James (Jimbo) Smyth | In Memoriam
James Smyth or Jimbo, as he was better known, was a down-to-earth, no-nonsense family man, who liked his bottle and a half'un and a bet occasionally on the horses.
He was, as they say, "born and reared" in the North Queen Street area and was happy to be known as a “Barrack Wall” man.
A few years after he was married, he, along with his wife Kitty and young daughter, Margaret, moved to Alton Street in the Carrick Hill area to help look after his wife’s father who was very ill. Then in the early 1960’s, the family moved back to the North Queen Street area because of redevelopment in Carrick Hill.
While he held various jobs over the years, he had also served in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War. In his latter years he worked as a docker at the Belfast docks.
He was a regular in McGurk’s and knew all the locals who also enjoyed a quiet drink and plenty of craic in the relaxing atmosphere of a bar, well-managed by Paddy McGurk, the owner. He would not have been a major contributor to the “Swear Box” which was always placed in a prominent position on the public counter.
He was not to know that it was to be the last place he would visit before his life was brought to an abrupt end in the horrific bomb which killed another fourteen of his friends and neighbours and injured many others.
Following the bombing, the family had a small consolation in that, of the 15 killed in the tragedy, only his coffin and that of 13 year old, James Cromie, were opened - such were the horrific injuries inflicted on the innocent victims of the McGurk’s Bar massacre.
He is still sadly missed by his family and friends.
By Mr. Smyth's daughter, Margaret, and her husband, Tommy McCready.