Wilbert Kennedy – former pupil of Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt
Noel McCulloch – former pupil of Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt
From the book Lost Lives: the stories of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles: by David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney, Chris Thornton and David McVea
Wilbert Kennedy, L/Derry
Civilian, Protestant, 37, single, quantity surveyor
From Aughrim Road, Magherafelt, he was killed in an IRA explosion outside a Catholic-owned bar in the town on the evening of Tuesday 20 April 1982. He had just had dinner with a friend, Noel McCulloch, who was also killed in the incident. The inquest, in November 1982, was told that he had been moving his car in the car park following a police alert when a bomb went off in a nearby vehicle. His car crashed and overturned, then caught fire. A pathologist’s report said it was clear that he died before the fire broke out.
At the funeral, Church of Ireland Canon Thomas McGonigle said it was the saddest day Magherafelt had ever known, and he called on both communities to unite. He said both men had learned to live, work and play together with Catholics. In doing so they had set an example for the entire community.
Noel McCulloch, L/Derry
Civilian, Protestant, 31, bank official
From Westland Road, Magherafelt, he was killed in an IRA explosion outside a Catholic-owned restaurant in the town on the evening of Tuesday 20 April 1982. He was about to put his luggage into the boot of a car when the bomb exploded. A member of Rainey Old Boys’ Rugby Club, the players had just returned from Boston following an end-of-season tour. On arrival in Magherafelt he and other players went to the restaurant for a meal and a drink. There he met Wilbert Kennedy.
The owner of the restaurant said it had been damaged by three bomb attacks in seven years. He said, ‘Noel’s suitcase is sitting in the hall as I speak, and I say to the bombers, “We will never let you beat us.” ’
Noel McCulloch, who was from Westland Road, Magherafelt, worked in the Northern Bank in Banbridge, Co Down. A colleague there said of his death, ‘We are absolutely shattered at the news. Noel was a fine guy who enjoyed life to the full.’
Noel McCulloch (right) pictured on a school trip to Austria in 1966. From left – Cornelius Greene, Fintan Hanson, Wilbert McConnell, Harry Steele, Rodney Cole, Stuart Monteith, unidentified, Noel McCulloch