Relatives of Kingsmill dead gather on 42nd anniversary

Families of 10 Protestant workmen killed by IRA call for those responsible to be named

The bullet-riddled minibus in south Armagh where 10 protestant workmen were shot dead by IRA terrorists in 1976. Photograph: PA Wire

The bullet-riddled minibus in south Armagh where 10 protestant workmen were shot dead by IRA terrorists in 1976. Photograph: PA Wire


Those allegedly responsible for the IRA’s Kingsmill massacre four decades ago, one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles, should be named, a grieving relative said.

Bea Worton’s son, Kenneth, was one of 10 Protestant workmen killed after their minibus was stopped by republican gunmen.

They were lined up outside and shot dead. Another survived.

Families of the dead gathered at a memorial on the narrow country road near Newry in Co Armagh where the killings took place 42 years ago for a commemoration service.

Ms Worton said: “I want to see them all named. Just to see who we have been mixing with all these years.”

Her son was 24 when he died.

She has lived a long life.

“We always lived with our neighbours, I went to a mixed school, I am 90 and we got on well.

“Kenneth would have mixed with anybody, in fact his best pals were all Catholics.

“He loved everybody.”

The textile factory workers were ambushed as they travelled along the Whitecross to Bessbrook road on January 5th, 1976, one of the darkest years of the Troubles, allegedly in reprisal for earlier loyalist killings.

A new inquest is being held into the deaths.

‘Escaping judgment’

Mr Worton’s brother, Colin, said: “We hope that there will be justice and if it is not in this life then it will be in the next life, so if they escape the judgment here they cannot escape when the final days come.”

The families and victims’ campaigners gathered at the scene on the brow of a hill where a memorial lists the names of those who died, gold lettering against a polished black backdrop.

They laid wreaths at the spot and said prayers.

Racquel Brush, Kenneth Worton’s daughter, was only three when he died and has no real memories of him.

She said she felt angry.

“When you think of all of the things that you have missed out on, the people that carried it out just got left and got on with their lives whereas for us you were stood in time.

“He did not see us growing up, he did not see us getting married.”

May Quinn’s brother, Bobby Walker (46) was driving the minibus.

Mr Walker always sounded the horn at his wife as he drove past his house, including on the day he died.

Ms Quinn said: “And that was the last she knew of him.”

She said the killers would always have it on their consciences.

“If they confessed what they did it would be good for them and it would be good for us.”

She added: “We are not worried about them going behind bars or nothing, we know the names but we would like the people to come and say ‘yes, that is right’, and have it from the horse’s mouth.”