Caterham Arms pub bombing
|Caterham Arms Pub Bombing|
|Part of the Troubles|
|Location||Caterham, Surrey, England|
|Date||27 August 1975
|Target||British Army soldiers, British civilians|
In February 1975 the Provisional Irish Republican Army agreed to a truce and ceasefire with the British government and the Northern Ireland Office. Seven "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 active service unit (ASU) later dubbed the Balcombe Street Gang (because of the December 1975 Balcombe Street siege) had been bombing targets in England since the autumn of 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 thew a bomb into his bedroom window on 22 December 1974.
The IRA active service unit planted a time bomb in the Caterham Arms public house in Caterham in Surrey. There was no warning and the bomb exploded at 9:20pm, injuring 23 civilians and 10 off-duty soldiers. The pub was used by members of the Welsh Guards who were based at Caterham Barracks nearby. Some of the injuries were very serious and two soldiers had their legs blown off. The blast was so powerful it blew the roof off the pub in the process. This attack marked the start of a renewed bombing campaign ('Phase Two') in England and the end of the truce with the British Government. The next day, the same IRA unit exploded a bomb in Oxford Street, injuring several people.
The gang's bombing campaign would continue until December 1975 when they were caught at the siege of Balcombe Street. The unit would eventually end up planting close to 50 bombs in London and elsewhere in southern England and carried out several shootings which, along with the bombings, caused the deaths of nearly 20 people, injured hundreds and caused millions of pounds worth of damage to property.