Belfast Telegraph

Relatives of fishing trip IRA bomb attack soldiers visit scene for plaque unveiling

By Adrian Rutherford

Relatives of four off-duty soldiers targeted in an IRA bomb after a fishing trip on Lough Erne will make an emotional return to the scene this weekend.

Robert Huggins and Thomas Agar died instantly in the explosion in May 1984.

A third, Peter Gallimore, passed away five months later from his injuries.

Another man, Clive Aldridge, sustained life-changing wounds. He has since died.

A memorial plaque to the men will be unveiled on Sunday.

First Minister Arlene Foster will join family members at the service in Enniskillen, which takes place three days before the 32nd anniversary.

Thirteen family members including Mr Agar's widow Sheila, Mr Huggins' widow Christine and Mr Gallimore's widow Annette will be in attendance.

Mr Agar's son Craig, who is also making the trip from England, said it would be an emotional occasion for the family. "My dad was my hero," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"If the people who did this spent a moment with the victims, they would see the legacy that we are left with.

"I've got a life sentence. There isn't a day I don't think about my dad. When I look in the mirror I see my dad looking back at me - that's hard."

The soldiers were off-duty members of the Royal Fusiliers.

Mr Agar was 35 while Mr Huggins (29) was a married father-of-three from Gorton near Manchester. Mr Gallimore (27), from Farnworth in Lancashire, passed away on October 18, 1984.

The men had just returned from a day's fishing on the Erne when the bomb exploded under their car near the Lakeland Forum in Enniskillen.

Craig, who lives in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, visited the scene of his father's killing for the first time last September. During the trip he took a boat across Lough Erne. "It was very emotional - I remember thinking how my dad had fished there," he said.

"It was like I was walking in his footsteps."

Mr Agar, who was just eight when his dad died, remembers him as a committed father and military man.

"The Army was his life - he was a very good soldier," he added. "People talked about his honesty and his integrity.

"He was a great father. He would have brought me fishing and we played sport together. He taught me respect.

"For him to die like this was so needless."

Mr Agar said the families were grateful for the work of the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF), a victims' group.

It organised a memorial service last September and arranged for the plaque to be erected.

It will be unveiled at a service at 3.30pm on Sunday in the Royal British Legion hall in Enniskillen.

Kenny Donaldson from SEFF said: "The plaque is being unveiled three days prior to the 32nd anniversary since that cowardly IRA attack which claimed two lives instantly, a third five months later and condemned a fourth man to live with severe disabilities for the remainder of his life."

Belfast Telegraph


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