Returning to Fermanagh next weekend for their second ever visit will be two Army widows who will once again share in a remembrance event for their husbands who lost their lives in a bomb explosion in Enniskillen 32 years ago.

Christine Huggins’ husband Robert Huggins and Sheila Agar’s husband Thomas Agar and fellow colleagues of 1RRF (Royal Regiment of Fusiliers) had been fishing in the Sealink Classic fishing festival on the River Erne in 1984.

Off duty members of the British Army, Bob and Tommy were killed on May 18 by a booby trap bomb attached to their vehicle. Their colleague Peter Gallimore subsequently died on October 18 that year and a fourth colleague was seriously injured and has since died.

Peter Gallimore’s widow Annette will be making her first visit to the county following the tragedy, while relatives of the fourth off duty soldier caught up in the IRA terror attack will also attend for the erection of a plaque at the Royal British Legion, Enniskillen in memory of the men. The remembrance will be led by the Rev. Alan Irwin, Rector of Colaghty.

Christine Huggins, from Manchester, recalls she had been married 10 years when she tragically lost her husband Bob. She described him a “fabulous man.” She said: “It’s your husband at the end of the day” and the father to your children and he loved the Army. “He loved the job he did,” she said, adding that the hardest part really was the fact that they were civilians at Enniskillen fishing festival.

Christine said it seemed when she looked back that they were “10 short years.” She spoke of the after effect of it all; the knock on effect of the years; the pebble in the pond; the ripple effect; the people it affects.

In September 2015 the Huggins and Agar families came back to Fermanagh on the invitation of Lisnaskea-based victims group South East Fermanagh Foundation and were the focus of the community’s support through a SEFF memorial and Thanksgiving Service.

Coming back to Enniskillen for the very first time, Christine Huggins remarked it brought ‘you straight back’ to where she was. “It’s still very raw; you think you are coping,” said Christine, who felt “it’s a bit like you’re wearing a heavy overcoat.” Coming there 31 years later, she said these people, who didn’t know them, “totally understand,” can’t do enough.

They went on a boat trip with SEFF and “saw the pegs where the lads actually fished.” They were also taken to lay a wreath outside the British Legion, where Christine says they were told by SEFF representatives, agreed by the Legion that a plaque would be put up for them. (It is this plaque which is to be unveiled next weekend.) She thanked SEFF for what they have done for them.  

Being in Enniskillen last year for the first time to see where her husband Tommy lost his life “brought it right back to the front” of her mind for Sheila Agar, from Newcastle, but she felt it was “the right thing to come.”

For her it proved “a very emotional weekend,” she couldn’t get over how these people whom she did not know “complete strangers coming up, and wanting to shake your hand.”

She did not think she should have come sooner. “This is fine for me. It’s 31 years. You don’t forget about it. It just goes further back in your mind. But being over in Enniskillen brought it right back to the front.”

She admitted it’s “so emotional for us.” Having seen the lake, and being out on the lake and seeing where the pegs where and seeing exactly where they sat “it’s really helped” felt Sheila, who referred to the fact they had been doing ‘what they loved’. Sheila found it was healing for her to be back.  
Kenny Donaldson, Director of Services, SEFF, said: “We committed to the families last September that we would unveil a plaque and personalised photo montage to honour their loved ones and that this would be erected in the Legion Hall. We are indebted to Enniskillen RBL who said yes without hesitation and who in fact have been caring for the temporary remembrance display within the immediate grounds outside of the Legion Hall. The Dedication service which takes place on Sunday, May 15 will be a dignified event and will be invitation only. All four families will be represented and they will be actively participating.”