A memorial parade and service of remembrance will take place in Belfast this 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, will take place on Saturday morning, incorporating a wreath-laying ceremony at the scene of the atrocity. Relatives of the deceased will be among those paying their respects.
The Orange procession will leave Templemore Avenue at 10.30am and proceed to Royal Avenue where the memorial service will be held at 11am, before the return parade to east Belfast. The service of remembrance will be conducted by Rev David McIIveen.
Senior Orangemen in attendance will include 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.
A lodge spokesman predicted the 30th anniversary parade would be a particularly poignant occasion.
He 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.”
The spokesman confirmed medals, commissioned specially to honour both victims, would be presented to lodge members by a member of the Cummings family prior to the start of the parade. He said similar tributes would also be handed over to relatives of the late Orangemen on behalf of LOL 710.
Last year, a wall mural tribute was unveiled in memory of the slain soldiers. A bannerette depicting the UDR crest with the names of the two murdered brethren is also carried at the head of the parade.
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