Private Roger Love
In Loving Memory of UDR Private Roger Love Murdered 4th March 1991
It's Friday 1st March 1991 and I am having a usual day at school, counting down the hours until I get off for the weekend. Finally the bell rings, and it's on to the bus home. When I arrived home Mum was in the living room trying to amuse Carolyn my little sister of 1 year and 3 months, and Laura the new arrival of 4 weeks. I said my hellos went up the stairs to get washed and out of my uniform.
Roger was out working and so was my stepfather Keith, I hadn't really seen much of Roger over the past fortnight because he was always out working, but hey, least I had a bit of peace.
As the day passed my friends called and I headed out for the night, keeping in mind that I was only 15 at the time and Richhill is a small village there was not that much to do really, apart from hang about, still I was close to home.
At about 11.30 pm I was walking down the village towards home when my stepfather Keith pulled up in the car. He demanded that I get into the car, but as a stubborn 15-year-old I argued the point that I was 5 mins from home and walked down with my friends. As I reached the house I noticed that our car was not in the drive, so I just thought that Keith had not gone straight home.
I went into the living room and much to my surprise my Aunt Anne was nursing Laura. I thought this was a bit strange, so I asked her where everyone was. She told me to sit down and she would explain everything, so I suppose I knew then that something was seriously wrong. She told me that there had been an accident and that Roger had been hurt. My brother loved his car and I thought that maybe he was in a crash, not for one minute did I know that my life was about to change forever. 'No it's not a crash' she said, 'He has been in an explosion at work,' still I thought it was something that had happened in the camp, little did I know that (IRA MURDERERS) had lay behind a digger and attacked his Landrover with a mortar bomb, which had blown it to bits, and killed his mate Peter Sutcliffe instantly, also seriously injuring the rest.
The next morning the reality of the whole incident had begun to ring home, news after news was reporting about the bomb attack, and how bad the men where. Keith came home from the hospital to get a change of clothes for himself and mum, I asked him if Roger was alright and he told me yes (mum wanted to keep my spirits high, but deep down I already knew). That night I went out with my friends again as there was no point in sitting in the house, if there was any news I could be easily found. I met a girl called Linda who's father had also been in the blast, she told me that her father had lost his leg but he was going to be alright, I told her I was glad and that Roger was fine. It was at this point that my thoughts went to the family of the guy who had died, his mother, father and family must be going through hell, thank goodness Roger is all right.
The next day I was reading all about the blast in the papers, and it was still the main headlines in the news. Keith had come home from the hospital again to get washed etc. I asked him how mum was, as I had not seen her from Friday. He made some coffee and then told me he wanted to talk. He told me that there was no easy way to say it but Roger was going to die, he had been hit in the back of the head with shrapnel, which had damaged his brain, he could not fight anymore. I sat for a while trying to take it all in thinking to myself, Godů. He's only 20, he's my brother what do you mean he's going to die, this only happens to other people. The machine in the hospital was keeping his body alive but that was all. Why? Is the next question I asked and of course Keith could not answer. I cried for a while because I could not take it all in. Here I was telling people he was fine when that was far from the truth.
The next thing was to go to the hospital to see him but I said no, he had been rushed to Craigavon, and then airlifted to the Royal. I started to think mum, how is she going to cope with this, I was feeling bad but she must be devastated. The rest of Sunday went past in a blur, with a new news headline, second man dies in IRA Mortar Bomb blast.
Monday morning, my relatives arrive and started to organise the house for the funeral. I did not feel it was right for everyone to be in his room, so I was a bit grumpy, God, I even felt that I should not have been there and I am his sister. At last mum came home, I was so glad to see her, I just wanted to hold her and never let go. They switched Rogers machine off today, almost 4 days had past since it had all happened but it seemed like a life time. On Tuesday the hospital done a few tests, I suppose to determine the actual cause of death and at the time I did not know but, his kidneys where donated. It must have been a hard decision to make, but mum thought it is what he would have wanted. Now two people are well and healthy so I suppose some good came out of the whole situation.
People started to come to the house, and I just could not be bothered with them so, I spent most of the time at my aunt's house. On Wednesday Roger was brought home, this I was not looking forward to. I wandered up the stairs and faced the door. Slowly I pushed it open, there he was. I thought at the time wow! He's not dead just sleeping, he was so peaceful looking and hardly even a mark on his face. The hospital had shaved his hair and I thought he looked rather funny, I also thought to myself, if he could see himself now he would have a heart attack about the state of his hair.
I left the room and went into my own room; this was the first time that I had cried since that Sunday.
Thursday, the day we had all been dreading. It had almost been a week now and the strain was starting to show. We had a small service in the house, but before we left we had to say our final goodbyes. For me I think this was the hardest thing to cope with, knowing that this was the very last time I was going to see the brother that I adored so much. We left the house and walked through the village where we stopped at the war memorial before going to Portadown to church. The service went very quickly and he was done proud with full honours. Roger was getting buried in Seagoe graveyard beside my Granny. The streets were lined with hundreds of people, which was quite nerve wrecking because all eyes were focused on you, but we contained ourselves and got through it.
All over, the final pictures printed, and the final story written, but people don't realise that the heartache is only starting for every one who is left behind. Now it is 10 years on and the heartache does not get any easier. I think actually as time goes by it hurts a lot more. One example is that I got married just over a year ago and my brother was not here for it. He still had a place at the table, it was a very emotional day for us all, but I suppose in reality we just have to grin and bear it. He will never see his sisters grow up, one is 10 and the other 11 so he missed out, and we missed out on a lot really. I went to a wedding of a friend recently and my mother came up to the church to see us, a member of the family who was supposed to be involved in the bombing was one of the guests. My mother was not at all pleased that he was there and was then very down afterwards. People say that time heals but I think until they have been through the experience they can not be the judge of that. The murderers were never caught and I think this makes the situation very hard to deal with as well, we have been told names etc but what can be proved. I think that if they had been caught it would be worse, because they would probably have been released from jail by now anyway.
Everyday my brother is in my thoughts so this keeps him alive, afterall he is now just another statistic, but it's stories like these which need to be spread around so people get an idea of what really happens.
I only found out recently that things could have been a lot worse because my stepfather was on duty that night as well, he was in the Landrover behind. As the years go by I learn more and more about the horrors of that fateful night and believe me they are far from pleasant.
His loving Sister...