Memorial parade for Orange bomb victim soldiers

A memorial wreath laid last year during the service
A memorial wreath laid last year during the service

An annual parade to remember two Orangemen who were murdered by republicans 28 years ago is taking place tomorrow (Saturday).

Brothers Fred Starrett and James Cummings, who were both members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), were on duty at the security gate in Royal Avenue on February 24 1988 when a bomb exploded.

The device had been placed behind a hoarding on Castle Court shopping centre, which was being built at the time. Mr Cummings was killed instantly and Mr Starrett was rushed to hospital, where he died of his injuries the next day. A second bomb, believed to have been intended for the police or Army, was discovered and defused.

Tomorrow’s parade will leave Templemore Avenue, Belfast at 10.15am and proceed to Royal Avenue where a memorial service will be held, before the return parade to east Belfast.

Mr Starrett and Mr Cummings were both members of lodges in Ballymacarrett No 6 District; Banner of the Cross LOL 1310 and Johnston’s Golden Star LOL 1934, respectively.

Prior to the parade commencing two new standards – a Union flag and a Northern Ireland flag; and a bannerette depicting the UDR crest with the names of the two murdered brethren – will be dedicated.

The parade is organised in consultation with the bereaved families. A spokesman said: “This event is particularly poignant in this centenary year of the Somme when so many young men gave their lives in the cause of freedom. At this annual parade we remember two who made the same sacrifice for freedom over 70 years later – we remember them all with pride.”