Tuesday 10 March 2009

Constable Karl Blackbourne 1966 - 1986

The terrorist campaign from 1969 to 1997 touched us all in many ways...in examining my family tree I discovered that Karl Blackbourne (pictured above) and I were related.

Alan LAW and Karl Christopher BLACKBOURNE were 2nd cousins.

Their common ancestors being William LAW and Mary Lilian MCDONNELL.

Karl Blackbourne, a police constable with the RUC was murdered by the IRA in Newry on 26 July 1986, aged 19 along with two colleagues Const T. William Charles Allen, 37 and Sgt Peter John Kilpatrick, 27.

This was not the only tragedy to meet the Blackbourne family. Karl's father ran a construction business, named after his son, Karl Construction and in 1992 the IRA attacked a work van in one of Northern Ireland's most terrible atrocities.

Cedric George BLACKBOURNE and Alan LAW are 1st cousins 1 time removed.

No one has ever been convicted of this atrocity:

In January 1992 the IRA blew up a minibus at the Teebane crossroads near Omagh carrying
construction workers working on a security base. Eight men died, another six were severely
injured they worked for Karl Construction which was owned by Cedric Blackbourne -
Constable Blackbourne’s father.

The Teebane victims were:
William Gary Bleeks (35)
Cecil James Caldwell (37)
Robert Dunseith (25)
David Harkness (23)
John Richard McConnell (38)
Nigel McKee (22)
Robert Irons (61)
Oswald Gilchrist (44)
We just can not go back to these dark days and we must encourage the political process to move forward.


Edward said...

I remember Karl quite well. I was a couple of years below him at school. After leaving he worked on the construction site for a year when they were building the new school before joining the RUC. He had only been in the RUC a few months before he was killed. After that the gym hall in the new school building was named in his memory. I remember being at the service of dedication.

AILÍN said...


Thanks for the comments.

Karl's dad was my father's bestman (they are cousins).

Chloe said...

Robert Irons was my grandad. I never got to meet him. My dad told me he would have loved me. :(

AILÍN said...


Thanks for your comment. I am sure you honour your grandfather's memory in many ways.

Best wishes


Anonymous said...

I was serving with 1st Battalion The Queens Lancashire Regiment at the time of this atrocity, what we saw will stay with us for ever, to think they were on their way home to their loved one's after a hard days work only to be murdered by unseen cowards. It makes me sick when i constantly hear about Republicans calling for inquiries into this and that and trying to bring to court the RUC and soldiers who were only doing their jobs, yet you will never hear anyone from the Republican movement call for inquiries into terrible acts of violence like this,its only through people like you Ailin that never lets people forget the innocent victims of IRA violence

AILÍN said...

Thanks Anonymous for your comment. NI oday is a much better place despite the challenges of dealing with the past. At a time death and destruction was our daily diet, something which had a profound affect on those who were relatives or members of the armed forces. Thankfully those dark days are part of history and we have a peaceful future to honour our dead.

Anonymous said...

I worked for blackbourne and mccombe as a labourer I was 17 and building a terminal at the Belfast international. When the next came through that the bosses son had been murdered we were sent home and the site remained closed until Karl was buried. It had a big impact on my life as I knew of the family, his brother and friends. Truly a cowardly murder of the innocents. I joined the army at 18 then the RUC at 22. Strange the same murderers are in government. Truth and Justice will overcome in the end, may the Lord have mercy on those who have taken life and solemnly repented their sins.

Anonymous said...

The Blackbourne family were always very good to me, from a very early age. I remember like it was yesterday, when I heard the tragic news of Karl.
Karl had a great nature, he was truly sincere and had a natural ability to create calm aound him. One of my lighter memories of Karl was his record breaking speed in solving the Rubik Cube.
During the early nineties, I worked for Karl Construction and went on to experience the loss of so many innocent men at Teebane Crossroads. Attending funeral day after day after day, will stay with me forever.
I left N.I. a couple of years after that and look back today with a sense of disbelief of what actually went on, during those years. My thoughts often go back to those dark days and the sadness it must have brought for the Blackbournes and all the other families.

Phil M said...

I was in Karl's section in Newry and we travelled together from our accommodation in portadown. We were the same age and socialised together. One of the worst days of my life and I will never forget him as well as Peter and Charlie. Such a lovely young man who loved life. 30yrs today.

AILÍN said...

Thanks Phillip for your comment. It has completely skipped my mind that it was 30 years today.

Unknown said...

Went to school with karl, laboured for his dad's firm for a while then went on to join army and police as yourself..Will never forget him at the templepatrick bus stop with Aaron and gail, my sister was in his class... rip Karl

Andy said...

No death has ever affected me more. Karl and I joined at the same time and were in the same squad. I think about him every day as I still attend the gym at Garnerville where we had our own chin-up competition (Karl won). Karl sped past me in his XR2 on our way to Ballykinler one day. Car was on two wheels as he rounded bend (on the wrong side or road) like he was in the middle of circuit of Ireland rally! I laughed. A strong, quiet and unassuming gentle giant. I cannot even try to understand the fear he (and his two colleagues) experienced during the short attack. Horrendous. I retired this year. I was lucky. Karl was unlucky. He will never be forgotten.

AILÍN said...

Andy thanks for your comments. I don’t recall ever meeting Karl, thinking back he was only 5/6 years older than me. Seems so truly pointless and tragic that so many people were killed. The 1986 Pop Goes Northern Ireland featured the incident involving Karl and his two colleagues. Thanks for sharing your memories