50th Anniversary of Crossmaglen murders.
Statement from Foundation Chairman.
I am sure many of you are aware of the dreadful events of 50 years ago - events that sadly were the commencement of a despicable, bloody trail of murder of many good men and women who served Northern Ireland society as members of the RUC. The following statement was circulated to mark the dreadful events of 11th August 1970:
As Chairman of the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC Foundation it is my privilege to lead an organisation that is charged with the solemn, but nevertheless essential, duty "to mark the sacrifices and honour the achievements of the RUC".
Every day in our Memorial Garden, and in our hearts, we remember those brave colleagues who paid the ultimate sacrifice - and their families. I was proud to wear the uniform of the RUC and serve alongside some of the most courageous and professional police officers in the world. So today, as we remember the 50th anniversary of the first RUC fatalities of Republican terrorism during the Troubles, I feel it is critically important to ensure they are never forgotten.
Constables Samuel Donaldson and Robert Millar were stationed at Crossmaglen. On 11th August 1970 they were young men simply doing ordinary police work, responding to the report of a stolen car, when they were callously murdered by a booby trap bomb -both losing their lives on 12th August. It is worth noting that at the time sympathy and condolences came from both communities and both sides of the border. Sadly, these types of despicable acts continued in South Armagh and many other parts of the Province deliberately driving a wedge between the people and the police.
While condemning the act and reiterating sincere sympathy to the officers' families one can only be thankful that their colleagues were not deterred but instead continued to do their duty year after year in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances. As Her Majesty The Queen said when she awarded the George Cross to the Force, "This award is made to recognise the collective courage and dedication to duty of all those who have served in the Royal Ulster Constabulary and who have accepted the danger and stress this has brought to them and to their families". When doing so she fittingly recognised the gallantry of brave policemen and women: officers like Constables Donaldson and Millar.
Stephen White OBE
RUC GC Foundation