Mull of Kintyre memorial service held

Lt Col Nick Ilic reads the names of the deceased
Lt Col Nick Ilic reads the names of the deceased

A Memorial Service has been held in Lisburn to mark the 20th anniversary of the Chinook crash on the Mull of Kintyre which killed 29 people on June 2, 1994.

Representatives from several of the families took part in a private ceremony at the headquarters of 38 (Irish) Brigade, alongside senior representatives of the military and MOD civilians at the Mull of Kintyre Memorial Garden.

The service was conducted by Reverend Doctor David Coulter, Deputy Chaplain General, and Father Michael Fava, Senior Chaplain to 38 (Irish) Brigade.

The names of those who died were read out by Lt Colonel Nick Ilic and a wreath was laid by Brigadier Ralph Woodisse, Commander of 38 (Irish) Brigade.

The Chinook was carrying 25 of the UK’s most senior intelligence experts from Aldergrove to a security conference at Inverness when it crashed in thick mist. Leading RUC, Army and MI5 personnel died.

The passengers were travelling to a security conference at Inverness from RAF Aldergrove when the aircraft ploughed into the hillside in thick mist.

An RAF report in 1995, not long after the crash, blamed the pilots, but it took another 15 years for the Defence Secretary Liam Fox to order a review of the evidence.

Following this, Flight Lieutenants Jonathan Tapper and Richard Cook were exonerated, much to the relief of their families and friends, who had campaigned to overturn the flawed RAF verdict.

This verdict, which was criticised both Houses of Parliament, was set aside, and Mr Fox formally apologised to the families of both air crew.

However, the relatives have not yet been told what really happened and Dr Susan Pheonix, the widow of one of the victims, believes that the truth will never come out. She criticised the MoD’s handling of the case, adding she has spent 20 years not knowing what caused the crash.

MP Jeffrey Donaldson says he supports Dr Phoenix’s call for a “vigorous review” as “the families are entitled to know the truth of what happened”.