Memorial held in south Armagh on 48th anniversary of Kingsmill massacre

Victim's families remember their loved ones at a memorial on the 48th anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre. Credit: Presseye

A memorial service has been held on the 48th anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre.

Relatives gathered to remember victims at the site in south Armagh where 10 Protestant workers shot dead in 1976.

The service heard how the loss is “still raw” for families of the victims.

The Reverend Graham Middleton said it was a “privilege and an honour” to lead the service.

"I guarantee you each one of those families, to each one of them, it’s just like yesterday because it’s still raw,” he said.

The textile workers were shot when their minibus was ambushed outside the village of Kingsmill on their way home from work on January 5 1976.

They were asked their religion, and the only Catholic was ordered to run away.

The killers hid in hedges before forcing the remaining men to line up outside the van and opening fire.

Alan Black was the sole survivor.

The attack took place close to where Catholic brothers John Martin Reavey, 24, and Brian Reavey, 22, had been shot dead a day earlier by the UVF’s Glenanne Gang.

A third brother, Anthony, 17, died several weeks later from his injuries.

Family members of those killed during the Kingsmill ambush lay flowers below plaques bearing the names and ages of the victims.

Jacqueline Semple’s brother Kenneth Worton one of the 10 men killed in the attack.

She said losing her brother was “terrible”.

“There was five of us in the family and we just played normally and had a normal good upbringing and this was just devastation. Never in your wildest dreams – such a tragedy,” she said.

“It was just hard. I was a bridesmaid at his wedding and then he was my best man and, like, there’s only really a year and a half between the two of us and we were so close.”

Ms Semple said it was “raw” to return to the site of the ambush.

“You have to be here. You know, it’s 48 years now and we’re coming here 48 years,” she said.

“I’m not one for graveyards. I mean, they’re up there, they’re in your heart. But this is nice to have somewhere to go.”

Mourners sang a hymn and a two-minute silence was observed after the names of the 10 victims were read aloud.

As the 50th anniversary of the attack approaches, Ms Semple said her family will always remember Mr Worton.

“We speak about him all the day, his photograph’s up, we’re always talking about him.

“And then his two daughters, they were only six and three, and it’s just, it’s a brother, you’ve lost as a whole.

“This was a big thing, like, in 76. I mean, it felt like something out of a different country.

“It brings it all up. It’s hard. It’s hard. He’s always there. He’s always mentioned. Never forget, until the day we die.”

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