Memorial service marks 50 years since brutal murder of UDR man

A memorial service to mark 50 years since the murder of a UDR soldier who was abducted in Newry by an IRA gang has taken place in Rathfriland.

James Elliott's sons Jim, Lester and Cyril Elliott at the memorial service
James Elliott's sons Jim, Lester and Cyril Elliott at the memorial service

On April 17, 1972, part-time UDR Corporal James Elliott was abducted from his lorry at the Killeen border crossing near Newry. The 37-year-old father of three was held for around 36 hours, brutalised and shot several times.

His body was then dumped on a border near Newtownhamilton as part of a plan to lure members of the security forces to their deaths.

Wreaths were laid at the war memorial in Rathfriland yesterday during the anniversary service.

The South East Fermanagh Foundation’s (SEFF) service manager Pete Murtagh assisted the Elliott family with the planning.

After the ceremony, Mr Murtagh said: “James (Jim) Elliott was a proud Rathfriland man and it was therefore very appropriate that a service of remembrance and thanksgiving should take place at the war memorial.

“Like those who are remembered through the war memorial, Jim was a legitimate soldier who stepped forward at a time when the community and his country needed him.

“It was a wonderful example of the community coming together and honouring the Elliott family — the statement being that his life mattered and that neither he nor his family will ever be forgotten. The brutal murder remains unresolved and we stand with the family in their efforts to secure justice, truth and accountability.”