Enniskillen: Gordon Wilson

Growing up during the 90s the Troubles more something I read about, rather than experienced. I have researched cabinet files, watched documentaries and talked with participants from all sides in the Troubles. But one man whom I never got the opportunity to speak with and who for me stands out as the single greatest hero of the Troubles was Gordon Wilson.

Gordon was man whom was subjected to something that no person should ever have to experience was holding his daugther’s hand as she died after the IRA planted a bomb in Enniskillen. Yet, after this pain, he managed to look into a TV camera just a few days later and recant events of that day

Daddy, I love you very much.’ Those were her exact words to me, and those were the last words I ever heard her say…But I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge. Dirty sort of talk is not going to bring her back to life. She was a great wee lassie. She loved her profession. She was a pet. She’s dead. She’s in heaven and we shall meet again. I will pray for these men tonight and every night.

A bit sombre, I know but we get a lot of hero myths on the Troubles, for me this Wilson stands out. In the 1950’s John F. Kennedy wrote a book called “Profiles in Courage” and for me Gordon Wilson is a true profile in courage and on this horrific event, I just wanted to make a note of this mans bravery and integrity.

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  • Bryan Magee

    David thank you for this post. Enniskillen was a very sad day. I cried that day. It was horrible what happened to Gordon, not fair. And his daughter who died next to him is one of the people whose last words can make me cry again, when I think of them.

  • Maryjo

    Totally agree, modern day hero. Inspirational. RIP Marie & Mr Wilson.

  • honest joe

    Lovely man. Good man and had a very big heart. RIP i will always remember Gordon and his murdered innocent daughter.

  • Jag

    An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny will be laying a wreath at the poppy ceremony in Enniskillen today, time moves on, and I suppose it represents a degree of reconciliation.

    Gordon Wilson’s words about that day still make me cry. David, you omitted what preceded “Daddy I love you very much”, in the debris and madness of the explosion, the father had asked the daughter twice if she was okay, and that was her only response before she died. Heartbreaking.

  • carl marks

    The Enniskillen Atrocity was one of those events which i can remember exactly what i was doing when i heard about it, Gordon Wilson was a rare thing, a man who did not let the evil done to him and his family beat him instead he became a example to the rest of us.
    If more of us (myself included) were like this man then perhaps less horror would have been inflicted in this place!

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    Enniskillen was another day at war- The Republican movement has moved away from those events into the Political sphere only- whilst the British still think it’s right to bomb Civilians on Remembrance Sunday 2014- The Provos moved on- the Brits still live in their war past-

    The media should search out the Gordon Wilson’s in Iraq who the British have bombed their family’s-( war is hell- it is not one sided evil )-how many civilians will the Brits bomb today on their Remembrance Sunday-

  • Turgon

    I do not want to derail this thread but Mr. McIvor’s comment must be challenged.

    The Poppy Day bomb was planted in the building against which the members of the public (not the security forces) stood. It was timed to go off at the appropriate time to demolish that building and as such cause the wall to fall on (and obviously kill) the members of the public at the Remembrance Service. Later the IRA tried to claim it was not a timer bomb and a series of other lies were told.

    Furthermore at the same time a larger bomb was used in an attempt to attack the service at Tullyhommon where the BB and GB children were on parade. That bomb was a command wire bomb and had been activated. By the Grace of God a cow or tractor or whatever had broken the command wire so the IRA “volunteer” did not get to watch lots of children call to their parents as they were dying.

    It was not another day at war Mr. McIvor it was a sectarian massacre at a religious service timed to coincide with an even bigger massacre which thankfully failed.

    Those murderers are it seems, Mr. McIvor your heroes. People like Gordon Wilson are the heroes of most people in Northern Ireland

  • carl marks

    “Enniskillen was another day at war”

    Oh well thats all right then, tell me do you feel the same about Bloody Sunday?

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    You will not look down on any Republican Turgon whist you support the RAF bombers-any comments about the Gordon Wilson’s in IRAQ who will be pulling their daughters broken body from the rubble-( no heart wrenching stories about those people-)- ( the hypocrisy is scandalous )-

  • babyface finlayson

    The thread is an opportunity to pay deserved respect to a brave and decent man, Gordon Wilson.
    “I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge”, Just how did he find it in him to say that?
    Could you not say what you think about him and leave it at that?

    I expect your reply will show you cannot.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I add my voice to the many who respected and admired Gordon Wilson’s calmness and far-sightedness. As well as being admirable in its own right, it was this kind of non-reaction that, I believe, played a real part in defeating the terrorists psychologically. He was simply and clearly for all to see a better person than they were.

    That said, I also felt at the time and still feel that Gordon Wilson’s example should not be regarded as the standard everyone should aspire to. Whilst he was able to have that response to his daughter’s murder, not every relative of a terror victim can or even should respond in that way. It’s equally valid to feel angry – and that is a just anger – though it should clearly be channelled towards seeking fair justice and not revenge. Those relatives who couldn’t feel like Gordon Wilson – and that’s probably most of them – should not have to feel guilty on top of the loss they have suffered.

    Whatever works for the individual victim is OK with me (as long as it’s peaceful) whether it’s Christ-like forgiveness, putting pins in a Martin McGuinness voodoo doll, or simply keeping on reminding the world of what a terrorist did to their family. Gordon Wilson forgave but he did not forget and nor should any of us, whether we think we need to “move on” from the Troubles or not.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I look down on Republicans, Michael, while they try to justify bombing a Remembrance Day gathering. And while they try to cloak disgusting, sectarian anti-British violence in the self-justifying language of ‘war’.

    You can take what view you like about our armed forces’ engagements overseas – I marched to try and stop the Iraq War for example. But if you’re really so committed to non-violence, why do you think violence against people like Marie Wilson is OK?

  • Tochais Siorai

    I knew Gordon slightly before the awful events that brought him to prominence and always found his public profile was exactly how you’d find him in his shop or on the street. A nice always decent man. Like others on this thread I doubt I’d have his ability to forgive.
    McIvor, give it a rest. Every time you come on here you make a complete gobshite of yourself.