Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Fresh arrest over bomb blast that killed a UDR soldier 37 years ago

Detectives from the Historical Enquiries team have arrested a 56-year-old man in connection with the murder of a UDR lance-corporal in Co Armagh in the 1970s.

Victor Smyth, a 54-year-old barber, and a partner in the family business, was caught in the blast of a car bomb, thought to have been planted by a loyalist organisation.

It exploded outside a Catholic-owned bar in Portadown just as Mr Smyth was driving past, on his way home from a spell of duty. His car was overturned and burst into flames.

Mr Smyth, a well-known barber in the town, was trapped in his car and died in the blaze. It happened at the junction of the town’s High Street and Bridge Street and it was reported at the time that police saw two men running away.

The bar was extensively damaged by the blast on September 5, 1972. The targets are thought to have been the bar owner and his son, who were inside at the time. Both escaped injury.

No organisation ever claimed responsibility for the atrocity, with the suspected perpetrators escaping the pursuing police.

Popular and well-known locally, Mr Smyth was given a military funeral from his home at Jervis Street, Portadown. His coffin, draped in the Union flag, was carried through the town.

The mourners included UDR Commander, Brigadier Denis Ormerod, as well as the Mayor of Portadown, Tom Newell.

Thousands lined the streets to pay their last respects to the UDR man as the cortege made its way to Seagoe Cemetery.

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