Access keys help
bbc.co.uk
Home
TV
Radio
Talk
Where I Live
A-Z Index
Video and audio from the BBC News archive WWII and 1950-2005. This site is archived and no longer updated.
22 September  
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
About This Site | Text Only
1989: Ten dead in Kent barracks bomb
A devastating explosion at an army barracks in Kent has killed 10 young soldiers.

The republican group IRA has said it planted the bomb which blew apart the recreation centre at the Royal Marine School of Music in Deal.

Twenty-two men were also injured in the blast just before 0830 GMT - eight seriously - and two are still missing, feared buried under the rubble. Most of the victims were teenagers.

Opposition MPs have expressed concern over the level of security at the base, which was partly guarded by a private security firm.

It was one of the loudest explosions I've ever heard
Local resident
The device, planted in the recreation centre changing room, destroyed all three floors of the building and severely damaged dozens of nearby houses.

The blast was powerful enough to be clearly heard in the centre of Deal two miles (3.2 km) away.

"It was frightening - it was one of the loudest explosions I've ever heard," said one woman who lives close to the barracks.

Rescuers and other marines from the music school attempted to clear away the rubble of the building with their bare hands in the search for survivors before heavy lifting equipment arrived.

Kent ambulance workers, who were on strike at the time, voluntarily abandoned their industrial action to ferry the casualties to hospitals in Deal and Canterbury.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - who was told of the attack during a flight from Tokyo to Moscow - said she was "shocked and extremely sad".

The opposition leader, Neil Kinnock, condemned the murder of the unarmed bandsmen as an "awful atrocity".

"Even the people who say they support what the IRA calls its cause must be sickened by the way in which such death and injury is mercilessly inflicted," he said.

 E-mail this story to a friend


Bomb damage at Deal Barracks
The explosion destroyed all three floors of the recreation building



In Context
One more soldier died a month later of injuries he suffered in the blast.

The Deal bombing was part of a concerted campaign by the IRA against the British armed forces during the 20th year of the deployment of UK troops in Northern Ireland.

A north London barracks was bombed in August 1988 and three explosions wrecked the headquarters of the Parachute Regiment in Shropshire seven months later.

There were also five attacks on UK soldiers stationed in West Germany.

The death of the bandsmen provoked a full review of security at UK military bases.

No-one has ever been convicted of the attack.

The Royal Marines School of Music was moved from Deal in the 1990s and some of the barracks were turned into flats.

Stories From 22 Sep


 
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  

^^ back to top
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
©MMVIII | News Sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy