A new montage commemorating members of the Ulster Defence Regiment CGC murdered by terrorists was unveiled in Co Tyrone on Friday night.
The picture tribute has been placed in Castlederg’s Bridgetown Orange Hall in memory of the 43 men and women – from the Castlederg, Clogher and Omagh areas – who lost their lives during the Troubles.
The service was conducted by Canon Alan Irwin whose own father Thomas is one those commemorated along with his fallen comrades. Thomas James Irwin was shot in his civilian workplace near Omagh in March 1986.
Canon Irwin also lost his uncle Fred Irwin as a result of an IRA attack in Dungannon seven years earlier.
In his address, the Canon Irwin said: “It is good that we remember…if it is only to teach the next generation of the horrors of terrorism on people, lives and on society, whereby the past may not be repeated in the present.”
The Lack clergyman said the terrorists made “no distinction between soldier or civilian,” and that it was a tribute to the integrity of those being attacked that they acted within the law.
“There was no desire I believe, for either them or us as families, to join terrorist groupings even as family, friends and neighbours were being murdered,” he said.
“The indefensible argument, this happened to me therefore I must become a terrorist, only seeks to make a mockery of a right thinking moral civilised society that knows right from wrong. Yet, so many accept it as a valid reason for the terrorism many of us lived through and sadly still do.”
Families and friends of those who were killed were in attendance to see the montage being unveiled by former second in command of the Co Tyrone Battalion Mr John Dunbar.
• The UDR was formed in 1970 and remained on continuous active service until it was merged with the Royal Irish Rangers in 1992 – becoming the Royal Irish Regiment.
More than 190 UDR soldiers were killed on active service, with another 61 murdered after leaving the regiment.
In 2006, the UDR was retrospectively awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross in recognition of its service and sacrifice.
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