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Darkley Gospel Hall Massacre

Anyone living in South Armagh should feel safe from threat, especially within the sanctity of a place of worship. However this has not been the case within South Armagh as demonstrated on Sunday, 20th November 1983. On this day terrorists calling themselves South Armagh Republican Action Force entered Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Church outside the village of Darkley and murdered three church elders who were attending Sunday worship in their church.

This murder shocked the world and showed that nothing is sacred in the eyes of the Irish Republicans of South Armagh.

The church was filled with men, women and children who at this time every Sunday evening came together to pray and give thanksgiving to God.

As the congregation broke into singing the first hymn, two gunmen opened fire on the congregation killing three elders at the doorway who were warmely welcoming people to the service.

darkley hall

Pandemonium followed instantly. The killers calmly stepped over the bloodstained helpless bodies already cut down and began firing at the congregation of mainly defenceless women and children. Fathers dived over their young children, and one man covered a 7 month old baby, such was the indiscriminate nature of the attack.

Children were screaming hysterically calling for their mothers and fathers who were lying among the upturned pews, prayer books and Bibles.

All begged and pleaded for mercy as the gunmen stepped through the bodies and made their way outside. Such was their mudersous intent thet they reloaded their guns and sprayed the exterior of the wooden hall before cowardly disappearing into rural landscape.

darkley bulletholes

Three dead, seven injured, how can anyone even try to justify such an attack on God's people.

Click here to read the testimony of Heather Wilson who aged 11 survived this atrocity.


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