Today, 22nd February 2012, marks the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Aldershot barracks by the Official I R A. The hideously misnamed ‘Troubles’ had been going on for a few years resulting in the deaths, in Ireland, of British soldiers, Irish civilians and members of the multi-factionalised IRA.
1972 marked an escalation in the violence as the IRA decided to bring the killing to this side of the Irish Sea.
Aldershot is one of the main army bases in the UK and was the ‘home’ of the Parachute Regiment. The IRA wanted to punish the Para’s for their part in the Londonderry ‘Bloody Sunday’.
A car bomb was left outside of an Officers Mess; the resulting explosion killed five female kitchen staff that were leaving the premises, a gardener, and Father Gerard Weston (a Catholic British Army chaplain). Nineteen other people were wounded by the explosion.
The IRAs had conducted attacks against the British Army in Northern Ireland many times before, but this was the first time that they had attacked military targets in Britain itself.
The ‘reasoning’ behind the IRA policy was that it was taking the fight to the British mainland, targeting the British government and British infrastructure in order to sap the will of the British people and get them to force the British government to abandon Northern Ireland.
In reality ALL of the IRA terrorist attacks, ALL of the deaths of men, women and children, ALL of the damage to buildings, towns and cities didn’t take place in ‘Britain’ they were ALL perpetrated in ENGLAND!
Those killed on that day forty years ago were,
Thelma Bosley (44), Civilian.
Margaret Grant (32), Civilian
John Haslar (58), Civilian.
Joan Lunn (39), Civilian.
Jill Mansfield (34), Civilian.
Cherie Munton (20), Civilian.
Gerry Weston (38), Catholic chaplain to British Army.
Only one man was ever convicted of the murders. In November 1972, Noel Jenkinson was found guilty for his part in the bombing and was sentenced to a long jail term; he died of heart failure four years later while still in prison. The remaining bombers were never caught and no inquiry into the attack, or the deaths of those killed, was ever held.
It is the view of England Watch that these, and all of the later victims of the IRA, should never be forgotten.
It is also the view of England Watch that no English nationalist party, or individual, should tarnish the memory of these victims by begging for money from people or parties connected in any way to the terrorists involved in these murderous attacks!