Murder of Sir Norman Stronge recalled on anniversary of ‘barbarous’ IRA attack

Sir Norman Stronge and his son James we murdered by the “most barbarous” of the IRA’s killers, a friend has recalled on the anniversary of the 1981 Tynan Abbey atrocity.

By Mark Rainey
Friday, 21st January 2022, 2:01 pm
Updated Friday, 21st January 2022, 2:39 pm
Sir Norman Stronge
Sir Norman Stronge

Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Speers had visited Sir Norman just days before they Provo gunmen shot the Battle of the Somme hero and his son as they watched television on January 21.

The 86-year-old, was awarded the Military Cross during WWI, became an Ulster Unionist MP and Speaker of the House at Stormont.

“They were sitting ducks and the softest of targets,” Cllr Speers said.

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The burnt out remains of Tynan Abbey after the murder of Sir Norman Stronge and his son James by the IRA in 1981. Photo: Pacemaker Press Intl

“It was ethnic cleansing at its worst. There was absolute devastation in the community mixed with anger. People were absolutely numbed. We couldn’t believe it and everybody felt its impact. Everybody felt that they had lost a member of the family. There was such an affinity with the Stronge family.

“It was clear that the Provisional IRA were sending an extreme message to people who described themselves as Protestants or unionists. It was ‘get out or you could be next’. They were totally innocent, defenceless people. The IRA cowards that carried this out were the most barbarous of the lot. They were really decent, down to earth people and were very sorely missed,” the Facebook message added.

On Friday the Ancre Somme Association NI marked the anniversary by re-publishing the contents of a telegram from the Queen – sent to one of Sir Norman’s daughters on the day of the joint funeral.

It reads: “I was deeply shocked to learn of the tragic death of your father and brother; Prince Philip joins me in sending you and your sister all our deepest sympathy on your dreadful loss. Sir Norman’s loyal and distinguished service will be remembered.”

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