I was at the local British Legion Festival of Remembrance, taking place at the County Hall near Ballymena, County Antrim.
It was usually held at the Ulster Hall in Belfast but, due to "the Troubles", took place at the County Hall for a few years.
Sir Norman was an old man by then, tall and distinguished with a good head of grey hair; upright with a benign smile; distinguished-looking and wearing a double-breasted chalk-stripe suit.
He always wore a neatly clipped moustache. Sir Norman struck me as being a true gentleman from a previous era, seldom encountered today.
Sir Norman had had an illustrious life and career. The baronetcy was first created in 1803, and Sir Norman was the 8th Baronet.
He served as Lord Lieutenant of County Armagh from 1939 till his death in 1981 under two successive monarchs, including GEORGE VI; and sat as a member of the NI House of Commons from 1938-69, including a spell as Speaker from 1945-69.
The late Douglas Deane OBE recalled Sir Norman's passion for wildlife at Tynan Abbey:
He went to live and farm at Tynan Abbey in 1928 and always his interest was in wild things; often he told me about the wildfowl which visited the lake in winter; the groups of Bewick swans; the flocks of white-fronted geese...
he showed me an incubating woodcock, hidden in a pool of brown leaves by the edge of the main drive at Tynan and told me that his gamekeeper had seen a woodcock carry one of its young, held between its legs, from an open patch in the woods in to cover; and many times had watched a woodcock feed its young in the same fashion as pigeons.
Every year Sir Norman would invite me to Tynan to see the azaleas in colour and the seas of bluebells in the woods and always there was talk of butterflies, painted ladies, peacock and the rest.
Mr Deane continued:
Sir Norman was the envy of his friends, being an excellent shot. He would often finish a day's shooting with close to 200 pigeons...his cousin, Sir Basil Brooke [1st Viscount Brookeborough], had the edge on him and always seemed to finish the day with more.TYNAN ABBEY, County Armagh, was built in 1750 and enlarged in the Tudor-Gothic style around 1820-30. It had an imposing two-storey entrance front, battlemented and pinnacled; a battlemented central tower and doorway too, with pointed Gothic windows.
Originally, the estate extended to some 8,000 acres.
One quiet Wednesday evening at around nine o'clock, 21st January, 1981, Sir Norman - by now in his 87th year - and his son, James, were having a quiet drink in the library of Tynan Abbey following their dinner, when they heard a loud explosion in close proximity.
Unknown to them, a gang of heavily-armed men had been stalking out the Abbey and its grounds earlier and the explosion had been caused by a hand-grenade thrown at the heavy, wooden front door.
The Stronges would have had a reasonable idea, by this stage, that they were being attacked. He kept a flare nearby, and opened the window to fire it in an attempt to alert others to the grave situation.
As it happened, a police patrol did notice the flare but, by that stage, it was too late.
The gang quickly located Sir Norman and his son in the library and opened fire on them, at point blank range, brutally killing them instantaneously.
The gang then placed fire-bombs throughout Tynan Abbey and made their escape in a southerly direction into the relatively safe jurisdiction of the Irish Republic.
The great mansion, and its priceless contents, was utterly destroyed; indeed, its ruinous shell had to be demolished later because it was unsafe.
Although there ensued a ferocious gun-battle with the police, the gang fled. I'd only wish to conclude by quoting from a small article by Turtle Bunbury:
We stopped first in the village of Tynan to view the High Cross, a replica of which now surmounts Bourke and Anne Cochrane's grave in New York.
We could just make out some images - perhaps Shadrach and his brothers hot-stepping it on fire-coals, maybe Adam and Eve contemplating a serpent. The Church where the Stronges are buried stands close by.
The last baronet, Sir Norman Stronge, and his son, James, were murdered by the Provisional IRA in 1981. Sir Jack, who knew them both, says father and son were quietly watching TV when a hand grenade blew their front door of its hinges.
Sir Norman managed to let off a flare but the police got there too late. The two men were machine gunned to death and the house burned down. The perpetrators all met unhappy ends - either shot by their own comrades or captured and incarcerated.
My father and I attended their funeral at Tynan parish church. I remember the Duke of Abercorn wearing a heavy, tweed, raglan overcoat.
Notwithstanding the passing of so many years, this vile act has continued to stick in my memory. The mere thought of such a heinous atrocity still deeply saddens me to this very day.