Tag Archives: Theodore Williams

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

 

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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.

 

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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

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18th November – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Key Events & Deaths on this day in Northern Ireland Troubles

18th November

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Thursday 18 November 1971

A British soldier was shot dead by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Belfast.

Monday 18 November 1974

It was announced that a new high-security prison would be built at Maghaberry, County Antrim at a cost of £30m.

Tuesday 18 November 1975

Two civilians were killed and 23 were injured when members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) threw a bomb into Walton’s Restaurant in Walton Street, Knightsbridge, London.

Thursday 18 November 1982

Raymond Gilmore

 

 

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) kidnapped Patrick Gilmour in Derry. Patrick Gilmour was the father of Raymond Gilmour who had been a member of the IRA and an Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) informer and who had gone into protective custody to become a ‘supergrass’.

[The IRA later said that Patrick Gilmour would not be released until his son retracted his evidence.]

Sunday 18 November 1984

Garret FitzGerald, then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), travelled to Chequers in England for an Anglo-Irish summit meeting with Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister. [FitzGerald held a private meeting with Thatcher during the evening and the main summit meeting took place on the following morning (19 November 1984).]

Monday 18 November 1985

Mary Robinson, then a Senator (and future President) in the Republic of Ireland, resigned from the Labour Party in protest at the lack of consultation before the Anglo-Irish Agreement (AIA) was introduced.

Tuesday 18 November 1986

James Molyneaux, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), travelled to London to hold a meeting with Neil Kinnock, then leader of the Labour Party.

Monday 18 December 1989

Richard Needham, then Minister of Economic Development, announced a £65 million investment in Derry half of which was being invested by a Boston developer.

Thursday 18 November 1993

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) organised a series of 16 peace rallies across Ireland.

Saturday 18 November 1995

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) held its annual conference. The conference voted to leave open the possibility of a future electoral pact with Sinn Féin (SF).

Tuesday 18 November 1997

There were riots in Lurgan and Armagh following the arrest of Colin Duffy, then a prominent Republican based in Lurgan.

[Duffy had been charged with assault following a fracas involving Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers in the town.]

Adam Ingram

 

 

Adam Ingram, then Security Minister, defended changes made to the Northern Ireland Emergency Provisions Bill particularly the removal of the powers to use internment.

[Unionists criticised the government for removing internment from the statute books.]

David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), held a meeting with Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, to emphasise the UUP’s opposition to cross-border bodies which have executive powers.

Wednesday 18 November 1998

Michael McGimpsey, then Security Spokesperson of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), warned that the Good Friday Agreement could collapse if there were moves to disband the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

[This statement followed reports in the Irish Times on 17 November 1998 that the Commission on the RUC would recommend members having to reapply to a new police service.]

Thursday 18 November 1999

End of the Review of the Agreement George Mitchell, then chairman of the Review of the Agreement, issued his final statement concluding the Review. He said that the basis existed for devolution to occur and the formation of an Executive to take place. Before leaving Northern Ireland to return to the USA, the Senator was thanked during a press conference in Castle Buildings by all the participants and parties involved. The review had taken 10 weeks to complete.

[The British Government later issued a statement which expressed gratitude for Senator Mitchell’s help in transforming the Northern Ireland situation from one of conflict and confrontation to one of dialogue and peace.]

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Assembly team met to discuss the political developments and authorised David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, to put the matter to a meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) on 27 November 1999. Michael O’Hara, then a community activist from Short Strand in east Belfast, was injured when he was attacked by two men using a machete.

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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.

10 People lost their lives on the 18th November between 1971 – 1989

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 18 November 1971


Edwin Charnley,  (22)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while on British Army (BA) guard duty at bus depot, Anderson Street, Short Strand, Belfast.

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18 November 1973
Charles Logan,   (26)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Died in premature bomb explosion at farmhouse, Desertmartin, County Derry.

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18 November 1975
Audrey  Edgson,  (45)

nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb thrown into Walton’s Restaurant, Walton Street, Chelsea, London.

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18 November 1975
Theodore Williams,  (49)

nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by bomb thrown into Walton’s Restaurant, Walton Street, Chelsea, London

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18 November 1976
 William Kidd,   (37)

Protestant
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot at his workplace, a building site, Trench Road, Altnagelvin, Derry.

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18 November 1981


James McClintock,   (57)

Protestant
Status: ex-Ulster Defence Regiment (xUDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot while on his way home from work, Newbuildings, County Derry.

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18 November 1985
Robert Boyd,  (55)

Catholic
Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot outside his home, Prehen Park, Waterside, Derry.

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18 November 1989


Stephen Wilson,   (23)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in derelict cottage, detonated when British Army (BA) mobile patrol passed, Mayobridge, County Down.

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18 November 1989


Donald Macaulay,   (20)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in derelict cottage, detonated when British Army (BA) mobile patrol passed, Mayobridge, County Down.

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18 November 1989


Mathew Marshall,   (21)

nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in derelict cottage, detonated when British Army (BA) mobile patrol passed, Mayobridge, County Down.

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