Memorial to be unveiled marking 40 years since murder of Protestant family

Members of Closkelt RBP 449 pass close to the spot where the late Sir Knight William Herron was murdered  in Dromore. Mr Herron is commemorated on their banner.

Members of Closkelt RBP 449 pass close to the spot where the late Sir Knight William Herron was murdered in Dromore. Mr Herron is commemorated on their banner.

The leader of the Orange Order is set to attend a gathering to mark 40 years since the IRA murdered a Protestant family.

A granite memorial tablet is to be unveiled in Dromore, Co Down, next week – marking the 40th anniversary of the fire which killed William, Elizabeth and Noeline Herron – aged 64, 58 and 27, respectively.

An incendiary device had been planted at their drapery shop in Market Square.

The family lived above it, and suffocated to death.

The unveiling ceremony will be at Dromore Orange Hall on Thursday April 7, at 7.30pm, organised by the Dromore Orange Hall Committee.

The ceremony will be officiated by Church of Ireland cleric Rev Stanley Gamble, one of the Orange Order’s grand chaplains.

Orange Grand Master Edward Stevenson will be at the dedication, as well as Millar Farr, Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution.

Mr Herron was a member of both the Orange and Royal Black Institutions.

All members of the public are invited to attend the event.

The banner of his former preceptory, Closkelt RBP 449, already carries the inscription: “The late Sir Knight William Herron, a faithful member of RBP 449, who met his death at the hands of the enemies of Ulster, 7th April 1976 – though dead, yet speaketh.”

The Orange Order said: “Three people, including two women, were subsequently jailed in relation to the firebomb attack.

However, in 1985, the two sisters were given early release by the then Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Douglas Hurd, under the Royal Prerogative.

“The move prompted much anger and caused subsequent hurt to the Herron family, who continue to this day in their quest for justice.”