Poignant trip as Larne group remembers Troubles victims

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White'Event: UN Day of Peace, Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland Victim's Bus Trip'Date: 21st September 2011'Caption: David Hume GOLI, Michael Gallagher who addressed the group in Omagh, Edward Stevenson Grand Master GOLI and Andrew Scott, District Master Omagh

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White'Event: UN Day of Peace, Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland Victim's Bus Trip'Date: 21st September 2011'Caption: David Hume GOLI, Michael Gallagher who addressed the group in Omagh, Edward Stevenson Grand Master GOLI and Andrew Scott, District Master Omagh

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a GROUP from Larne has taken part in a Grand Orange Lodge UN Day of Peace bus trip to areas particularly badly affected by the Troubles.

The trip covered the districts around Cookstown, Omagh and Castlederg and was organised by local man Dr David Hume, Director of Services of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

During the event they heard from the WM of Tullywhisker Border Guards LOL who told how the lodge lost six members. One of them was Ronnie Finlay, who was a cousin of Liz Swann, part of the Larne group.

WM David Brown told those gathered for the UN Day of Peace event how he remembers waving to Kenneth Smyth and his Roman Catholic workmate Daniel McCormick as they drove past him while he and his father put out milk cans for collection in December 1971. Minutes later the pair heard the sound of gunfire along the road where Kenneth had been driving.

Like many in the area, Kenneth Smyth was in the part-time security forces.

The Browns got a legally held weapon and headed off in their car in the direction of the gunfire, but they arrived too late.

Daniel McCormick was dead inside the landrover, Kenneth Smyth was lying on the road. He was just 28 years old and had been married three months before his murder.

Those who were present - including representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the North South Ministerial Council, political parties, the Historical Enquiries Team, Community Relations Council - viewed the plaque in Tullywhisker paying tribute to six members of the lodge murdered by the IRA.

Winston Donnell was the first member of the UDR to be murdered in the Troubles, and died in August 1971, Kenneth Smyth, also UDR, William David Brown, the youngest policeman to be murdered, at just 18 years of age, Brian Russell, a civilian searcher, Ronnie Finlay, a farm labourer who was a former UDR man, and Thomas Harron, one of four UDR soldiers killed when a 600lb bomb was exploded beneath their land rover.

Those present at Tullywhisker also heard of the security measures which the lodge members took during their meetings to prevent attack.