Marie Breen-Smyth, Associate Dean International, University of Surrey, talks to Samuel Malcolmson about the injuries he received during the Troubles and how his life has been affected.

Samuel had joined the RUC in 1969. In 1972, Samuel Malcolmson was stationed in Crossmaglen in South Armagh. He and a colleague drove into an ambush, both were shot in the back but managed to make it back to their police station. “I do owe my life to him because he was able to control the car to the police station, I think he was just about to pass out, he actually crashed into the gates.”

Samuel was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where he spent nine months. “My two legs were out of action for quite a while, but then lucky enough one of my legs came back to full use but the left leg is left with paralysis.”

Samuel continues to suffer from severe back pains and shooting pains up and down his leg. He has to use elbow crutches to walk long distances. “The home and the car are my life, as far as walking is concerned I would do as little as possible because it triggers the pain.”  

“Pain can leave you sometimes very depressed and in a bad mood.”  His family have lived with this for 40 years and Samuel is very grateful of their support. “To date we’ve survived, a lot of that is down to the guidance of my wife.”  

Although it has affected his everyday life, Samuel is still determined to keep a level of independence.

Samuel still thinks about the man who shot him. “I still want to meet the person who pulled the trigger and I’m convinced I know him. Circumstances would narrow it down to a couple of people. There is not a day in life that goes by when I don’t think of that person, when he and the person with him shot me,  so I still want to meet that person, I want to sit eye to eye and talk to them.”  

This interview was supported by the WAVE Trauma Centre, University of Surrey and the Community Relations Council.

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