IRA Bombing Victims Remembered In Aldershot 47 Years Later
The bomb hit the officers' mess at 16 Parachute Brigade three weeks after Bloody Sunday, killing seven people and injuring 19 others.
The local community and military personnel came together for a short service in Aldershot (Picture: PA).
Respects have been paid to those who lost their lives 47 years ago when the Official Irish Republican Army (Official IRA) bombed the 16th Parachute Brigade officers' mess killing seven people and injuring 19.
Family, friends, the local community and military personnel came together for a short service, where wreaths were laid on the memorial stone at Montgomery Lines in Aldershot.
The bombing was the first attack on mainland Britain during the Northern Ireland troubles.
And despite the passage of time, for many, the memories are still raw.
On 22 February 1972, in Aldershot, the British Army’s 16th Parachute Brigade came under attack from the Official IRA during a bombing at their Headquarters in Montgomery Lines.
Operatives from the Official IRA parked a 1971 light blue Ford Cortina containing a 280-pound time bomb outside the officer's mess which exploded at 12:40 pm.
This was the first major act of war against the British Army on English soil in retaliation for Bloody Sunday which saw 13 people die after troops opened fire on civil rights demonstrators, with another victim dying in hospital.
The huge explosion ripped through the mess, demolishing sections of the building, killing seven and injuring 19.
Soldiers were the intended targets but were not present as the regiment was stationed abroad and most staff officers were in their offices rather than the mess.
Those who lost their lives 47 years ago today were British Army officer, Captain Gerry Weston, a Roman Catholic Chaplain who had recently returned from service in Ulster, gardener John Hasler and five female cleaners: Mary Bosley, Jill Mansfield, Joan Lunn, Sheri Munton and Margaret Grant.
Brigadier Rowley Manns, who at the time of the bombing was acting head of the South-East District, condemned the "senseless killing" of civilians and said Aldershot was an open-plan garrison and difficult to defend.
Following the attack, there was enhanced security at military establishments.
There is now a memorial stone by the site of the explosion and although the land where the barracks once lay has been bought by developers and new homes are being built, there will be a memorial garden to the victims as part of the housing development.
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