Twenty seven past pupils whose names are known were to lose their lives during the ‘troubles’. Of these, twenty four were boys and three girls. Most were in their late teens or early twenties. One, John Rolston, was murdered within two days of leaving school. Three were killed by the Provisional IRA, another three accidentally when handling explosives, twenty including the three girls by loyalist paramilitaries and one, Bobby Sands, died in prison on hunger strike shortly after he had been elected M.P. for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Eight families who had one or other parent killed in those years also sent children to the school.

Of all those who lost their lives Bobby Sands is the best known. He attended Stella Maris from 1965 to 1969. Coming from a very supportive and close knit family he was well regarded by both staff and pupils and a pleasure to teach. He was keen on sport and was a member of the local Star of the Sea youth club, where together with several of his Protestant friends he played on the club team. Shortly after he left school he was intimidated from his workplace and the family from their home in Rathcoole; the remainder of the story is well known.

The first deaths of past pupils occurred in 1972 and continued to 1994. Sharon McKenna was murdered in January 1993, the year the school closed.

The first deaths of past pupils occurred in 1972 and continued to 1994. Sharon McKenna was murdered in January 1993, the year the school closed.

 

Charles McCrystal

1972, April 7th, 18 years old

All died handling explosives and were claimed by the PIRA as members

John McErlean 1972, April 7th, 17 years old
Samuel Hughes 1972, April 7th, 17 years old
James Joseph Reynolds 1972 Dec. 15th, 16 years old

Shot by loyalists. No-one convicted

Liam McDonald 1973 May 2nd, 19 years old

Killed by UDA/UFF

Margaret McErlean 1974 Feb.11th, 18 years old

Killed by UVF. No-one convicted

Thomas Donaghy 1974 Feb. 11th, 16 years old

Killed by UVF. No-one convicted

Joseph Donnelly 1974 March 29th, 24 years old

UVF bomb blast Conways Bar

Michael McKenzie 1974 Oct. 12th, 19 years old

Killed by UDA/UFF

Gerald McKeown 1975 Feb. 20th, 20 years old

Killed by a bomb placed by the UVF in the Railway Bar, Greencastle

Gerard McLaughlin

1975 April 7th, 20 years old

Killed by UVF. No-one convicted

John Rolston 1975 June 29th, 16 years old

Killed by UVF

John Mario Kelly 1975 Nov. 9th, 19 years old

Killed by Provisional IRA during feud with Official IRA, claimed as a member of the Republican Clubs. No-one convicted

Gerard Gilmore 1976 July 13th, 19 years old

Killed by UDA/UFF, claimed as a member of the ‘Official IRA’. No-one convicted.

Eugene McDonagh 1976 Nov. 6th, 23 years old

Killed by UVF

Geraldine McKeown 1976 Dec. 8th, 14 years old,

Killed at her home in Mountainview Gardens when UVF gunmen fired shots through the living room window. The family had previously been intimidated from their home in Rathfern, Newtownabbey

Myles McGrogan 1977 April, 22 years old

Killed by the Provisional IRA. No-one convicted.

Bobby Sands

1981 May 5th, 27 years old

The first of ten men to die on hunger strike

Joseph Craven 1983 Dec. 5th, 25 years old

Killed by UVF, no-one convicted, claimed as a member of the INLA

William McLaughlin 1984 Nov. 23rd, 25 years old

Killed by UVF

Denis Price RUCR 1985 Feb. 28th, 25 years old

One of nine RUC personnel killed in Newry by Provisional IRA

Martin Quinn 1986 Jan. 31th, 34 years old

Killed by UVF. No-one convicted

Ian Catney 1989 Jan. 7th, 27 years old,

Killed by UVF. No-one convicted

Raymond Robinson 1990 Nov. 29th, 39 years old

Killed by UVF. No-one convicted

Peter McTasney 1991 Feb. 27th, 26 years old

Killed by UVF

Sharon McKenna 1993 Jan. 17th, 20 years old

Killed by UVF. No-one convicted

Bobby Monaghan 1994 July 22nd, 44 years old

Killed by UDA/UFF. No-one convicted

"Of the twenty seven who died,three were killed accidentally,
three by the IRA – no convictions, one died on hunger strike and
twenty were killed by loyalist paramilitaries – eight convictions."
Joseph McCrystal 1972 Nov. 13th, 28 years old
Killed by UDA/UFF. No conviction
 
Frank Rowe 1974 May 8th, 40 years old
Killed by UDA/UFF. No conviction
 
Marie Doyle 1975 May 13th, 38 years old
Killed by UVF
 
Robert Craven 1976 June 18th, 51 years old
Killed by Loyalists. No conviction
 
Henry Corbett 1979 Sept. 3rd, 27 years old
Killed by UDA/UFF
 
Peter McGuinness 1981 August 9th, 41 years old
Killed by a plastic bullet fired by a soldier when he (McGuinness) was trying toclear the street of young people during a riot.
David Nocher 1983 Oct. 29th 26 years old,
Killed by UVF, claimed as a member of the Workers’ Party. No conviction

Carol Anne Kelly although not a pupil in the Secondary had attended Stella Maris Primary before the family moved to Twinbrook having been intimidated from their home in Rathcoole. Aged 11 years she was killed by a bullet fired by a soldier while on her way to the shop for milk. The area was reported to be quiet at the time. She, too, ought to be remembered. No conviction.

For further information on these deaths see,
‘Lost Lives’ by David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney, Chris Thornton and David McVea
Mainstream Publishing – 1999. Revised 2004