Darkley massacre - Memories of tragedy linger for villagers

THERE can be few things more chilling that the sound of worshippers singing hymns of praise being perforated by the crack of gunfire and the shocked screams of children.

But sound recordings of the service at Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Church outside the south Armagh village of Darkley played by the media 25 years ago convey just that, as the full horror of what happened on November 20, 1983, became clear to the people of Ulster.

The church is situated on a hill just two miles from the predominantly Catholic village of Darkley, not far from the border with Monaghan and close to Keady.

The men who were murdered were 44-year-old David Wilson, 59-year-old Harold Brown and 39-year-old Victor Cunningham.

They were all married with children.

The Catholic Reaction Force burst into the Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Church and opened fire just as the congregation were singing the hymn Are you Washed in the Blood of the Lamb?

The three victims, all Protestants, were killed and seven other people were injured.

As the killers fled the scene they began firing at the congregation and sprayed the exterior of the wooden hall with bullets.

Twenty-five years on, however, and many tears have been shed by the people of the village of Darkley as the harrowing memories of that day continue to linger, possibly made more bitter by the fact that no one has yet been brought to justice over the murders.