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Events take place to mark 40 years since IRA killings of Lord Mountbatten and Warrenpoint soldiers

The killings took place on one of the deadliest days of the Troubles.

Mary Hornsey, mother of Paul Maxwell with her daughter Lisa McKean (left) at the 40th anniversary service
Mary Hornsey, mother of Paul Maxwell with her daughter Lisa McKean (left) at the 40th anniversary service
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

Updated Aug 27th 2019, 1:45 PM

SEPARATE EVENTS HAVE taken place today to mark the 40th anniversary of the killings of Lord Louis Mountbatten in Co Sligo and 18 British soldiers in Co Down.

The killings took place on one of the deadliest days of the Troubles, when 22 people died at the hands of the IRA in two separate incidents on both sides of the border.

Lord Mountbatten, a second cousin of Queen Elizabeth and high-profile British diplomat, was killed by provisionals when a bomb detonated on his fishing boat off the coast of Mullaghmore in Co Sligo.

Two members of his family were also killed in the blast, including his 14 year-old grandson Nicholas, as well as 15 year-old Paul Maxwell, a young crew member from Co Fermanagh.

Maxwell’s mother Mary Hornsey and father John Maxwell returned to Mullaghmore today to attend a cross-community memorial prayer service and see a cross erected on the coastline near the scene of the explosion.

northern-ireland-troubles John Maxwell and Mary Hornsey lay a wreath to their son Paul Maxwell Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Mary told RTÉ Radio 1′s News at One programme that it was a day of mixed emotions, but that she thought about her son every day.

“It is difficult, of course it is, because it outlines tragedy again in very stark outline,” she said.

“But at the same time, there is love here today; there is healing here today. And that is very very important…

“Every day I think about Paul, I carry him in my heart…whenever I laugh now I laugh with sorrow in my eyes.”

One man, Thomas McMahon, was later convicted of the killings, but was subsequently released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

On the same day as those killings, an IRA ambush at Narrow Water close to Warrenpoint in Co Down saw two bombs detonated, killing 18 British soldiers.

Most were members of the Parachute Regiment, and the incident was the greatest single loss of life for the British Army during the Troubles.

The Belfast Telegraph also reports that a memorial service will take place at the scene of the explosion later today.

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