January 21 – Roll of Honour

On this day in 1981, 86 year old veteran, Captain The Right Honourable Sir Norman Stronge Bt PC MC HML, Military Cross and the Belgian Croix de Guerre, was killed in his home at Tynan by PIRA. The Roll today commemorates four servicemen from NI.

Representing their comrades who died on this day


Royal Irish Rifles, 15th Btn. Rifleman. 47202. Formerly Army Service Corps. 031349. Died 21/01/1918. Aged 31. Son of William John Anderson. Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France


+GOWDY, William John
RAFVR. Sergeant. 1512471. Died 21/01/1944. Aged 22. 35 Sqd. Son of William A. and Mary Gowdy, of Larne. Runnymede Memorial, Panel 230.

+GRACEY, Herbert
RAFVR. Pilot Officer. 155208. Died 21/01/1944. Aged 22. 10 Sqd. Son of John and Mary J. Gracey, of Belfast. Hanover War Cemetery, Germany


+HORNE, Robert Arthur
RAFVR. Flying Officer. 175215. Died 21/01/1945. Aged 32. 55 Sqdn. Son of William J.F. and B.G. Horne, Belfast. Argenta Gap War Cemetery, Italy


Captain Sir Norman Stronge
Captain The Right Honourable Sir Norman Stronge Bt PC MC HML, Military Cross and the Belgian Croix de Guerre.
Aged 86, he was shot and murdered by the Provisional IRA, along with his only son James, in the Gothic library of their home Tynan Abbey on Wednesday 21 January 1981.

He was commissioned into The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and posted to the 10th Battalion in September 1914 and took part in the Battle of the Somme. He survived the first day of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 and was the first soldier after the start of the battle to be mentioned in despatches by General DSir Douglas Haig , commander of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on the Western Front.
In April 1918, he was appointed adjutant of the 15th (Service) Battalion (North Belfast), Royal Irish Rifles, and was wounded at the Battle of Courtai on 20 October 1918. He relinquished his commission on 19 August 1919 and was permitted to retain the rank of captain.

He was decorated with the Military Cross and the Belgian Croix de Guerre.

He was elected as the MP for Mid Armagh in 1938, a seat which he held until 1969, and then succeeded his father as the 8th Baronet in 1939.

On the outbreak of the Second World War, he was commissioned into the North Irish Horse but was invalided out following a serious operation in 1940. In 1950 he was appointed as Honorary Colonel of the 5th Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was Speaker of the Northern Ireland House of Commons, from 1945 – 69.

A memorial stone is to be found in the circular ante-chamber before entering the former parliament chamber, later the Northern Ireland Assembly’s chamber.

Gerry Adams, Leader of Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Provisional IRA, stated at the time of their death: “The only complaint I have heard from nationalists or anti-unionists is that he was not shot 40 years ago.”

(Image courtesy RHQ R IRISH)

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