A new book has been launched in Enniskillen dedicated to the memory of Enniskillen teenager, Paul Maxwell (15), who was killed during The Troubles by the same bomb blast that killed Lord Mountbatten in 1979.

‘Boatman for Mountbatten’, by former Sligo Garda Michael O’Connor, details what life was like working on the ill-fated Shadow V boat that was blown up by an IRA bomb just off the coast of Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo on August 27, 1979.

The bomb killed four people on board – Lord Mountbatten, Lady Doreen Brabourne, Nicholas Knatchbull, and teenage boatman, Paul Maxwell.

Three other people on board suffered catastrophic injuries – Lady Patricia Brabourne, Lord John Brabourne and their son, Timothy Knatchbull.

The book was launched at the Killyhevlin Hotel on Thursday, January 12, and was well attended, with some of those in attendance including members of Paul’s family.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, author Michael said: “We had a great night and it was well organised, thanks to Nevin Brown and Kenny Donaldson in South East Fermanagh Foundation.

“I had always intended to launch the book in Enniskillen – it was a no-brainer to dedicate the book to Paul, as he was the last boatman [aboard the Shadow V].”

He added: “It was an honour that Mary, Donna and Lisa [Paul’s mother and sisters] come down on the night.”

Paul’s father, John, was unable to attend on the night. A statement on his behalf was read out, that said: “Paul was proud to be a boatman for Mountbatten in the summer of 1979, and tremendously enjoyed the job.

“His death was a tragedy beyond words. It is a fitting tribute to his character to have him memorialised in Michael’s book.

“No child should have to die in such circumstances, and it is vitally important that there is continuing political impetus to ensure that violence is never used as a means to settle conflict ever again on this island.”

Describing his book, Michael said: “It gives an account of what life was like for those locals who worked in Mountbatten’s summer holiday home, Classiebawn Castle.

“But the focus of the book is on Shadow V, and the six lads who were employed as boatmen on the boat.

“Each boatman has a section giving details of their time with Mountbatten, and makes for a unique human-interest story. Their stories are central to the story of Shadow V.”

The author, a former Shadow V boatman, researched the University of Southampton diaries of Lord Mountbatten, and by correlating them with local and national press reports, has built up a clear picture of what life was like for the Mountbatten family on their annual summer vacation to Classiebawn.

The book includes details on Classiebawn Castle, Lord Mountbatten and the boat’s building.

Michael joined An Garda Síochána in 1980, with his first station posting to the Border station of Pettigo.

He then moved to Blacklion, on to Manorhamilton and finally to Sligo, from where he retired in 2011.

Michael also served with the United Nations in Cambodia and Cyprus.

This is his fourth book, and is available to purchase on Amazon; and at Novel Ideas, Ballyshannon, and at Liber, Sligo.