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Shrewsbury plaque remembers IRA bombing victims

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

They were just young men who were killed in the prime of their lives. But now a plaque to commemorate the lives of eight soldiers killed in an IRA bombing has been unveiled in Shrewsbury.

The plaque has been arranged by the 1LI Association in conjunction with Shrewsbury Town Council. It was unveiled at the war memorial in the town's Quarry Park.

The association represents the 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry, which takes part in an annual reunion in Shrewsbury.

Tribute – A member of the association

Bill Bearham, chairman of the association, said: "Shrewsbury was selected for this memorial by our 1LI Association as we needed to place it in a 'Light Infantry' town which also had to be fairly central for all concerned and Shrewsbury is also the home of the main Light Infantry reunion every year that brings us all together.

"The memorial was only made possible thanks to all those that donated monies towards it with some donations coming from former members of the 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry now living as far away as Canada and the USA.

"This specific memorial is very much about remembering the loss of these eight young men as the actual event itself is remembered each year (as well as on key anniversaries) by the local community close to where it took place near to Ballygawley.

"We have also received a great deal of support from Shrewsbury Town Council and in particular Hilary Humphries and we are very grateful for all the support that we have received in helping us to complete this memorial. We would also like to give a special mention to Stretton Memorials of Church Stretton who produced our memorial plaque as they did a first class job which included one of the best hand-carved cap badges that we have seen to date."

The eight soldiers were killed in a bomb attack on a bus near Ballygawley, Northern Ireland, in August 1988.

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The plaque is the first memorial in the UK to have the eight names on it.

Mr Bearham added: "It is very important to us to remember these lads."

At the dedication were family and members of the regiment.

Also present was James Leatherbarrow, the 1LI Association standard bearer, who was one of the 28 survivors of the bus bombing.

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The attack was the second-deadliest on the British Army in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, after the Warrenpoint ambush of 1979.

It happened in the early hours of August 20, 1988 in the townland of Curr near Ballygawley, County Tyrone.

In the wake of the bombing the British Army began ferrying its troops in and out of the region by helicopter.

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