A poignant service took place yesterday in Co Armagh to mark the deaths at the hands of terrorists of nearly 350 members of the security forces.
The service at St Mark’s Church of Ireland in Armagh saw a County Armagh Memorial Wall unveiled and dedicated, bearing the names of 345 victims who were either killed as a result of terrorism in the county or came from the county and were killed elsewhere.
Rector of St Mark’s, Rev Malcolm Kingston, welcomed over 700 family members and relatives to the service along with Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland the Most Reverend Dr Richard Clarke who led the service.
During the event one of his predecessors as archbishop – the Right Reverend Lord Eames – delivered the sermon, while a former president of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Rev Ivan McElhinney and the new Presbyterian Moderator Dr William Henry, in his first official engagement, read from scripture.
The memorial wall was built using funds raised by the County Armagh Phoenix Group, formed in 2007 to support ex-security service members in the area who were victims of terrorism.
Discussing the terrorists who killed the 345 people named on the memorial wall, committee member Stanley Burrows BEM said the IRA and INLA were the main perpetrators though some were killed by loyalists.
He added: “Despite all the stories about sectarianism in the security forces there are 16 Catholic names on the wall, and that’s just from Northern Ireland. We don’t know about the religion of the English soldiers.”
The book ‘From Partition To Peace’ by Mr Burrows is a chronology of all those whose names appear on the wall, with proceeds going towards the same wall.
He said: “It’s important to remember these victims in a full memorial. Co Armagh is the smallest of the six counties, but it’s where 33% of police were killed and 25% of military casualties took place.
“There is a memorial in Markethill but it only gives a year and a name – you will see the name T Elliott twice. We give more details so the person is positively identified. It would be a nice thing if other counties might do the same.”