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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea