Flats named after Ipswich soldier who died in action in Northern Ireland

Unveiling of Barnes Square in Ipswich.

Unveiling of Barnes Square in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich solider who was killed in action has been honoured with the unveiling of a cluster of flats in his name.

Private Gary Barnes was just 18 when he died in a bombing at Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland in 1979.

Ipswich Borough Council has built 22 flats on a former garage block off Ulster Avenue in the north west of the town.

Last year, the road that the new Barnes Square is on was named after Private Aaron McClure, of the Royal Anglians, who died in Afghanistan in 2007.

Both men attended Westbourne High School and representatives from the school joined Pte Barnes’ three sisters and Pte McClure’s mother, Lorraine McClure, for an unveiling ceremony on Friday.

Pte Barnes was a member of the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, and seven regular soldiers from the formation also attended the unveiling along with two Royal Anglians, around 50 residents and a number of veterans.

The soldiers both grew up in Whitehouse and the ribbon cutting was performed by another local lad, Mayor of Ipswich Glen Chisholm, who also attended Westbourne High School.

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Ipswich borough councillor Alasdair Ross, who was instrumental in having the flats named after Pte Barnes, said it was important to remind people that members of the armed forces were still putting their lives at risk today.

Speaking about the ceremony, Mr Ross said: “It was a village feel within a town.

“It was Whitehouse people remembering their own, being led by a Whitehouse mayor and both men went to the same school.

“In fact, Gary’s sister, her son was in the same year of school as Aaron McClure. So it was a real close-knit event.

“It’s important to give these young lads somewhere for people to remember them locally. It will be there forever.”