The Bessbrook Lament
Tommy Sands - © Elm Grove Music
I wrote this song about ten Protestant workmen from Bessbrook shot dead by Republicans near Kingsmills in Co Armagh. The massacre was said to be in retaliation for an earlier one by Loyalists of six Catholic men, The O’Dowds from Gilford and the Reavey Brothers from Newtownhamilton.
A friend of mine, Alan Black, left for dead at Kingsmills with 19 bullets in his body told me about meeting and becoming friends in Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry with the youngest of the Reaveys, Anthony, who had also been left for dead. Alan was heartbroken when Anthony died a few weeks later.
Cold blows the wind round the cold stone spring
It's sad and it's bad it's the ten working lads
There's been many's a happy song sung by manys a happy lass
Old John Grub the Quaker he made his model town
And who is to blame and where is the shame