Brother’s anniverary tribute to soldier murdered by IRA

The brother of a soldier killed by an IRA landmine in Fermanagh has marked the 50th anniversary of the murder by saying his family takes some comfort in the fact that a peace deal was eventually possible.

By Mark Rainey
Saturday, 6th August 2022, 6:30 am

David Wynne was part of a two-vehicle Royal Artillery mobile patrol in the Forfey area, around three miles from Lisnaskea, when it was attacked on the morning of August 7, 1972.

The 21-year-old from Wales was killed along with friend and colleague Errol Leroy Gordon. That evening, the IRA would also murder off-duty UDR member Harry Creighton outside his home in nearby Newtownbutler.

David Wynne’s brother Mike Wynne said his killing was a “terrible waste” and a “painful loss” for the family.

A press cutting reporting on the IRA landmine attack that claimed the lives of David Wynne and Errol Gordon on August 7, 1972.

“He was in the army... and saw a bigger purpose in trying to help bring peace to Northern Ireland,” Mike said.

“Even though he never lived to see it, for our family it is gratifying that in the end it has been achieved, and yes we know it’s still far from perfect.

“We all miss him and often speak of him, especially this time of the year.

“His life should have never been taken so young and I often think where the men are that murdered him and hope that one day if not already they see the folly of their ways and ask for their maker’s forgiveness - it was such a terrible waste and painful loss for our family”.

Murdered part-time UDR member Harry Creighton. SEFF image

Mike added: “David’s death eventually tore my family apart with my parents divorcing, my father went to live in Spain and remarried and had two sons and my mother eventually joined us in Australia. After David was murdered our lives changed and for one reason or another the whole family left the UK. David will always be in our thoughts and hearts – he was my brother”.

Also marking the anniversary of the murders, the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) has paid tribute to Gunner Errol Gordon who was 22-years-old and married with a young son.

SEFF said he was a popular figure who is still fondly remembered as a 6’ 6” Jamiacan-born soldier who enjoyed football kickabouts with some of the Lisnaskea residents.

The UDR member Harry Creighton had been due to get married the following month but was gunned down aged 27.

SEFF described the part-time soldier as well-known and well-respected in the area, and added: “Harry was active within the local community and particularly enjoyed playing the bagpipes; his life was stolen away before he had opportunity to get married or to raise a family”.

SEFF director of services Kenny Donaldson said: “The Provisional IRA committed these three heinous murders of young men in the prime of their lives; murdered for reasons of ethnic and sectarian hatred and sadly there were many others to follow a similar fate.

“On this the 50th anniversary we extend our thoughts and prayers to their families who are scattered across the globe. All three men and their families will be in our thoughts and prayers over the coming days.”

Tragedy also struck two other families on the same day in 1972.

Catholic Terence Hennebrey, 17, was found murdered in the loyalist Village area of south Belfast, while soldier Geoffrey Knipe died when the armoured car he was travelling in crashed after coming under attack by a crowd throwing missiles at Drumargh, Armagh.