Tag Archives: Balcombe Street Siege

Walton’s Restaurant Bombing – 18th November 1975

Walton’s Restaurant Bombing

walton restaurant bombing

On 18 November 1975 an Irish Republican Army (IRA) unit nicknamed the Balcombe Street Gang without warning threw a bomb into Walton’s Restaurant in Walton StreetKnightsbridge, London, killing two people and injuring almost two dozen others.

Background

 

Related image

The IRA began a bombing campaign on Britain on 8 March 1973 when they exploded a car bomb outside the Old Bailey which injured 180 people and one man died from a heart attack. The IRA unit responsible for the Old Bailey bombing were arrested trying to leave the country.

 

Image result for ira asu

Thereafter to try to help avoid their active service units (ASUs) from being captured and to have a better chance of carrying out a sustained bombing assault , the IRA decided to send to England sleeper cells who would arrive within weeks before actually carrying out any military activity and blend in with the public as not to draw attention to themselves. According to the leader of the Balcombe Street unit, the first bombing they carried out was the Guildford pub bombings on 5 October 1974, which killed five people and injured over 60 for which four innocent people known as the Guildford Four were arrested and received large jail sentences.

 

 In February 1975 the Provisional Irish Republican Army agreed to a truce and ceasefire with the British government and the Northern Ireland Office Several “incident centres” were established in Irish nationalist areas in Northern Ireland to monitor the ceasefire and the activity of the security forces. Before the truce, the IRA ASU, later dubbed the Balcombe Street Gang (because of the December 1975 Balcombe Street siege), had been bombing targets in England since autumn 1974, particularly in London and surrounding areas.

Their last attack was an assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Edward Heath but he was not home when the attackers threw a bomb into his bedroom window on 22 December 1974.

Bombing

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The Provisional IRA bomb Waltons London restaurant – 18 November 1975

 

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After the 1975 PIRA–British Army truce began to break, the IRA’s Balcombe Street ASU stepped up its bombing and shooting campaign on mainland Britain. On the night of 18 November 1975 the unit picked Walton’s Restaurant to bomb. Two civilians, Audrey Edgson (aged 45) and Theodore Williams (aged 49), were killed  when a bomb was thrown by one of the IRA Volunteers through the window of Walton’s Restaurant in Walton Street, Chelsea.

The device injured 23 other people, the oldest of them 71 years of age. In the bomb the IRA used miniature ball bearings to maximise injuries. Two persons, a man and woman, died at St. Stephen’s Hospital shortly after being taken there. According to Dr. Laurence Martin the consultant in charge of the casualty department in St. Stephen’s Hospital said that four of those injured required emergency operations.

“We have been involved with nine bomb incidents in the past two years but this is the worst,”

Dr. Martin said.

 

Senior Scotland Yard official, James Nevin, deputy head of the bomb squad, said that the bomb used in the attack had been a “shrapnel‐like device.” containing three pounds of explosives.

“This was obviously designed to kill and injure people rather than damage property,”

he said.

This was a calculated bombing campaign aimed at destroying businesses and scaring customers in London’s West End.

Other previous attacks by the unit in 1975 included Scott’s Oyster Bar bombing on 12 November, the London Hilton bombing on 5 September and the Caterham Arms Pub Bombingon 27 August. In total the unit carried out around 40 bomb and gun attacks on mainland Britain between October 1974 – December 1975.

Aftermath

This was the Balcombe Street gang’s last major attack during their fourteen-month bombing campaign of the British mainland. The IRA units bombing campaign would come to an end in December 1975 when they were caught at the Balcombe Street Siege which is where the unit got its name from.

See: Balcombe Street Siege 

The unit would eventually end up exploding close to 50 bombs in England and carried out several shootings which cost millions of pounds in damages, claimed the lives of 18 people, which included 10 civilians, 7 British soldiers and one London police officer, and injured almost 400 people, but they were only sentenced for the deaths of seven people.

The IRA would continue to attack targets in England during the rest of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s but would not launch such a sustained campaign on the British mainland again until the early 1990s.

 In custody the ASU also admitted to carrying out the Guildford pub bombings and the Kings Arms, Woolwich bombing for which the Guildford Four had been arrested, and received lengthy jail terms

See: Guildford Pub Bombings

Maguire Seven – 1976: Guilty verdict for ‘Maguire Seven

1976: Guilty verdict for ‘Maguire Seven’
mAGUIRE 7

A 40-year-old Irish born mother has been jailed for 14 years for possessing explosives at her London home.

Five other members of her family and a close friend were also found guilty of the same offence and jailed.

Anne Maguire, from Willesden, North London, was convicted of possessing nitro-glycerine, which was then passed on for use by IRA terrorists to make bombs.

Throughout the six-week trial at the Old Bailey all seven have continually protested their innocence.

‘No greater offence’

As Mrs Maguire was carried kicking and screaming from the dock she shouted: “I’m innocent you bastards. No, no, no.”

Her husband, Patrick Maguire, 42 was also sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. Her two younger sons, Vincent, 17, and Patrick, 14, were given five and four years respectively.

Mrs Maguire’s brother, William Smyth, 37, brother-in-law Patrick “Giuseppe” Conlon, 52, and family friend Patrick O’Neill, 35, were each sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

Passing sentence, Judge Justice Donaldson said: “There can be no greater offence than this, for it strikes at the very root of the way of life for which generations have fought and, indeed, died to preserve.”

Chief Constable Peter Matthews, of Surrey police, who led the investigation, said:

“We are delighted with the verdicts. These are the people we were after.

“We have cut off a major supply pipeline to the terrorist.

“We are only sorry we did not find the bombs.”

Police were first led to the Maguire family in Willesden when they followed Giuseppe Conlon to their home in December 1974.

Mr Conlon had arrived in London from Ireland for talks with solicitors who were defending his son Gerry, under arrest on suspicion of carrying out the Guildford pub bombings.

Anne Maguire, too, was implicated in the Guildford bombings and was also arrested in December 1974 and charged with the murder of 18-year-old WRAC recruit Caroline Slater, who died in the attacks.

The murder charge was dismissed by Guildford magistrates’ court the following February but the police had become suspicious of the Maguire family.

Image result for nitroglycerin

In a raid on their home in Willesden, evidence of nitro-glycerine was found. Swabs were taken from the hands of several male members of the family and evidence of the substance was detected.

Mrs Maguire has always denied the offence. During her trial she said: “There were never any explosives in my house. I would never have any explosives there. I am the mother of four children.”

See BBC on this day for more details.  4th March 1976

The Guildford Four

— Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in this post/documentaries  are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

The Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven were the collective names of two groups whose convictions in English courts in 1975 and 1976 for the Guildford pub bombings of 5 October 1974 were eventually quashed after long campaigns for justice.

The Guildford Four were wrongly convicted of bombings carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), and the Maguire Seven were wrongly convicted of handling explosives found during the investigation into the bombings.

Both groups’ convictions were eventually declared “unsafe and unsatisfactory” and reversed in 1989 and 1991 respectively after they had served up to 15–16 years in prison. Along with the Maguires and the Guildford Four, a number of other people faced charges against them relating to the bombings, six of them charged with murder, but these charges were dropped. 

No one else was charged with the bombings, or supplying the material; three police officers were charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and found not guilty.

Maguire Seven

The Maguire Seven were charged with possessing nitroglycerine allegedly passed to the IRA to make bombs after the police raided the West Kilburn house of Anne Maguire on 3 December 1974.

They were tried and convicted on 4 March 1976 and received the following sentences.

Defendant Relationship Age at
time of trial
Sentence
Anne Maguire 40 14 years
Patrick Maguire Anne’s husband 42 14 years
Patrick Maguire Son of Anne and Patrick 14 4 years
Vincent Maguire Son of Anne and Patrick 17 5 years
Sean Smyth Brother of Anne Maguire 37 12 years
Patrick O’Neill Family friend 35 12 years
Patrick “Giuseppe” Conlon Brother-in-law of Anne 52 12 years

Giuseppe Conlon had travelled from Belfast to help his son, Gerry Conlon, in the Guildford Four trial. Conlon, who had troubles with his lungs for many years, died in prison in January 1980, while the other six served their sentences and were released.

Appeals

The Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven sought leave to appeal their convictions immediately and were refused. Despite this, a growing body of disparate groups pressed for a re-examination of the case.

In February 1977, during the trial of the Balcombe Street ASU, the four IRA men instructed their lawyers to “draw attention to the fact that four totally innocent people were serving massive sentences”, referring to the Guildford Four.

Despite claims to the police that they were responsible they were never charged with these offences and the Guildford Four remained in prison for another twelve years.

The Guildford Four tried to obtain from the Home Secretary a reference to the Court of Appeal under Section 17 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 (later repealed), but were unsuccessful. In 1987, the Home Office issued a memorandum recognising that it was unlikely they were terrorists, but that this would not be sufficient evidence for appeal.

See: Balcombe Street Siege

Campaigns

Following the failure of the 1977 court appeal a number of ‘lone voices’ publicly questioned the conviction. Among them David Martin in The LevellerGavin Esler and Chris Mullinin the New Statesman and David McKittrick in the Belfast Telegraph.

On 26th February 1980, BBC One Northern Ireland aired ‘’Spotlight: Giuseppe Conlon and the Bomb Factory’’ which contained an interview by Patrick Maguire and the BBC’s Gavin Elser

Quashing of the Maguire verdicts

On 12 July 1990, the Home Secretary David Waddington published the Interim Report on the Maguire Case: The Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the convictions arising out of the bomb attacks in Guildford and Woolwich in 1974,which criticised the trial judge Mr Justice Donaldson and unearthed improprieties in the handling of scientific evidence and declared the convictions unsound recommending referral back to the Court of Appeal.

The report “strongly criticise[d] the decision by the prosecution at the Guildford trial not to disclose to the defence a statement supporting Mr Conlon’s alibi.”

The convictions of the Maguire Seven were quashed in 1991.

Aftermath

Neither the bombings nor the wrongful imprisonment resulted in convictions. The bombings were most likely the work of the Balcombe Street Siege gang, who claimed responsibility. They were already serving life sentences, but were released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Three British police officers—Thomas Style, John Donaldson, and Vernon Attwell—were charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, but each was found not guilty.

On 9 February 2005, Tony Blair, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, issued an apology to the families of the 11 people imprisoned for the bombings in Guildford and Woolwich, and those related to them who were still alive. He said, in part,:

“I am very sorry that they were subject to such an ordeal and injustice… they deserve to be completely and publicly exonerated.”

In 1993, Paul Hill married Courtney Kennedy, a daughter of assassinated American senator Robert F. Kennedy and a niece of assassinated president John F. Kennedy. They had a daughter in 1999, but legally separated in 2006.

Hill had a televised meeting with the brother of murdered soldier Brian Shaw, who continued to accuse him.

 He traveled to Colombia to attend the trial of the Colombia Three.

Gerry Conlon’s autobiography Proved Innocent was adapted into the Oscar and Bafta award-nominated 1993 drama In the Name of the Father, starring Daniel Day-LewisEmma Thompson, and Pete Postlethwaite. The film depicts Conlon’s attempt to rebuild his shattered relationship with his father, but is partly fictional – for example, Conlon never shared a cell with his father. He is reported to have settled with the government for a final payment of compensation in the region of £500,000.

His mother Sarah Conlon, who had spent 16 years campaigning to have the names of her husband and son cleared and helped secure the apology, died on 20 July 2008. Conlon has given support to Tommy Sheridan in relation to the charges brought against him. Conlon had been working to have the conviction of the Craigavon Two overturned prior to his death in June 2014.

Paddy Armstrong had problems with drinking and gambling. He eventually married and moved to Dublin.

Carole Richardson married and had a daughter soon after her release. She has since kept out of the public eye. Although it wasn’t reported at the time of Conlon’s death there are two reputable citations that record that Carole Richardson died in 2012.

The autobiography of the youngest member of the Maguire Seven, Patrick Maguire, My Father’s Watch: The Story of a Child Prisoner in 70s Britain was released in May 2008. It tells his story before, during, and after his imprisonment, and details its impact on his life and those of his family.

Gerry Conlon later joined a campaign to free the “Craigavon Two” – Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton – convicted of the murder of a police officer in Northern Ireland. Conlon died at home in Belfast on 21 June 2014. His family issued a statement:  “He brought life, love, intelligence, wit and strength to our family through its darkest hours. He helped us to survive what we were not meant to survive.

We recognise that what he achieved by fighting for justice for us had a far, far greater importance – it forced the world’s closed eyes to be opened to injustice; it forced unimaginable wickedness to be acknowledged; we believe it changed the course of history”.

In terms of a legal aftermath, Sir John Donaldson went on to an illustrious judicial career and became Master of the Rolls, Head of the Appeal Court. The appeal case itself for R v Maguire 1981, is now the leading case for disclosure to the defence.

See : Guildford Pub Bombings – Not Forgotten

 

6th December – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

6th December

Monday 6 December 1971

A woman died trying to salvage property from the Salvation Army Citadel in Belfast when a wall fell on her. Earlier there had been a bomb which started a large fire in an ajoining building.

Brian Faulkner, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, met with Reginald Maudling, then British Home Secretary, in London.

Thursday 6 December 1973

William Craig, then leader of Vanguard, Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and Harry West, then leader of the grouping called the Ulster Unionist Assembly Party, held a joint rally in the Ulster Hall and formed the United Ulster Unionist Council (UUUC) to try to oppose power-sharing and to bring down the power-sharing Executive.

The rally was attended by approximately 600 delegates from the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) constituency associations.

Thursday 6 – Sunday 9 December 1973

Sunningdale Agreement The Civil Service Staff College at Sunningdale in England played host to a conference to try to resolve the remaining difficulties surrounding the setting up of the power-sharing Executive for Northern Ireland.

Sunningdale was the first occasion since 1925 that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), and the Northern Ireland government – in the form of the Northern Ireland Executive (designate) – had attended the same talks on the future of Northern Ireland.

Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, and Liam Cosgrave, then Taoiseach, and senior ministers attended in addition to representatives of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI). The participants discussed a number of matters but the main item of concern centred on the unresolved issue of the ‘Irish Dimension’ of any future government of Northern Ireland. Proposals surrounding this ‘Irish Dimension’ were finally to be agreed in the form of a proposed Council of Ireland. The elements of the proposed Council were that it would consist of a Council of Ministers and a Consultative Assembly.

The Council of Ministers was to be comprised of seven members from the Northern Ireland Executive and seven members of the Irish government. This Council would have executive and harmonising functions and a consultative role. The Consultative Assembly was to be made up of 30 members from the Northern Ireland Assembly and the same number from the Dáil. This Assembly was to have advisory and review functions.

[A communiqué was issued on 9 December 1973.]

[ Sunningdale; Ulster Workers’ Council Strike. ]

Saturday 6 December 1975

Balcombe Street Siege British police chased a group of four Irish Republican Army (IRA) men through the West End of London. There was a car chase and an exchange of gunfire before the IRA members took over a council flat in Balcombe Street and held the married couple living in the flat hostage.

[This marked the beginning of a six-day siege during which time the IRA members demanded a plane to take them to the Republic of Ireland. The siege ended when the hostages were released unharmed and the IRA members surrendered to police.]

See Balcombe Street Siege 

Two members of the IRA were killed when the land mine they were preparing exploded prematurely near Killeen, County Armagh.

Monday 6 December 1982

Droppin Well bombing

droppin_well

‘Droppin Well’ Bomb The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) exploded a bomb at the Droppin’ Well Bar and Disco in Ballykelly, County Derry, and killed 17 people (one of whom died ten days after the incident).

The dead included 11 British soldiers and 6 civilians. Approximately 30 people were also injured in the blast some of them seriously. The soldiers, mainly members of the Cheshire Regiment, regularly socialised in the pub which was close to the British Army base in Ballykelly.

[Tomás Ó Fiaich, then Catholic Primate of Ireland, called the killings “gruesome slaughter”.

Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, said:

“This is one of the most horrifying crimes in Ulster’s tragic history. The slaughter of innocent people is the product of evil and depraved minds, and the act of callous and brutal men.”

Although the bomb was small, believed to be 5lbs or 10lbs of commercial (Frangex) explosives, it had been placed next to a support pillar in the bar and when it exploded the blast brought down the roof. Many of those killed and injured were crushed by fallen masonry. In June 1986 four people recieved life sentences for the attack and a fifth person received a ten year sentence.]

 SeeDroppin Well’ Bomb

Thursday 6 December 1984

Two members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were shot dead by undercover British soldiers in the grounds of Gransha Hospital, Derry.

Friday 6 December 1985

The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) took the decision to withdraw from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Friday 6 December 1996

Another Catholic family was forced to leave the mainly Protestant Ballykeel Estate in Ballymena. This followed earlier expulsions on 4 December 1996. Two Catholic schools were also damaged in sectarian attacks in north Antrim.

Ken Maginness, Security Spokesman of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), claimed that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was responsible for the sectarian tensions in the Ballymena area. Martin Smyth announced that he was retiring as Grand Master of the Orange Order.

Saturday 6 December 1997

The United Kingdom Unionist Party (UKUP) held its first annual conference in Bangor, County Down. The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) held its annual conference in Dublin. The party rejected by 109 votes to 11 a motion from the Ard Chomhairle (executive) which called on the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) to engage in a ceasefire until the end of the multi-party talks at Stormont.

Monday 6 December 1999

In one of its first decisions the Northern Ireland Assembly voted to increase the salaries of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) by £9,000 to £38,036.

Wednesday 6 December 2000

Gary Moore (30), a Catholic civilian, was shot dead while renovating houses in Devenish Drive, Monkstown, Newtownabbey, County Antrim.

[Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for the killing but it is not known which group carried out the shooting.]

Several families were evacuated from their homes in the Ballymoney area when a pipe-bomb was discovered on the windowsill of a house. The occupant of the house was not at home at the time of the incident.

Thursday 6 December 2001

A draft report by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland (PONI) into the handling of prior warnings about the Omagh Bombing was leaked to the BBC in Northern Ireland.

[The final report was published on Wednesday 12 December 2001. The contents of the leaked report caused serious friction between Ronnie Flanagan, then Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), and Nuala O’Loan, then PONI. John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, criticised the leaking of the report and said media speculation was damaging. Ken Maginnis, formerly Ulster Unionist Party spokesman on security, said the Ombudsman had walked through “police interests and community interests like a suicide bomber”. Later Jimmy Spratt, then Chairman of the Police Federation, criticised Nuala O’Loan and called on her to resign. However, David Cook, formerly Chairman of the Northern Ireland Police Authority, said Mr Spratt should be the one to go.]

Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin (SF), held a media briefing in Belfast at which he called on the British government to establish an International Public Judicial Inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane, a Belfast solicitor killed on 12 February 1989.

The call followed the collapse of the case against William Stobie on 26 November 2001 and also the continuing alleged links between the British security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries. Colin Powell, then Secretary of State in the USA, designated as ‘terrorist’ three groups based in Northern Ireland by listing them in the Terrorist Exclusion List.

The groups were: the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA), the Orange Volunteers (OV), and the Red Hand Defenders (RHD). This designation has the effect of excluding members or supporters from the USA and will also prevent them from collecting funds in the country.

[However, in the middle of 2001 there was speculation that the RHD (and the OV) was being used as a covername (a pseudonym, or ‘flag of convenience’) by members of the LVF and the UDA / UFF under which these organisations could carry out attacks without taking the blame. If this is true then the RHD (and OV) is a non-existent organisation.]

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Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following  people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die

– Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live  forever

– To  the Paramilitaries  –

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

25 People lost their lives on the 6th December  between 1971 – 2000

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06 December 1971
Mary Thompson,  (61)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by wall collapsing onto her, shortly after bomb attack on building next door, Salvation Army Citadel, Dublin Road, Belfast.

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06 December 1972
Samuel White,   (32)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Republican group (REP)
Found shot, Lisbon Street, Short Strand, Belfast.

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06 December 1974
James Davidson,   (64)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Died two days after being shot during robbery at his shop, Upper Glenfarne Street, Shankill, Belfast.

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06 December 1975


James Lochrie,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed when land mine exploded prematurely, Kelly’s Road, Killeen, County Armagh

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06 December 1975


Sean Campbell,  (20)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA), K

illed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed when land mine exploded prematurely, Kelly’s Road, Killeen, County Armagh.

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06 December 1982


Stephen Smith,   (24)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Philip McDonough,   (26)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Steven Bagshaw,   (21)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry

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06 December 1982


Clinton Collins,  (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
David Murray,   (18)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
David Stitt,  (27)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Shaw Williamson,  (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Terence Adams,   (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Neil Williams,  (18)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry

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06 December 1982
Paul Delaney,  (18)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


David Salthouse,   (23)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Off duty. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


Ruth Dixon,  (17)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


Carol Watts,   (25)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982
Angela Hoole, (19)

nfNI
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
English visitor. Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry

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06 December 1982
Patricia Cooke,   (21)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Injured by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry. She died 16 December 1982.

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06 December 1982
Valerie McIntyre,   (21)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1982


Alan Callaghan,   (17)

Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)
Killed by time bomb left in disco at Droppin Well Bar, Ballykelly, County Derry.

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06 December 1984


William Fleming,  (19)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members while travelling on motorcycle in the grounds of Gransha Hospital, off Clooney Road, Derry.

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 06 December 1984


Daniel Doherty,   (23)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: British Army (BA)
Shot by undercover British Army (BA) members, while travelling on motorcycle in the grounds of Gransha Hospital, off Clooney Road, Derry.

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06 December 2000


Gary Moore,  (30)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Shot while renovating houses, Devenish Drive, Monkstown, Newtownabbey, County Antrim.

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Balcombe Street Siege – 6th – 12th December 1975

The Balcombe Street siege was an incident involving members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Metropolitan Police Service of London lasting from 6 to 12 December 1975. The siege ended with the surrender of the four IRA paramilitaries and the release of their two hostages. The events were televised and watched by millions.

 

Background

 

Scott’s restaurant in 2005, the attack on which preceded the siege

In 1974 and 1975 London was subjected to a 14-month campaign of gun and bomb attacks by the Provisional IRA. Some 40 bombs exploded in London, killing 35 people and injuring many more. In one incident the Guinness Book of Records co-founder and conservative political activist Ross McWhirter was assassinated; he had offered a £50,000 reward to anyone willing to inform the security forces of IRA activity.

 

 

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Balcombe Street Siege 1975

Thames News

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The four members of what became known as the “Balcombe Street gang” – Martin O’Connell, Edward Butler, Harry Duggan and Hugh Doherty – were part of a six-man IRA Active Service Unit (ASU) that also included Brendan Dowd and Liam Quinn. Quinn had recently shot dead police constable Stephen Tibble in London after fleeing from police officers. The flat he was seen fleeing from was discovered to be a bomb factory used by the unit.

 

 

The Balcombe Street siege started after a chase through London, as the Metropolitan Police pursued Doherty, O’Connell, Butler and Duggan through the streets after they had fired gunshots through the window of Scott’s restaurant in Mount Street, Mayfair. They had thrown a bomb through the restaurant window a few weeks before on 12 November 1975, killing one person and injuring 15 others.

 

The Metropolitan Police Bomb Squad had detected a pattern of behaviour in the ASU, determining that they had a habit of attacking again some of the sites they had previously attacked. In a scheme devised by a young detective sergeant, the Met flooded the streets of London with unarmed plain-clothes officers on the lookout for the ASU. The four IRA men were spotted as they slowed to a halt outside Scotts and fired from their stolen car.

Inspector John Purnell and Sergeant Phil McVeigh, on duty as part of the dragnet operation, picked up the radio call from the team in Mount Street as the stolen Cortina approached their position. With no means of transport readily available, the two unarmed officers flagged down a taxi cab and tailed the men for several miles through London, until the IRA men abandoned their vehicle. Purnell and McVeigh, unarmed, continued the pursuit on foot despite handgun fire from the gang. Other officers joined the chase, with the four IRA men running into a block of council flats in Balcombe Street, adjacent to Marylebone station, triggering the six-day stand-off.

Purnell was subsequently awarded the George Medal for his bravery.[5] Several other police officers were also decorated.

The siege

 

The Balcombe Street siege in London, December 12 1975

 

The four men ended up in a flat at 22b Balcombe Street in Marylebone, taking its two residents, John and Sheila Matthews, hostage. The men declared that they were members of the IRA and demanded a plane to fly both them and their hostages to the Republic of Ireland. Scotland Yard refused, creating a six-day standoff between the men and the police. Peter Imbert, later Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, was the chief police negotiator.

The men surrendered after several days of intense negotiations between Metropolitan Police Bomb squad officers Detective Superintendent Peter Imbert and Detective Chief Superintendent Jim Nevill, and the unit’s leader Joe O’Connell, who went by the name of “Tom”.

The other members of the gang were named “Mick” and “Paddy”, thereby avoiding revealing to the negotiators precisely how many of them were in the living room of the flat. The resolution of the siege was a result of the combined psychological pressure exerted on the gang by Imbert and the deprivation tactics used on the four men. The officers also used carefully crafted misinformation, through the BBC radio news—the police knew the gang had a radio—to further destabilise the gang into surrender.

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Balcombe Street Gang appear at Sinn Fein Special Conference, May 1998

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Trial

The four were found guilty at their Old Bailey trial in 1977 of seven murders, conspiring to cause explosions, and falsely imprisoning John and Sheila Matthews during the siege. O’Connell, Butler and Duggan each received twelve life sentences, and Doherty eleven. Each of the men was later given a whole life tariff, the only IRA prisoners to receive this tariff.

During their trial they instructed their lawyers to “draw attention to the fact that four totally innocent people were serving massive sentences” for three bombings in Woolwich and Guildford. Despite claiming to the police that they were responsible, they were never charged with these offences and the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven remained in prison for fifteen more years, until it was ruled that their convictions were unsafe.

Release

After serving 23 years in UK jails the four men were transferred to the high security wing of Portlaoise Prison, 50 miles (80 km) west of Dublin in early 1998  They were presented by Gerry Adams to the 1998 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis as ‘our Nelson Mandelas’,[3] and were released together with Brendan Dowd and Liam Quinn in 1999 as part of the Good Friday Agreement. 

 

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The Year London Blew Up Episode 1 (Part 1 of 6)

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