Memorial to honour the Orange victims

A FULL list of Orangemen from the Portadown, Tandragee, Markethill and Richhill areas killed as a result of the Troubles has been published for the first time.

The names, among a total 68 County Armagh Orange brethren murdered over the course of 30 years, will feature on a memorial at the organisation’s headquarters at Schomberg House in east Belfast.

Grand Lodge will mark the sacrifice of the 311 of its members to be murdered in the Troubles with a stained glass window and a book of remembrance similar to that at Police Headquarters.

Nigel Lutton, whose father, an Orangeman and former RUC reservist was murdered by the IRA at the Argory 28 years ago this week, welcomed the move by Grand Lodge.

He pointed out that the vast majority of Orangemen who lost their lives had been members of the security forces.

He said they had been encouraged to join the RUC and the UDR by Grand Lodge.

“It’s a very worthwhile move, Grand Lodge had encouraged people to join the security forces and because of that over 300 over its members died,” said Mr Lutton.

“The Orange Order encourage its members to join the forces of law and order rather than paramilitaries and the result was that many paid a very heavy price.

“It’s also important to remember the organisation played a very important role. I know in my case that I was a potential recruitment for paramilities after my father’s murder but the Orange kept me out of bother.”

A special badge has been designed and will be sold along with other items such as cufflinks to raise funds.

It is estimated that 20,000 is needed for the stained glass window.

The badge contains a cross which is the global symbol of war graves and also features an Orange lily based on Martin Luther’s rose.

“So many lives were cruelly and needlessly cut short,” said Grand Master Robert Saulters.

“When the Troubles began we encouraged our members right across Northern Ireland to join the security forces and serve their community at a time of great danger. The response from Orangemen was very strong but unfortunately many of them suffered death and injury as a result.

“The victims were not all in the security forces however. Many were murdered simply because they were members of the Orange Order.

“Orangemen have served this country with honour and great bravery and many have paid the ultimate sacrifice as a result. We must not forget the important role they played in protecting our community from terrorism.”