Northern Ireland news

Miami Showband survivors commemorate anniversary

REMEMBERING: Miami Showband surviving members Des Lee, Ray Millar and Stephen Travers at yesterday’s commemoration

SURVIVING members of the Miami Showband massacre laid flowers at the scene of the atrocity yesterday as part of a 40th anniversary commemoration.

Dozens of people attended the commemoration at Buskhill Road, between Banbridge and Newry.

Surviving band members, saxophonist Des Lee and bass player Stephen Travers, who were injured in the attack, laid flowers along with former drummer Ray Millar.

The band's manager Brian Maguire also attended the commemoration, along with music impresario Terri Hooley, and Michael Gallagher, who lost his son Aiden in the 1998 Omagh bombing.

Three members of the showband, which had been tipped for huge success, were murdered by a bogus patrol, manned by UDR and UVF members, in the early hours of July 31 1975.

Lead singer Fran O'Toole (28), guitarist Tony Geraghty (24) and trumpeter Brian McCoy (32) were killed in the bomb and gun attack as they returned to Dublin along Buskhill Road after a concert in Banbridge, Co Down.

All three were shot several times, before a bomb, which immediately detonated, was thrown into the band's van to make it seem as though the group had been transporting explosives.

Mr Lee said his bandmates were "cut down in the prime of their lives".

"Fran O'Toole, Brian McCoy and Tony Geraghty - they were more than friends to me. They were my brothers," he told the commemoration.

Mr Lee previously said he was keen to track down, and say thank you to, a young couple who stopped to help

Two members of the UVF gang behind the attack, Harris Boyle and Wesley Somerville, were also killed when the bomb exploded.

UDR soldiers Thomas Raymond Crozier and Rodney Shane McDowell, and UVF member James Somerville, were later jailed for the atrocity.

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