Paddy Coyle, the boy behind defining image of the Troubles, passes away
News

Paddy Coyle, the boy behind defining image of the Troubles, passes away

THE FACE behind one of the most chilling images of the Northern Ireland 'Troubles' has passed away.

Paddy Coyle was 13 years old when he was pictured at a riot during the Battle of the Bogside in August 1969.

The image, showed the schoolboy in a World War II-era gas mask and holding a petrol bomb during violent clashes between Republican residents and the Royal Ulster Constabulary and local Unionists.

Taken by award-winning photographer Clive Limpkin, who passed away earlier this year, the chilling image became one of the most famous photographs of the civil unrest in Northern Ireland, and is acknowledged as a defining image of the era.

Advertisement

The photograph has since been immortalised in Rossville Street by artistic collective The Bogside Artists, made up of Kevin Hasson, Tom Kelly and Willie Kelly.

The artists-- two of whom are Paddy's cousins-- were among those who paid tribute to the Derry man following his death on Sunday, July 19.

"Even though the iconic image of Paddy as a young boy wearing a gas mask and holding a petrol bomb would become world famous  after we used Clie Limpkin's photo to create the Bogside Mural which people now come from all over the world to see and photograph, Paddy never ever exploited his iconic image," the artists said in a statement.

Image may contain: 4 people, outdoor A grown-up Paddy Coyle (second from left) pictured with his iconic image immortalised by the Bogside Artists (also pictured). Image: The Bogside Artists / Facebook

"He refused many offers from TV documentary makers and newspapers to tell his story behind the image as he didn't like talking about it.

Advertisement

"Paddy was committed to peace and reconciliation his whole life even during the years of the conflict and wrote poems on that topic.

"He will certainly be missed by all who knew and loved him, but his image as a young boy during the Battle of the Bogside in 1969 will live on forever in the famous Bogside Mural.

"God bless you Paddy Coyle, RIP."