A Knight’s Tale (78.1: The Troubles)

The 1970s was a decade in which the IRA carried out numerous bombing attacks in and around central London. A full list appears in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_London. While living in Soho’s Horse and Dolphin Yard we heard numerous explosions from the safety of our flat.

On 30 March 1979,  Airey Neave, British Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, was assassinated by the Irish National Liberation Army with a bomb fixed under his car. The bomb detonated in the car park of the Palace of Westminster in London and mortally wounded Neave, who died shortly after being admitted to hospital.[1] (Wikipedia – extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Airey_Neave)

When younger, our King Charles III was very close to his Great Uncle Louis Mountbatten whose home, Broadlands is in Romsey, not far from us in The New Forest.

On 27th August 1979, their relationship was ended by an IRA bomb. Details of the event can be found in:


from which this is an extract:

‘The gruesome 1979 IRA assassination of a beloved British royal—which took place the same day as a deadly coordinated attack on British troops—led to outrage, heartbreak and a heightening of “The Troubles,” the decades-long Northern Ireland conflict.

The Provisional Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the August 27, 1979 murder of Lord Louis Mountbatten, 79, Earl of Burma, great-grandson of Queen Victoria, second cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and great-uncle of King Charles III. The World War IIhero and last viceroy of India was aboard his 29-foot Shadow Vfishing boat with six others near his summer home in northwest Ireland the morning of the attack. 

A Sunny Day Turns Grim

IRA assassination of Lord Mountbatten, Shadow V
Part of the wreckage of Lord Mountbatten’s boat the Shadow V after it had been bombed by the IRA in August 1979.Independent News and Media/Getty Images

August 27, 1979, a Bank holiday, had dawned sunny, following days of rain. “Dickie” Mountbatten and some of his family who had been staying at their holiday home, Classibawn Castle near the Village of Cliffoney, County Sligo in the Republic of Ireland, decided to take an outing on their boat to take in the good weather. 

Fifteen minutes after setting sail, a planted bomb was activated by two members of the Provisional IRA, a paramilitary group of Irish nationalists who waged a terror campaign to drive British forces from Northern Ireland to create a united, independent nation. Known as “the Troubles,” the conflict raged for 25 years before IRA and loyalist ceasefires were initiated. By 1998, the year the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement settled the conflict, more than 3,600 people had died.’

40 responses to “A Knight’s Tale (78.1: The Troubles)”

  1. What a terrible time! You might be interested in knowing that the talks that led to the Good Friday agreement were chaired by former Senator George Mitchell who is from Waterville, Maine, where I was born.

  2. Not the finest page in the history of Ireland. My brother-in-law was in Birmingham city centre in a pub when one of the bombs they had planted went off. He had just left the part of the pub where the bomb was placed and was next door, so he was not killed. He was, however, mentally affected for the rest of his life and he was never the same person again. Did he get any help of any kind in the aftermath of the bombing? Did he even get a lift home in a police car? Did he get help with his PTSD? I’ll leave you all to guess about that one!

  3. My Aunt Alys lived in London during The Troubles. Communications were so different in the day, but I remember hearing about the Harrod’s bombing and how we worried about our Aunt with no clear way to quickly reach her. I was still in high school in the seventies. Violence is never the answer, and yet we never learn.

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