Narrow Water: Beauty spot falls silent for IRA victims
Friday 28 August 2009
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
Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 3 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 4 Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence referendum live: Latest news as Scotland votes Yes or No
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Scottish independence: Almost half of No voters have felt 'personally threatened' by the Yes campaign
Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you looking for a full...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: The Job We are currently recruit...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: Randstad Education can provide you wit...