Belfast Telegraph

Services to remember Mountbatten and Narrow Water soldiers’ deaths under way

The services in Co Down and Sligo will commemorate the 1979 deaths.

Representatives of the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment place commemorative wreathes at Narrow Water (Niall Carson/PA)
Representatives of the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment place commemorative wreathes at Narrow Water (Niall Carson/PA)

By Michael McHugh, PA

Services are under way to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the IRA murders of Lord Louis Mountbatten and 18 soldiers during one of the bloodiest days of the Troubles.

Veterans have gathered at a roadside at Narrow Water, Co Down, to remember the soldiers who were killed at the spot by two IRA bombs.

In Sligo, a service to remember Lord Mountbatten and three others who were killed in the IRA attack commenced with a moment’s silence.

The mother and father of Paul Maxwell, the Fermanagh teenager who died, were among those who gathered for the outdoor service on a clifftop overlooking the scene of the atrocity.

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Lord Louis Mountbatten was killed in 1979 (PA)

Provisionals blew up a fishing boat off the coast of Mullaghmore in Co Sligo in north-west Ireland in 1979.

The decorated British Second World War commander was on board.

He was a second cousin to the Queen and served in two world wars, rising to Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia.

He was also involved in the partition of India and the Suez crisis but retreated from high diplomacy and international relations to the relative isolation of his grand holiday home overlooking Ireland’s Atlantic coast.

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An inter-denominational prayer service is held at Narrow Water (Niall Carson/PA)

Two members of the former First Sea Lord’s family also died.

The bomb was detonated by remote control by republicans watching from the shore.

Mary Hornsey’s 15-year-old son Paul Maxwell was among the slain.

She will see for the first time a cross erected on the coastline close to where the blast happened.

The explosion claimed four lives – Lord Mountbatten, Lady Doreen Brabourne, the 83-year-old mother-in-law of the earl’s daughter, his 14-year-old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, as well as Paul, who worked on the boat.

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Veterans attend the Narrow Water service (Niall Carson/PA)

Just a few hours later, the IRA struck again, detonating two bombs at Narrow Water close to Warrenpoint in Co Down, killing 18 soldiers.

A memorial service will be held at the spot later.

There was also a 19th victim when William Michael Hudson, 29, a civilian visiting the Republic from London, was hit by a bullet fired by soldiers across the Newry River to where he was standing with his cousin Barry Hudson, who was injured.

Lord Mountbatten was popular around Mullaghmore and often drew a crowd of visitors as he set off in his boat, the Shadow V.

Paul had been a pupil at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen and was planning a career with the Royal Navy.

PA

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