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Memorials    


The complex and unique history of the Prison Service must be set in the context of the civil unrest in Northern Ireland over the past 30 years.

In that time 31 staff have been murdered because of their employment, and many others, including their families, have been permanently or seriously injured or been subject to prolonged physical, verbal and psychological intimidation and abuse.

Also included in this section is the "Roll of Honour" for the Northern Ireland Prison Service, a small tribute to those members of staff who have been murdered due to serving with the Service.

Mr R Walker Aged 33

Officer HMP Belfast

Died 06-02-1942

Mr Walker was the first to be killed, he was attacked as he returned to Belfast Prison after being home for lunch. He was shot twice and died three-quarters of an hour later in the Royal Victoria Hospital. No one was ever caught for his murder, although not proven the blame was laid at the door of the IRA.

Senior Officer William McCully Aged 58

Senior Officer, Retired

Died 23-09-1974

Senior Officer McCully joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in September 1948 and served for 23 years. He was a Senior Officer at the time of his retirement in 1971 He was working as a school caretaker when he was murdered on 23 September 1974 by the IRA three years after leaving the Service. Mr McCully was shot in his home and was dead on admission to hospital. His wife was injured in the attack. He was the first person with Prison Service connections to be killed in the last terrorist conflict.

Mr P C Dillon

Officer Magilligan

Died 08-04-1976

A prison officer at Magilligan Prison, he was shot by the IRA > outside his house near Omagh as he was about to get into his > car.Patrick Dillon was the first officer to die in an IRA > campaign related to a government decision to phase out the > 'special category' status which since 1972 had been allowed to > republican and loyalist prisoners. He was survived by his wife > and 5 children 

Mr John D. Cummings Aged 55

Clerk III Belfast

Died 19-04-1976

Clerk grade 111 Based at HMP Belfast. Shot dead by the IRA at his home, in Coolemoyne House, Dunmurry, near Belfast, County Antrim. on the 19 April 1976. He was off duty at the time of his murder.

Officer Robert John Hamilton Aged 25

Officer at HMP Magilligan

Died 08-10-1976

Officer Hamilton joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in March 1975 and served for just over a year until his death on 8 October 1976. He last served as an Officer in Magilligan prison. Mr Hamilton was attacked and shot by the IRA as he got out of his car at his home in Londonderry. He was unmarried and lived with his mother and sister.

Principal Officer John Wesley Milliken Aged 57

Principal Officer, HMP Belfast

Died 22-06-1977

Principal Officer Milliken joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in July 1960 and served for almost 17 years until his murder on 22 June 1977. He last served in Belfast prison as a Principal Officer. Mr Milliken was shot on his way home from work by the IRA. At his funeral service, he was described as "a devoted member of the church and an exemplary prison officer". He was survived by his wife and three children.

Officer Thomas Graham Fenton Aged 20

Officer, HMP Magilligan

Died 22-07-1977

Officer Fenton was a member of the Northern Ireland Prison Service from October 1976 until 22 July 1977 when he was shot dead by the IRA while having a drink in Molloys bar. Ballymoney. Co Antrim he was off duty when he was murdered.

Principal Officer Desmond Ernest Irvine Aged 38

Principal Officer, HMP Maze

Died 07-10-1977

Principal Officer Irvine joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in September 1964 and served for over 13 years until his murder by the IRA on 7 October 1977. He last served as a Principal Officer in Maze prison. He was shot leaving a meeting of the Prison Officers' Association of which he was secretary. Shortly before his death, Mr Irvine had taken part in a television programme on life at the Maze Prison. He also had a brother who served in the Prison Service and has now retired.

Governor Albert Miles Aged 50

Governor, HMP Maze

Died 26-11-1978

Governor Miles joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in October 1958 and served for over 20 years until his murder by the IRA, on 26 November 1978. He last served in Maze prison as a Governor. Mr Miles was murdered when gunmen forced their way into his home and shot him while restraining his wife. Two men were later convicted of his murder and given life sentences.

Officer John Murdie McTier Aged 33

Officer, HMP Belfast

Died 14-12-1978

Mr McTier joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in October 1974 and served for over 4 years until his death on 14 December 1978. Prior to his death, he served as a Clerk in Belfast Prison. Mr McTier was driving home from the prison accompanied by two colleagues when a number of shots were fired from a passing car by the IRA. Both his passengers survived the attack but Mr McTier died three days later from his wounds. He was survived by his wife and three small children.

Principal Officer Patrick Mackin Aged 60 and his wife Mrs Violet Mackin Aged 58

Principal Officer, Retired

Died 03-2-1979

Principal Officer Mackin joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in August 1951 and had served for over 27 years when he retired in November 1978. Prior to retirement he was a Principal Officer at the Prison Service College. Mr Mackin and his wife were both shot dead by the IRA in the same incident at their home on the 3rd February 1979. Their bodies, were found the following morning by their son, his wife and two young children. A man was later jailed for life for the double killing.

Officer Michael Christopher Cassidy Aged 31

Officer, HMP Belfast

Died 16-04-1979

Officer Cassidy was a member of the Northern Ireland Prison Service from February 1973 until 16 April 1979. He was attending his sister's wedding and was leaving the St Macartan's Church, Clogher, County Tyrone with his wife and two young children when he was shot dead by the IRA.

Officer Agnes Jean Wallace Aged 40

Officer, HMP Armagh

Died 19-04-1979

Officer Wallace joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in January 1979 and was murdered just over three months later on 19 April 1979 by INLA. Mrs Wallace and three female colleagues had just left the prison when shots were fired and a hand grenade thrown from a passing car. All four women were injured in the attack and Mrs Wallace died at the scene. She was the first female Prison Officer to be killed since the start of the ‘ troubles ’ Mrs Wallace was survived by her husband and children.

Officer George Foster Aged 30

Officer, HMP Belfast

Died 14-09-1979

Officer Foster joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in November 1977 and served for almost two years until his Murder by the IRA on 14 September 1979. He was an Officer in Belfast Prison at the time of his death. Mr Foster was returning to the prison after lunch when the attack took place. He was travelling by car with three colleagues when shots were fired from another car. Mr Foster was killed and one of his colleagues injured. A man was later convicted of manslaughter and sent to prison. Mr Foster was survived by his wife and two small children.

Assistant Governor Edward Donald Jones Bem
Aged 60

Assistant Governor, HMP Belfast

Died 19-09-1979

Assistant Governor Jones joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in March 1946 and served for over 33 years until his murder by the IRA on 19 September 1979. He was Assistant Governor in Belfast Prison prior to his death. He died when he was shot from another car while waiting for traffic lights to change. During his career, Mr Jones had been awarded the British Empire Medal after service with the Irish Guards during the Second World War and the Imperial Service Order for his work in the Prison Service. Mr Jones was survived by his wife and children.

Officer Thomas Gilhooley Aged 25

Officer, HMP Belfast

Died 05-11-1979

Officer Gilhooley joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in November 1977 and served for two years until his murder by the IRA on 5 November 1979. He was an Officer in Belfast Prison prior to his death. Mr Gilhooley was driving home from work when the attack took place. He was waiting for a break in the traffic when a gunman on the footpath opened fire and shot him. Mr Gilhooley was survived by his wife, who has since died, and two small children.

Officer David Teeney Aged 25

Clerk, HMP Belfast

Died 07-11-1979

Mr Teeney joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in July 1976 and served for over three years until his murder on 7 November 1979. He worked as a Clerk in Belfast Prison prior to his death and was waiting for a bus to take him to work when he was shot by INLA. Mr Teeney, who had been married for a very short time before his murder, was a keen sportsman and committed Christian.

Officer Gerald Francis Melville Aged 45

Officer, HMP Maze

Died 23-11-1979

Officer Melville joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in February 1964 and served for over 15 years until his Murder by the IRA on 23 November 1979. He was an Officer in Maze Prison prior to his death. Mr Melville was shot at his home and was found dead the following morning when colleagues reported he had failed to report for duty. He was survived by his wife and young daughter.

Chief Officer William Wright Bem. Aged 58

Chief Officer II, HMP Belfast

Died 03-12-1979

Chief Officer Wright joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in February 1947 and served for over 32 years until his death on 3 December 1979. He last served as a Chief in Belfast prison. Mr Wright had just arrived home from work and was opening his garage door when he was shot. Two years earlier there had also been an attempt on his life but on that occasion he had managed to escape. Shortly before his death, Mr Wright had been awarded the British Empire Medal. He was survived by his wife and children. Mrs Wright has since died.

Senior Officer William Wilson Aged 58

Senior Officer, HMP Belfast

Died 17-12-1979

Senior Officer Wilson joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in July 1949 and served for over 30 years until his murder by the IRA on 17 December 1979. He was a Senior Officer in Belfast Prison at the time of his death. Mr Wilson was shot as he walked from the Prison to a local club for lunch. He was survived by his wife and children.

Officer Graham Cox Aged 35

Officer HMP Magilligan

Died 18-01-1980

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA) Shot while driving home from Magilligan Prison, Limavady Road, Stradreagh, near Derry on the 18 January 1980.

Officer William Cecil Burns Aged 45

Officer, HMP Belfast

Died 30-12-1980

Officer Burns was a member of the Northern Ireland Prison Service from February 1978 until his murder on 30 December 1980 by the UVF. He was shot outside his house in Knocknagoney Park, Belfast. as he was preparing to leave for work.

Officer Elizabeth Matilda Chambers Aged 26

Officer, HMP Armagh

Died 07-10-1982

Officer Chambers joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in April 1976 and served for over 6 years until her death on 7 October 1982. She was an Officer in Armagh Prison prior to her death. She was unmarried and lived with her parents. Miss Chambers was killed when she became caught up in a INLA terrorist attack on a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment. The soldier's and Miss Chambers' cars collided, resulting in her death. The soldier also died

Officer James Andrew Ferris

Officer, HMP Maze

Died 25-09-1983

Officer Ferris joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in April 1975 and served for over 8 years until his death on 25 September 1983. At the time of his death he was an Officer in Maze prison. While trying to prevent the mass escape of prisoners, Mr Ferris suffered a heart attack after being stabbed by an inmate. He left a widow and two dependant children.

Governor William McConnell Aged 35

Governor, HMP Maze

Died 06-03-1984

Governor McConnell joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in September 1971 and served for over 12 years until his murder by the IRA on 6 March 1984. At the time of death he was a Governor in the Maze Prison. Mr McConnell was shot at his home while checking underneath his car for booby traps. His wife and three year old daughter witnessed the murder. One man was later convicted of the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Principal Officer Patrick Thomas Kerr Bem. Aged 37

Principal Officer, HMP Maze

Died 17-02-1985

Principal Officer Kerr joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in July 1969 and served for over 15 years until his murder by the IRA on 17 February 1985. He last served as a Principal Officer in Maze prison. Mr Kerr was shot as he left St Patrick's cathedral in Armagh with his wife and children. A few years earlier, his home had been attacked by gunmen. Mr Kerr was holder of the British Empire Medal.

Mr Leslie Jarvis Aged 62

Chief Instructor, HMP Magilligan

Died 23-03-1987

Mr Jarvis was employed as a civilian instructor in Magilligan prison prior to his death. He was shot dead as he sat in his car outside Magee College in Londonderry where he was attending night classes. A short time later, a bomb exploded in his car killing two policemen who were investigating the shooting. Mr Jarvis was survived by his wife and family.

Officer Brian Samuel Armour Aged 48

Officer, HMP Maze

Died 04-10-1988

Officer Armour was a member of the Northern Ireland Prison Service from September 1974 until 4 October 1988. He was travelling alone when a booby-trap bomb planted by the IRA exploded under his car in the Bloomfield area of Belfast, killing him.

Hospital Officer John Griffiths Aged 37

Hospital Officer, HMP Maze

Died 04-05-1989

Hospital Officer Griffiths joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in April 1977 and served over 12 years until his murder on 4 May 1989. He last served in Maze prison as a Hospital Officer. Mr Griffiths was killed when a booby trap bomb planted by the IRA exploded under his car as he left his home to go to the prison. He was survived by his wife and two children.

Officer James Alexander Peacock Aged 44

Officer, HMP Belfast

Died 01-09-1993

Officer Peacock joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service in 1977 and served for over 16 years until 1 September 1993 when he was the victim of a terrorist murder. Prior to his death, Mr Peacock was an officer in Belfast prison. On the night of his murder by the UVF, Mr Peacock was at home with his wife and daughter. The attack was one of five carried out against members of the Prison Service on that day and followed a UVF threat against staff following disturbances in Loyalist wings at Maze. Mr Peacock was survived by his wife and children.

Mr David Black Aged 52

Officer HMP Maghaberry

Died 01-11-2012

Mr Black joined the Northern Ireland Prison Service on 16th August 1982 serving in HMP Magilligan, Maze and Maghaberry. He was murdered on 1st November 2012. He had been driving to work at Maghaberry Prison , Northern Irelands high security prison when he was attacked.

Officer Adrian Ismay Aged 52


Died 15-03-2016

Officer Ismay was travelling alone when a booby trap bomb planted by terrorists exploded under his van yards from his home in east Belfast on the 4th March 2016, he passed away 11 days later. Adrian was a loyal POA member and served as POA Branch Secretary at Hydebank Wood before becoming a Tutor at the Prison Service College. He is survived by his wife and three children.

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