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Kingsmill remembered: Memorial service for victims of massacre 46 years on

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Remembrance service for the victims of Kingsmill at the memorial wall outside Whitecross in Co Armagh. Credit: Jonathan Porter / Press Eye

Remembrance service for the victims of Kingsmill at the memorial wall outside Whitecross in Co Armagh. Credit: Jonathan Porter / Press Eye

Remembrance service for the victims of Kingsmill at the memorial wall outside Whitecross in Co Armagh. Credit: Jonathan Porter / Press Eye

A memorial service marking the 46th anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre was held yesterday at the site in south Armagh where 10 Protestant workers were shot dead in 1976.

The textile workers’ minibus was ambushed near Kingsmill village, with gunmen ordering passengers to line up outside the van, and instructing the only Catholic to leave before opening fire.

Alan Black (78) was the sole survivor, having been shot 18 times and left for dead beside his friends.

“You don’t even be looking forward to Christmas because you know this is coming after it,” said Colin Worton, brother of Kenneth, who was murdered that day.

Mr Worton was 15 at the time, and told the Belfast Telegraph after that day his Christmases stopped forever.

“It’s been a struggle ever since, but I think it makes it even harder this year,” he said.

“I was shocked and sort of angry whenever I heard they were giving Tony Blair a knighthood, after what Tony Blair did.”

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He was referring to the controversial on-the-run (OTR) ‘comfort letters’, which a recent inquest into the Kingsmill killings heard were given to two suspects linked to the massacre under a scheme run by the Blair government.

The letters told the suspects they were not wanted by police.

Family members of the Kingsmill victims and Mr Black walked out of the inquest two years ago in protest over the coroner’s refusal to name two IRA men suspected of involvement in the attack, both of whom are now deceased.

At the time Coroner Brian Sherrard said it was a “complicated” matter.

Mr Worton said: “Until they name them, I don’t think it’s worth carrying on.

“My mother always said she wanted them named to see who we had been mixing with all these years, because we might have been mixing with people that killed our loves ones.”

His mother Bea, a campaigner for the victims, died in 2019 at the age of 91.

“This’ll be the third year she wasn’t there,” he added.

“Half my family weren’t there because of ill health and whatever else, but we haven’t forgotten what happened on January 5, 1976. It’ll never leave us. We’re going to keep plodding on.

“I’d like to see everybody named and shamed… wrong is wrong. There’s no two ways about it.”

A 2011 report by the Historical Enquiries Team found members of the IRA carried out the attack. There has also been speculation one of those involved was a British state agent.


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