Belfast Telegraph

Daughter's tribute to soldier killed by Provos in Germany 30 years ago today

Stephen Smith and wife Tina
Stephen Smith and wife Tina
Jade, Tina, Louise and Lee
Leanna
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

The daughter of a soldier killed by an IRA bomb in Germany has penned a moving poem to mark the 30th anniversary of his death.

Lance Corporal Stephen Smith (31) died instantly on July 2, 1989, when he opened the door to his booby-trapped Mercedes car outside his apartment in Hanover.

His wife Tina and four young children (Louise, Leanna, Jade and Lee) were also badly injured in the attack.

Jade Endicott was just two years old at the time, but in a poem written for her father published today in this paper she expresses how the loss still haunts her to this day.

The 1989 bombing had been part of a wider campaign by the Provisionals to attack British military targets throughout Europe.

At the time Corporal Smith's parents learned about the attack on television before the Army could contact them.

In a written testimonial for a victims' group, the family expanded on the profound impact the death of the young soldier has had.

"The terrorist attack upon our young family that evening completely changed the direction of life as we knew it," they told the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF).

"We were going out as a family to a local fairground when the car exploded.

"The terrorists knew full well we were a very soft target, a family with little children in an unpatrolled civilian neighbourhood.

"Our father was killed instantaneously by a booby-trap bomb attached to his beloved car as he opened the driver's door on a Friday afternoon on a quiet street in Hanover, West Germany."

Despite their physical injuries having healed, they added that "the fabric of our life was torn apart by shrapnel, fractured and scattered, never to be made whole again".

"Our many serious physical injuries were only the introduction to our new life," they continued.

"We healed physically but we are left with our broken spirits and hearts which have yet to mend."

No one has ever been convicted for the attack, and the family have once again urged anyone with information to come forward.

"On the 30th anniversary since our father's brutal murder we call upon anyone with information connected with the attack upon him and our family to come forward and assist our efforts at securing justice, truth and accountability," they appealed.

SEFF director Kenny Donaldson said Ms Endicott's poem reflected the true "brutality of terrorism" that many victims still live with.

"There's no more intimate an act that can be committed as the murder of a loved one," he said.

"So in that way it's something that can never really be moved on from as some people can foolishly suggest.

"It's something that lives with the family, and the lack of justice and accountability makes it so much more difficult."

Mr Donaldson added: "On that day the IRA were quite happy to remove an entire family. In the past they have done similar things, putting bombs under cars of who they considered to be the primary target but then murdered innocent children."

He said this includes Lesley Gordon (11) from Maghera, who was killed in an IRA car bomb attack along with her father William in 1978. "So Jade's poem really shows the brutality of terrorism and the after-effects it can have," the campaigner said.

Jade Endicott’s poem in memory of father

No words we write can ever say,

How much we miss you every single day,

But as Time Goes by,

the Loneliness only grows.

How we miss you nobody knows,

No one knows our sorrows,

No one sees us weep,

Be strong they say it will be ok!!

But please tell me how any of this is OK,

We never stop loving you and I’m sure we never will deep inside our hearts you will always be with us,

But heartache in this world are many,

But ours is worse than any,

our hearts still ache to this day,

The feelings we feel so deeply are often the hardest to say,

But I just can’t keep quiet any more so I’ll tell you anyway there’s a place in my heart that nobody else can fill

We love you Dad

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