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Memorial tribute to murdered Orangemen
Sunday, June 15, 2014

A memorial has been unveiled in Londonderry in memory of eight Orangemen murdered during the Troubles.

The Orange tribute remembers brethren from the city and surrounding districts who lost their lives in terrorist atrocities, including the Claudy bombings and Greysteel massacre. 

The memorial tablet - which will eventually go on permanent display at the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall – was formally dedicated at a service of remembrance and thanksgiving at St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry, on Sunday afternoon. 

Joining relatives of the deceased at the religious service were senior members of the Orange Institution, including the Grand Master of the Grand of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, and City of Londonderry Grand Master, James Hetherington. 

Mr Stevenson led tributes to those brethren who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

He said: “We must never forget the Orange Order suffered the largest institutional loss for a civilian organisation during the Troubles. This was the result of barbaric, deliberate and calculated murderous attacks, predominantly by republican terrorists, which should be condemned without reservation. 

“Whether it be the heinous crimes of Claudy and Greysteel resulting in the multiple murder of innocent civilians, or cold-blooded attacks on members of the security forces in Londonderry and beyond, there can be no justification whatsoever for such inhumanity. 

“We owe it to the memory of our murdered brethren to never bow to the perpetrators of such terror.” 

The Grand Master added: “I commend the members of the City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge for their enterprise, which will forever remember the sacrifice of eight local Orangemen.” 

Mr Hetherington said: “The City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge, through today’s dedication ceremony continues to remember those brethren locally within the Orange Institution who have paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Troubles. This memorial, once on display following refurbishment of the Memorial Hall, will be a permanent and lasting memorial to each of the eight brethren listed. 

“The City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge wishes to place on record their gratitude to funeral directors, Adair and Neely and D&R Hay, for jointly funding the memorial.” 

The service of remembrance and thanksgiving – officiated by Very Rev Dean William Morton – was both preceded and followed by an Orange parade. 

An offering was also taken up for the benefit of the Lord Enniskillen Memorial Orange Orphan Society and the City of Londonderry Orange Widows Fund. 

In April 2011, a memorial stone was dedicated at the Ulster Hall, Belfast, to remember all 332 members of the Orange Institution who lost their lives in the Troubles. This tribute is permanently displayed at the Loyal Order’s headquarters, Schomberg House, in the city. 

The memorial stone is dedicated to the following Orangemen – 

James McClelland, Kilaloo True Blues LOL 621 (31 July 1972) 
Mr McClelland was one of nine fatalities when three car bombs exploded in Claudy, Co Londonderry. The Orangeman was killed instantly in the third explosion. It is widely believed the IRA were behind the attack, although it has denied any part in the bombing. 

David Miller, Tullintrain Purple Star LOL 1969 
As above. From the village, Mr Miller was killed when the third and final device exploded. 

George Hamilton, Tullintrain Purple Star LOL 1969 (20 December 1972) 
Mr Hamilton, a part-time member of the UDR from Kildoag, was shot by an IRA gunman at Croppy Hill reservoir. The 28-year-old electrician was an employee of the Derry Development Commission and had a five-year-old daughter. 

James Hood, Tullintrain Purple Star LOL 1969 (4 January 1973) 
Second-in-command of C Company of the UDR’s 5th battalion, Mr Hood, 48, was shot in the head as he returned to his home near Feeny after coming after duty. He was survived by his wife and twin sons, who both also served in the security forces. 

Robert Stott, Harmony LOL 858 (25 November 1975) 
The 22-year-old, from the city, was shot 10 times by IRA gunmen as he returned to his home at Fountain Street. The prominent Young Unionist, who served in the UDR, died on the same date as his grandfather was killed in the First World War in 1917. 

John Olphert, Churchhill LOL 871 (18 January 1983) 
The RUC reservist was shot by masked IRA gunmen at his shop in the Waterside area of Londonderry. The father-of-two, 39, had tendered his resignation to focus on his new business and this was due to take effect a month later. 

Cecil McKnight, Culmore True Blues LOL 1866 (29 June 1991) 
The 32-year-old was shot by the IRA at his home in Melrose Terrace in the city. Mr McKnight was married and the father of two children. 

John Burns, Hope of Eglinton LOL 764 (30 October 1993) 
The former UDR man, 54, was one of eight people murdered when UDA/UFF gunmen opened fire in the Rising Sun Lounge, Greysteel. The father-of-three was one of two Protestants killed in the massacre which was an act of retaliation by loyalists for the earlier Shankill Road bombing. 

Source – Lost Lives

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