County lodge tribute to murdered brethren

Edward Stevenson, right, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, and Hugh Stewart, Grand Master of the County Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge, pictured at the Service of Unveiling and Dedication of the County Londonderry Grand Lodge Memorial Bannerette in St. Lurach�"s Church, Maghera.
Edward Stevenson, right, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, and Hugh Stewart, Grand Master of the County Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge, pictured at the Service of Unveiling and Dedication of the County Londonderry Grand Lodge Memorial Bannerette in St. Lurach�"s Church, Maghera.

A new bannerette has been unveiled in memory of 18 Orangemen from Co Londonderry who were murdered by terrorists during the Troubles.

A special service of remembrance took place in Maghera last weekend attended by relatives of the deceased and several hundred brethren.

The banner tribute, bearing the names of the deceased, was unveiled at St Lurach's Parish Church by the County Grand Master of County Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge, Hugh Stewart.

An act of remembrance took place in memory of the 333 members of the Institution killed in the Troubles.

The overwhelming majority of the Co Londonderry brethren were members of the RUC or the Ulster Defence Regiment. The 18 Orangemen lost their lives over a 22-year period between 1972 and 1994.

The first victim was Joseph Forsythe, a builder’s labourer, who was killed alongside a work colleague when an IRA van bomb went off outside Limavady RUC station.

The Ballykelly man was sitting in a car which took the full force of the blast.

Other fatalities included James Speers, 46, from Desertmartin, who was shot by the IRA in November 1976. Two days later, Winston McCaughey, 33, from Kilrea was murdered outside his home. Both served with the UDR.

One of five RUC reservists remembered is Winston Finlay from Ballyronan. The 44-year-old was killed by gunmen in front of his wife as he returned to his home after visiting relatives in August 1987. Constable Finlay had previously served with the UDR.

Among those paying his respects at the service was the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson.

He said: “I commend County Londonderry Grand Lodge for commissioning this memorial bannerette. It will be carried as a permanent tribute to those 18 Orangemen, ensuring their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

“The Institution, as a whole, will always remember our murdered brethren and will always support their families.”

Also in attendance was Millar Farr, Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black. The religious service was conducted by the Rev Terence Kerr.

The bannerette is in memory of: Joseph Forsythe; John Arrell; Robert Lennox; Arthur McKay; James Speer; Winston McCaughey; Samuel Armour; William Greer; David McQuillan; Arthur McGraw; Alan Ritchie; Brown McKeown; Harry Henry; Norman Kennedy; Winston Finlay; Robert Glover; Hubert Gilmore and Alan Smyth.