Vigil on 40th anniversary of 'forgotten massacre'
Published 20/12/2012 | 00:00
Friends and relatives of those who died in a terrorist atrocity 40 years ago today will remember the victims of the Annie's Bar massacre in a poignant vigil.
The year that had begun with the Bloody Sunday killings in Londonderry drew to a close with more slaughter when five people were murdered as they watched a football match.
A series of events will be held today to mark the 40th anniversary of what has been called ‘the forgotten massacre’ in the Waterside area and remember the men — four Catholic and one Protestant — who died.
While no organisation claimed responsiblity for the atriocity, it was widely thought it was carried out by loyalists in retaliation for the murder of an off-duty member of the UDR, George Hamilton from Claudy, earlier that day.
There were between 40 and 50 people in Annie's Bar at the Top of the Hill area of the city watching a football match when the gunmen entered the pub and indiscriminately fired at random from a sub-machine-gun and pistols. Within minutes five men lay dead and another four were injured.
Relatives of those who died will gather for a special anniversary Mass, which will take place at St Columb's Church tonight.
Afterwards, a candlelight procession will make its way up Chapel Road to the memorial stone outside the bar.
Geraldine Doherty, whose uncle Bernard Kelly was among those who lost their lives, said it is important to keep the memory of what happened 40 years ago alive.
She said: “Many people feel that the attack in Annie's Bar is often forgotten about.
“But the families of those who were killed have had to live with what happened that night for 40 years now.
“We wanted to organise this service and candlelight procession to give people a chance to remember those that died and to help keep their memories alive.”