Harrow School bombing

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Harrow School bombing
Part of the Troubles
Location Harrow School, London
Date 24 October 1974
23:40 (GMT)
Attack type
Time Bomb
Weapons gelignite bomb
Deaths 0
Non-fatal injuries
0
Perpetrators Provisional IRA
Balcombe Street Gang

The Harrow School bombing happened on 24 October 1974, when the Provisional IRA's Balcombe Street Gang bombed Peterborough Cottage, a three-storey former caretaker's house in the grounds of Harrow School. A warning was given and there were no deaths or injuries.

Background

Until February 1972 the conflict known as The Troubles was largely confined to Northern Ireland, with the violence sometimes spilling into the Republic of Ireland, but in revenge for Bloody Sunday the Official IRA bombed the headquarters of the British Parachute Regiment, killing seven civilian workers.

In March 1973 the Provisional IRA bombed England for the first time when they bombed the Old Bailey courthouse in the centre of London, killing one person and injuring over 200.

During the summer of 1974 the IRA launched a string of attacks in England, which included a letter bomb campaign and the bombing of Westminster Hall.[1][2] On 5 October 1974 a new, more intense bombing campaign was launched in England by the IRA Active Service Unit known as the Balcombe Street gang with the bombing of two pubs in Guildford, killing 5 people and injuring 65 others.[3]

Bombing

The school was a strange target for the Active Service Unit (ASU); it was probably targeted due to its elitist nature.

At 11:30 pm the Press Association (PA) received a warning from the leader of the IRA's ASU, who informed the PA that...

"There is a bomb at Harrow school. There is a warning this time, but if nothing is done, there won't be any more. If you don't move the kids, they will be OK."

The bomb exploded ten minutes after the warning. It had been placed on a window sill at Peterborough Cottage. Despite the damage to the rear of the building nobody was killed or seriously injured.[4]

The bombing was most likely a symbolic target, striking at what the IRA saw as British power. The bomb was purposely placed as to avoid any casualties. It was estimated to have contained 5 lbs of explosives.[3]

Aftermath

This was the fifth bomb attack carried out by the IRA unit in the month of October 1974. The first was the Guildford pubs bombs, the second took place at the Victory Services Club on Seymour street & third at the Army and Navy Club on St James's Square, both of these attacks occurred on 11 October, only one person was injured in these two attacks. And the fourth took place at Brooks club, in St James's Square in London on 22 October an attack which injured three people.[5][6]

Two weeks later, on 7 November 1974, the same IRA ASU bombed the Kings Arm pub in Woolwich, killing a soldier and a barman in the explosion and injuring over 30 people, many of them seriously.[7][8]

References

  1. ^ CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1974
  2. ^ CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1974
  3. ^ a b CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1974
  4. ^ "Oct. 10, 1974 - Bomb Explosion At Harrow School: A Bomb Explosion Stock Photo, Royalty Free Image: 69477779 - Alamy"
  5. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch74.htm#Oct
  6. ^ The Road to Balcombe Street: The IRA Reign of Terror in London - Steven P Moysey
  7. ^ CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths
  8. ^ CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1974

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