Mid-Ulster Mail – Saturday 27 April 1957
Booby-Trap Bomb Injures Coagh Constable
Constable William John Power, of Coagh, sustained severe injuries to his left leg and foot and minor facial injuries when a bomb – planted as a booby trap – exploded at Clunto Aerodrome about eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.
The 30 year old constable was attempting to remove a Tricolour from the top of a 50-foot water tower.
As he reached the top of the ladder leading to the side of the tower, there was a thorn bush placed as an obstruction. On his removing it there was a violent explosion.
The bomb went off above his head and he was thrown backwards onto a narrow platform surrounding the base of the water tower, and 40 feet from the ground.
He was seriously wounded, his injuries including a severed artery in the left leg, but with great presence of mind he removed his revolver lanyard and used it as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. By doing so he probably saved his life.
Ambulance men and police had great difficulty in bringing the constable down the narrow steel ladder and eventually they had to use a type of sling. He was removed by ambulance to the Mid-Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt, where he was given several blood transfusions.
Constable Power, who is a native of Broughshane, Ballymena, was married just over three weeks ago to Miss Gladys Ferguson of Moneymore Road, Cookstown.
A police official in Belfast on Sunday night stated, ‘It was a fiendish and cunningly contrived booby trap.’
Following the incident there was intense police activity in the district and three local men were detained.
The flag was removed from the tower on Tuesday afternoon by police and members of the RAF. Earlier they had contemplated blowing up the tower to dispose of the flag, but this was not necessary.
Fire at Aerodrome
Around two o’clock on Tuesday morning RAF stores in a hut at the airfield were damaged by an outbreak of fire. The windows of the hut were smashed with stones and two lighted petrol tins thrown into the building, in which there were two civilian watchmen. Cookstown fire brigade were called out and quickly extinguished the blaze. There is only a skeleton staff on the airfield at present.