Orange parade honours UDR soldiers murdered 30 years ago

Worshipful Master of LOL 710 Samuel McFadden presents the mother of James Cummings with a medal commissioned to honour both victims
Worshipful Master of LOL 710 Samuel McFadden presents the mother of James Cummings with a medal commissioned to honour both victims

A memorial parade and service of remembrance was held in Belfast over the weekend to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder of two young UDR soldiers, who were also Orangemen.

Frederick Starrett and James Cummings, both 22, were killed by an IRA booby-trap device as they arrived to close security gates on Royal Avenue on February 24, 1988.

Both soldiers were members of lodges in Ballymacarrett No 6 District; Banner of the Cross LOL 1310 and Johnston’s Golden Star LOL 1934 respectively.

The annual parade, organised by Ulster Defenders of the Realm LOL 710, happened on Saturday morning, incorporating a wreath-laying ceremony at the scene of the atrocity. Relatives of the deceased were amongst those paying their respects. The service of remembrance was conducted by Rev David McIIveen.

Senior Orangemen including the Rev Mervyn Gibson, grand secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, and Spencer Beattie, county grand master of the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast were in attendance.

A lodge spokesman said: “Our annual parade is organised in consultation with the bereaved families who live with the reality of their loved ones’ absence every day of the year. The lodge seeks on this day to show the families that Fred and James’ sacrifice is not forgotten, as we honour their bravery, three decades after the atrocity.”

Medals commissioned specially to honour both victims were presented to lodge members by a member of the Cummings family prior to the start of the parade.