Narrow Water: Beauty spot falls silent for IRA victims

A hush descended over a Northern Ireland beauty spot yesterday as families and ex-servicemen marked the 30th anniversary of an IRA double bombing which claimed the lives of 18 soldiers and a civilian.







The massacre beside Narrow Water Castle at Warrenpoint, Co Down resulted in the army's largest single loss of life in more than 35 years during the conflict.



The two bombs were detonated on the same day the Queen's cousin Lord Mountbatten was murdered in an IRA bomb attack on his fishing boat off the west coast of Ireland.



As friends and staff of the Mountbattens held a church memorial in Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, former soldiers and relatives of those killed at Warrenpoint huddled in the rain as the names of the 18 army victims were read out.



A lone piper played a lament and wreaths of poppies were laid by military and political representatives, among them Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson.



"I well remember as a child hearing the explosions here at Narrow Water and not knowing then the tragic loss of life which had occurred," Mr Donaldson said.



"I think it's appropriate that we remember the contribution that the soldiers made to help get us to where we are today, which is thankfully a more peaceful society."



The first explosion at Narrow Water slaughtered 16 members of the Parachute Regiment, the second killed two members of the Queen's Own Highlanders who had been sent to the scene.



Civilian Michael Hudson was shot dead while bird watching on a nearby island when soldiers opened fire across Carlingford Lough into the Irish Republic from where they believed bombers had detonated the devices.



His name was not included in the roll call. Organisers said they have been unable to trace relatives to ask their permission.



Prayers were read, hymns sung and a silence held in memory of the men during the service.



Narrow Water was the biggest single loss of life in any one attack during the Troubles until the 1998 Real IRA Omagh bomb atrocity killed 29 people, including a mother pregnant with twins.



Mr Donaldson said the attack had impacted on the entire community.



"I know from speaking to many other people that in the quietness of their own homes they will be also remembering the soldiers here today," he added.



Neal Dance was an 18-year-old private with the Parachute Regiment when he was sent to help look for survivors amid the carnage at the scene.



Mr Dance, originally from Somerset in south west England, travelled from Toronto to attend the memorial.



"I feel peaceful today. I just needed to come and be here and I was very moved by the ceremony," he said.



"This is the first time I've been back since it happened and I just wanted to show my respect to the guys - every one of those 16 paratroopers was our friend."



Terry Wood's 19-year-old brother Anthony Wood was killed in the Warrenpoint massacre.



"It's something that never goes away. I've lived for 30 years with the pain of my brother's death and I've seen it in my own family. It's important to keep that memory going," Mr Wood said.



"I came here to never let the people that did it forget, and to show them that we'll never forget.



"I'll be here for the 40th, the 50th and the 60th anniversary if I'm still breathing."

From The Belfast Telegraph

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: .NET Web Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£14616 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading specialist in Electronic Ci...

Recruitment Genius: Pre-Press / Mac Operator / Artworker - Digital & Litho Print

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: With year on year growth and a reputation for ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Live Virtual Training / Events

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Manager is required t...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003