photograph shows a standard issue RUC uniform hat. This was the hat worn by Sergeant Jim Craig when he was on duty in August 1979 and answered a call along with a colleague, to a reported burglary in Benburb Street in south Belfast. Unknown to the two police officers, the call was bogus, and the IRA had taken over a house opposite to the address they were attending. When they arrived and knocked at the door, the IRA gunman opened fire hitting Sgt Craig in the head. He fell to the ground, drifting in and out of consciousness.

The first bullet hit the top of his head (the trajectory of the bullet can be seen in the photograph), the second bullet hit his right temple. He was temporarily blinded and paralysed, but recovered from this. He had to have several skin grafts, and had to learn how to walk again. Today he still suffers from numbness in parts of his body, partial deafness, and has some difficulty walking. However, he considers himself lucky as his hat had been sitting higher on his head than normal due to the fact that he was long overdue a haircut!

That lack of a haircut may well have saved Jim Craig’s life!”