King's Cross station and Euston station bombings

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King's Cross and Euston Station bombings
Part of the Troubles
Euston station main entrance.jpg
Entrance to Euston Station
Location London, England
Date 10 September 1973
12.24 p.m and 1:10 pm (GMT)
Target British Rail stations
Attack type
Time Bomb and Thrown bomb
Weapons explosives
Deaths 0
Non-fatal injuries
13 (5 at King's Cross and 8 at Euston)
Perpetrators Provisional IRA

The King's Cross station and Euston station bombings were two bombing attacks on 10 September 1973 by the Provisional IRA (IRA) targeting two mainline railway stations in central London. The bomb blasts wounded a total of 13 people some of whom were seriously injured and also caused large but superficial damage.[1] These were the largest bombs the IRA set of in England since the Old Bailey car bombing earlier that year in March which killed one man and injured around 200 people.[2][3]


Since the Provisional IRA began its offensive campaign in early 1971 against the British state forces during The Troubles (from 1969 - 1970 it was mostly a defensive campaign )there had been discussions among the seven man IRA Army Council members about extending a bombing campaign to mainland Britain.

At a meeting of the Provisional IRA Army Council in June 1972, IRA Chief of Staff Sean MacStiofain proposed bombing targets in England to "take the heat off Belfast and Derry". However, the Army Council did not consent to a bombing campaign in England until early 1973, after talks with the British government the previous year had broken down. The IRA believed that after the carnage in Belfast and Derry in 1972 they needed to bomb England to take the heat off Belfast and hopefully it would put more pressure on the British government to leave Ireland if bombs started to come to the streets of England, the IRA also believed a successful bombing in a major English city like London would be a huge propaganda coup and a morale boost to its members and supporters.

The 1973 Old Bailey bombing in March seemed to prove the IRA's theory about a propaganda coup as the bombing, although it would have been normal in Belfast, Armagh, Tyrone or Derry, made world headlines.[4] Even though the bombings were a success for the IRA, 10 out of the 11 person ASU was arrested trying to leave the country before the bombs even went off.[5]

Instead of sending a large bombing team over to England who would leave and come back to Ireland the IRA decided to send smaller cell units of about 3-4 volunteers and keep them in England so they could keep planting bombs.


The first IRA bombings since March happened on 29 August, one of them near Harrod's store in London.[6] There were also explosions on 8 September including one at Victoria station which injured four.[7] It is possible they were carried out by the same IRA unit who exploded the King's Cross and Euston bombs.

The first bomb on 10 September 1973 exploded at King's Cross railway station in the booking hall at 12.24 p.m. The 3 lb (1.4 kg) device was thrown without warning by a youth who escaped into the crowd and was not caught. The witness saw a teenager about 16 or 17 years old throw the bomb that was wrapped in a bag at the booking hall. About 45 minutes later, a second blast damaged a snack bar at Euston railway station, injuring another eight people bringing the total to 13 for the day. The King's Cross bomb - which exploded without any warning - broke glass throughout the old booking hall and threw a baggage trolley several feet into the air. The Euston station explosion happened just five minutes after the Press Association received a telephone warning from a man with an Irish accent.

One witness said: "I saw a flash and suddenly people were being thrown through the air - it was a terrible mess, they were bleeding and screaming"[citation needed]

The police later issued a photofit picture of the 5 ft 2 tall, 15-17-year-old boy they wished to question about the King's Cross explosion.

Two days later two bombs went off in London again in Oxford Street and Sloane Square. Police said they searching for 5 people in connection with the bombings.[8][9]

The mentally-ill Judith Ward was later wrongly convicted for the bombings along with causing the M62 Coach Bombing which killed 12 people. She was acquitted in 1992, and the actual culprit(s) has not been found.[10]

See also


  • CAIN project
  • BBC ON THIS DAY Bomb blasts rock central London


  1. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1973". Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  2. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1973". Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  3. ^ "CAIN: Sutton Index of Deaths". 1973-03-08. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "BBC ON THIS DAY 14 November 1973: IRA gang convicted of London bombings". BBC News. 2008. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  6. ^ "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1973". Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  7. ^ "Bomb Attacks". Illustrated London News. 27 October 1973. pp. 20–21. Retrieved 1 March 2018. 
  8. ^ Bruce Wallace and James MacManus. "Yard hunts the bomber with a baby face | From". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  9. ^ "BBC ON THIS DAY 10 September 1973: Bomb blasts rock central London". BBC News. 2008. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  10. ^ "BBC ON THIS DAY 4 November 1974: M62 bomber jailed for life". BBC News. 2008. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 

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