I am proud of serving 25 years as a prison officer in the Maze

The Maze prison, where there was an escape in 1983

The Maze prison, where there was an escape in 1983

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Another anniversary of the Maze escape has come and gone.

I could hardly believe it was 33 years ago until I read that Martina Anderson said she was proud of that day. Well, Martina doesn’t come close to the memory I hold of that day.

I am proud that I was the prison officer who drove his car in to the main gate of the maze and block the lorry they were escaping in.

I am proud that when I open the door of the lorry and Gerry Kelly pointed his gun at me and told me to be quiet, I slammed the door in his face and shouted at the top of my voice a warning of the escape to my colleagues.

I am proud that when one of my colleagues was shot in the leg I rushed forward and recovered the weapon from the gunman.

I am proud I ran across the fields with three of my colleagues and captured four of them in the River Lagan about half a mile from the prison and handed them over to the RUC who returned them to the jail where they belonged.

I am proud I gave evidence at their trail when they were sentenced for escaping from lawful custody.

I am proud that I was awarded a commendation for bravery for the actions I took on the 25th September 1983.

I am proud that I served 25 years as a prison officer in the Maze prison and that my total service in the security forces spans all most 45 years.

I will always consider it the greatest privilege of my life to have served with the men and women of the Northern Ireland security forces particularly those who lost their lives through out the terrorist campaign during which Martina Anderson served 13 years in jail for IRA activity.

William McKane, Lurgan