Lives Remembered

GP remembered as a ‘hero' for actions after Ballygawley bomb

Dr Clifford McCord was a respected GP in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone for 40 years

DR Clifford McCord was among the first on the scene when an IRA roadside bomb ripped through a bus full of young soldiers near Ballygawley in August 1988.

Eight men died and 28 others were injured, the army's worst loss of life after the Narrow Water atrocity, but the Co Tyrone GP is credited with preventing a higher death toll.

Survivors described him as a "true hero" for his efforts to administer first aid and bring the most seriously injured to hospital.

But for those who knew Dr McCord, they were not surprised when he brushed off any praise.

A man of great kindness as well as skill, his funeral heard that throughout the Troubles he remained "the doctor for everyone", irrespective of race, religion or political persuasion.

Clifford McCord was born in North Parade in Belfast in 1926, the youngest of six children.

He was educated at Rosetta Primary School and Ardmore College and worked in McFadden and Wylie’s Accountant and Estate Agency and his father's linen finishing business before sitting the entrance exam to study medicine at Trinity College Dublin.

It was there he met Betty Adams, employing the unusual gambit of throwing a fish at her to attract her attention.

She judged him a good catch and they married in 1951 and had two children, Jennifer and David.

His first posts were in Moyle Hospital, Larne and as a GP in Reading and Birmingham, as well spending four years with the RAF in Hong Kong.

In 1957 Dr McCord then embarked on 40 years' service in the border village of Aughnacloy, where he became part of the fabric of family life.

Rev Ian McKee told mourners at Aughnacloy Presbyterian Church that the early days were like a Tyrone version of Dr Finlay's Casebook - the family home doubled up as a surgery and he was on call 24/7 to deliver babies, tend the dying and deal with all manner of unusual ailments.

"Nothing was written down – Dr McCord just remembered things," he said. "He had an amazing memory for names, but more than that he took a genuine interest in his patients. They were not just patients – indeed many became good friends.

"He was a legend in his time – he was a one-man health service. If you had a skin legion affecting you badly, he would simply cut if off there and then. It was only if it was beyond him that he bothered to send a patient elsewhere."

Although firmly a doctor of the 'old school', he employed the first practice nurse in Northern Ireland, and was eventually joined by his son David - 'Dr Junior' to his Dr Senior.

Outside medicine he enjoyed golf and bowls and ventured into horse breeding.

Dr Clifford McCord, who received an MBE for services to medicine in Co Tyrone, died aged 89 at his Aughnacloy home on March 1.

He was predeceased by his wife and is survived by his son and daughter and three granddaughters.

Lives Remembered