Families homeless after Castlederg bombing – 1990
THAT it was “absolutely miraculous” that no-one was killed or seriously injured in an IRA 1,000llbs bomb attack on Castlederg RUC Station, was one reaction of local people as they viewed the devastation afterwards.
Almost 200 dwellings were damaged in the blast, many with roofs partly blown off, doors and windows blown in and ceilings brought down. The bomb exploded just after 11pm in a Shogun jeep hijacked across the border in Castlefin, and which was driven right up to a rear wall of the heavily fortified station. The bombers were able to do this because security bollards had been removed at the spot by workmen employed on the station building.
This apparent security lapse led to anger amongst residents who also reacted with condemnation of the no-warning bombing which happened when elderly and children were already in bed. A number of people were injured in the bombing, mainly from flying glass, and four, including a policeman, were removed to Tyrone County Hospital.
One of those who received slight cuts in the blast was Rev Patrick Grant, PP. He had been asked by police to phone two families to have them evacuate their homes. He was standing in the porch of the parochial house when the bomb exploded, shattering glass over him.
“He said, “I was showered in glass and cut about the face. I had difficulty getting the bleeding to stop, so I went over to the nearby Derg Valley Hospital. It is totally unacceptable that such a built-up area should be subjected to an attack like this.”
Men’s sudden deaths – 1965
THE jury at two inquests were told that two men found by roadsides where they had fallen, and who died later in hospital, succumbed to natural causes. The jury returned verdicts in accordance with the medical evidence.
Albert Allen, a 79-year-old building contractor of Camowen Terrace, Omagh, was found lying near his home at midnight on December 24. Dr Esther Rutledge, Tyrone County Hospital, said that although Allen was injured in the fall, this did not contribute to his death.
The cause of death was a chronic infection. The second inquest was on Bernard Donnelly, a 58-year-old farmer of Gortfinbar, Carrickmore, who died in February. A post mortem disclosed that he had suffered a brain haemorrhage.
BUSY WEEK FOR FIREMEN
LAST week was the busiest in many years for Omagh Fire Brigade when they answered 17 calls, 12 of which were for heath fires.
In addition, brigades from Clogher and Castlederg were called to the Omagh brigade’s area to deal with two heath fires which broke out when the local firemen were already answering another call.
One of the most serious was a fire which threatened to burn down the home of motor mechanic Nelson Allen, of Ballinamullan, Omagh. They fought the blaze – which destroyed 200 acres of bogland – for more than three hours, before bringing the fire under control.
At one stage it was thought that the Allen family would have to vacate their home, but this was not necessary.
In all firemen received six more calls during the weekend alone – three to bogland, one a false alarm and two to chimney fires.
Trampled by bull – 1940
A VERDICT that the deceased came by his death as a result of injuries received when he was trampled on by a bull at Derry Showgrounds was returned by the coroner at an inquest into the death of James Wasson, 28, of Carrigans, Knockmoyle, Omagh.
Dr Howard Brewster, house surgeon at Derry City and County Hospital, said when deceased was admitted, he was suffering from peritonitis of the abdomen and shock. An operation was performed the following day and he was found to be suffering from perforation of the bowel.
Andrew McConnell, Carrigans, Knockmoyle, said he bought a bull at the show from WF Porter, Mountjoy, Omagh. Deceased went to the stall to help him load the bull onto a lorry. Deceased went into the stall and untied the bull, which spun around and forced witness against the partition of the stall.
He was partially stunned for a moment. The next thing he saw was the bull tramping on the deceased, who was still holding the lead.
In his verdict, the coroner stated that no blame was attached to anyone.
THERE was considerable police activity during Easter commemorations in Tyrone. A number of RUC were present at a GAA football match in Omagh when a large Tri-colour was hoisted at the ground.
Two minutes of silence was observed when the teams lined out, and ‘A Soldier’s Song’ was played by the local band.
There was a large crowd present, but the proceedings passed off without incident.
Enthusiastic send-off for Omagh war volunteers – 1915
A NUMBER of postal officials in the Omagh Post Office district, who volunteered for service in the 8th City of London Regt, Post Office Rifles (Irish Battalion), have taken their departure from Omagh by train.
Those local men who volunteered were Messrs Hugh McGowan, Kevlin Road, Andrew Connolly, Gortmore, Harry Mellon, Abbey Street, Charles Quigley, Killybrack, J Wilton, Campsie and Charles Kearney, Market Street.
From Dromore the following volunteered: Messrs J Gilmore, Joseph McGlone and Edward Moran.
The only volunteer from the Castlederg district was J O’Donnell, a postman.
The Omagh contingent included some of our local familiar figures. Harry Mellon was one of the best exponents of the game of billiards in Omagh, and as a cueist he was admired by everyone who took an interest in that fascinating game.
Before departing, the Omagh men were entertained at a farewell social held in George Kerr’s, when a large number of their friends and companions were present and a most enjoyable evening was spent.
Songs were contributed and selections on the gramophone were played. Speeches were delivered and the Omagh men were made the recipients of pipes, tobacco, pouches and cigarettes which were presented by Omagh Post Office staff.
At the railway station a very large crowd of people assembled to bid farewell to the volunteers. Hugh McGowan, who had charge of the party, is a married man with eight of a family. It is indeed greatly to his credit that he has gone to serve his King and country under such circumstances.